News

Wind power a smaller contributor to Texas electricity crisis than initially estimated, ERCOT analysis shows

Source: By Erin Douglas, • Posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

An updated analysis of February’s Texas power crisis by experts at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas shows that lost wind power generation was a small component of the huge losses in electric generation that plunged much of the state into darkness during the severe cold weather. While Texas Republicans were quick to blame renewable energy during the storm — and have continued to target renewable energy for reform during this year’s legislative session — a recently updated report on the causes of generator outages during the week of Feb. 14 show that the most significant cause of the low power supply to the grid came from natural gas plants shutting down or reducing electricity production due to cold weather, equipment failures and natural gas shortages.

Why some electric car owners revert back to buying gasoline-powered vehicles

Source: By Bob Yirka, Tech Xplore • Posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

A pair of researchers with the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis has looked into the problem of some people who buy electric vehicles reverting back to gasoline powered cars as their follow-up vehicles. In their paper published in the journal Nature Energy, Scott Hardman and Gil Tal describe the survey they sent out to electric vehicle buyers in California and what they learned from those who filled out and returned them.

People of Color Breathe More Hazardous Air. The Sources Are Everywhere.

Source: By Hiroko Tabuchi and Nadja Popovich, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a disproportionate toll on Black, Latino and other communities, added to the burdens. “A lot of families have kids with asthma. There’s high rates of respiratory illness. Many people have died from cancer and other types of diseases,” said Vivian Huang, a director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, which works with communities that live at the fence line of refineries and other polluting facilities in California. “The Covid pandemic has just exacerbated these immense inequalities.”

Deadly air pollutant ‘disproportionately and systematically’ harms Americans of color, study finds

Source: By Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

The findings of researchers from five universities, published in the online journal Science Advances, provide the most detailed evidence to date of how Americans of color have not reaped the same benefits as White Americans, even though the country has made major strides in curbing pollution from cars, trucks, factories and other sources. The particles studied have diameters of no more than 2.5 micrometers — one-thirtieth the width of a human hair — and can become embedded in the lungs. Known as Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, they account for between 85,000 and 200,000 premature U.S. deaths each year.

California hit 95% renewable energy, but challenges remain

Source: By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Something remarkable happened over the weekend: California hit nearly 95% renewable energy. I’ll say it again: 95% renewables. For all the time we spend talking about how to reach 100% clean power, it sometimes seems like a faraway proposition, whether the timeframe is California’s 2045 target or President Biden’s more aggressive 2035 goal. But on Saturday just before 2:30 p.m., one of the world’s largest economies came within a stone’s throw of getting there.

Biden administration offers $8.25 bln in loans for power grid

Source: By Timothy Gardner, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it is offering up to $8.25 billion in loans for companies to boost the power grid as part of the Biden administration’s goal to set the country on a path to 100% clean energy by 2035. The department is making financing available for projects that improve resilience and expand transmission capacity across the grid, “so we can reliably move clean energy from places where it’s produced to places where it’s needed most,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

Johnson County landowners consider trading ethanol crop for fields of solar in $4.7M project

Source: By Zachary Oren Smith, Iowa City Press-Citizen • Posted: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

A year ago, Dane was offered an alternative use for his land. Sean Kennedy of Megawatt Photovoltaic Development Inc., a utility-scale solar developer, approached him about a project that would continue generating energy but at a much larger scale. Kennedy envisions a $4.7 million initial outlay for a project called the Johnson County Solar Triangle. It would require 1,500 acres, allowing for the photovoltaic infrastructure to provide up to 150 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 30,000 homes. By comparison, a recent MidAmerican Energy utility-scale solar project in Hills would generate two megawatts of electricity, or enough to power roughly 400 homes.

New York State lawmakers pass bill mandating only electric cars sold by 2035

Source: By Rick Karlin, The Times-Union • Posted: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

The state Senate on Monday passed a bill that would essentially mandate that all new passenger cars sold in the state run on electric power by 2035. The measure, which had earlier passed in the Assembly, would also have trucks and other heavy duty vehicles run on electricity by 2045. The measure was sponsored by two Democrats, Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright from Long Island and Westchester Senator Pete Harckham.

Lawmakers Unveiling ‘Earmark’ Requests for Infrastructure Bill

Source: By Billy House, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

After Democrats said they would revive member directed spending, House Republicans last month lifted their own ban on earmarks. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said GOP lawmakers want to have a say where money is directed in their own districts. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said Monday the Senate would restore earmarks following disclosure rules similar to those in the House. Senate Republicans have kept in place their ban on requesting earmarks, though it’s not binding and GOP senators will be able to ask for projects.

Why Congressional Earmarks Are Staging a Comeback

Source: By Erik Wasson, Bloomnberg • Posted: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Now with narrow majorities in the House and the Senate, Democrats are moving to resurrect earmarks with a preferred new name — “community project funding requests” — and a renewed commitment to the rules that were supposed to make the process more transparent. In a surprise move, House Republicans voted narrowly to go along. Senate Republicans may follow suit ahead of congressional consideration of a plan to spend $1 trillion or more on infrastructure improvements.