Germany just generated a record 85% of its energy from renewable sources

May 8, 2017 by  
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Germany has outdone itself yet again when it comes to clean energy . From April 30 through May 1, the country set a national record by generating 85% of all its energy needs using renewable wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. And this isn’t just an anomaly – experts believe that this will be the new normal for Germany by 2030. “Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country. Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced,” said Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative . Related: Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 million homes in Germany Germany has worked hard to invest in clean energy sources under Angela Merkel , a vocal supporter of renewable energy. It has paid off. In addition to record-breaking weekends like the one on April 30, more and more energy is coming from renewables. In March, the country average 40% energy from green sources. via Clean Technica images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Germany just generated a record 85% of its energy from renewable sources

EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board

May 8, 2017 by  
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In addition to its goal to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the end of 2018, the Trump Administration is now slowly dismissing key members from its major scientific review board. According to a spokesman for EPA head Scott Pruitt , the decision is a result of desiring to replace academic scientists with representatives of industries whose pollution the agency is tasked with regulating. He said, “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.” Mr. Pruitt’s first outing as head of the EPA included a visit to coal mines, where he pledged to restore the industry. This occurred despite members of both of the EPA’s scientific advisory boards advising against such action. A spokesperson for Mr. Pruitt said the agency wanted “to take as inclusive an approach to regulation as possible.” President Trump also directed Pruitt to “radically remake” the agency. So far, this has included reducing its main scientific branch by 40 percent, as well as revoking major regulations instated during Obama’s presidency to combat climate change and protect water sources. Related: Trump’s EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children The agency’s latest decision to dismiss five scientists from the major scientific review board has not gone unnoticed. Some are claiming that the EPA is downgrading its science to elevate business interests. Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda. What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the E.P.A. strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development — you have to see all these things as interconnected.” In recent weeks, the EPA removed from its website scientific data that explained the causes and effects of climate change. According to J.P. Freire, the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, this was done to “eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.” Mr. Pruitt also publicly questioned the established science of human-caused climate change. Via New York Times

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EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board

Microgrids could whet the big appetite for clean energy in Texas

May 2, 2017 by  
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With the state aggressively lowering its reliance on oil production thanks to advances in renewables, more growth from wind and solar power will require modern power grid infrastructure.

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Microgrids could whet the big appetite for clean energy in Texas

Five signs that Nigeria is leading sub-Saharan Africa in climate action

May 2, 2017 by  
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The continent’s most populated nation is motivated to think differently in light of a significant economic slowdown.

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Five signs that Nigeria is leading sub-Saharan Africa in climate action

Why ‘ocean is the new climate,’ and what it means for business

May 2, 2017 by  
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It’s time to take our life-giving oceans more seriously, including tuning into the emerging “blue economy.”

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Why ‘ocean is the new climate,’ and what it means for business

Dropping costs in renewable tech spurs rapid shift to clean energy

April 7, 2017 by  
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Welcome to the clean energy revolution – with or without Trump. A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme , Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), and Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance reveals plunging costs in renewable technology have generated a whole new world of power. Unsubsidized renewables in more countries are now the cheapest new form of energy . Renewable energy detractors love to claim it’s too expensive, but that criticism simply doesn’t hold up anymore, according to the new report. Per megawatt, the average dollar capital expenditure fell by more than 10 percent for wind and solar . The report also revealed worldwide solar generation costs fell by an average of 17 percent in one year. Onshore wind dropped by 18 percent, and offshore wind plummeted by 28 percent. Related: Average cost of solar and wind energy could fall by 59% in the next decade BNEF advisory board chairman Michael Liebreich said in the report, “The question always used to be, ‘Will renewables ever be grid competitive?’ Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidized wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world – sometimes by a factor of two. It’s a whole new world…instead of having to subsidize renewables, now authorities may have to subsidize natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability.” 138.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity came online in 2016, greater than 2015’s 127.5 GW, but the 2016 GW were built with investment 23 percent lower than 2015. Investors now get more bang for their buck, according to the report’s foreword. “Moving from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as solar and wind is key to achieving social, economic, and environmental development,” according to the report. Renewable energy creates jobs, provides electricity for people who didn’t have it before, and reduces air pollution , all at an increasingly low cost. Via ThinkProgress Images via TAFE SA TONSLEY on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Dropping costs in renewable tech spurs rapid shift to clean energy

Arctic Ocean undergoes ‘massive shift,’ becoming more like Atlantic

April 7, 2017 by  
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Increasing temperatures aren’t the only factor to blame for dramatic Arctic sea ice loss. An international team of 16 scientists led by the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska discovered warm currents from the Atlantic Ocean are snaking up to the Arctic and melting ice from below. They call this phenomenon the Atlantification of the Arctic. Scientists placed sensors in the Arctic seas in 2002, and the information they’ve gathered isn’t good. The Arctic Ocean’s behavior has undergone a massive shift, according to physical oceanographer Finlo Cottier of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, who was not part of the study. Related: Scientists hatch crazy $500 billion plan to refreeze the Arctic Warm Atlantic currents have a lot to do with this change, according to research published online by Science yesterday. The scientists looked at the Eurasian basin, or one of two basins in the Arctic Ocean divided by a ridge far beneath the surface. The Eurasian basin is north of Europe and Asia. Scientists have long known warm Atlantic currents prevent ice formation on the western side of the Eurasian basin north of Scandinavia . But now it seems those currents are working against ice on the eastern side north of Siberia too. Atlantic currents stream into the Arctic at depths of around 656 to 820 feet, with temperatures around four degrees Celsius higher than surface water. When they mix with surface water, which cools and falls in winter, the mixed water is a little warmer overall so the ocean has little sea ice. On the Eurasian basin’s eastern side a barrier known as the cold halocline layer (CHL) used to prevent much of that mixing. But now the eastern side is becoming more like the western side. Summer sea ice once helped form the CHL, but without that ice the ocean mixes more – and then not as much ice forms. Study lead author Igor Polyakov of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks told Science , “Previously this monster, Atlantic warm water, was well covered from the surface” by the CHL. “The new data show this layer has disappeared in winter.” Cottier told Science , “Here we’re seeing an ocean basin changing on a generational timescale – or less.” Via Inverse and Science Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Arctic Ocean undergoes ‘massive shift,’ becoming more like Atlantic

Wind energy goes big in Texas

April 4, 2017 by  
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Renewable wind energy is responsible for over 22,000 jobs, $60 million in land lease payments and more than 12 percent of electricity in Texas.

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The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

March 1, 2017 by  
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Offshore wind is making big waves in Europe. Why is the U.S. staying on dry land?

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The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

The corporate case for a healthy workforce

March 1, 2017 by  
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Why employee health and safety is a key component of business sustainability performance.

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The corporate case for a healthy workforce

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