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The New Edition of Green Energy Times Is Available Online

April 3, 2020

We thank you all for your patience, as the coronavirus has delayed the completion of the March issue.  However it is now available!

In these crazy times, we must keep the momentum moving forward to reach our clean energy goals and address the climate crises that has been put in the background at present but will still be here when we get past this.  So we ask our readers to please share Green Energy Times with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. We can do that easily with the online edition of GET, which is available HERE.

The issue has gone to press and will be  delivered starting next week. Many of our drop-off sites are closed, but you will find copies at grocery, convenience and hardware stores. We will continue deliveries as businesses open up. Subscriptions will be mailed out at the end of next week.

April 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “‘Europe’s Largest’ Solar Power Facility Comes Online As The Industry Faces Coronavirus Challenges” • A 500-MW PV plant, described by Spanish utility Iberdrola as “Europe’s largest,” is sending energy to the grid, a welcome bright spot for an industry that in the months ahead could experience difficulties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. [CNBC]

Building a solar farm (Iberdrola image)

  • “Oil Producers Agree To Cut Production By A Tenth” • Opec producers and allies have agreed to cut output by around 10% to counter the slump in demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns. The group said it would cut output in May and June by 10 million barrels to help prop up prices. The cuts will then be gradually eased until April 2022. [BCC]
  • “Green Hydrogen Pipeline Surges On A Wave Of Announced Mega-Projects” • The pipeline of electrolyzers to produce hydrogen from renewable energy has nearly tripled in just five months, Wood Mackenzie said. It updated green hydrogen data in a report published last October, following an avalanche of new project announcements. [Greentech Media]
  • “Energy Storage In Emerging Markets To Increase By Over 40% Every Year Until 2025: IRENA” • Battery storage systems are emerging as a potential solution for integrating solar and wind renewables in power systems across the globe. The systems have the unique capability to absorb quickly, hold, and then reinject electricity. [Mercom India]
  • “Study Suggests Economic Boom From Renewable Energy” • “Opportunities for Meeting Commercial and Industrial Demand for Renewable Energy in Indiana,” a Wood Mackenzie report, says Indiana could see more than $5 billion in investment and nearly 25,000 new jobs if additional renewable energy options were available. [Inside INdiana Business]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby: Virtual Earth Day 2020

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) will present a national online climate solutions event.  The keynote address will feature Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, one of our planet’s best climate solutions communicators.  She was recently on Time Magazine’s list of 50 most influential people, a lead climate scientist on the Fourth National Climate Assessment, and is on the CCL Advisory Board.  After the keynote, three actions will be taken by everyone online, then four breakout sessions will be offered, including CCL’s popular Climate Advocate Training Workshop. View details at https://www.facebook.com/events/2485501511765316/.

April 9 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Millions Of Barrels Of Oil Nobody Wants Are Floating In The Ocean” • Oil demand is in freefall, thanks to green technology and a pandemic. Oil is at its lowest price in decades, but that hasn’t stopped production. There are now millions and millions of barrels of crude stuck on massive oil tankers, waiting for things to go back to normal. [CleanTechnica]

Oil tanker (Cloudapple, Wikimedia Commons)

  • “Wildlife Destruction ‘Not A Slippery Slope But A Series Of Cliff Edges'” • Wildlife species will die out and natural ecosystems collapse in the near future if the climate crisis goes unchecked, scientists have warned. New research shows that the natural world is at far greater risk from climate breakdown than previously thought. [The Guardian]
  • “Despite Trump’s Big Talk, US Coal Production Falls To Lowest Levels Since 1981” • Based on weekly production estimates, S&P Global Market Intelligence has said that US coal production through the first quarter of 2020 fell to its lowest level since 1981, with production estimates suggesting only 151 million tonnes of coal were produced. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Tesla Virtual Power Plant In South Australia Outperforms Expectations” • Last year, Tesla, with cooperation of the South Australian government, created a virtual power plant based on 1,000 rooftop solar systems and Powerwall batteries. The system worked better than expected, making the entire grid more stable. Now, Tesla wants to expand it. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Seabrook Nuclear Plant Undergoes Refueling During The Pandemic” • NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant is undergoing its regular refueling, though the COVID-19 crisis is offering unforeseen limitations, according to the NRC. Social distancing guidelines must be followed during both refueling work and inspections. [Seacoastonline.com]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

 

April 8 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “ICON 3D Printed Homes For The Homeless Now Available In Austin” • ICON has created a unique 3D printer that can create an entire home in about 24 hours using a patented material. Now the company, in cooperation with local nonprofit Mobil Loaves & Fishes, is building an entire community for homeless people in the Austin area. [CleanTechnica]

ICON 3D printed homes (ICON image)

  • “It’s Happening: Airspeeder Flying Car Company Gets Cash Infusion” • Alauda’s Airspeeder flying cars are going to happen. What’s more, they’re going to happen somewhat sooner than later thanks to a seven-figure round of fundraising. Alauda’s basic premise that racing improves the breed, so it started with a flying car that can compete in races. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Rock Bottom: How COVID-19 Has Shattered The Oil Industry” • The spread of Covid-19 poses a significant threat to the global oil and gas industry. The increasingly drastic action taken to reduce the spread of the virus interferes with many of the sector’s key processes, and the uncertainty of the pandemic only worsens market difficulties. [Offshore Technology]
  • “Spain Targets Huge New Wind And Solar Additions As Part Of Stunning Renewables Plan” • Spain has set goals of a stunning 74% of its electricity and 42% of its total energy from renewables by 2030, in its new National Energy & Climate Plan. The plan, which it has submitted to the EU, calls for annual additions of 2 GW of wind and 3 GW of solar capacity. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Oil Companies Are Collapsing, But Wind And Solar Energy Keep Growing” • A few years ago, the kind of double-digit drop in oil and gas prices the world is experiencing now because of the pandemic might have increased the use of fossil fuels and hurt renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms. But that is not what is happening. [Salt Lake Tribune]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

April 7 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Green Building Would Add 30,000 Plants And Trees To Cityscape” • The Rainbow Tree Residential Tower is stunning green architecture designed to be built in the Philippine city of Cebu. Its architect claims that, once (if?) built, the 377-foot timber tower would bring more than 30,000 new plants, shrubs, and trees to the city skyline. [CleanTechnica]

Rainbow Tree Residential Tower (Vincent Callebaut Architectures)

  • “Coal Production Falls Again” • Coal production across Wyoming continued to tumble over the start of the new year, with first quarter output setting a two-decade low, data released by the US Energy Information Administration shows. Wyoming coal mines produced 54.6 million tons, a drop of 10.8 million tons from last year. [Laramie Boomerang]
  • “New Power Generation Quarterly: Annual Update For 2019” • Federal agencies track new power plant construction, but they have overlooked rooftop solar capacity. So, the ILSR publishes annual and quarterly reports that compile data from the Energy Information Administration and the Solar Energy Industries Association. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Australian Renewable Energy Jobs Surged To New Record Levels In 2018-19” • Renewable energy jobs figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlight the massive growth in Australian clean energy jobs in the last financial year. The sector set new records for the total number of full-time workers engaged in the industry. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Neoen, Mondo Plan Massive 600-MW Victoria Big Battery Near Geelong” • With its experience with the Hornsdale Power Reserve, French developer Neoen plans a bigger battery near Geelong, Victoria. Called the “Victoria big battery” will be up to four times the size of the original “Tesla big battery” in South Australia. [RenewEconomy]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

April 6 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “And So It Begins: World’s 11th-Biggest Economy Pitches Renewable Energy For COVID-19 Recovery” • New York State would, which by some measures, be the world’s 11th-largest economy if it was an independent country. On Friday, April 3, New York announced the passage of enabling legislation for its new clean power plans. [CleanTechnica]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (governor.ny.gov)

  • “Renewables Surge By 176 GW In 2019” • The renewable energy sector added 176 GW of generating capacity globally in 2019, slightly lower than the 179 GW added in 2018, according to a report. However, new renewable power accounted for 72% of all power expansion last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency data. [reNEWS]
  • “Curtailment And Queueing To End: SMA Helps Soothe West Murray Woes” • Inverter company SMA may have found a way to allow five severely curtailed solar farms in Western Australia to resume normal operations. They have been curtailed by 50% for six months. This has implications for other areas where the grid is weak. [pv magazine Australia]
  • “Ukraine: Radiation Spike As Forest Fire Hits Chernobyl Nuclear Zone” • Ukrainian authorities reported a spike in radiation levels in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, caused by a forest fire. The post included a video with a Geiger counter showing radiation at 16 times above normal. [Times Now]
  • “Tesla Is Making Ventilators From Tesla Model 3 Car Parts” • Tesla’s engineering team released an update on Tesla’s progress making ventilators, something that hospitals desperately need to fight COVID-19. Engineers explain that they have been working on developing their own ventilators based on Tesla car parts, which they have in supply. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

April 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Record £745 Million Of Wind Power Exported By Scotland” • Scotland exported a record £745 million worth electricity last year as wind power increasing becomes the country’s second North Sea Oil. New official statistics show more than 17,000 GWh was transmitted to England and Wales in 2019, more than ever before. [HeraldScotland]

Wind turbine in Scotland (Craigdoogan at English Wikipedia)

  • “Appalachian Coal Communities Brace For Coronavirus: It’s Going ‘To Wipe Us Out’” • At least one in 10 underground miners has black lung, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but experts say the actual number could be much higher. The thought of adding coronavirus to their problems is terrifying to these workers. [HuffPost]
  • “Western Australia Puts Community Batteries At Top Of New Energy Roadmap” • WA’s Labor government unveiled an energy roadmap that puts community battery storage at the top of its proposals. It aims for a wholesale switch to such energy sources as rooftop solar panels, EVs, household and community batteries, and microgrids. [RenewEconomy]
  • “Oil Prices Set To Crater As Russia, Saudi Arabia Meeting Delayed Amid Tension” • The virtual meeting between OPEC and its allies scheduled for Monday was postponed as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia mount, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. One analyst said oil prices are “probably going to crater.” [NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth]
  • “Trump Tries To Reassure Oil Company Executives” • Oil CEOs got President assurances of better times and coronavirus tests from President Trump at a White House summit. But there were no firm proposals for help, as the coronavirus pandemic and plunging petroleum prices threaten years-long fracking boom in America. [Mohave Valley News]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

The pandemic warnings were already being sounded back in 2015

Below is a reprint of an article published in the August 2015 issue of Green Energy Times.

State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability

SOTW15cover-r06b_HiRes_VNFrom WorldWatch Institute, Island Press, 140 pages, $19.99

Review by Tammy Reiss

This year’s publication by the WorldWatch Institute, State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability is well worth reading. Fourteen authors of the institute compiled the latest economic and scientific data along with their professional and personal perspectives on subjects not widely covered elsewhere. Among its articles are “Energy, Credit, and the End of Growth,” “Emerging Diseases from Animals,” and “Migration as a Climate Adaption Strategy.”

This volume moves the reader to rethink the status quo. One of the most obvious threats to sustainability is from energy as a driving force for our current economy, based on an incessant growth model and a gross domestic product calculation that considers neither the environment nor sustainability. Sobering information is discussed, as this quote shows:

Researchers estimate that detecting 85 percent of the viral diversity in mammals would cost around $1.4 billion or $140 million per year over 10 years. This is a small fraction of the cost of an emerging disease event (the 2003 SARS outbreak, for example, cost the global economy an estimated $30 billion-plus).

The volume discusses findings by scholars and scientists who study the economy, the Earth, and the interactions between them, and draws profoundly troubling conclusions.

It also brings to light a major sustainability threat from policy-makers and the voters who elect them. Officials at all levels of government have been responsible for picking technologies and infrastructure that quickly become outdated or inappropriate for sustainability. Unfortunately, the chapter dealing with this provides no example, though one comes easily to mind. We are building out gas infrastructure, on both federal and local levels, to accommodate expansion and gas’s use, despite the fact that it is just another dirty fossil fuel that will eventually run out. Our nation is switching coal-fired power plants, the trucking industry and entire communities over to natural gas, which ultimately is neither efficient nor sustainable, instead of utilizing sources of renewable energy.

This volume does not give all of the answers about why our kind is still acting to destroy our planet’s biodiversity for future generations, despite all of our governance, environmental impact assessments, and generally robust regulatory systems. Nevertheless, it will have you asking yourself, as the world passes environmental tipping points, how much longer our nation’s people will keep turning blind eyes to the need to have a sustainable society.

Tom Prugh, one of the project directors for Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability, says, “It is time for Homo sapiens to live up to its somewhat presumptuous Latin name, and grow up.”

Tammy Reiss is a conservationist and focuses her attention on the local region of central New York, where she lives. She teaches and promotes energy efficiencies and independence through renewables in the Marcellus Shale regions of New York State.

April 4 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Gas Stations Face Bankruptcy As Demand Plummets” • With falling oil prices, followed by loss of demand in a lockdown, lack of profits may force a number of gas stations and convenience stores to close, especially in rural areas or markets dependent on commuters. And, like it or not, that presents a big problem for everyone. [CleanTechnica]

Convenience store (Ted Eytan, CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • “US Coal Likely To Be Spared as Demand Dims in 2020, Analyst Says” • Coal producers’ revenue will be largely spared this year, despite the coronavirus reducing consumption. The Coal companies have supply contracts, and utilities are still buying the fuel even if they don’t need to burn it. But prospects for 2021 look far more dire. [Bloomberg Environment]
  • “Toyota, Chubu Electric To Form Renewable Power Venture” • Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp is to create a green energy unit to acquire and manage renewable energy plants and supply it with power. The company entered into an agreement with local utility Chubu Electric Power Co Inc to set up Toyota Green Energy LLP. [Renewables Now]
  • “New York State Codifies Fracking Ban In Budget” • The New York State legislature permanently banned fracking in its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, as one of several budget items that prioritize the health of New York’s people and environment. Codifying the ban on fracking makes it permanent, protecting generations to come. [Natural Resources Defense Council]
  • “White House Convenes Oil CEOs As Bust Threatens Boom” • Petroleum CEOs and other oil-patch loyalists to President Trump sought White House help in calming roiling global oil markets amid threats to America’s years-long fracking boom and the global pandemic. They had a wide array of suggestions about things the country could do. [Hot Springs Sentinel]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

NEW YORK STATE ANNOUNCES PASSAGE OF ACCELERATED RENEWABLE ENERGY GROWTH AND COMMUNITY BENEFIT ACT AS PART OF 2020-2021 ENACTED STATE BUDGET

Will Advance Renewable Energy, Drive Statewide Economic Growth and Create Jobs as Part of Governor Cuomo’s Nation-Leading Climate Agenda 

New, First in The Nation Office Will Streamline Process for Environmentally Responsible and Cost-Effective Siting of Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects Across the State 

Establishes Critical Tools for Achieving the State Mandate to Obtain 70 Percent of the State’s Electricity from Renewable Sources by 2030 and Other Nation-Leading Goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act 

New York State public authorities and agencies announced the passage of legislation as part the FY 2020-2021 state budget to dramatically speed up the siting and construction of clean energy projects to combat climate change and help jumpstart the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis. The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act) will create a first in the nation Office of Renewable Energy Siting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York while delivering significant benefits to local communities. The act, which will be implemented by t he New York State Department of State, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Department of Public Service, Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Power Authority and the Empire State Development Corporation, will accelerate progress towards Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy and climate goals — including the mandate to obtain 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources — as identified under the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

This groundbreaking legislation developed and passed with significant stakeholder and community advocate support underscores the state’s commitment to efficiently develop renewable energy.  By creating a new siting process specifically designed for renewable energy facilities, the Act will accelerate new private investment and job growth in the green economy at a time New Yorkers need it most.

The State’s existing energy generation siting process was designed for siting fossil-fuel electric generating plants and was established prior to the adoption of New York’s critical nation-leading clean energy and environmental mandates under its new climate law. As the state seeks solutions  to getting the economy back on track after overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, restarting renewable energy construction will play a central role in the green economy. The new siting process will establish uniform environmental standards and conditions that will support expedited project development, bringing new jobs while combating climate change.

This comprehensive legislation re-frames the renewable energy development process with the following major components:

Establish Office of Renewable Energy Siting:
Under a first-of-its-kind Office of Renewable Energy Siting (Siting Office), housed within the Department of State, the State will consolidate the environmental review of major renewable energy facilities and provide a single forum to ensure that siting decisions are predictable, responsible, and delivered in a timely manner along with opportunities for input from local communities.

The new office will:

  • Establish regulations and uniform standards that encompass the environmental impacts common to large, renewable energy projects, and identify mitigation measures to address those impacts.
  • Require that uniform and site-specific standards and conditions must achieve a net conservation benefit to any impacted endangered and threatened species.
  • Authorize DEC to use funds from projects permitted through the new siting office to implement an endangered and threatened species mitigation bank fund.
  • Develop draft permits for public comment and local community input, and ensure that complete applications are acted upon within one year, except in the case of certain former commercial and industrial sites, which will be reviewed within six months.
As part of the State’s ongoing commitment to community engagement, the Siting Office will seek public comment during the initial development of uniform standards and conditions through four public hearings across the state. Additionally, for each project, municipalities and community interveners will have access, as appropriate, to funds that will assist them in reviewing the project and aid them in providing comments to advise the Siting Office on the project’s compliance with local laws with respect to the environment, public health and safety.

All large-scale, renewable energy projects larger than 25 megawatts will be required to seek an approved permit through the Siting Office for new construction or expansion. Projects already in the initial phases of the current Article 10 siting process through the State’s Siting Board may remain in Article 10 or opt-in to the new siting process. New projects sized between 20 and 25 megawatts will also be able to opt-in. Until the Siting Office establishes new siting standards, projects that apply to the new siting process must be designed to meet current Article 10 standards.

As we continue to respond to COVID-19, New York is not losing sight of our comprehensive efforts to address the threat of climate change. We continue to act aggressively to protect the environment and our communities through our ongoing programs to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.  “Today’s announcement is critical in our efforts to promote renewable energy resources and help achieve New York’s nation-leading clean energy goals while supporting economic vitality across the state and advancing a cleaner, greener environment for generations to come.”

Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program:
To ensure that renewable energy development is targeted to maximize economic development and natural resource protection, the Act also creates a Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program that will be administered by NYSERDA. Through this program, NYSERDA will work with its State partners and local communities to rapidly advance new “Build-Ready” projects, prioritizing the development of existing or abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites, and abandoned or underutilized sites. NYSERDA, in consultation with the Department of Public Service, New York State Urban Development Corporation, and other agencies, will immediately begin pursuing site control and pre-construction development activities, including siting, resource feasibility assessments, design, planning and other appropriate activities necessary to establish build-ready sites. Once sites are fully permitted and developed, NYSERDA will competitively auction the developed sites, bundled with contracts for renewable energy payments, to provide a fully de-risked package for private developers to construct and operate projects at these sites. NYSERDA has already begun collaborating with state agencies and other partners to identify an initial set of underutilized sites that may be viable to host a renewable energy project with a shortlist of sites under consideration.

Host Communities Benefits:
In order to ensure that renewable energy projects deliver benefits to the local communities where they are built, the Act establishes several programs. First, NYSERDA will develop a Host Community Benefit Program as part of its build-ready initiative, which will offer property owners and communities tangible benefits and incentives for hosting renewable energy facilities.

The Act also creates a new program that will be established by the Public Service Commission, which will provide utility bill discounts or other environmental benefits or compensation for the benefit of residents of host communities.

Finally, in order for communities to participate in the new siting process, NYSERDA will administer a local intervener fund for the benefit of local agencies and community interveners.

Grid Planning and Energy Delivery Constraint Relief (Transmission):
The last category of major provisions under the Act will help to prioritize the planning, investment and responsible development of grid infrastructure, which will allow for renewable energy power to be delivered to where it is needed in the state. Under the Act, the State will develop a State Power Grid and Study Program to accelerate the planning and build out of bulk and local transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure that renewable energy can be reliably and cost-effectively delivered to power New York homes and businesses. The Act establishes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to accelerate the investment in and development of a reliable, state-of-the-art grid including:

  • Directing the Department of Public Service, in consultation with NYSERDA, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, the state’s grid operator and utilities, to conduct a comprehensive study to identify cost-effective distribution, local and bulk electric system upgrades and file the study with the Public Service Commission.
  • Directing the Public Service Commission to establish a distribution and local transmission system capital program, with associated milestones and reviews, for each utility in need of local upgrades in their service territory.
  • Developing a bulk transmission investment program, for the projects identified in the comprehensive study, that not only accelerates development through existing planning and development processes, but also relies upon and fully leverages the New York Power Authority’s unique capability to expeditiously construct new transmission, by itself or in partnership with others.
  • Applying a streamlined siting process of no more than nine months from complete application for transmission infrastructure built within existing rights-of-way.