Global solar capacity set to pass one terawatt mark by 2023

August 15, 2018 by  
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A new report indicates changes in the international renewables market due to policy changes in China.

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Global solar capacity set to pass one terawatt mark by 2023

Astounding responsive map shows shark interactions with commercial fishers

July 24, 2018 by  
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Just in time for the 30th Anniversary of Discovery Channel’s popular Shark Week, a new map shows the interaction of 45 sharks  with commercial fishing vessels. The interactive map, featuring over 150,000 miles of chartered shark territory and movement in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, seeks to shed light on the perilous environment in which the sharks maneuver on a daily basis and the approximate 100 million sharks killed each year. Austin Gallagher, CEO and chief scientist of Beneath the Waves and a project leader on the maps, said , “Many species of large sharks remain highly vulnerable throughout our oceans , and the integration provided here highlights the magnitude of the threats they face.” Shark expert at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and project collaborator Neil Hammerschlag explained that sharks are “highly mobile,” as demonstrated in the charted data published on the Global Fishing Watch , a non-profit organization launched by Oceana in collaboration with Google and Skytruth. Related: Endangered shark fins discovered on a Singapore Airlines flight to Hong Kong The sharks must navigate around fishing vessels,  creating a wide variety of potentially dangerous interactions. Hammerschlag said, “Many fishing gear types can put these sharks at risk , as both target and bycatch — especially in the international waters of the high seas where no catch limits exist for many shark species.” Many sharks are caught by accident, but they are also subject to targeted hunting for their fins. While the map currently displays recorded data of sharks tagged between 2012 and 2018, Oceana hopes to create a real-time interactive map that includes various shark species including blue sharks, great hammerheads and tiger sharks. Lacey Malarky, an Oceana analyst focused on illegal fishing and seafood fraud, said, “We’re hoping to expand and collaborate with more researchers to not only get more shark data but then other marine wildlife data as well, so that we can really create this interactive map platform that shows all types of marine wildlife and how they’re interacting with fishing vessels.” + Oceana + Beneath the Waves Via EcoWatch

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Astounding responsive map shows shark interactions with commercial fishers

Trading specimens for science? Theres a website for that

July 2, 2018 by  
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Good news for science and for the Earth: scientists looking for rare research specimens, such as the smoothtooth blacktip shark or Antarctic skate, now have a website to request or trade biological odds and ends. Built by students and backed by startup accelerators, Otlet.io allows researchers to list their surplus research samples and request those currently not available through other means. The site has already been acknowledged as a major win for conservation . The website is a product born of frustration: founders Lauren Meyer and Madi Green, two PhD students in Australia and Tasmania, were having trouble finding specimens to complete projects. After completing an undergraduate honors thesis with limited data, Meyer discovered that a colleague held several tiger shark livers – which she needed to present a conclusive report. To improve communications and cooperation between researchers, Meyer and Green started SharkShare.com, which ultimately evolved to Otlet. Related: 500-mile-long shark highway could become a protected wildlife corridor Universities hail the project as a crucial step forward for conservation. Some species listed on Otlet today are either Red List-threatened or considered data deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – and, by sharing existing resources, scientists can continue their current research without further threatening any species. To begin the specimen swapping process, scientists simply create an account on Otlet and share what they have or what they need. When a match occurs, individuals can reach out to one another to coordinate exchanges and determine shipping responsibility. The community is only open to active researchers: before requesting or listing anything, users must provide their academic status, organization affiliation and details on their specific field of study. Even though the website is relatively new, it’s already created major waves across the international science community: there are more than 10,000 listings on Otlet representing 135 distinct species from 47 nations. Recently added to the specimen database are flapnose ray fins from the Red Sea, livers from South Australian thresher sharks and Pacific spookfish muscles from the subantarctic Pacific Ocean . All are available for exchange with other scientists. Otlet receives support from Australia’s St. George Bank and the New South Wales Government, startup incubator BlueChilli and the Save Our Seas foundation. + Otlet Via  Earther Images via Wikimedia Commons

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Trading specimens for science? Theres a website for that

Solar power prices expected to drop further this year

June 12, 2018 by  
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The price of solar energy could further fall this year, experts say. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysis published by PV Magazine predicted a 34 percent drop in the price of multicrystalline solar modules in China, an event expected to influence prices around the world. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said a price drop could open up “further space for more ambition to tackle climate change , which is crucial to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement .” The 2018 solar panel price decline could be about the same as the drop in module prices in 2016, and would be exceeded only by 2011’s 40 percent drop in prices, PV Magazine said. BNEF’s benchmark monocrystalline module price was $0.37 per watt for 2017’s fourth quarter, and could be just $0.24 per watt by 2018’s close. BNEF experts predict module prices will drop another 10 to 15 percent next year. Related: The cost of high-efficiency solar panels fell 37% in 2017 The price decline is a result of withdrawn support for China’s photovoltaic market. Since China is the biggest solar market in the world, the price fall could emanate. PV Magazine cited a BNEF note saying, “Oversupply is universal.” The note predicted a market panic initially, and developers could halt installation in the third quarter and wait for cheaper module prices and release of new quotas. India and developing countries around the world could benefit from the panel price decline, according to the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC praised the International Solar Alliance (ISA), started by India and France in 2015 to focus on investment in large-scale solar power in developing countries. UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said earlier this year, “Our globally agreed goals in the Paris Agreement and the Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without your [ISA’s] effort to scale up solar power generation and support countries with great solar potential … This is our moment to deliver on the promise of a better future agreed in Paris.” + Bloomberg New Energy Finance Via PV Magazine and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Solar power prices expected to drop further this year

States across the country are trying to make it illegal to plan a pipeline protest

April 16, 2018 by  
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A new wave of bills being introduced in states such as Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota aim to criminalize the process of planning a protest against the construction of an oil or gas pipeline. If signed into law, the act of simply planning a protest that might break a law, such as trespassing or other forms of civil disobedience, would itself become illegal. Legal observers note that – wait for it – the three states that introduced these broadly defined anti-protest bills are also home to proposed controversial pipeline projects. While other states have introduced and passed similar anti-protest bills, such as those aimed at protests that block highways or involve trespassing on property that contains energy infrastructure , these new group of bills seem to take the targeting of protesters a step further. “I think these bills represent an escalation,” Alice Cherry, co-founder and staff attorney of the Climate Defense Project, told ThinkProgress . “The main motivation for these bills seems to be to deter would-be protesters and to make potential jail sentences and fines more draconian.” Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land Activists view these bills as responses to the high-profile actions at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation , which brought thousands to encamp and protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Though the Pipeline is now operating thanks to an expedited review process under the Trump Administration, several pipeline projects in other states are facing a fierce backlash. The bill now being debated in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Minnesota was crafted by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group funded by pro-fossil fuels interests that creates and delivers legislative language to state lawmakers around the country to advance their agenda. The motive behind this move to place a legal spotlight on pipeline protests is evident to those in opposition. “These offenses are already criminalized in every state,” Elly Page, a legal advisor for the International Center for Not for-Profit Law, told ThinkProgress . “In a lot of cases, [lawmakers] will have amended the definition for critical infrastructure just to add the word pipeline. It’s making clear what the impetus for these bills is.” Via Think Progress Images via Mark Klotz ,  Depositphotos  and Emma Cassidy/Flickr

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States across the country are trying to make it illegal to plan a pipeline protest

Gorgeous staggered timber home offers panoramic views of Idaho’s wilderness

January 22, 2018 by  
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This unique property in Idaho offers panoramic views  of Clearwater River Canyon, and it’s the perfect getaway for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Built into a hillside overlooking the river, the Clearwater Canyon House has a stepped silhouette that follows the curve of the land and a wrap-around timber deck. Sound good? You can nab it from Sotheby’s for $649,000. The building sits on 46 acres overlooking the Clearwater River, an area with rich wildlife.   Mule and white-tailed deer, over 100 types of birds, including eagles and geese, salmon and steelhead are just some of the species that inhabit the region. The property offers opportunities to engage in a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, rafting, and swimming. Related: Portable Bridge Home Cantilevers Over a Flood Plain in Idaho The form of the house follows the topography of the terrain. Its timber-lined interior was designed using the same approach and, through the presence of several large openings, blurs the line between the inside and outside. A wrap-around timber deck strengthens this approach and offers stunning views of the canyon. Amenities include the main house, which functions as a studio, guest house , shop and a wine cellar. + Sotheby’s International Realty Via Uncrate Photos via Sotheby’s International Realty

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Gorgeous staggered timber home offers panoramic views of Idaho’s wilderness

Tightening the net on illegal fishing

January 18, 2018 by  
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Although it has taken years, governments and the international community are finally acting to end this crime and mete out fitting punishments.

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Tightening the net on illegal fishing

Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

January 11, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa just completed construction on the new Angle Lake Transit Station and Plaza at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The building’s design was inspired by dance, and the architects wrapped the structure an undulating transparent envelope that mimics the motion of the human body. The team drew inspiration from an improvisational dance piece by famous contemporary dance choreographer William Forsythe. In it, dancers connect their bodies by matching lines in space that could be bent, tossed or otherwise distorted. Thanks to the use of ruled surface geometry and straight aluminum elements, the architects were able to achieve complex curved forms that look like a long-exposure portrait of a dancer. Related: Brooks + Scarpa completes forest-like kinetic sculpture ringed with rain gardens The seven-acre 400,000 square foot mixed-use complex features a seven-story cast-in-place and post-tensioned concrete structure. Its exterior façade is composed of over 7,500 custom-formed blue anodized aluminum panels. Brooks + Scarpa segmented each element into standardized sizes for the most efficient structural shape and material form, while maximizing production, fabrication and installation cost efficiency. This made it possible to install the façade on-site in less than three weeks without the use of cranes or special equipment. + Brooks + Scarpa Lead photo by Benjamin Benschneider

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Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

Affordable new all-electric SUV from Byton boasts a 323-mile range

January 8, 2018 by  
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New electric car brand Byton doesn’t want you to think of their product as a car, but as a smart device. They recently unveiled their first concept , an SUV, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this weekend, and while outside it may not look all that different from a regular SUV, inside a sprawling display screen replacing the center console and controlled with hand gestures is the first hint Byton aims to make the car of the future. “The future of design is digital,” Byton says on their website. Their electric SUV reflects that idea: it’s equipped with multiple screens allowing a driver to interact with the car. There’s an eight-inch tablet in the steering wheel and a 49 by 9.8 inch Shared Experience Display allowing for navigation, communication with others, or entertainment. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Voice recognition, biometric identification, and touch control also allow a driver to interact with the car. Byton’s Life Cloud Platform connects devices, apps, and data so drivers can work or be entertained during a trip. It’s a key-less vehicle – a facial recognition camera allows or denies access. Rotating front seats can turn inward 12 degrees. That’s not to mention the car won’t be powered by polluting fuels. Instead, it can be equipped with a 95 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack that will allow drivers to travel 323 miles on one charge. The base version beginning at $45,000 will have a 71 kWh battery pack offering a range of 248.5 miles. The company says users can charge a battery pack up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Byton, which is the international brand of China-based Future Mobility Corporation, plans to bring the car to China in 2019 and the United States and Europe in 2020. Executives from Tesla , BMW, and Nissan started the company. Time will tell if the company will be able to bring their futuristic concept to production. + Byton Via Electrek and The Verge Images via Byton Facebook and website

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Affordable new all-electric SUV from Byton boasts a 323-mile range

Panasonic is building an incredible smart city outside of Denver

January 8, 2018 by  
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Panasonic is just about everywhere you look these days, from car batteries to airplanes, and now the company is building one of their most ambitious projects yet: an entire smart city . Called CityNow, the futuristic city is rising up outside of Denver and will be a living lab experiment for creating towns that can survive a disaster, run on clean, renewable power, and contain sustainable infrastructure that improves people’s lives. The development has been underway for the past two years in a desolate patch of land near the Denver airport. The 400-acre project will be a transit-oriented city, with light rail connecting it to Denver and the airport, smart roadways that are perfect for autonomous vehicles, parking management, and autonomous shuttle routes, which roll out this spring. Related: Bill Gates buys a huge chunk of land in Arizona to create a ‘smart city’ The city also has a bevy of sustainable features, like a solar panel microgrid that can power the city for days in the event of a disaster. Streets lights consist of power-saving LEDs and a carbon neutral district. “Since early 2016, when we started on Denver CityNow, we’ve vetted 11 technology suppliers, developed an open API, established a carbon-neutral district, got approval from the public utility and installed the first microgrid, with solar panels on Denver Airport property, in partnership with Xcel Energy, which can power this area for 72 hours in the event of a natural, or manmade, disaster,” Jarrett Wendt, EVP of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions told PC Magazine . Panasonic’s first foray into a sustainable smart town in Fujisawa, Japan, has resulted in a city with 70 percent less carbon dioxide than normal, a return of 30 percent back to the grid, an EV charging grid, and enough renewable energy to power the city for five days off-grid. Denver’s smart city is slated for completion in eight years, and Panasonic hopes to see the same, if not better, results. Via PC Magazine Images via Panasonic

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Panasonic is building an incredible smart city outside of Denver

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