UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030

October 12, 2020 by  
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U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson has affirmed government plans to ensure that the entire country is powered by offshore wind energy by 2030. Speaking at a virtual conservative party meeting, he reiterated his promise, saying that renewable energy will be used to power all homes in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales by the end of the decade. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle , the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands,” Johnson said. Related: One-quarter of UK mammals face threat of extinction To fulfill this ambitious plan, the U.K. government will be required to generate at least 40GW of energy with its offshore wind turbines. In 2019, the government had committed to generating 30GW via wind energy. Johnson promised to increase that to 40GW following a party victory in December 2019 elections. While the plan to generate 100% green energy for the U.K. is positive news, the project faces various challenges. The pandemic has caused financial difficulties, but Johnson assured conference viewers that the government will invest £160 million ($207 million) to develop improved turbines to meet the goal. Johnson said the government will also deploy floating turbines to generate at least 1GW of offshore wind energy . “The government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables , and our industry is ready to meet the challenge,” Hugh McNeal, CEO of trade association RenewableUK, said. According to an analysis done by Aurora Energy Research , almost £50 billion ($64.8 billion) will be required to generate 40GW of wind energy. The U.K. currently has about 10GW of offshore wind power. The analysis also shows that the government will have to install an average of 260 turbines per year over five years to meet the target. Via Engadget Image via Thomas G.

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UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030

West 8 and Studio 44 win Tuchkov Buyan Park competition in St. Petersburg

October 12, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based West 8 and Saint Petersburg-based Studio 44 have won an international competition with their design for the Tuchkov Buyan Park, a new proposed waterfront park in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Over 200 teams from 50 countries applied for participation in the competition. A shortlist of eight participants were selected, including Studio 44 and West 8; a team led by Agence Ter and Philippe Rahm architectes; Bjarke Ingels Group with BuroHappold NYC; JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron with ARUP; Kengo Kuma and Associates with Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture; and a team led by Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Meganom. The JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron team and local firm Khvoya were selected as finalists. Developed on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, the international competition for the Tuchkov Buyan Park in Saint Petersburg sought a design for the city’s first park with direct river access in the city’s Petrograd region. The park, which would be within walking distance of key city landmarks such as the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Rostral Columns of Vasilievsky Island, would also link the city’s green spaces with an unbroken pedestrian route . Related: Former railway yard to receive a green transformation in St. Petersburg The winning proposal by West 8 and Studio 44 conceptualizes a contemporary park with strong sculptural landscaping to not only create a buffer from the urban fabric but also provide protection from the wind and direct sightlines. In addition to sculpted topography, the Tuchkov Buyan Park comprises 12 new biotopes including a boreal forest, a mixed forest, the waterside, the park area and the Orangery to create shelter and nesting opportunities for local fauna. Year-round programming would also be provided so that visitors can enjoy the park in all seasons.  To reduce the park’s environmental footprint, energy-efficient LEDs will be used for outdoor lighting. Solar panels mounted on building roofs would also offset energy needs, while a rainwater management system that collects, transports and filters rainwater is proposed for landscape irrigation purposes. + West 8 + Studio 44 Images via Strelka KB

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West 8 and Studio 44 win Tuchkov Buyan Park competition in St. Petersburg

Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor

October 12, 2020 by  
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Fall has arrived, and the holiday season is right around the corner, making for the perfect time to get creative with Mission Fall Decor 2020. While you might find inspiration walking through the local home improvement or craft store, dedicating yourself to DIY decor saves you money, adds a personal sense of accomplishment and presents the opportunity to recycle or select materials that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Use products of the season  Autumn is the season for apple and pumpkin  everything, which launches a starting point for your seasonal decorating. Select glass bowls to fill with apples or gourds for an easy table centerpiece. Similarly, carve out the tops of apples or pumpkins and place a candle inside. To fill the house with the smell of cinnamon and apples, cube or slice an apple, add a cinnamon stick and some nutmeg and top with water. Allow the mixture to simmer on the stove, and keep an eye on the water level so it doesn’t boil dry. Related: DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores To add a cozy feel, grab a flannel blanket and drape it over a hay bale near the door to welcome guests. Top with a few pumpkins and give it a backdrop of corn stalks. After the season, everything except the blanket can go into the compost pile. Now with your scene set, put on your crafty hat for some additional decorations easily made from home-sourced supplies. Twig wreath Walk into a craft store this time of year, and you’ll likely see an assortment of wreaths, including a basic design with nothing more than twigs glued together. Instead of doling out the cash, make your own using  natural materials . Bundle up the kids and head out for a stick-collection party. With your selections back home, scrape the sticks free of moss and dirt. Overlap them and adhere with a hot glue gun, creating a circle as you work. After completing the first layer, add additional layers for depth. Once the twigs are securely attached, you can keep the ultra-natural look or spraypaint the wreath black or even orange for a bolder display. Add a burlap bow, or glue berries, mini pumpkins or dried apples on if you desire. You can check out this tutorial from  Ernest Home Co.  for more guidance. Metal Jack-O-Lantern luminaries Of course, a very popular fall holiday inspires specific witchy and graveyard appeal. To get started on your Halloween Decor 2020, hang luminaries with a Halloween theme, or use them to line a walkway up the driveway or through the garden. To make, select clean, dry cans from the waste pile and remove the lids. Watch for sharp edges. Depending on the look you want, you can use anything from a large coffee can down to a tuna can (although the latter might work better with a floating candle). Spray-paint your cans black or orange. Use the opposite color of poster board to cut out a variety of facial features such as eyes, noses and mouths. Cut up those thin marketing magnets that seem to accumulate from mailings and the front of phone books, then glue a piece to the back of each poster board cutout. You can then mix and match the faces to the front of the cans. Using a drill, create holes around the can in a random pattern. This will allow light to glow through. Place a candle or LED light inside the can so you can enjoy spooky or funny Jack-O-Lantern faces during the day and luminaries when the sun goes down. Visit  Fun Cheap or Free  for a peek at what the end product will look like. Fabric pumpkins Small, large, orange, cream or black fabric pumpkins are easy to make by recycling fabric you already have around the house. Dig through your sewing box for a basic needle with a large eye. Use whatever thread, string, yarn, ribbon or jute you already have. If using a piece of fabric, start by creating two panels and connecting them on two sides. A shortcut and wonderful way to upcycle is to use a shirt, sweater or sweatshirt for the fabric. With either source of material, roughly gather and sew closed the bottom of the pumpkin. The gathering technique helps to form the rounded bottom. Next, stuff the pumpkins with other discarded clothing, fabric, cotton, newspaper or any other material you’d like to reuse. Gather the fabric around the top of the pumpkin, cutting off the rest of the shirt parts if needed, and tie off with burlap strips or jute. You can make these pumpkins in a variety of sizes for a display. Reclaimed wood-painted blocks and signs If you enjoy  wood crafts, you likely have an assortment of wood pieces laying around just waiting for the right project to match. Use or create blocks out of 1x1s or 4x4s. Paint them using freehand techniques or stencils. You could also use a wood burner or router to sculpt a design. For longer boards, make some ghoulish signs to greet, or deter, your guests. Guide them towards the warm cookies in the kitchen or the scary graveyard in the front yard. Bat Mobile No, this isn’t a Batmobile, but a mobile, like the decorations that hang above a baby’s crib. To make, simply create bat cutouts from poster board or cardboard. Spray-paint them black and attach them in a series of heights using string or yarn. Attach the top of each strip to a round hoop, then add strings that connect the hoop to a central hook for hanging. Images via Pexels and Shutterstock

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Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor

California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

October 24, 2018 by  
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With 3,427 miles of coastline , one would think establishing wind farms in California would be a cinch. As it turns out, the depth of the waters has kept the idea of offshore wind in this area at bay. Energy companies have been eagerly awaiting the curtain fall from government regulators that was finally announced on Friday by the U.S. Department of the Interior. While turbine installation will prove to be a challenge because of unique terrain demands, offshore wind turbines could help California’s plans to reach 100 percent green energy by 2045. If all goes as planned, the wind farms could be operating within the next six years. “We are early in the process here,” explained California Energy Commission member Karen Douglas. “Offshore wind has potential to help with our renewable energy goals.” California’s first ever offshore wind auction, allowing energy companies to lease waters in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean, was announced alongside two other wind farm initiatives already underway in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. So what’s slowing down California’s state officials and utility companies? “They would be in much deeper water than anything that has been built in the world so far,” Douglas said. Because the ocean’s depths are substantial — even close to shore — California’s coastline is not ideal for offshore wind farms . Related: World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland Regardless, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ( BOEM ) followed up on the announcement with a “call for information and nominations” from energy companies looking to develop the offshore technology. Submissions will be accepted over a 100-day period that will close on Jan. 27, 2019. The state’s new wind farms will be concentrated within proposed areas off of Central and Northern California. In total, the 658 full and partial blocks on the Outer Continental Shelf that are offered for commercial wind energy leasing cover an area of 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres). The announcement is good news for Gov. Jerry Brown and his office of environmental reformers. In September, the governor signed a bill that mandated California’s energy reliance be supplied solely through renewable sources by 2045. The addition of offshore wind turbines could propel this shift to happen much faster than expected, as the state is now able to look beyond land-based wind farms and solar panels to meet demand. Via The New York Times , NOAA and BOEM Image via Lars Plougmann

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California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

Day 2, Sidebar with John F. Pierce, Perkins Coie LLP, offshore energy, Hawaii

July 2, 2018 by  
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Day 2, Sidebar with John F. Pierce, Perkins Coie LLP, marine rights, offshore wind, offshore energy Hawaii, power purchasing

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Day 2, Sidebar with John F. Pierce, Perkins Coie LLP, offshore energy, Hawaii

Germany just approved 1,610 megawatts of offshore wind power

April 30, 2018 by  
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Offshore wind turbines could soon provide more electricity for Germany — to the tune of 1,610 megawatts (MW). The country recently held an auction for companies that want to build offshore wind projects, ultimately granting six construction licenses. According to Reuters , the resulting wind energy parks will be able to produce as much power as a nuclear energy plant or two large gas- or coal-fired stations. Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur , recently announced the results of the offshore wind energy auction. The average price of winning bids was $46.60 Euros per megawatt-hour, according to Renewables Now , and the winning companies include Baltic Eagle, Iberdrola, Ørsted, KNK Wind, and Innogy. Three projects will be located in the North Sea and three in the Baltic Sea. The winners have the option to construct the offshore wind plants between 2021 and 2025, with rights to onshore connections and 25 years of plant operation. Related: World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland Wind energy appears to be soaring in Germany; according to the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation , a recent study from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy found that 338,600 people were employed in the renewable energy field as of 2016 — a 10,000-employee increase compared to the year before. The wind industry was the driving force behind the rise in numbers; it employed nearly half of the 338,600 renewable energy workers, and 27,200 were employed in the offshore wind power sector. The German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation also cited a Deutsche WindGuard analysis stating that, as of December 31, 2017, “1,169 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 5,387 MW were connected to the grid.” The foundation cited industry representatives as saying, “…offshore wind turbines make an increasing contribution to the security of Germany’s energy supply. They deliver clean power almost around the clock, every day of the year.” Reuters said the next auction round will take place in 2021. Via Reuters , Renewables Now , and the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Germany just approved 1,610 megawatts of offshore wind power

The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

March 21, 2018 by  
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The world’s first unsubsidized offshore wind farms are currently under construction in the Netherlands . The underlying economics of offshore wind energy have become so favorable in the country that the projects will require no public funds to be completed. “Thanks to drastically lower costs, offshore wind farms are now being constructed without subsidy,” Dutch Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes told Climate Action . “This allows us to keep the energy transition affordable. Innovation and competition are making sustainable energy cheaper and cheaper, and much faster than expected too.” Scheduled to begin operations in 2022, the two wind farms are being built by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall. The electricity created by the wind farms will be sold on the open market, competing with fossil fuels. The wind farms will be located 14 miles off the coast of the Netherlands and will fill an area of 137 square miles. Once operational, the farms will produce enough energy to power 1.5 million homes. While the wind farms are being billed as subsidy-free, their construction benefited from the Dutch government accepting some risks involved in the project, such as covering the cost of grid connection. Related: World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated The Netherlands has taken swift action to develop its clean energy capabilities. In 2017, the 600-megawatt, 150-turbine Gemini wind park off the Dutch coast opened as one of the largest wind farms in the world. “As a country we were heavily dependent on fossil fuels , and our way to renewables has been bumpy,” Dutch minister for the environment Sharon Dijksma told MIT Technology Review . “So this government decided that we needed to step up the pace.” The low-lying European country has much at stake in how the world deals with climate change . If the Netherlands were to face a powerful flood, “we would have a massive breakdown, it would tear the country into pieces and the economy would collapse,” Dijksma said. “So this Armageddon scenario has to be fought against.” Via MIT Technology Review Images via Depositphotos (1)

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The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

March 21, 2018 by  
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A Texas couple have opened a new restaurant that offers a pay-what-you-can model. Taste Community Restaurant targets middle class people struggling to get by who still deserve excellent food at a price they can afford. “Specifically,” Taste Community chef and co-founder Julie Williams told Dallas Morning News , “the missing middle 90 percent of the hungry who are not homeless and don’t qualify for government assistance. They might be choosing between food and medical bills or medication, be a single parent trying to make ends meet, be between jobs.” To serve this community, Julie and her husband Jeff founded the Taste Project , the 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the restaurant. Guests at the Taste Community Restaurant are greeted with a warmly lit space, a friendly staff, 80 percent of whom are volunteers, and a menu that has no prices listed. Guests are not given a check at the conclusion of the meal and are instead encouraged to donate what they can to support the restaurant ‘s mission. Julie and Jeff Williams were inspired and informed in their work by  One World Everybody Eats , which helped pioneer the community cafe model in the United States .  While it is still early in the restaurant’s history, the staff are encouraged. “We measure success in number of patrons who come through the door, percentage of folks in need, number of volunteer hours served, and program revenue,” explained Julie Williams. “We need to increase the number of folks who can pay what they typically pay or a little more in order to reach those in need.” Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Taste is particularly appreciated for its shrimp and cheese grits, rib-eye steak chili and butternut squash risotto. There are exciting options for vegetarians and vegans as well. A celery root-green apple vegan soup is popular, as is a farro dish with cauliflower, snow peas and broccolini, all covered with a poached egg and lemon vinaigrette. The menu is seasonal, with winter’s pimento cheese bruschetta giving way to spring’s sweet pea bruschetta. Taste Community Restaurant is currently serving lunch from Tuesday through Sunday. Via Dallas Morning News Images via Taste Project

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New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

Stricter climate regulations could save 150 million lives worldwide

March 21, 2018 by  
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Researchers have calculated that stronger climate regulations across the globe could help prevent up to 150 million premature deaths. Much of the public health benefits of strictly regulating greenhouse gases would be concentrated in South Asia, with nearly 13 million lives spared in large Indian cities alone if air pollution is curtailed. Cairo, Egypt and Lagos, Nigeria would also experience more than 2 million fewer deaths under strong international greenhouse gas regulation. While the Clean Air Act has improved public health outcomes in the United States, hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved in the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta , Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Washington if stricter greenhouse gas regulations were implemented. “Americans don’t really grasp how pollution impacts their lives,” study lead author Drew Shindell told the Washington Post . “You say, ‘My uncle went to the hospital and died of a heart attack.’ You don’t say the heart attack was caused by air pollution, so we don’t know. It’s still a big killer here. It’s much bigger than from people who die from plane crashes or war or terrorism, but we don’t see the link so clearly.” Related: Despite Trump’s rhetoric, US officials are still working to stop climate change To determine the public health benefits of stricter greenhouse gas regulations, the research team created computer simulations of future emissions and pollutants. According to a statement , they then “calculated the human health impacts of pollution exposure under each scenario all over the world — but focusing on results in major cities — using well-established epidemiological models based on decades of public health data on air-pollution related deaths.” However promising the benefits of strong climate change regulations may be, time is running out, says Shindell. “There’s got to be a significant amount of progress within the 2020s or it’s too late.” Via the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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Stricter climate regulations could save 150 million lives worldwide

The future of energy on islands

March 2, 2018 by  
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Islands are places of exceptional biodiversity and economic value, not to mention their great natural beauty. However, because of their isolation from the mainland, they are also difficult to power. This fact is particularly poignant as Puerto Rico , several months after Hurricane Maria, struggles to turn the lights back on. To prepare for a world in which climate change continues to energize super-storms and sea level rise, islands, on which 10 percent of the world’s population lives, must rethink their energy systems for future success. Read on for several solutions that will allow island communities to thrive in the 21st century. Islands currently receive most of their energy from fossil fuels , with some using imported oil, an expensive energy source, to power their electrical grid. With their costs dropping every year, solar and wind could provide cleaner, localized, cheaper energy. Since islands must contend with a limited amount of land, large-scale wind farms may be the preferred utility-scale option. However, neither option will be particularly effective without a battery storage system. To serve this need, Tesla is rolling out battery systems in Puerto Rico , Nantucket and other island communities in hopes that they may someday become ubiquitous. Related: The sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing For islands with the appropriate natural resources, such as Iceland , geothermal power is an attractive energy option. New drilling technologies, such as those developed by  GA Drilling  and  AltaRock Energy , could enable geothermal prospectors to dig deeper and ultimately provide greater energy output. While it has drawn criticism from some environmentalists in the past, nuclear power may also be an effective energy source for island communities. The incredible energy density of nuclear fuel translates into a much more effectively shipped power source than fossil fuels, while the newest Gen IV nuclear reactors are passively safe . Nuclear power plants could even be established on ships, similar to nuclear-powered ships and submarines in the United States Navy, allowing power generation to be moved where it is most needed. Via World Economic Forum Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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The future of energy on islands

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