February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2020


¶ “Is Trump’s USDA Ready To Address Climate Change? There Are Hopeful Signs” • After three years of sidelining climate change research and thinning its roster of scientists, the US Department of Agriculture announced a five-year scientific plan to help American farmers cope with the worsening effects of the climate crisis. [InsideClimate News]

Cattle feedlot in Oklahoma (Credit: Alice Welch | USDA)

¶ “Could This Be The Decade Of Green Hydrogen?” • Of the alternatives to fossil fuels, renewable energy is already making steady progress in electricity generation capacity, while another source of energy – hydrogen – is also gaining momentum and is being touted as a key fuel in the energy transition. However, not all hydrogen is created equal. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “How Shrubs Can Help Solve Climate Change” • In South Africa, there used to be a thicket the size of Cyprus that could suck up the equivalent of three times the US’s annual carbon emissions. Spekboom is a shrub that grows in semi-desert. Not only useful as a carbon sink, it has the ability to alter local soil and weather conditions, so other plants grow. [BBC]
Please Note: Numbers in this article seem to be confused about US emissions. They are not 5,783 million tonnes, as the article states, but 5,783 billion tonnes. Instead of drawing down three times US emissions, the thicket would appear to draw down 0.3% of it. The news is still very good – and the numbers are easier to believe. GHH

Planting to restore spekboom (UN Environment Programme)

¶ “Old Town High School Students Help UNH Scientists Research Climate Change In Maine” • Students in a course at Old Town High School are collecting data to help climate researchers at University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space study changes in regions where winters have historically been harsh. [Bangor Daily News]


¶ “India Makes Clean Energy Strides, With Renewables Set To Generate Wider Share Of Power” • Renewables will soon generate over a fifth of India’s electricity, its Power Minister said. Behind the trend are steps the country has taken to encourage investing in renewables. With a population of 1.31 billion, a lot of development is needed. [EnergyInfraPost]

Hydropower dam

¶ “Minister Says Queensland Doesn’t Need A New Coal-Fired Power Station” • Queensland does not need a new coal-fired power station, state Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch says. She pushed back against a federal government announcement that it had set aside $4 million to investigate a new coal-fired power plant. [Brisbane Times]

¶ “Fossil Fuel Giants Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Slowly Going Green” • Long beholden to fossil fuels for all of their energy, the two most populous countries in Central Asia finally seem to be tapping into their abundant renewable resources. But along with renewables, Uzbekistan has plans to add nuclear power as an alternative energy source. [Radio Free Europe]

Kazakh power plant (Mountins13, Wikimedia Commons)


¶ “Trump Administration Is Not Trying To Save The Coal Industry, New Energy Secretary Says” • Coal will probably continue to decline as a fuel for US power plants, the secretary of energy said, but it might supply the rare earth elements needed for batteries. The US coal industry has declined faster under Trump than under Obama. [Forbes]

¶ “The 2020 Chevy Bolt – GM Changes The Game, Again” • In 2016, the Chevy Bolt became the first affordable long range EV, beating the Tesla Model 3 to market. Now, it is updated. You can buy a Bolt for around $26,000. It undersells all other affordable EVs you can buy in America, and it also has a longer range than any of them. [CleanTechnica]

Chevy Bolt

¶ “NC Judge Approves Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Agreement” • A North Carolina judge approved a settlement over Duke Energy cleaning up coal ash dumps. The company will excavate almost all of the coal ash at its current and former coal plants and rebury it in lined landfills to keep toxic chemicals out of water supplies. The plan could cost $9 billion. [Kallanish Energy]

¶ “Coal Plants Are Closing Across The West. Here Are The Companies Sticking With Coal” • January began with two coal-fired generators shutting down for good. More early closures were announced. There are just 20 coal plants in the continental West whose owners haven’t committed to retiring them fully by specific dates, studies show. [Frederick News Post]

PV array (Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times)

¶ “Experts Weigh In On Reality Of Renewable Energy In WV” • West Virginia Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch recently told a House committee that the lack of renewable energy sources in the Mountain State is a deterrent to some companies wanting to consider moving here. But experts in renewable energy say the difficulty is policy, not resources. [WV News]

¶ “Top Climate Scientist Makes Faith Case For Action” • Dr Katharine Hayhoe, director of Texas Tech University’s Climate Science Center, delivered the keynote address a forum on faith and business in Alabama. As an evangelical Christian, she argues that Christians and other people of faith have a moral obligation to reduce harmful impacts of climate change. [al.com]

Have an unprecedentedly successful day.

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