December 23 Energy News

December 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Under Trump’s Nose, US Offshore Wind Energy ‘Revolution’ Stirs Like A Mighty Beast” • US President Donald Trump is famously not a fan of renewable energy. Nevertheless, under his watch the US offshore wind industry is beginning to realize its potential for killing off the nation’s dwindling stock of coal and nuclear power plants. [CleanTechnica]

Fishing near the Block Island wind farm

¶ “Meet the Lawyer Trying to Make Big Oil Pay for Climate Change” • Steve Berman won a $200 billion settlement from tobacco companies in the ’90s.  Now he represents Oakland and San Francisco in a lawsuit demanding that Exxon, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP pay billions for sea walls and other defenses against ocean rise. [VICE]

¶ “The Future Of American Jobs Is Renewable Energy” • The Trump administration has promised to bring back coal jobs, but the future of work won’t be fossil fuels. No, renewable energy is where it’s at, if you’re looking for a job in the energy industry; just look for a job where state and local governments are already renewable-friendly. [PayScale Career News]

Renewable Power (Photo: Dimitry Anikin)

Science and Technology:

¶ New research published this week in Geophysical Research Letters finds that an algae-ice melt feedback loop is a considerably bigger deal than scientists previously realized: On the Greenland ice sheet, the second-largest in the world, “algal darkening” is responsible for 5% to 10% of the total ice-sheet melt each summer. [Quartz]

¶ Beavers are accelerating climate change, according research presented at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting. Warmer temperatures enable the rodents to take up residence farther and farther north, and as they settle into their new digs and build dams, the floods thaw once permanently frozen ground. [Science Magazine]

Beaver

World:

¶ Driven by a historic low solar and wind power tariff, India is lining up green project auctions to the tune of about ₹2.7 lakh crore ($15 billion) in 2018. The government has drawn up a plan to auction 30 GW of solar, 10 GW of wind and 5 GW of offshore wind projects next fiscal, with an average equipment cost of ₹6 crore/MW ($0.90/watt). [Millennium Post]

¶ The Turkish wind energy sector attracted $12.3 billion over the past 11 years, according to Turkish Wind Energy Association data. Installed windpower capacity in the country was around 146 MW in 2007 and has now reached a capacity of approximately 6,500 MW. Turkey’s investment will reach around $5 billion in 2017 alone. [Brinkwire]

Wind power in Turkey

¶ Russia has agreed a deal to build a nuclear power station in Sudan, weeks after President al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, visited President Putin. The deal comes despite Mr Bashir facing charges of genocide and war crimes at the court in the Hague, and the US accusing Sudan of being a sponsor of terrorism. [The Times]

¶ In what could be a significant development for both Russia and India, two VVER-1200 reactors of Russian design will be built near Rooppur in Bangladesh. Signalling the start of construction, the first pour of concrete for the foundation of the first unit took place on November 30, 2017, at Ishwardi village, near Rooppur, about 160 km from Dhaka. [Frontline]

The first pour of concrete (Photo: Rosatom)

US:

¶ More than three months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and destroyed much of its rickety utility grid, a third of the island is still without electricity. The new tax plan passed by congress adds insult to that injury by making Puerto Rican companies pay a 12.5% tax on intellectual property as foreign corporations. [CleanTechnica]

One way to one help the people of Puerto Rico is to
donate at [
Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding website].

¶ California’s Thomas fire, now the largest in the state’s history, has burned more than 1000 square kilometers, an area greater than New York City, Brussels and Paris combined. Most of California’s largest wildfires have been recorded this century. Scientists say the warming climate and spread of buildings into wilderness areas have been factors. [BBC]

Satellite view of the Thomas Fire (Image: NASA, EPA)

¶ Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency employees have exited their posts at the agency over the course of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, a report by the New York Times and ProPublica said. An internal memo obtained by CNN in April revealed a buyout program that was aimed at curbing employment. [CNN]

¶ A bill that would recognize the environmental and fuel diversity attributes of New Jersey’s nuclear power plants has been approved by House and Senate utility committees. The bill will now go forward to the full legislative bodies. The two state legislative committees approved the legislation unanimously. [World Nuclear News]

The Salem-Hope Creek nuclear complex (Image: @PSEGNews)

¶ Communities throughout New Hampshire may have warrant articles on their spring ballots urging the governor to create a task force to study the feasibility of developing offshore wind power. Three communities, Portsmouth, Dover and Durham, have already signed resolutions asking the governor to form the task force. [The Union Leader]

¶ A study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and reported by Lehigh University, showed that shutting down eastern Pennsylvania’s Portland Generating Plant reduced the likelihood of a low birth weight baby by about 15% and reduced the likelihood of a preterm birth by about 28% among those near the plant. [CleanTechnica]

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