Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

September 24, 2022

Weekend Reads: The Case for EVs Amid Concerns of Grid Resilience; Lessons from the Puerto Rico Blackouts

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

Why all Americans should be paying attention to Puerto Rico’s power grid (Vox) The 3.1 million residents of Puerto Rico found themselves in a depressingly familiar island-wide blackout this week in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Some of the power has been restored, but 1.1 million customers are still in the dark as of Wednesday morning. It may be days before all Puerto Ricans can switch on the lights and pump clean drinking water. The blackout comes on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall, a storm that left wounds that are still raw across Puerto Rico.

A “Supercharge” Of Renewable Energy Development Is Taking Place Around Us (CleanTechnica) It’s common to see wind turbines spinning in many cities and towns these days. Solar arrays line highway dividers and solar panels are perched atop lots of neighborhood rooftops. And this is just the beginning. Solar and wind, known as mature renewable technologies, just got a boost — now they have the potential to “supercharge” an already rapid pace of development. It’s all because of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The actions within that far-reaching climate legislation will spark the cost of renewable energy to decline dramatically over the next decade.

Why Electric Vehicles Won’t Break the Grid (Scientific American) A searing heat wave was pushing California’s electric grid to the brink of blacking out earlier this month when, in a frantic bid to keep the lights on, officials implored electric car owners to wait a few hours before plugging in their vehicles. That request from the California Independent System Operator came just days after state regulators approved a plan to ban sales of new gas cars in 2035. Conservatives jumped on the apparent dissonance as a sign of Democratic policy failures and the pitfalls of transportation electrification.

How Berkshire Hathaway Energy Escaped ‘The Coal Trap’ (Forbes) Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy purchased 2,000 acres in West Virginia, where the company will provide solar energy to an aerospace enterprise, creating as many as 1,000 jobs. The $500 million project is a potential magnet for similar businesses and helps to diversify the state’s economy and energy base. Despite the optimism, economic expansion remains an uphill battle. West Virginia’s Public Service Commission is under the thumb of coal companies that still have political muscle. Examples abound, underscoring that point. The state’s citizens are paying more for electricity as a result, while their communities may forego growth.

Can AI stop rare eagles flying into wind turbines in Germany? (The Guardian) Small in size, sensitive of constitution and with only 130 breeding pairs surviving locally in the wild, the lesser spotted eagle of the Oder delta lives up to its name. In Germany, key questions over the country’s energy future hang on the question of whether artificial intelligence systems can do a better job of spotting the reclusive animal than birdwatchers do. Lesser spotted eagles (named after the drop-shaped spots on their feathers) are fond of riding thermals over many of the flatlands earmarked for a mass expansion of onshore windfarms by a German government under pressure to compensate for a pending loss of nuclear power, coal plants and Russian gas.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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