Renewable energy generated more power than nuclear for first time since 1984

July 7, 2017 by  
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Nuclear power has dominated alternative energy sources in the United States for decades – that is, until this spring. Statistics recently released by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed renewable energy surpassed nuclear energy in power generation in March and April of this year. Wind , solar , and hydroelectric power made that feat possible – the first two set records for generation, while hydroelectric generation surged after heavy rainfall in the country’s West. Utility-scale renewable sources generated more power than nuclear energy in the spring of 2017 in America, and it’s the first time they’ve done so since July 1984. According to the EIA, part of the reason for this fact is nuclear power plants often undergo maintenance when electricity demand is lower, like in the spring or fall. But renewable energy is also generating more and more power in the country. Related: The U.S. just generated 10% of its electricity from solar and wind for the first time In March, hydroelectric power generated 30 billion kilowatt-hours, which is the most amount of power from hydroelectric in almost six years. California’s emergence from their drought had a role to play in that – both record precipitation and the snowpack have made the state wetter than it’s been in years, which is great for hydroelectric generation. And with more wind and solar installations, the two sources have been offering record amounts of clean energy . The EIA said between March 2016 and March 2017, wind generation increased by 16 percent, while solar generation spiked by 65 percent. Net generation from nuclear has stayed largely flat since the late 1990s, according to the EIA. Many plants have also been retired. Even so, the EIA doesn’t expect the trend to continue. They said nuclear will probably overtake renewables during this summer, and looking at 2017 as a whole, nuclear power will likely generate more energy than renewables overall. Via the United States Energy Information Administration Images via Louis Moncouyoux on Unsplash and the United States Energy Information Administration

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Renewable energy generated more power than nuclear for first time since 1984

Tiny Scottish island powers itself with community-owned off-grid energy system

March 31, 2017 by  
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When you think of the future of electricity in the world, you probably don’t envision a small island off the coast of Scotland leading the way. But the 12-square-mile Scottish island of Eigg has become a shining example of how communities that aren’t connected to larger grids can do it themselves with clean energy . As the BBC reports, Eigg made the revolutionary move in 2008 to shed its noisy diesel-generated power in favor of an off-grid electric system that uses only wind, water and solar power . It was the first community in the world to make this bold move, and what’s more, the clearly self-reliant residents pretty much taught themselves how to build and run the system. Since the diesel generators they previously used only ran for a small part of each day, getting rid of them in favor of clean energy also meant the community had power available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first time. The community-owned system, Eigg Electric , keeps energy flowing on a regular basis by integrating three power sources from wind, solar and hydroelectric. A set of four wind turbines feed up to 24 kilowatts into the grid, while a set of solar panels contribute an annual average of 9.5 percent of their rated output of 50 kilowatts. Shoring up the rather unreliable wind and solar power components are three hydroelectric generating stations spread throughout the island. One puts out up to 100 kilowatts, while the others generate 5 to 6 kilowatts each. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery Working together, these three power sources provide 90 to 95 percent of the island’s electricity. Occasionally they have to fire up their two backup generators when the weather doesn’t cooperate, and sometimes they produce more power than they need. In the latter case, the excess power benefits the community by automatically turning on heating systems in shared spaces like the community hall—so everyone benefits. Their system and public ownership model has already reached other communities around the world that a face the same challenge of not being connected to the grid. Community Energy Malawi , a sister organization to Community Energy Scotland , sent representatives to Eigg last year to study the system. They were encouraged by the fact that people with a non-technical background could learn to build and operate a reliable renewable energy system. Via BBC Images via W. L. Tarbert , Wikimedia Commons and isleofeigg , Flickr Creative Commons

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Tiny Scottish island powers itself with community-owned off-grid energy system

Former garment factory next to NYC’s High Line to be topped with new green spaces

March 31, 2017 by  
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The Warehouse , a massive multi-unit complex a mere stone’s throw away from the High Line in New York City, is getting a facelift. A garment factory in a previous life, the 65,000-square-foot space at 520 West 20th Street currently houses a parking garage and art galleries. But Elijah Equities , the real-estate firm that is redeveloping the building, has grander plans. With the help of Morris Adjmi Architects , Elijah Equities is looking to transform the Warehouse into 100,000 square feet of office and retail space. The proposed increase in footprint will require the addition of three steel-framed, cantilevered stories to the existing four. More than 18,000 square feet of rooftop space will crown the new steel-and-glass extension, which will appear to float above the original unit on a pair of elevator and stairway cores. Related: New renderings of Studio Gang’s Solar Carve building reveal a faceted jewel that hugs the High Line The rear of the building will also be subject to readjustments. Planned upgrades include bigger windows, open floor plans, and plenty of outdoor space. “My intent was to capture the spirit of the original warehouse and develop a creative tension between the powerful brick-and-mortar base and the elegant new addition,” Morris Adjmi told Arch Daily . “I wanted to connect these two beautiful structures without simply fusing them together.” Related: Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park The abundant greenery “draws parallels” from the High Line next door, Adjmi added. Construction is slated to begin this spring. The Warehouse is expected to receive tenants around the first quarter of 2019. + The Warehouse Via Arch Daily

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Former garment factory next to NYC’s High Line to be topped with new green spaces

ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

March 31, 2017 by  
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When a fossil fuel company under fire for covering up past knowledge of climate change exhorts the President of the United States to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement , something’s not quite right. ExxonMobil manager of environmental policy and planning Peter Trelenberg wrote a letter to the White House earlier this month reiterating ExxonMobil’s position on the deal. He made it clear ExxonMobil thinks President Donald Trump should not pull out of the historic, hard-fought agreement. On the campaign trail Trump promised to yank the United States out of the Paris agreement. But so far the White House hasn’t taken that step, even in a recent environmentally devastating executive order . Meanwhile Trump’s new Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson , has said in the past the president is wrong about climate change , and perhaps could have now persuaded Trump to stick with the deal. Related: Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change On March 22, Trelenberg wrote to G. David Banks, Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment, thanking Banks for a recent inquiry on the oil and gas giant’s views regarding the agreement. Trelenberg said ExxonMobil welcomed the agreement both in December 2015, when it was announced at COP21 , and in November 2016 when it went into force. Don’t get too excited – Trelenberg didn’t write off fossil fuels altogether. He said, “We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas , and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors.” Trelenberg said natural gas is the “cleanest-burning and least carbon-intensive fossil fuel” that has helped American attain 20-year lows in carbon dioxide emissions . He did point out ExxonMobil has invested $7 billion in lower emission fuels – such as biofuels made from algae – for around 15 years, and ended his letter with a final call to stay in the Paris agreement. The irony of the ExxonMobil letter prompted Senator Bernie Sanders to tweet : “It is pathetic that the largest oil company in the world understands more about climate change than the president of the United States.” Via The Independent Images via Roy Luck on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Trumps EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children

March 31, 2017 by  
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As part of the Trump administration’s current war to overthrow Obama-era environmental regulations, this week, newly appointed EPA Chief Scott Pruitt signed an order reversing a recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is sprayed on tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples, citrus, and a number of other common crops. In recent years, researchers have found that chlorpyrifos exposure on foods, in drinking water, and in the air can impair cognitive development in children. (Given that the active chemical is related to nerve agent weapons, perhaps this should not be surprising.) Multiple studies have found that children exposed to the pesticide at high levels have lower IQ scores than their peers. In light of the evidence, much of it gathered by the EPA’s own researchers, the agency adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for any residues of the chemical left on food items in 2015. Since it’s impossible to completely remove the chemical, this would have effectively ended its use in the US. This followed a decade of restrictions that have gradually reduced the number of approved crops and circumstances for its use. Despite the risk, it’s still used widely in other countries. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming Now, Scott Pruitt is ignoring his own agency’s research in order to allow farmers to continue using this toxic pesticide. Of course, that’s not the way he’s spinning it – if you ask him, it’s a win for the scientific process. In a statement about the order, he said, “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.” The Natural Resources Defense Council has already pledged to fight the new action in court. Via LA Times Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Chile Cancels Giant HidroAysén Hydroelectric Project, Saves Pristine Patagonia

June 11, 2014 by  
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The Chilean government yesterday rejected the controversial HidroAysén hydroelectric power project, citing unresolved environmental concerns. The project would have involved construction of five major dams in the country’s environmentally sensitive Patagonia region . Although project managers can appeal the decision, HidroAysén’s eventual success now seems unlikely after seven years of sustained public protests. Read the rest of Chile Cancels Giant HidroAysén Hydroelectric Project, Saves Pristine Patagonia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Baker River , Chile , Chile rejects dams , Chile rejects hydroelectric project , dams , Hidroaysén , hydroelectric power , Patagonia , President Michelle Bachelet , public protests , wild rivers

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City of Palo Alto, California to Switch to 100% Renewable Energy Sources

July 26, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock This week the city council in  Palo Alto, California  voted in favor of sourcing all the town’s energy needs from clean, renewable sources. Effective immediately, the city will use 100% carbon-free electricity . And best of all, the move towards 100% clean energy won’t cost Palo Alto residents much; The town estimates that the switch will add just $3 per year to the average homeowner’s energy bill Read the rest of City of Palo Alto, California to Switch to 100% Renewable Energy Sources Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , “solar energy” , bay area , hydro energy , hydroelectric , palo alto , renewable energy , renewable energy town , silicon valley , solar , Solar Power , South Bay , wind energy        

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Denmark Now 25 Percent Powered by Offshore Wind, Aims to Double Capacity by 2020

April 2, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Denmark has an impressive track record when it comes to adoption of renewable energy, and has been working quickly to develop its substantial offshore wind potential . Last month, with the installation of their 36th 3.6 megawatt (MW) Siemens wind turbine, the nation reached an impressive 1GW wind-power capacity , enough to power 25 percent of the nation. Moreover, they aim to be 50 percent powered by wind farms within the next eight years, not simply through the installation of renewable energy infrastructure, but through a holistic adoption of energy-efficient policies and technologies. Read the rest of Denmark Now 25 Percent Powered by Offshore Wind, Aims to Double Capacity by 2020 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , anholt wind farm , car charging network , carbon neutrality , copenhagen , danish wind , Denmark , electric cars , europe renewables , hydroelectric , north sea power , norway , Offshore Wind Farm , renewable energy , siemens , sustainable infrastructure , Sweden , wind turbines

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Nicaragua Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017

January 8, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock The Central American country of Nicaragua has never been as fortunate as its neighbors when it comes to energy reserves. In fact, most commercial electricity is generated by imported petroleum while a small portion of domestic energy is generated through hydropower and  geothermal power . However that is to change with the country’s  National Development Plan , which calls for 94% of the country’s electricity needs to be sourced from renewables by 2017 . Read the rest of Nicaragua Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , foreign oil , geothermal , Geothermal power , hydroelectric , hydropower , Latin America , National Development Plant , nicaragua , renewable energy , renewables , San Jacinto Project

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Nicaragua Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017

Nicaragua Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017

January 8, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock The Central American country of Nicaragua has never been as fortunate as its neighbors when it comes to energy reserves. In fact, most commercial electricity is generated by imported petroleum while a small portion of domestic energy is generated through hydropower and  geothermal power . However that is to change with the country’s  National Development Plan , which calls for 94% of the country’s electricity needs to be sourced from renewables by 2017 . Read the rest of Nicaragua Aims To Be 94% Powered By Renewable Sources By 2017 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , foreign oil , geothermal , Geothermal power , hydroelectric , hydropower , Latin America , National Development Plant , nicaragua , renewable energy , renewables , San Jacinto Project

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