Twelve Years to Catastrophe

November 14, 2018

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Homer Microgrid News & Insight: "One of the more sobering conclusions of the IPCC report is that we are likely to reach a global average temperature increase of 1.5 ºC between 2030 and 2052.  2030 is twelve years from now.  The implication is that we need to make radical changes, starting immediately, if we expect to stay below the critical 1.5 ºC threshold."

 

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Rapid Increase in Large Wildfires

November 14, 2018

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New York Times: "California’s fire record dates back to 1932; of the 10 largest fires since then, nine have occurred since 2000, five since 2010 and two this year alone, including the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in state history."


Severe Climate Change Impacts by 2040

October 08, 2018

New York Times: "A landmark report from the United Nations’ Cover.jpgscientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has 'no documented historic precedent.'”

"The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population."

"The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies."

IPCC Report


Most Americans Believe Environmental Laws Are Worth the Cost

October 07, 2018

Pew Research Center: "A majority of U.S. adults (59%) say stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost, compared with roughly a third (34%) who say such regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy."


Prepare for 10 Feet of Sea Level Rise on California Coast

October 02, 2018

Scientific American: "California coastal cities should be prepared for the possibility that oceans will rise more than 10 feet by 2100sea_cliff.jpg and submerge parts of beach towns, the state Coastal Commission warns in new draft guidance."

"The powerful agency, which oversees most development along 1,100 miles of coast, will consider approving the guidance this fall. A staff report recommending the changes was released last week."

"Earlier commission guidance put top sea-level rise at 6 feet by 2100. But according to the new report, there’s the 'potential for rapid ice loss to result in an extreme scenario of 10.2 feet of sea level rise' by the end of the century."

"Even without the 10-foot rise, the draft guidance cautions, as much as two-thirds of Southern California beaches 'may be completely lost due to rising sea level.'”


Driving Innovation in the Energy Sector

September 27, 2018

Sacramento Bee:  "'Creating an all-renewable grid 'is definitely feasible,' said Severin Borenstein, faculty director of the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley. 'The question is, how expensive is it going to be.'"

"Californians pay on average a total of 15.2 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, or about 50 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. On the other hand, Californians use roughly half as much electricity per capita as the average American, according to California Energy Commission data."

"Borenstein said the biggest obstacle to hitting 100 percent will be storage.  Natural gas-fired plants, which account for 33 percent of the state’s electricity, can be ramped up and down as demand fluctuates. But wind power can only be generated when it’s windy; solar power only works when it’s sunny. They can’t be stored up, and sometimes supply doesn’t conveniently sync up with demand."

"For instance, Borenstein said wind generation is most plentiful at night — when skies tend to be windier — but that’s when electricity consumption drops. Solar matches up better, but there are still times when demand is high but supply is scarce, such as early evening."

"That doesn’t mean going all-renewable will be impossible, though. Borenstein said California’s 'knowledge economy' is the perfect laboratory for investing and perfecting new technologies that could solve the problem."

"'We could get new technologies for storage that we haven’t even thought of yet,' he said. 'That’s exactly what California should be doing, and is good at.'"

"In that sense, he said the real benefit of SB 100 is as a spur to innovation. California barely accounts for 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases; by itself the state can’t make a real dent in global warming. But if the state can master the technological challenges of an all-renewable grid, it can show the way for other states and countries.

“'If it turns out we figure out ways to do this cost effectively, that is going to ripple out ... and move the rest of the world toward getting off fossil fuels,' Borenstein said."

 

 

 


Hydrogen Vehicles

August 20, 2018

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Digital Trends:  “'I think Texas will come to fuel cell vehicles through a different route because they have so much wind power, which means they have excess,' Malone pointed out. 'I’m pretty sure they have excess capacity and they don’t know what to do with it. But one of the things you can do is split water to make hydrogen. In Texas, you can store that hydrogen in underground salt caverns. We’re not talking about kilowatts or gigawatts of power; we’re talking upwards of terawatts of power that can be stored. Hydrogen becomes the battery in many ways.'

"As of today, there are two fuel cell vehicles on sale in California. Both the Honda Clarity and the Toyota Mirai are enjoying sales success in areas where hydrogen infrastructure exists. Hyundai had a fuel cell Tucson SUV in 2017 and plans to return with the Nexo crossover in 2019.

“'BMW is coming to market,' Malone said. “'In about 2019, you have Mercedes-Benz with its plug-in fuel cell car. Audi is coming to market with a vehicle. It talked about a serious production run. Recently, you had Honda and GM announce a jointly owned subsidiary to build fuel cells in Michigan or Ohio. If you look at that announcement as I recall it, GM also talked about the fact that this is a power unit and reserved the right to use it for non-vehicular purposes or non-transportation purposes.'

"One planned showcase for hydrogen power is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"'Tokyo is spending over $300 million to showcase this technology,' Malone said. 'We’re talking thousands of vehicles and hydrogen stations funded by Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. You will also have 100 buses and they’re going to power the athletes’ village using stationary fuel cells and hydrogen.'”


Widespread Record-Breaking Heat

August 17, 2018

Washington Post: "The headlines of record-crushing heat in the Northern Hemisphere began in June and haven’t stopped midway through August. Scores of locations on every continent north of the equator have witnessed their hottest weather in recorded history.

"The swelter has intensified raging wildfires in western North America, Scandinavia and Siberia, while leading to heat-related deaths in Japan and eastern Canada."

 


Anheuser-Busch Orders 800 Hydrogen Semi-Trucks

August 12, 2018

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Anheuser-Busch:  "Anheuser-Busch and Nikola Motor Company today announced that America’s leading brewer has placed an order for up to 800 hydrogen-electric powered semi-trucks from the pioneer in hydrogen-electric renewable technology. The zero-emission trucks — which will be able to travel between 500 and 1,200 miles and be refilled within 20 minutes, reducing idle time — are expected to be integrated into Anheuser-Busch’s dedicated fleet beginning in 2020."

"Through this agreement Anheuser-Busch aims to convert its entire long-haul dedicated fleet to renewable powered trucks by 2025. Nikola’s cutting-edge technology will enable the brewer to achieve this milestone across its long-haul loads, while also helping to improve road safety through the trucks’ advanced surround viewing system."

Video of fuel cell truck performance.


Nuclear Plant Development

August 11, 2018

Wall Street Journal: "China is home to 39 of the world’s 450 nuclear reactors and has another 19 reactors under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. The country intends to build another 203 reactors as an alternative to coal-fired power plants that contribute to air pollution. Russia and India, which have 37 and 22 reactors, respectively, are each building six reactors as part of longer-term plans to more than double their existing capacity.

"Capacity in the Middle East is forecast to jump from 3.6 gigawatts this year to 14.1 gigawatts by 2028, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as the region looks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. . . .

“There’s no doubt that global energy requirements are increasing dramatically,” said Peter Bacchus of Bacchus Capital Advisers, an advisory firm in London. “Uranium has to be part of the solution.”