GHG Emissions, Regulation, Solar  -  December 23, 2017

Weekend reads: A holiday guide to climate science; coal for Christmas at FERC; Tesla's big year & more

 We know it's the holidays, and hope you're all done with your shopping and are gearing up for some quality time with family and friends this weekend. In the spirit of the season, we've compiled five of the top holiday and year-end energy stories for you to enjoy in between sips of eggnog: 

How to Talk to a Science Denier without Arguing (Scientific American):  It's the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are science deniers, from people who believe the moon landing was faked to those who believe vaccines cause autism or who think that humans did not cause significant global climate change. How can you deal with such science deniers effectively?

Trump Appointee Who Wanted to Help Coal Gets Coal for Christmas (Bloomberg): Despite months of trying, Republican Neil Chatterjee never did manage to pass a rule to save struggling coal plants by the end of his stint leading the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As consolation, a Democratic colleague gave him a bag of coal. "A 90-day supply!" Chatterjee joked as he accepted the gift Thursday from fellow commissioner Cheryl LaFleur at the agency’s monthly meeting. Chatterjee was referring to a proposal he had pushed to pay power plants that store 90 days of fuel on-site.

The Ups and Downs of Tesla's Wild Ride in 2017 (Greentech Media):  2017 was a crucial and tumultuous year for Tesla, the 14-year-old EV maker and energy company run by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. It could turn out to be the most challenging one in Tesla's history. The company entered "production hell" this year with its mass-market electric car the Model 3 and was forced to push back vehicle shipments by at least three months. Meanwhile, the company spent, at times, $1 billion a quarter developing the car and the batteries that power it.

10 trends shaping the electric utility industry in 2017 (Utility Dive): If there's one hallmark of the power sector at the beginning of 2017, it's uncertainty. At the time of our last trend forecast list in September 2015, the utility industry was already being disrupted: Customer demand for distributed resources and the push for cleaner electricity were reshaping centralized fossil fuel-based grids across the country to accommodate variable renewables and customer-sited resources.

A solar-powered Christmas display in Minnesota (KARE 11): A 39-kilowatt solar array was installed at Sovereign Estates Winery this past spring. While it helps to power their winemaking operations at the farm, it also powers a lot of holiday lights. "We know we have about 10 miles if you would string them end to end, and that grows daily because my husband keeps adding to the light array," said Teresa Savaryn, Owner, Sovereign Estate Winery.

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