Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

December 13, 2018 by  
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A major utility company is making history. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility company, has pledged to go completely carbon-free by 2050. The company serves eight states, and its ambitious new carbon reduction goal far exceeds its current target of a 60 percent reduction in Colorado by 2026. “Our biggest energy source in a few short years is going to be renewable energy . We’re going to absolutely integrate as much of that as we can into the grid,” said Xcel CEO Ben Fowke. The company said that it will be 80 percent carbon-free by 2030 before reaching the goal of 100 percent carbon reduction in 2050. These changes should mean more solar and wind energy  along with a reduction of coal. Fowke said that there will also be other technologies needed to meet the 100 percent carbon goal, including battery storage technology and maybe even carbon sequestration. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Xcel serves 3.6 million people in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. For years, those customers have been demanding that the company make some changes. The utility company said that it really does listen to its customers, and with citizens of cities all over Colorado deciding that they want 100 percent renewable energy, Xcel decided it would be in its best interest to give the customers what they have asked for. Xcel’s commitment is the latest in announcements by large utility companies regarding huge new carbon reduction goals. Indiana’s NIPSCO sped up the retirement of multiple coal plants in favor of renewable energy, and Midwestern Utility MidAmerican announced that it would reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. With companies turning away from fossil fuels in favor of renewables like wind and solar, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects America’s coal consumption to soon be at its lowest level in four decades. Via CPR Image via Laura Lee Dooley

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Major utility company Xcel Energy commits to go carbon-free by 2050

Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

December 13, 2018 by  
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Easter Island is world-renowned for its monolithic Moai statues and incredible natural beauty. Now, visitors to the unique Polynesian island can enjoy a responsible stay in one-of-a-kind beautiful eco-resort , the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa . Located in the village of Hangaroa, the sustainable solar-powered retreat was designed to provide a luxurious stay for guests without harming the surrounding natural landscape. Circular buildings covered with lush green roofs and natural wood throughout the hotel reflect the textures of the island. According to the hotel description, the inspiration for the design was based on a village concept, where small singular buildings can be reached via a short walk along stone paths. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability was driven by the owners’ desire to support responsible tourism to the increasingly popular island destination, “The vocation of the Schiess family, is to create tourism experiences that support the social development of the environment in which they operate, care for the environment and leave a legacy.” Related: Eco-resort in Tulum features luxury beach huts made of natural materials The eco hotel design was meant to offer all of comforts of a luxury hotel, while reducing its impact on the environment. Additionally, the hotel has a number of passive and active energy-saving features . Each of the structures within the hotel compound run on highly efficient electrical equipment, a solar lighting system and a self-sustaining water irrigation system. Additionally, all of the detergents and cleaning products used in the daily upkeep of the hotel are non-toxic. The interior design schemed used the local vernacular as inspiration, namely the island’s most prominent geographical features. Small round buildings mimic the rolling hills that lead out to the sea, while lush green roofs blend the buildings into the environment. Natural light floods the interior community spaces, providing a strong connection with the surrounding nature. + Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Images via Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

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Green-roofed eco resort on Easter Island designed to blend into the landscape

Chris Clark, president of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota at Xcel Energy, on how utilities can work with community reductions goals

November 6, 2018 by  
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Xcel Energy, an electric and natural gas utility based out of the Midwest, has a diverse base of customers and a diverse portfolio of energy sources. Chris Clark, the president of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota regions for Xcel Energy, discussed how utilities can be “good neighbors” by helping communities reach carbon reduction goals, cut costs for customers and residents and generally, “help keep the lights on,” he told GreenBiz’s senior analyst Elaine Hseish with a smile.

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Chris Clark, president of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota at Xcel Energy, on how utilities can work with community reductions goals

The global VP of sustainability at Mars, Inc., Kevin Rabinovitch, on launching a renewable thermal project

November 6, 2018 by  
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A third of global energy demand is coming from heating and cooling, and often, renewable energy initiatives are only addressing electricity use rather than total energy use.That’s not the case for Mars, Inc., as Kevin Rabinovitch, the global vice president of sustainability, explained. When Mars, Inc. helped launch the Renewable Thermal Connective to address the issue, corporates and municipalities jumped on board, but as renewable electricity has grown, renewable thermal progress has been a bit slow. 

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The global VP of sustainability at Mars, Inc., Kevin Rabinovitch, on launching a renewable thermal project

Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

February 24, 2017 by  
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After months of protests by Native Americans and supporters worldwide, the Trump administration ignored the pleas of so many American citizens and gave permission for the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward. And Energy Transfer Partners didn’t waste much time doing just that. The group said in a recent statement that the oil pipeline is now 99 percent finished. Federal authorization came earlier in February and Energy Transfer Partners got to work. In March or April, oil could start flowing through the $3.8 billion pipeline, which will transport Bakken crude oil from North Dakota oilfields through the Midwest. The oil will end up at refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. The part of the pipeline that runs so close to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation is the last to be completed. Related: Standing Rock protesters evicted by police at gunpoint White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the White House is communicating with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In a press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked if the President had been briefed on the Standing Rock situation, and Spicer replied, “Our team has been involved with both the tribe and the governor there, and so we are not only – we are constantly in touch with them. And I think we feel very confident that we will move forward to get the pipeline moving.” But tribe chair Dave Archambault II said Spicer’s claims aren’t true. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement yesterday and quoted Archambault II as saying, “[Spicer’s] claim is absolutely false. We repeatedly asked for meetings with the Trump administration, and never received one until the day they notified Congress that they were issuing the easement. I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. when the easement was issued. It was an insult to me and to the Tribe. I cancelled the meeting upon hearing this news. We have since filed a lawsuit for the immoral and illegal issuance of the easement and suspension of the environmental impact study.” Via Reuters Images via Standing Rock Rising Facebook

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Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

Hundreds of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters injured by police attacks at Standing Rock

November 22, 2016 by  
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This weekend, protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline escalated into a violent standoff between demonstrators and police. On Sunday afternoon, the peaceful “water protectors” attempted to move a barricade set up by police on the Highway 1806 bridge. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, along with National Guard soldiers, responded by firing rubber bullets at close range, bombarding the protestors with tear gas bombs and concussion grenades, and shooting water cannons into the crowd in sub-freezing weather.

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Hundreds of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters injured by police attacks at Standing Rock

Police brutally attack DAPL demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets, and sub-freezing water cannons

November 21, 2016 by  
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As protests over the in-progress Dakota Access Pipeline continue to grow near Standing Rock, North Dakota, demonstrators seek new ways to carry on a peaceful resistance in the face of brutal police force. Late on Sunday afternoon, self-proclaimed ‘water protectors’ attempted to remove the burned out cars police had previously used to barricade the bridge on Highway 1806, partly in an effort to gain visibility along the roadway. Morton County Sheriff’s Department, still supported by supplemental National Guard soldiers from other states, responded by firing rubber bullets into the crowd at close range, exploding tear gas bombs and concussion grenades, and shooting water cannons at the demonstrators despite the sub-freezing night air. The result was a chaotic scene where dozens of wounded protesters were left to ward off hypothermia after being soaked with icy water in 25F weather.

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Police brutally attack DAPL demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets, and sub-freezing water cannons

One million people show solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline protesters by checking in on Facebook

November 1, 2016 by  
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People are jumping on social media to show their support for the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. Over one million people checked in to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and Standing Rock, North Dakota on Facebook in an effort to bewilder police. While law enforcement claims they’re not tracking people via Facebook, supporters continue to check in and show solidarity. On Monday, a Facebook post challenged people to back pipeline protesters on the ground and “overwhelm and confuse” law enforcement by checking in to Standing Rock, North Dakota on Facebook. Thousands responded, including the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which said on Facebook , “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is not and does not follow Facebook check-ins for the protest camp or any location. This claim/rumor is absolutely false.” Related: Dakota Access Pipeline protesters raise over $1 million on GoFundMe This statement didn’t deter the thousands of people who checked in and continue to check in on Facebook. Sacred Stone Camp says they did not start the Facebook movement but in a statement emailed to Mic said checking in is a “great way to express solidarity” and that there is “no doubt that law enforcement monitor communications and comb social media for incriminating material.” They also noted there are many other actions people can take beyond a Facebook check in. They asked people to consider their own consumption of fossil fuels , and get involved with environmental or indigenous struggles near their own homes. They called on CitiBank, Mizho Bank, and the Bank of Tokyo to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline a $1.1 billion loan. Supporters of the protesters can also contribute to legal defense on FundRazr or donate to Sacred Stone Camp on GoFundMe . Sacred Stone Camp also called for more people to actually come to Standing Rock, saying “We also need 10,000 to 100,000 people to join us here on the ground. Now.” Via The Guardian and Mic Images via Fibonacci Blue on Flickr and Sacred Stone Camp Facebook

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One million people show solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline protesters by checking in on Facebook

A massive Celtic cross made out of thousands of trees has secretly sprouted up in an Irish forest

November 1, 2016 by  
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Passengers flying over Ireland ’s County Donegal have been struck by a curious formation in the treetops , posting their findings to social media and gaining the public’s attention. It seems some crafty person has quietly planted two different varieties of trees within this massive forest , creating the image of a gigantic Celtic cross from above. Aerial shots have been taken by passengers flying into the City of Derry Airport, prompting UTV Northern Ireland to take flyover footage of the scene. The team discovered the emblem was created by local man Liam Emmery, a late forester in the area. Emmery passed away in 2010, but not before planting the differing tree types in the iconic formation. UTV reports , “Even his family knew little about his creation.” Related: Zero-carbon housing development welcomes its first families in North Ireland Apparently, the cross has been visible for a few years, yet this year’s particularly dry autumn has made the light yellow colors of the trees pop against the surrounding greenery. The cross is estimated to be 300 feet long and contain thousand of trees. Gareth Austin, a local horticulturist, told UTV, “We’re going to be appreciating this for the next sixty or seventy years.” Via Atlas Obscura , ITV Images via UTV (screenshot)

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A massive Celtic cross made out of thousands of trees has secretly sprouted up in an Irish forest

North Dakota state of emergency turns peaceful pipeline protest into a hostile military affair

September 14, 2016 by  
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Environmentalists and civil rights activists across the country celebrated September 9, 2016 when the Obama administration overrode a federal judge to halt the controversial $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline . The reprieve came just days after security workers used trained dogs to attack peaceful protesters , leaving several wounded and bloody. A key aspect of the story has escaped much of the media coverage, though: Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency nearly two weeks earlier and activated 100 National Guard troops on September 8, one day prior to the decision, effectively turning a peaceful protest into a hostile, military affair. The shutdown is being celebrated as a victory in the saga of the North Dakota pipeline protest , which has pitted native Americans against corporate interests for weeks. The pipeline was planned to carry oil from just north of land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to Illinois, where it would hook up to an existing pipeline and route crude directly to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The protest brought members of 200 or so tribes together in an unprecedented show of solidarity, and the movement was peaceful until the security firm working on behalf of the oil company began attacking protesters with trained dogs on September 3. Related: US government temporarily blocked North Dakota Access Pipeline By then, law enforcement were already working under an emergency declaration. Dalrymple issued the declaration on August 19, citing public safety as the motivation to tap into as much as $1 million in additional funding for local law enforcement agencies over the course of several weeks. The protest site did see an increase in uniformed officers, but police were nowhere to be found when the oil company’s private security firm used trained dogs to viciously attack protesters on September 3. In fact, the local police refused to acknowledge that security dogs had injured anyone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuZcx2zEo4k The concern now has shifted, as the fight’s primary objective is no longer to defend the environment but rather to protect civil rights on the most basic level, including the freedom to peaceably assemble and protest. The freedom of the press has also been drawn into question, as North Dakota authorities issued an arrest warrant for Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman , the independent reporter who interviewed protesters on the front lines more than a week ago and captured dog attacks on video. She now faces charges for criminal trespassing, a Class B misdemeanor, as authorities say she crossed onto private property while covering the event. One protester has also been charged, in a double-whammy attack against the free press and freedom of speech from individual citizens. Learn more about the Dakota Access Pipeline in our guide here . Via ACLU and Reuters Images via Fibonacci Blue/Flickr and  Carl Wycoff/Flickr

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North Dakota state of emergency turns peaceful pipeline protest into a hostile military affair

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