Renewable Energy Keeps Growing While Oil Companies Shrink

Solar panels on grass

Without a doubt all business have been negatively impacted by the pandemic with some being hit more than others. The dirty and climate-destroying fossil fuel industry has really been hit hard (unfortunately it’s the workers who have been hurt by this and not the lying executives) and the industry isn’t even benefiting from reduced gas prices at the pump. On the other hand renewable energy companies are doing fine with only a slow down and not an industry-stopping problem. Renewable energy growth is expected this year with more utilities investing in renewable instead of fossil fuel because renewable are still cheaper than carbon-intensive alternatives.

Even the decline in electricity use in recent weeks as businesses halted operations could help renewables, according to analysts at Raymond James & Associates. That’s because utilities, as revenue suffers, will try to get more electricity from wind and solar farms, which cost little to operate, and less from power plants fueled by fossil fuels.

“Renewables are on a growth trajectory today that I think isn’t going to be set back long term,” said Dan Reicher, the founding executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and an assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration. “This will be a bump in the road.”

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Singularity University Online Conference on COVID-19 Happening Today

It’s free and you can attend from all over the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and we all need to do our part to help our communities. Step one might be to better understand the coronavirus and how it functions in the context of our health and our society at large. The Singularity University is running a free to all online conference on COVID-19 which runs today and tomorrow (yesterday’s session can still be viewed). In times like this we should all do what we can.

Join us for multiple days of live streamed content from Singularity University’scommunity of global experts on COVID-19, the current challenges and solutions, and future impact on our health, business, government, and communities.Our goal is to bring you the facts about this global health challenge and to give you practical information and tools to keep you healthy and prepared for what might come. The virtual summit will take place March 16-18, 2020 and will be completely free for anyone to join. We’ll be releasing specific sessions and topics this week.

All session will be live-streamed to our following social channels:

SU Facebook

SU Hub Facebook 

Twitter 

Linkedin

Register and watch here.

Teck Halts Work on Tarsands Proposal

industry

Canada is waking up to the reality of the climate crisis, those ringing the alarms includes a diverse group from the Wet’suwet’en Nation to Greenpeace. Now a large fossil fuel company, Teck Resources Ltd., has decided to not move ahead with an environment-destroying tarsands project partly due to the fact that planet is facing catastrophic climate change. The company CEO released a statement stating that the Canadian government needs to clarify its climate policy (essentially asking for regulation) and that the economic benefit of fossil fuels isn’t as clear as it used to be. The pressure that people put on Teck over the last years has proven effective, thanks to everyone that helped fight Teck’s initial plan!

Hopefully this helps empower the Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests. Protesting works.

Lindsay wrote that customers want policies that reconcile resource development and climate change — something he said the region has yet to achieve, but he did not clarify if the region he was referring to was Alberta or Canada.

“Unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project,” he wrote.

Energy consultant Greg Stringham, who has worked for the industry, government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said tight economics and increasing risks put Teck at the centre of debate around energy projects.

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Countries can Greatly Reduce Carbon Emissions by Improving Transmission

Solar panels on grass

In order to avert climate catastrophe we’re going to have to make boring changes to our built infrastructure. Politicians find it hard to argue for these sorts of enhancements because voters don’t get to see a ribbon cutting ceremony; however changes to infrastructure can make a massive difference. In the USA alone enhancing electrical transmission over power lines can reduce carbon emissions comparable to the entire chemical industry. And power lines are boring. As we find ways to use power lines (and other existing infrastructure) we need to encourage and reward politicians who want to improve them to save our planet.

Technical losses are the simplest to address through the deployment of more advanced technologies and by upgrading existing infrastructure, both for long-distance transmission of power and distribution at the local level. Improvements in transmission can be made, for example, by replacing inefficient wires, using superconductors that reduce resistance in wires, and thus lost energy, and controlling power flow and high-voltage direct current.

Similarly, improvements in distribution can be achieved by better managing the load and distribution of power, as well as how distribution lines are configured. Innovation, such as adopting digital technologies for routing power flows, can also play a role.

Solutions for nontechnical losses are more challenging and may only partially cut associated emissions. The causes of high losses are diverse and can originate in, for example, extreme events, such as the hurricanes that struck Haiti and Puerto Rico in recent years, or war, or a combination of weak governance, corruption and poverty, as seen in India. For either type of losses, countries with large shares of fossil fuel generation and the most inefficient grid infrastructure can cut the greatest emissions and reap the largest environmental benefits from reducing transmission and distribution losses.

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Closing Coal Plants Saves Lives

industry

Everyone already knows that burning coal for energy is absolutely horrible for the planet and were still learning just how bad coal power plants really are. The positive news is that once the plants are closed positive changes are quick to be found. A recent study found that shutting down coal power plants can be connected to the saving of 26,610 lives in the USA alone. There are other benefits too like cleaner air for plants, which in turns increases crop yields. This is yet more evidence that we need to do everything in our power to shutdown the use of coal.

An estimated 26,610 lives were saved in the US by the shift away from coal between 2005 and 2016, according to the University of California study published in Nature Sustainability.

“When you turn coal units off you see deaths go down. It’s something we can see in a tangible way,” said Jennifer Burney, a University of California academic who authored the study. “There is a cost to coal beyond the economics. We have to think carefully about where plants are sited, as well as how to reduce their pollutants.”

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