Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Microgrids, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 15, 2020

Weekend reads: Jeff Bezos' secret climate change project; Biden-Harris ticket to prioritize environmental action

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

Jeff Bezos offers a clue to his $10 billion climate change strategy (Vox) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos quietly created a new company to help execute his $10 billion pledge to combat climate change, Recode has learned, offering a clue into the plan known as the Bezos Earth Fund, which has been shrouded in secrecy since it was announced half a year ago. Bezos’s team has started a new limited liability company, Fellowship Ventures LLC, that appears to be involved in the historic philanthropic commitment, according to public records reviewed by Recode. That LLC applied for the trademark — with Bezos’s hand-signed authorization — for the “Bezos Earth Fund” in July, a move that suggests the LLC will be key to his plans, or perhaps even run the charitable program outright.

Can Onsite Generation With Microgrids Help Zap Widespread Blackouts? (Forbes) Is it more efficient for electricity to be centrally generated before sending it over high-powered transmission lines or is it better for the power to be produced onsite and then delivered by localized microgrids? Central generation is less expensive per kilowatt hour than that of distributed generation. But onsite generation with microgrids can lead to fewer “line-losses” because the electricity does not have to be “wheeled” across the country. That can result in losses of 5% of the power generated — a huge amount given the total volume of electricity that is consumed each year.

New York City’s Hottest New Energy Fight (HuffPost) A chain-link fence runs along 20th Avenue through northwest Queens. To the South are blocks of brick multifamily homes, where grandmothers tend fig trees in verdant front yards and proud immigrant parents celebrate high school graduations with gaudy banners hung from balconies. North of the fence, power plants burn the oil and natural gas that feeds New York City’s insatiable thirst for electricity. That fence is about to become a battle line in the fight over the city’s energy future.

As Colorado towns come to grips with a coal-free future, the state looks for ways to help (Energy News Network) In 2017, when residents of the Hayden School District debated the merits of building a new pre-k through 12th grade school, little was said about the near certainty that a nearby coal-powered power plant would likely be retired long before the building’s debt was. The Hayden Generating Station pays 57% of property taxes in the district. “Nobody wanted to talk about it. Now we’re talking about it pretty hard,” says Doug Monger, a life-long resident of Hayden and a Routt County commissioner. “When the power plant goes away, get your checkbooks out.”

With the Biden-Harris Ticket, Environmental Justice Is a Focus (New York Times) Just six days before Joseph R. Biden Jr. tapped Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the presidential election, the California senator released sweeping environmental justice legislation. The timing, climate activists said, was important if not prescient. The Climate Equity Act, an expanded version of a bill Ms. Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, introduced last year, puts the environmental health of low-income communities of color at the center of efforts to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases. Environmental leaders said the move sent an important signal: Not only would a Biden-Harris ticket prioritize addressing climate change, but it would focus on ensuring communities already burdened by pollution would benefit from a transition to clean energy.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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