February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2021

Science and Technology:

¶ “World’s Upside Down Weather Causing Chaos” • A “wobble” in the weather has turned a chunk of the world’s climate upside down, leading to the bizarre situation where it is far colder in Texas than it is in Alaska. A temperature anomaly map from the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute vividly reveals the peculiar situation. [NEWS.com.au]

Temperature anomaly map (University of Maine)

¶ “Weather Messed With Texas – And Your Town May Be Next” • There’s really only one clear lesson to be drawn from the cold weather and power outages in Texas, which is that in an era of climate change, extreme-weather disasters are getting more common and more costly. We need an infrastructure upgrade to deal with coming disasters. [Politico]

¶ “Texas: Grids, Blackouts, And Green New Deals” • The failure of the electricity grid in Texas and the blackouts in the Midwest, are more consequences of climate breakdown. The root problem is that the Arctic is growing warmer. As it does so, paradoxically, there is less of a barrier preventing very cold weather in the far north from moving south. [The Ecologist]

Frozen lake in Texas (©Luke Verboski via Twitter)

World:

¶ “Ford Is Investing $1 Billion In Germany As It Goes Electric In Europe” • Ford is spending $1 billion to modernize a German plant part of a plan to sell only electric passenger cars in Europe. Ford said its Cologne factory will be overhauled to produce its first European-built, mass volume, all-electric passenger vehicle starting in 2023. [CNN]

¶ “Maersk Has Found A Way To Clean Up Shipping But There’s A Catch” • Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, says it will launch the world’s first carbon-neutral cargo ship in 2023. It said the ship will operate on methanol produced from renewables or sustainable biomass. But it may not be able to get enough carbon-neutral methanol, for now. [CNN]

Maersk container ship (Andrey Sharpilo, Unsplash)

¶ “Johnson Controls Joins Climate Pledge For Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040” • Johnson Controls, a maker of fire, HVAC, and security equipment for buildings, has joined The Climate Pledge. Having done so, it is committed to reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement goal. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Volta Trucks Picks Proterra For Batteries” • Volta Trucks, the new British commercial electric truck startup, has decided to get its vehicle batteries from Proterra, which just opened a next-gen battery production factory in California in December. The Volta Zero, designed for inner city freight distribution, will have a range of 125 miles. [CleanTechnica]

Volta Zero electric truck (Volta Trucks image)

¶ “Twenty New Companies Join The Climate Pledge” • Amazon and Global Optimism announced that 20 new signatories around the world have joined The Climate Pledge. Now, 53 companies representing 18 industries and based in 12 countries have pledged to working toward net-zero CO₂ emissions in their worldwide businesses. [Galveston County Daily News]

¶ “Limejump Adds 170 MW Of Renewables PPAs” • Limejump, part of Shell’s Renewables & Energy Solutions division, has added 170 MW of renewables capacity to its virtual power plant through PPAs since the start of the year. Limejump manages one of the largest virtual power plants in the UK, with over 1 GW of renewable capacity. [reNEWS]

Solar array (Limejump image)

US:

¶ “Texas Grid Was ‘Minutes’ From Failing, Lawmaker Says” • As of Wednesday evening, about 2.3 million people in Texas have had no power in frigid weather for days. As the state’s lawmakers blame at the power company and called for investigations, one US Congressman says company officials told him they had been minutes away from total grid collapse. [CNN]

¶ “Clean Cars Nevada Program Will Be A Big Win For Nevadans” • Nevada’s efforts to adopt a Clean Cars Nevada program will win big, an independent consultant report says. The report shows that the program will lead to a jackpot of savings to new vehicle owners, avoid millions of tons of climate pollution annually, and help improve public health. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada (Tesla image)

¶ “Tesla Superchargers Leave Competitors ‘In The Dust,’ Harvard Business Review Writes” • There are many ways to charge electric vehicles on road trips. The Tesla solution was to create its own proprietary charging network. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review says, “Tesla’s charging stations [have] left other manufacturers in the dust.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Two Transit Systems Increase Electrification Commitments” • This month, New Flyer of America did some brisk business with Westchester County, Minnesota, and King County, Washington. In one deal, the company added 20 new battery-electric buses to an existing contract, and in the other order they sold 66 hybrid-electric buses. [CleanTechnica]

Electric bus (Image courtesy of New Flyer)

¶ “Michigan Renewable Energy More Resilient To Cold Than Frozen Texas Wind Turbines” • In Texas, Republican lawmakers are blaming the wind turbines for power outages. Experts are saying natural gas is more to blame. Here in Michigan, we use both natural gas and wind turbines to power our homes, and we have been going without outages. [ABC 12 News]

¶ “Grid Losing As Much Generation As It’s Gaining As Power Shortages Continue, ERCOT Says” • In Texas, about 45,000 MW of generating capacity were offline on Tuesday. That was mostly natural gas, coal and nuclear, grid operator ERCOT said. Many of the state’s wind turbines failed because they were not fitted for cold weather. [Houston Chronicle]

Have an unapologetically amazing day.

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