Weekend Reads: Biden Considers the Future of Offshore Drilling; Could We Make Solar Even Greener? - Smart Energy Decisions

June 25, 2022

Weekend Reads: Biden Considers the Future of Offshore Drilling; Could We Make Solar Even Greener?

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

Solar is one of the cleanest power sources we’ve got. But it could be even greener. (Grist) There are only four companies that manufacture polysilicon, a critical material for solar panels and semiconductors, in the United States. This spring, one of them got a big influx of cash. In April, a Korean company called Hanwha Solutions announced it had become the largest shareholder of REC Silicon, which can produce 16,000 metric tons of polysilicon annually from a refinery in Washington State—enough to meet more than a quarter of the U.S. solar industry’s demand. 

How GM, Ford and Tesla are tackling the national EV charging challenge (CNBC) More people than ever are buying electric vehicles. There are about 2 million EVs on the road in the U.S., up six-fold since 2016, but the number of EVs is still a very small slice of the more than 280 million vehicles in operation. Some factors, such as upfront cost and battery range, are largely manufacturing and innovation challenges being handled inside companies. But another source of consumer resistance opens up a complex set of questions that will need to be addressed on a macro level – the availability of charging stations and a power grid that can handle them.

Could AI protect renewable energy sources on the grid? (E&T) Iowa State engineers are working to secure renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind farms, against cyber attacks. According to experts, solar panels and wind turbines, now projected to produce 44 per cent of America’s electricity by 2050, present cyber-security challenges. Many of these renewables have sensors, controllers, actuators or inverters that are directly or indirectly connected to the internet, and they’re distributed far and wide across the country and the countryside. Many have insecure connectivity to legacy electric grid systems, therefore making them subject to advanced persistent threats. More of these systems will also be online over the next few years.

Biden’s Inner Circle Debates Future of Offshore Drilling (The New York Times) President Biden’s top aides are weighing whether to ban new oil and gas drilling off America’s coasts, a move that would elate climate activists but could leave the administration vulnerable to Republican accusations that it is exacerbating an energy crunch as gas prices soar. By law, the Department of Interior is required to release a plan for new oil and gas leases in federal waters every five years. Deb Haaland, the Interior secretary, has promised Congress a draft of the Biden plan will be available by June 30.

Why Spain's renewable energy boom is so controversial  (EuroNews) The acclaimed Spanish film Alcarràs tells the story of how a solar park uproots astruggling farming family growing peaches in Catalonia: a century-old orchard mercilessly trampled by progress; a family divided. Winner of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Golden Bear and a box office hit at home, the film has clearly struck a chord with Spaniards. That is likely because it comes as they witness the frantic race to build renewable energy plants across the country and harness Spain's unique combination of sun and wind. The starting gun was fired when the current socialist government lifted the moratorium on renewables in 2018 and swept aside the notorious sun tax introduced by their conservative predecessors.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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