Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, GHG Emissions, Solar  -  October 21, 2023

Weekend Reads: Cash-for-Carbon Hustle, Green Solar from Space

It’s the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web:

The great cash-for-carbon hustle (The New Yorker)  Offsetting has been hailed as a fix for runaway emissions and climate change — but the market’s largest firm sold millions of credits for carbon reductions that weren’t real. 

Biden's big bet on hydrogen has potential warming pitfalls (Axios)  The Biden administration's $7 billion push to ramp up hydrogen production signals the huge potential for this fuel to help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors, among other uses. There is agreement in the climate and energy community that hydrogen could play a significant role in the energy transition, but some peer-reviewed studies have identified red flags around exactly how to scale up production, transport and use of this fuel.

Utility, charging company battle over EV fast chargers slows deployment amid massive needs (UtilityDive)  The transformation of U.S. transportation to electric vehicles requires a massive deployment of fast chargers that is being slowed by a debate over whether utilities should own and operate charging facilities, analysts on both sides of the debate agree. To grow today’s estimated 10% of new light duty zero emission vehicle sales to the national 2030 target of 50% will require a change “unprecedented in the history of the automotive industry,” a June 2023 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, study reported. Utilities and charging companies widely agree with NREL on the huge need for public charging but not on the key providers to meet it.

Water plus sunshine equals green hydrogen, say MIT researchers (CleanTechnica)  Researchers at MIT claim to have invented a train-like system of reactors that split water into hydrogen and oxygen using only sunlight. The system harnesses the sun’s heat to directly split water and generate hydrogen — a clean fuel that can power long-distance trucks, ships, and planes while emitting no greenhouse gas emissions in the process. The researchers call this “solar thermochemical hydrogen” or STCH.

Green solar energy beamed from space may soon be cheap and plentiful (Newsweek)  Three years ago, Sanjay Vijendran's colleague told him about a scheme that seemed straight out of science fiction: beaming energy from solar panels in space down to the Earth. "The whole idea was new to me," says Vijendran, a scientist at the European Space Agency (ESA). "It sounded like something you'd laugh at." No one's laughing now, least of all Vijendran. He's heading ESA's Solaris project, which is working toward launching satellites that by the mid-2030s could be beaming down a sizable fraction of all the energy Europe needs.

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