Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

July 23, 2022

Weekend Reads: How Biden Plans to Tackle Climate Without Congress; Japan's Cow Manure Power Plant

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

Congress failed on climate. What can Biden do now? (Vox) President Joe Biden promised on Wednesday that since Congress won’t tackle the climate crisis, he will. “Let me be clear, climate change is an emergency,” Biden said, standing in front of a closed coal power plant turned renewable energy hub in Somerset, Massachusetts. “In the coming weeks, I’m going to use the power I have as president to turn these words into formal official government actions, through the appropriate proclamations, executive orders, and regulatory power that a president possesses.”

In a Twist, Old Coal Plants Help Deliver Renewable Power. Here’s How. (The New York Times) Across the country, aging and defunct coal-burning power plants are getting new lives as solar, battery and other renewable energy projects, partly because they have a decades-old feature that has become increasingly valuable: They are already wired into the power grid. The miles of high-tension wires and towers often needed to connect power plants to customers far and wide can be costly, time consuming and controversial to build from scratch. So solar and other projects are avoiding regulatory hassles, and potentially speeding up the transition to renewable energy, by plugging into the unused connections left behind as coal becomes uneconomical to keep burning.

Alternative batteries are solving the biggest problem in renewable energy (Freethink) Many of the cheapest, cleanest sources of power are dependent on environmental conditions — turbines can’t spin if the wind isn’t blowing, and solar panels can’t harvest energy if the sun isn’t shining (usually). Fossil fuels don’t have that consistency problem — you can burn coal or natural gas at any time to produce electricity — so we rely on them for times when renewable energy isn’t available. Storing renewable energy when the supply is high can accelerate the transition to a world powered by clean energy, but traditional lithium-ion batteries — like the ones in your smartphone — aren’t perfect for this use.

Solar Panel Recycling Is About To Become BIG Business! (CleanTechnica) A solar panel has a useful life of about 20 years. That means a lot of panels installed in the early part of this century are ready to be replaced. But what to do with them? Until now, most of them have simply been discarded in dumps and landfills because no commercially viable recycling process existed to recapture the precious elements inside them. But just as companies like Redwood Materials are finding they can recycle EV batteries and make money at it, some companies are seeing the financial opportunities that old solar panels represent and are pursuing ways do the same.

Cow Manure Power Station in Japan Extends Battle to Curb Methane (Bloomberg) A Canadian company has teamed up with the renewable energy arm of Japanese property group Toyo to build one of Japan’s biggest plants to convert cow manure into power, the latest effort to fight the potent effects of methane on global warming. The facility will anaerobically digest about 250 metric tons of cow manure a day and generate about 1.2 megawatts of energy from biogas, enough to power about 2,200 homes a year, according to Anaergia Inc.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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