August 14 Energy News

August 14, 2021

Opinion:

¶ “I Toured ‘The Best Damn [Natural Gas] Plant In The Fleet.’ Two Years Later It Exploded” • Two years ago, I went on a tour of the Russell City Energy Center, a California natural gas power plant. Two months ago, the power plant exploded, raining hunks of metal down on its neighborhood. Now the state is racing to put it back online. [CleanTechnica]

Russell City Energy Center (Mark Specht, UCS)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Smoke And Soot From Wildfires May Be Causing More Covid-19 Cases And Deaths, Study Finds” • A study published in the journal Science Advances found that increases in fine particulate matter of the type called PM2.5 from wildfire smoke in 2020 led to increased numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington. [CNN]

¶ “NREL’s Thermoplastic Blade Research Dives Deep With Verdant Power’s Tidal Energy Turbines” • National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers are studying thermoplastic composite blades on a large-scale tidal power turbine for the first time. They have the potential to revolutionize the marine energy industry. [CleanTechnica]

NREL researchers making a blade (Dennis Schroeder, NREL)

¶ “UN Report: Human Role In Global Warming Overwhelming And ‘Unequivocal’” • The latest scientific assessment from the UN’s IPCC for the first time speaks with certainty about the total responsibility of human activity for the rising temperatures of global warming. The scientists forecast no end to warming trends until emissions cease. [Buenos Aires Times]

¶ “The Planet’s Water Cycle Is Changing Rapidly. Here’s What That Means For Us” • A number of factors are intensifying the water cycle, but one of the most important is that warming temperatures raise the upper limit on the amount of moisture in the air. That increases the potential for more rain. Oddly, it also increases the potential for drought. [Popular Science]

Key parts of the water cycle (NASA image)

World:

¶ “Sales Of Fossil-Fuel Vehicles Have Already Peaked, Bloomberg Says” • A recent article in Bloomberg makes the bold assertion that sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines have already peaked, so the future of the global auto industry belongs to EVs. EVs may still be more expensive than fossils, but that won’t be the case for much longer. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “July Was The Hottest Month On Record” • We just had the hottest month, as a planet, in any of our lifetimes, and we saw the weather extremes that came with it. The global temperature in July 2021 was the highest for any July in the 142 years of records, according to data released today from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. [CNN]

Departure from normal temperatures (NOAA)
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “India On Track To Achieve Renewable Energy Target Of 450 GW By 2030” • The Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, apprised the business leaders that India will achieve the set renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030. He was interacting with members of the US India Business Council in a virtual event. [Swarajya]

¶ “Study: Renewables Much Cheaper Than Fossils” • Fraunhofer ISE released a levelized cost of energy analysis for power plants in Germany, a place with solar resources comparable to Alaska’s (not a joke). Solar panels are so cheap now and solar power plant systems are so streamlined that solar is just cheap, compared to anything else. [CleanTechnica]

Levelized cost of electricity (Fraunhofer)
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Middle East Renewables Surge” • Middle East Energy Transition reports that there were no contract awards for oil-powered or gas-fuelled power stations in the Middle East and North Africa region in the first half of 2021. In the same period, there were about $2.8 billion of renewable energy project contracts awarded. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ “GM Teases Electric Chevy Silverado Pickup Again: What We Know So Far” • Tesla and Ford have shown off their electric pickup trucks, to much fanfare. Now Chevy is finally taking another small step toward a public announcement. I saw “small step” because the company hasn’t really announced anything yet – it’s just teasing it. [CleanTechnica]

Tease of an electric vehicle

¶ “Read All About It! ‘US To Lead In EV Manufacturing'” • US President Joe Biden said that he wanted half of new cars sold in the country to be battery-powered by the end of the decade. To do that, he revealed a multi-layered strategy that would ease US consumers away from gasoline-powered cars and trucks and toward EVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “70% Of US EV Battery Cells And 87% Of Battery Packs Made In USA” • The US DOE recently shared that through 2020, most battery cells and packs used in US plug-in vehicles were made in the USA. That’s great news for the USA, but not surprising once you think about it for a moment. It is also not even close to the full story. [CleanTechnica]

Battery sources (Yan Zhou et al, Argonne National Laboratory) Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Clean Energy Projects Highlighted In Granholm’s Alaska Tour” • Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is to spend two days in Alaska traveling with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski to showcase “America’s living laboratory.” They will visit research projects, such as one to find ways to power remote villages 100% with renewable energy. [Laredo Morning Times]

¶ “Amid Extreme Weather, A Shift Among Republicans On Climate Change” • After a decade of disputing the existence of climate change, many leading Republicans are shifting their posture amid heat waves, drought, and wildfires that have hit their districts and unnerved their constituents. What they will do about it is not settled. [The Seattle Times]

Have an unprecedentedly superb day.

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