July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Can Atlanta Run Entirely On Renewable Energy by 2035?” • Atlanta is working to put flesh on a framework to run entirely on renewable power by 2035. That covers both municipal operations, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and all the lights, appliances, and air conditioners in town. Here is a plan for how to do it. [Sierra Magazine]

Atlanta (Sierra Club photo)

¶ “With EPA rule change, worries linger for those near coal ash ponds” • As one of his first major acts at the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator, signed and finalized new standards overseeing coal ash. Critics of the new coal ash rules say they are a gift to industry and a continued burden for those communities near coal ash sites. [CNN]

¶ “Oil industry plans to keep workers safe – by firing them and having robots do their jobs” • The oil and gas industry is finally acknowledging how dangerous conditions can be for its workers, after years of touting their safety record. This sudden honesty comes with a new safety solution, which is to fire the workers and replace them with robots. [NationofChange]

Deepwater Horizon (Credit: US Coast Guard, public domain)

¶ “3 Natural Gas & Climate Myths” • Many people see natural gas as a part of the answer for climate change. But arguments in support of natural gas are based on outdated or incorrect information – sometimes tending toward wishful thinking. So we are setting the record straight on three common myths about natural gas and our climate. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ As CO2 rises in the atmosphere, which leads to the planet warming, the balance between photosynthesis and respiration can shift in individual plants. In a new study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have found that in warmer conditions plants change how they use carbon – using more for growth. [Phys.Org]

Plant and ladybug (CC0 Public Domain)

¶ A new combination of materials developed by Stanford researchers may lead to a rechargeable battery able to store the large amounts of power. The technology is a flow battery with the negative side consisting of a combination of potassium and sodium that is liquid at room temperature. It is a promising step toward a high density battery. [pvbuzz media]

World:

¶ PowerLink, the high-voltage system operator in Queensland, signed an agreement with Pacific Hydro for a project of up to 500 MW, the first part of the Haughton solar farm. But PowerLink says it has far more than that in its pipeline, with more than 150 enquiries or applications for nearly 30,000 MW, almost all from renewable sources. [CleanTechnica]

Solar farm (Pixabay | Creative Commons)

¶ The Billion Tree Tsunami project in Pakistan has been a success. About 730 million trees were regrown using various forestry measures for regeneration, and three hundred million seedlings were planted using about 40 different species in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The enormous project was only started several years ago. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Modelling released by respected energy analysts Reputex shows that a National Energy Guarantee with the emission targets of the Australian government will not lead to any new renewable energy infrastructure and thus no reduction in carbon pollution. It also finds that a higher emissions target will lead to lower electricity bills for us all. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Coddrington wind farm in Victoria (Photo: Jessica Shapiro)

¶ A South African brewery may be the first in Africa to go carbon-neutral as businesses adjust to climate change and consumers are more careful about what they buy. In a village near Cape Town, Darling Brewery decreased its carbon footprint with efficiency, then took it to zero by buying carbon credits at a reforestation project in Zimbabwe. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Collie shire council, in the heart of the last remaining coal mining and coal generation district in West Australia, discussed seeking quotes for rooftop solar. One provider said solar would deliver electricity cost savings of $446,106 over 10 years. The council voted against installing rooftop PVs because “we should be burning more coal.” [RenewEconomy]

Coal-burning power station

¶ Masako Sakata, an award-winning Japanese documentary film director, took the long route to answer a gnawing question: how is it that Japan is still wedded to atomic power while Germany decided to phase out its nuclear plants by 2022 in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Her latest film “Morgen” set for release this fall in Tokyo. [The Mainichi]

US:

¶ In May of last year, the 120,000 PV solar panels at the Kayenta Solar Plant, the first utility-scale solar plant on the Navajo Nation, went operational. Now, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority that owns the Kayenta plant is pushing ahead with two more solar projects on the reservation, with a combined capacity of 100,000 to 150,000 MW. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Kayenta Solar Facility (NTUA photo)

¶ Honolulu-based Toyota dealer and distributor Servco Pacific unveiled a hydrogen station by having it blessed in a traditional manner using Hawaiian Ti leaves and water from sacred waterfalls. Servco hopes that the availability of hydrogen to power passenger cars will spur sales of fuel cell vehicles on Oahu and eventually other Hawaiian Islands. [Forbes]

¶ More than 10% of America’s coal miners with 25 or more years of experience have black lung disease, the highest rate recorded in roughly two decades, according to a government study that showed cases concentrated heavily in central Appalachia. The study was by researchers from the government’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. [Reuters]

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