June 3 Energy News

June 3, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Coal Rescue Plan Will Force Taxpayers To Bail Out A Dying Industry” • The Trump administration is considering a plan to order utilities to buy power from coal-burning plants. It is a plant that would force you to buy more expensive, dirtier electricity that is more likely to cause you health problems and perhaps even premature death. [CleanTechnica]

Trump’s vision of a great America

¶ “The Californization of America” • Democrats across the country are winning primaries by promoting policies like universal health insurance and guaranteed income, ideas once laughed off as things that work only on the “Left Coast.” At the same time, national politicians from both sides are finally putting front and center such issues as immigration, clean energy, and suburban sprawl. [New York Times]

¶ “Is Trans Mountain worth the risk?” • Environmental impact concerns lie at the heart of opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which is aims to take tar sand oil to the sea. It has driven a political divide between British Columbia and Alberta, and Ottawa. Now two civil court actions are aimed at halting it. [Yukon News]

Oil spill cleanup (Huffington Post image)

¶ “What happens to our trash and recycling in Winona? We followed a cereal box through the process” • I followed a cereal box and its liner through the trash and recycling processes. They went through a journey involving companies in three states, loud machinery, and in the case of the box, a potential trade war with China. [Winona Daily News]

Science and Technology:

¶ Vertical farms avoid much of the emissions of agriculture, despite their reliance on artificial light and climate-controlled. Indeed, vertical farms evangelist Dickson Despommier says these kinds of farms could significantly reduce the amount of land devoted to farming and thereby make a serious dent in our climate change problem. [IEEE Spectrum]

Vertical farm (Photo: Harry Goldstein)

¶ Separately from any energy source needed, carbon dioxide is a product of a chemical reaction in the production of aluminum. It amounts to 20% of the emissions. Alcoa created a new process that produces oxygen, rather than carbon dioxide, in the final reaction step, enabling the world’s first process for truly carbon-free aluminum production. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ The Vodafone Group has become the 135th global brand to make the 100% renewable energy pledge. The company set the date of its goal at 2025. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reported last month that the amount of green power sourced by big business last year was enough to meet the energy needs of France. [Innovators Magazine]

Wind turbine (Photo: Casey Horner, Unsplash)

¶ IRENA’s new report, Renewable Energy Auctions: Cases from Sub-Saharan Africa, analyses the design details and prices from three renewable energy auctions in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that South African auctions have driven the cost of solar PV and wind power down to less than the average cost of power supply from the national utilities. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ As renewables projects are increasingly built Queensland, they use large parcels of agricultural land. Clean energy may offer billions in investment and thousands of jobs for Queensland. But it also faces on-the-ground challenges, including turf wars with intensive farming that threaten to hamper the energy sector’s transition. [The Guardian]

Queensland farm (Shiftchange, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In January, China donated over 32,000 solar power generating systems to Nepal to build domestic capacity and to provide electricity to communities that had been without power since the 2015 earthquake. Now, making further inroads, China has set up a generating system for the government itself, including the office of the prime minister. [Derby Journal]

¶ Guatemala has an irrigation system, unique in Central America, that works with solar panels, an official source reported. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food announced the installation of the 1,000 panels in the municipality of Cabañas. It was financed by the International Development Fund at cost of $534,759. [Devdiscourse]

Irrigation (Pixabay image)

US:

¶ NOAA issues a hurricane season forecast each spring, and its forecast for the 2018 season specifies a 75% chance that this year’s storm activity will be at normal or above-normal levels. There’s a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms . Of these, five to nine could become hurricanes, with one to four turning into major hurricanes. [NBCNews.com]

¶ Alabama’s farmers are learning how to go green and save their green. Officials say using solar power on farms is catching on and a new program could make it easier for farmers to do that. They are helping farmers who want to qualify for a USDA program that would pay for a quarter of the cost to set up a renewable energy system. [rocketcitynow.com]

Solar power on the farm

¶ In Massachusetts, eight Democrats are running for the 1st Franklin District post being vacated by 25-year incumbent Rep Stephen Kulik. They agreed virtually all of the time on a range of environmental and energy questions in a two-hour session that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Franklin County and Climate Action Now. [Amherst Bulletin]

¶ After Florida Power & Light asked nuclear regulators to keep its aging reactors on the shore of Biscayne Bay running another 20 years, environmentalists and residents jumped on a new issue. An underground saltwater plume from the plant’s cooling water canals already has threaten wells, and with rising seas, the threats will get worse. [Miami Herald]

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