Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

September 22, 2017 by  
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When Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico last Saturday with 155mph winds, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and the entire island was left in a total blackout. After a natural disaster such as this, residents would usually go about their lives and pick up the pieces along the way. Not this time. Due to the island’s poor infrastructure, economic woes and the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it could be months before millions of people have access to electricity again. It wasn’t hard for Hurricane Maria to wipe out the entire island’s electricity because the power grid has been in poor shape for years. Whereas most power plants are 18-years-old, those belonging to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) — the island’s sole power supplier to 1.5 million people — are 44 years old, on average.  In July of this year, PREPA filed for bankruptcy and called its own system “degraded and unsafe.” In a fiscal plan released this year, it added that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure.” The electricity outage was also caused by Puerto Rico’s grim economic situation. The island has yet to emerge from a recession that has lasted over a decade. With an unemployment rate of 11 percent, the government entered into a process similar to bankruptcy protection earlier this May. TIME reports that its debt load is currently in excess of $70 billion. Related: Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory As a result of weakening infrastructure, financial problems and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, restoring the island’s power will be a lengthy, tiresome process. Governor Russello told CNN , “It depends on the damage to the infrastructure. I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is … we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.” Hurricane Irma , which skirted the north part of the island earlier this month, is also to blame. At the time, over 1 million users in Puerto Rico lost power. The day before Maria slammed into the island, 70,000 people were still without power, reports CNBC . To solve this tragedy, Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon brought up the issue of electric supply with Brock Long, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). She said, “We were asking him to have more resources in terms of electrical teams that can help us out to solve the situation and recover the infrastructure of the power grid on the island,” she said. “That is going to be the main issue.” Rossello has also asked President Trump to declare Puerto Rico a disaster zone. On Monday, Trump made an emergency declaration for the island, which enabled FEMA to coordinate relief efforts. However, only a “major disaster” declaration would ensure the territory receives an increase in federal resources and programs for affected areas to recover. Vox reports that even if Congress agrees to provide extra relief, funds would only be of limited help in this situation. Via TIME , Vox, CNN, CNBC Images via ABC 7 Chicago ,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

September 22, 2017 by  
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Nouvelle AOM has just been chosen to transform Paris’ historic Tour Montparnasse into beacon of sustainability for the City of Light. The winning design envisions a contemporary green makeover for the 40-year-old skyscraper – including a new transparent shell cladding and forests in the sky that will improve air quality in and around the tower. The 689-foot Tour Montparnasse was completed in 1973, and it was France’s tallest skyscraper until 2011. There is a lot of history (and controversy) behind the tower, so its redesign had to pay respect to its revered past while re-establish its position as a modern landmark in the city. Related: Holland’s first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plant s “This was a huge challenge, as the Tower isn’t like any other,” the jury explained. “Nouvelle AOM’s project perfectly captures the spirit of the 21st century, giving the Tower a multifaceted identity revolving around attractive, innovative new uses. The Tower will breathe new life into the Montparnasse neighbourhood.” The winning design, which beat out submissions from OMA, MAD and Studio Gang, was a collaboration between three Paris-based firms: Franklin Azzi Architecture , Chartier Dalix Architectes and Hardel et le Behan Architectes . The old opaque cladding will be replaced by a transparent facade that will “glow” at night. Multiple floors throughout the tower – including the large conservatory rooftop – will be planted with lush vegetated forests and hanging gardens that will improve air quality both within and outside the skyscraper. The architects explain that the design concept was inspired by the need to create a contemporary skyscraper that will become a beacon of the city’s commitment to sustainability . “When we took up the challenge of this exciting competition, our focus was on revealing the beauty of the Tour Montparnasse from the inside out. We achieved this by incorporating radically new uses and crafting a complete sustainable ‘green’ makeover of the facade. The aim is to make the Tower an icon of the 21st century energy revolution,” explains Nouvelle AOM. Construction on the €300 million project is expected to begin in 2019 and it’s slated for completion in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. + Nouvelle AOM Via Archdaily Images via Nouvelle AOM

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Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

The cost of solar power has dropped over 25% in one year

September 22, 2017 by  
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The clean energy revolution continues and solar is leading the charge. In a recently published report, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories documented that the cost of utility-scale solar, generated from large plants rather than residential rooftops, has decreased by 30 percent within the past year. This happy news aligns with another recent announcement by the SunShot Initiative , a parallel effort within the US Department of Energy , which declared that their cost targets set for solar energy had been met years before their 2020 deadline. All of this serves as a reminder that, despite the politics of the moment, solar energy continues to rapidly become more cost effective and accessible, paving the way for a cleaner energy future. Although China has frequently been cited by the US President as a dangerous competitor, the solar renaissance in the United States has been made possible because of the pioneering work in solar energy being done in the People’s Republic. More solar modules are being produced in China than there is demand, which has enabled US importers to purchase this technology at low prices. As a result, the average price per watt is now only $1.03 for fixed-tilt systems and $1.11 for those that move to track the sun’s movement. Related: Trump’s DOE invests $62 million in concentrated solar power While rooftop and residential solar system may represent the most visible manifestation of solar’s growth and reach, it is utility-scale solar systems, which feed into the grid , which have the most potential to change the game. Taking note of the ever-decreasing price of solar and demand from consumers for cleaner forms of energy, utility companies have invested funds to increase the share of solar in their portfolio. For example, Duke Energy Florida recently announced plans to spend $6 billion on solar infrastructure, scrapping its previous plans to invest in nuclear power . If trends continue, it is estimated that 139 countries , including the United States and China, could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, with solar contributing the lion’s share. Via Futurism Images via Michael Mees and Kate Ausburn

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The cost of solar power has dropped over 25% in one year

California Voters Defeat Measure to Suspend Climate Law

November 3, 2010 by  
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California voters defeated a ballot measure Tuesday that would have suspended the state’s climate change law until the unemployment fell below 5.5 percent for a year.

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California Voters Defeat Measure to Suspend Climate Law

Native American Tribe Going for Solar, and Money

January 13, 2010 by  
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The 3,000 members of the Jemez Pueblo tribe in New Mexico are looking to build the first utility-scale solar power plant on tribal land. They are also looking to make some money on it

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Native American Tribe Going for Solar, and Money

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