News

Households Wince at the Rising Price of Going Green

Source: By Stacy Meichtry and Phred Dvorak, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, May 6th, 2024

When postal manager José Belloso put his Paris apartment up for sale this year he was required to have an inspector grade the home for energy efficiency under strict rules designed to fight climate change. Belloso’s building was built in the early 1900s from millstone, a porous sedimentary rock that was popular among architects of France’s Belle Époque. His apartment flunked the inspection—and under a regulation that came into force this year, the property was barred from the rental market until costly renovations are made. 

Balls, orbs or neurons: The pioneering tech helping Great River Energy manage transmission lines

Source: By Walker Orenstein, Minneapolis Star Tribune • Posted: Monday, May 6th, 2024

The small sphere, which the Norway-based company officially calls a “neuron,” has drawn nicknames like “magic ball” or “orb.” Whatever the name, electric cooperative Great River Energy plans to install 52 of these round devices as a way to ease one of the toughest problems facing the modern energy sector: Electric utilities are running out of space on transmission lines to transport a growing amount of wind power and other energy. While more power lines are in the works, those infrastructure upgrades are often expensive. The Heimdall technology aims to let more power flow along existing wires, which Great River believes could delay major infrastructure work and save its customers money. The nonprofit provides electricity for roughly 1.7 million people through 27 mostly rural cooperatives, ranging from northeast Minnesota to the Iowa border.

Elegant Wind Turbine Blades Made Of Wood Can Outperform Composites

Source: By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Contrary to popular belief, wind turbines are mostly recyclable. The problem is the wind turbine blades, which are mostly not. Now that the first generation of modern, non-recyclable blades is reaching the end of useful life, the race is on to find more sustainable materials for the coming generations. Wood is among the new materials in the running, and it could offer better performance as well as making a contribution to the circular economy of the future.

Missouri House approves bill prohibiting eminent domain for solar, wind energy projects

Source: By ALLISON KITE, Missouri Independent • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

With two weeks left in the Missouri General Assembly’s session, lawmakers are weighing multiple bills that would bar developers from seizing land to build wind and solar farms. One such bill, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Haffner, a Republican from Pleasant Hill, passed the House Thursday by an overwhelming 115-27 vote. It now heads to the Senate, where a similar proposal has been added to wide-ranging utilities legislation that awaits debate.

Three groups are suing New Jersey to block an offshore wind farm

Source: By Wayne Parry, Associated Press • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Three anti-wind power groups are suing New Jersey to overturn a key environmental approval for a wind energy farm planned off the coast of Long Beach Island. Save Long Beach Island, Defend Brigantine Beach and Protect Our Coast NJ filed suit in appellate court on April 26 challenging a determination by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that the Atlantic Shores wind farm project meets the requirements of a federal coastal protection law.

Warren Buffett thwarts oil lobbying disclosure push

Source: By Corbin Hiar, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett helped defeat a shareholder proposal on Thursday that could have pushed Occidental Petroleum to disclose more information about its lobbying efforts and trade group affiliations. The lobbying proposal was one of several resolutions that Occidental Petroleum investors — including the Berkshire Hathaway CEO — decided at the oil company’s annual shareholder meeting.

EPA power plant rule targets coal. Does that spell trouble for the grid?

Source: By Peter Behr, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

“If that plant does shut down, we could be in big trouble. That can’t happen,” said Joseph Bowring, president of Monitoring Analytics, the independent market monitor for PJM Interconnection, the grid operator for the District of Columbia, Maryland and a dozen other Eastern states as far west as Illinois. “We now have some plants scheduled for retirement that have the potential to create some massive reliability challenges,” Jim Robb, chief executive of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., the interstate grid security watchdog, told a conference in March, citing Brandon Shores. “I don’t know if it’s going to come to a head this summer or if it’s next summer.”

China’s Electric Cars Keep Improving, a Worry for Rivals Elsewhere

Source: By Keith Bradsher, New York Times • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

The dozens of car companies operating in China plan to put 71 new battery electric models on sale this year. Many new models have taller hoods for a bolder appearance and more storage space. The cars have bigger tires that improve braking. The seats are thicker and more comfortable. The batteries are ever smaller, more powerful and quicker to recharge. The changes are aimed at making the cars even more appealing for customers in China and more competitive abroad. Along with plug-in hybrid cars, battery electric cars are taking sales away from gasoline-powered cars and their manufacturers.

Biden’s EV tax credit rule offers big concession for automakers

Source: By Hannah Northey, Mike Lee, E&E News • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

The Biden administration unveiled final rules Friday for lucrative electric vehicle tax credits that attempt to balance trying to boost EV adoption to fight climate change with curbing China’s dominance of the supply chain. But the suite of rules, which includes hard-fought concessions for automakers, provoked outrage from the mining sector and some in Congress who want to see the U.S. adopt a more aggressive approach to China, while making it more difficult for consumers to actually take advantage of the financial assistance to buy EVs.

Tesla Pullback Puts Onus on Others to Build Electric Vehicle Chargers

Source: By Ivan Penn, New York Times • Posted: Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Last year, virtually all major automakers selling cars in North America agreed to use the charging plug developed by Tesla starting in 2025, reducing complexity. Electric cars in Europe and China rely on standards different from the one used by Tesla in North America. Tesla’s pullback “is a normal step of a market professionalization,” said Jörg Heue, chief executive of EcoG, a firm in Munich that provides charging software.