Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Renewable energy

U.S. generates more power from renewables — decline of coal ‘unstoppable’ despite Trump’s rhetoric

The Guardian reports: The US generated more electricity from renewable sources than coal for the first time ever in April, new federal government data has shown. Clean energy such as solar and wind provided 23% of US electricity generation during the month, compared with coal’s 20%, according to the Energy Information Administration. This represents the first time coal has been surpassed by energy sources that do not release pollution such

The U.S. military is locked in a power struggle with wind farms

Wired reports: When Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Goana takes off in his T-38 Talon training jet, he flies a loop north toward the Red River, which forms a meandering border between north Texas and southern Oklahoma. For decades, the remote farming area has been an ideal training ground for Air Force pilots like Goana. But in recent years, he says, there’s been a new obstacle: wind turbines that now generate a

Our zero-emission future

Jeffrey D. Sachs writes: The solution to human-induced climate change is finally in clear view. Thanks to rapid advances in zero-carbon energy technologies, and in sustainable food systems, the world can realistically end greenhouse-gas emissions by mid-century at little or no incremental cost, and with decisive benefits for safety and health. The main obstacle is inertia: politicians continue to favor the fossil-fuel industry and traditional agriculture mainly because they don’t

Investing in renewable energy in order to increase oil production

Jesse Barron writes: Rex Tillerson stood under a 32-foot pipe organ at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, explaining how the world worked. It was May 2015, in the middle of an oil-price crash, and Exxon Mobil’s earnings had fallen 46 percent compared with the same quarter the year before. But Tillerson, then Exxon’s chief executive, told his shareholders to be confident in the future. Oil and gas

Most U.S. coal power plants would save money by switching to wind or solar

Fast Company reports: As wind and solar power keep getting cheaper, coal power–which was the cheapest source of electricity for decades–is no longer economical in much of the U.S. A new analysis looked at every coal plant in the country and compared the cost of running those plants to the cost of operating a new wind or solar plant. As of 2018, 74% of existing coal plants cost more to

White House can’t say whether wind turbines cause cancer but Sen. Grassley calls Trump’s claim ‘idiotic’

  Question: "Do wind turbines cause cancer?" Mercedes Schlapp, White House Director of Strategic Communications: "I don't have an answer to that." pic.twitter.com/cxcZHQoov2 — The Hill (@thehill) April 3, 2019 Des Moines Register reports: Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley — a champion of the wind energy tax credit — said President Donald Trump’s comments that wind turbines cause cancer were “idiotic” in a call with reporters Wednesday. “I’m told that the

Costa Rica lays out ground-breaking decarbonisation plan

Renew Economy reports: The Central American nation of Costa Rica has laid out its long-term decarbonisation plans to become one of the world’s first, if not the first, zero-emissions nations. Costa Rica’s Decarbonization Plan includes both short-term goals out to 2022 which are intended to support the country’s longer-term 2050 goals and also serves as the basis for Costa Rica’s plans to update its Nationally Determined Contributions in line with

At last, divestment is hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts

Bill McKibben writes: I remember well the first institution to announce it was divesting from fossil fuel. It was 2012 and I was on the second week of a gruelling tour across the US trying to spark a movement. Our roadshow had been playing to packed houses down the west coast, and we’d crossed the continent to Portland, Maine. As a raucous crowd jammed the biggest theatre in town, a

How Costa Rica is pursuing decarbonization despite global inaction

 

With a Green New Deal, here’s what the world could look like for the next generation

Kate Aronoff reports: What, exactly, would a Green New Deal entail? Like its 1930s counterpart, the “Green New Deal” isn’t a specific set of programs so much as an umbrella under which various policies might fit, ranging from technocratic to transformative. The sheer scale of change needed to deal effectively with climate change is massive, as the scientific consensus is making increasingly clear, requiring an economy-wide mobilization of the sort

Even most Americans in coal-reliant states prefer renewables

CBS News reports: A large majority of Americans in coal-heavy states favor increasing renewable energy use. Most would also be willing to buy solar panels for their own use, and a plurality would be willing to pay an additional $5 a month to get energy from fully renewable sources, according to a survey from Consumer Reports. The consumer advocacy group spoke with 1,200 Americans, including 400 residents of coal-reliant states:

Polluting giant turns to green energy to escape EU carbon risk

Blooomberg reports: Central Europe’s third-largest polluter plans to almost triple its clean-energy capacity as emission costs surge. Tauron Polska Energia SA is preparing to add at least 700 megawatts of clean, regulated power to “improve” its portfolio after carbon permits almost tripled over the past year, Chief Financial Officer Marek Wadowski said. That’s the equivalent of half a modern nuclear reactor and echoes moves by European utilities from Enel SpA

World to install over one trillion watts of clean energy by 2023

Bloomberg reports: The world could install more than a trillion watts of renewable power over the next five years, more than the entire current generation capacity of the European Union. The International Energy Agency’s latest annual report on renewables forecasts as much as an extra 1.3 terawatts of clean energy will be installed by 2023 under one scenario. Even in its more conservative central forecast, the agency predicts that global

Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal — solar and wind were back the next day

CBS News reports: Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity. Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina’s energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy’s customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica,