Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

Rick Perry confirmed as Energy Secretary

March 3, 2017 by  
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With bitter battles over the confirmations of Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency administrator or Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise the Senate confirmed the slightly less controversial Rick Perry . In a 62 to 37 vote, the former Texas governor slid right into his new role as Energy Secretary. He’ll oversee energy policy , 17 national laboratories, and the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons . Perry’s views have come a long way from those he touted during his failed campaigns for president, or so it appears. During his 2012 campaign, he called for the elimination of the Department of Energy , but could not remember the department’s name in a debate. During his recent confirmation hearing, he said he regretted that proposal. Related: Rick Perry tapped to run the Department of Energy – which he once promised to shut down According to The New York Times, people close to Perry said he once thought the Energy Department centered around promoting and developing America’s energy resources – a weighty task in its own right, but it was only after the former governor heard about the agency’s other functions he changed his tune. During his confirmation hearing he said after “being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy,” he now supports its goals. For many years Perry showed complete disdain for the science of climate change , but the Energy Department does deal with the issue through research into energy technologies. It appears Perry has changed his mind on that too. He told senators, “I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity.” Some of that man-made activity can be linked to oil and gas companies, such as Energy Transfer Partners , where Perry once sat on the board. To his credit, he did resign from the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline after his appointment, according to The Texas Tribune . During his confirmation hearing he also made a poorly phrased but promising claim: “I am going to protect all of the science, whether it’s related to the climate or other aspects of what we’re going to be doing. I am going to protect the men and women of the scientific community from anyone that would attack them, no matter what their reason may be, at the Department of Energy.” Via The New York Times Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Rick Perry confirmed as Energy Secretary

Trump fails to nominate leadership to secure US nuclear arsenal

January 10, 2017 by  
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A report published by Gizmodo on Monday made a troubling claim: The Trump transition team hasn’t lined up new leadership for the National Nuclear Security Administration – and they have not announced plans to keep the heads of the department until replacements can be been found. This means that the $12-billion-a-year agency entrusted with maintaining “the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile” is leaderless for the foreseeable future. While the Gizmodo report initially claimed that the Trump team asked NNSA director Frank Klotz and his deputy, Madelyn Creedon, to step down on Jan 20, the NNSA is pushing back against those claims . Instead, NNSA officials claimed “There have been no discussions between the president-elect’s transition team and any of NNSA’s political appointees on extending their public service past Jan. 20.” While Trump may not be technically firing the heads of the agency, it seems clear the department may simply be without leadership altogether for weeks or even months while any nominees go through a Senate confirmation process . Along with these high-profile roles, there are a number of smaller appointed roles that will need to be filled in the coming weeks. Related: Rick Perry tapped to run the Department of Energy – which he once promised to shut down There is a small sliver of silver lining to this story: the civil servants within the agency will still be able to serve in their regular roles, even without appointed leadership. While this affects the agency’s ability to secure funding or begin new programs, day-to-day operations will continue. Even if you feel ambivalent about maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal, it’s good to know it’s not going to be left completely unmonitored for months as the NNSA awaits new leadership. Via Gizmodo Images via Steve Jurvetson , Frank Trevino , and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump fails to nominate leadership to secure US nuclear arsenal

Haunting Human Gyre made of over 200 underwater figures warns of climate change

January 10, 2017 by  
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A haunting sight awaits scuba divers on an Atlantic seabed. Over two hundred life-size human figures have been arranged in a circle to create the ‘Human Gyre,’ the last exhibit in Museo Atlantico , Europe’s first underwater museum officially completed this month. Located off the coast of Lanzarote, Spain, the artistic installation forms a complex reef for marine species to inhabit and speaks to the fragility of our ecosystem and our relationship with the natural marine environment. The monumental Museo Atlantico complex is the project of British artist Jason de Caires Taylor , who installed over 300 works across a dozen large-scale installations. Constructed around 14 meters underwater, the sprawling museum was created to promote conservation and education. The sculptures, made from environmentally friendly, pH-neutral inert materials, were specially created to double as artificial reefs and attract local fish species. The installations are made to last for hundreds of years and help raise awareness about the threats facing our world’s oceans and climate. Early works installed less than a year ago—construction began in February 2016—have already seen an increase of over 200 percent in marine biomass. Related: Haunting drowned figures send a chilling message in Europe’s first undersea sculpture museum Some of the hauntingly beautiful artworks double as political commentary, such as ‘Deregulated,’ which depicts suited businessmen in a playground-like environment to suggest that corporations are irresponsibly abusing nature as their play area. The life-size human figures used in the Human Gyre and in other installations are based on models of all ages and from all walks of life. “The artistic installation reminds us that we have evolved from marine life, and are all subject to the movements and will of the ocean,” says a statement in the museum press release. “The piece embodies our naked vulnerability to its inherent power, and our fragility in the face of its cycles and immense force. It provides the oxygen we breathe, it regulates our climate and it provides a vital source of nutrition to millions of people. A visit to Museo Atlantico may lead us to a closer understanding of our relationship with the natural marine environment and appreciate the need to value and protect this fragile ecosystem in order to save ourselves.” + Museo Atlantico Images via Jason de Caires Taylor

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Haunting Human Gyre made of over 200 underwater figures warns of climate change

David Friedman on accelerating the clean energy revolution through connected and automated technology

October 10, 2016 by  
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Technologies that connect and automate our daily lives can bring mobility and convenience, but they can also drive up energy use and emissions. The head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will share his vision for how we can break down market and organizational barriers to ensure that connected and automated cars, infrastructure, and technology solutions deliver on their promised benefits while playing a critical role in building a low-carbon economy.

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David Friedman on accelerating the clean energy revolution through connected and automated technology

The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

September 10, 2016 by  
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A decision by the Obama administration to temporarily block construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline this Friday gave the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other protesters cause for celebration. Just minutes after a federal judge rejected the tribe’s request for an injunction, the surprise announcement was released and the project has been halted – for now. Earlier this week, the Tribe had requested a temporary restraining order to halt the construction of the pipeline. Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. district court acknowledged the “indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries” in his ruling. Despite these considerations, the decision stated “the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.” Despair turned almost immediately into delight when, according to The Atlantic , a joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army indicated the government had stepped into override the court’s decision. “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time,” said the statement. “We request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” Related: Oil company sics attack dogs on Native American protestors in North Dakota The Army will also “reconsider any of its previous decisions” concerning the federal legality of the pipeline, including its regard for the National Environmental Policy Act. This July, the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline, followed by a lawsuit from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The biggest concerns are the destruction of historical and cultural sites and the potential risk to the community’s drinking water , should the pipeline leak or break. A statement on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Facebook account reads, “This federal statement is a game changer for the Tribe and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force DAPL to stop construction.” The move comes just days after privately contracted workers released vicious dogs and used pepper spray on the unarmed protestors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVCKXnZu58 Via The Atlantic Images via Joe Brusky ,  Flickr , Facebook

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The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

Why manufacturing will make or break the future of energy

August 23, 2016 by  
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Forget your MakerBot. The Department of Energy has a plan for a new production paradigm.

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Why manufacturing will make or break the future of energy

Why Hawaii is leading us to 100% renewable energy

May 31, 2016 by  
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As an island state heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels for its energy needs, Hawaii is uniquely vulnerable to things like volatile electricity prices, rising sea levels and supply chain disruptions.Luis Salaveria, Director of the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, spoke at VERGE 2015 in San Jose about how Hawaii’s challenges act as an impetus for the state to become a leader in the evolution toward a renewably powered future.

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Why Hawaii is leading us to 100% renewable energy

MIT scientists are heading up a new hub to bring innovation to textiles

April 9, 2016 by  
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MIT is spearheading a new textile hub with the aim of leading the world in textile innovation. The U.S. Department of Defense has rounded up universities, manufacturers and nonprofits to create the Advanced Functional Fibers of America Institute , which will be funded with $325 million dollars to bring textiles into the future. READ MORE >

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MIT scientists are heading up a new hub to bring innovation to textiles

57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

April 5, 2016 by  
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A new report published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that 57.7% of Scotland’s electric consumption came from renewable sources in 2015, exceeding the country’s 50% target for the year. This milestone comes in spite of the UK government’s recent decision to end public subsidies for onshore wind farms a year earlier than initially planned. Read the rest of 57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

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