Democrats eye climate in big infrastructure push

Source: By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

President Biden and congressional Democrats are already bracing for the next big legislative fight — a major infrastructure package that may aim to bolster clean energy. But a cacophony of competing demands is already threatening to divide Democrats who have largely united behind the coronavirus relief bill currently being debated in Congress. 

No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts

Source: By Dionne Searcey, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

“It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we will be able to heat our homes in the winter times and cool our homes in the summer times,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. Other conservative talk-show hosts had already picked up the theme. However, wind power was not chiefly to blame for the Texas blackouts. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production, which is responsible for the majority of Texas’ power supply. Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation

Vestas Looks at Wind Turbines Made of Wood With Startup Stake

Source: By Will Mathis, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Vestas Wind Systems A/S bought a minority stake in a Swedish startup that builds turbine towers out of wood. The move by the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines could help remove hard to recycle and fossil fuel-intensive materials like steel from the production process.

When Is a Gas Station Not a Gas Station? When All the Cars Are EVs

Source: By Nathaniel Bullard, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

I’ve been musing lately on what a much more electrified U.S. passenger vehicle landscape looks like—starting not with the vehicles themselves, but with the gas stations that serve them.
There are more than 106,000 gasoline stations in the U.S.—fewer than in 1990, more than in the years after the global financial crisis, and about the same as in 2005.

NJ Earmarks $100M for Electric Truck, Bus Fleets

Source: By Mike Catalini, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

New Jersey is spending $100 million on reducing carbon emissions in garbage trucks, school buses and passenger buses, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday. Murphy announced the new round of spending in Newark and said the funds will come from proceeds the state realized from a greenhouse gas initiative it’s a member of, as well as from a settlement with Volkswagen.

Biden scraps Trump plan to weaken environmental rules to build renewables in California

Source: By Nichola Groom, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Nichola Groom Biden administration on Wednesday said it would scrap a Trump-era proposal to weaken environmental protections for millions of acres of California desert to ease development of wind and solar energy projects. The move is President Joe Biden’s latest effort to roll back his predecessor’s four-year legacy of energy and environmental deregulation. Former President Donald Trump’s administration made a last-minute push to accelerate energy development on public lands, including by amending the so-called Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan just days before leaving office.

Texas Was Warned a Decade Ago Its Grid Was Unready for Cold

Source: By Ari Natter and Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Federal regulators warned Texas that its power plants couldn’t be counted on to reliably churn out electricity in bitterly cold conditions a decade ago, when the last deep freeze plunged 4 million people into the dark. They recommended that utilities use more insulation, heat pipes and take other steps to winterize plants — strategies commonly observed in cooler climates but not in normally balmy Texas.

White House rebuts claims that green energy is to blame for Texas power outages

Source: By David Knowles, Yahoo News • Posted: Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The White House pushed back Wednesday on claims made by conservative politicians and pundits blaming renewable energy sources for widespread power outages in Texas in the wake of this week’s unprecedented winter storms. Asked to comment on former Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s assessment that too much reliance on wind and solar power was at least partly responsible for the blackouts that have left millions of Texans in the dark, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the opposite was true.

150 years of spills: Philadelphia refinery cleanup highlights toxic legacy of fossil fuels

Source: By Laila Kearney Philadelphia and Valerie Volcovici in Washington, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Wearing blue hard hats, white hazmat suits and respirator masks, workers carted away bags of debris on a recent morning from a sprawling and now-defunct oil refinery once operated by Philadelphia Energy Solutions. Other laborers ripped asbestos from the guts of an old boiler house, part of a massive demolition and redevelopment of the plant, which closed in 2019 after a series of explosions at the facility.

How the Warming Arctic Helped Drive a Deep Freeze Into Texas

Source: By Brian K Sullivan, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

The Earth’s poles are warming faster than anywhere on the planet. While the consequences of that aren’t completely understood, it’s becoming apparent that many of the world’s extreme weather events owe the Arctic at least some of the credit. A blast of cold air that swept out of Canada in mid-February, moving across the Great Plains and deep into the South, has overburdened the electrical grid and triggered widespread power outages in Texas, which like many southern states relies predominantly on electric heating, according to the Energy Information Administration.