December 24, 2022
Weekend Reads: Renewables Pit Google Against Utilities; Wind Power on Mars
It's the weekend – and the holidays are here! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023!
Clean Energy Quest Pits Google Against Utilities (The New York Times) It was the sort of dry panel discussion that occurs at hundreds of industry conferences every year — until a Google representative decided it was time to unleash. “This is personal for me,” Jamey Goldin, an energy regulation lawyer at Google, told those attending a May conference in Atlanta on renewable energy in the Southeast. He said he had grown up on a ridge overlooking Plant Bowen, a coal-fired power plant northwest of Atlanta owned by Georgia Power, the dominant electricity utility in the state, and then directed his comments at a lobbyist for the utility’s parent company, also on the panel: “Y’all got a lot of coal running up there, a lot of smoke going up in the air.”
More Nuclear Power Is What Both Parties Want (The Washington Post) Nuclear power is always good for starting an argument on the internet. In real life, however, it’s something the leaders of both parties largely agree on. Unfortunately, neither Democrats nor Republicans seem to have told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Under former President Donald Trump, the US Energy Department actually made a side show touting its top 11 accomplishments in nuclear power. They include $170 million in research funding, the siting of America’s first small modular reactor in Idaho, and “looking into multiple options to provide small amounts of high assay low-enriched uranium” for testing and demonstration projects. Under President Joe Biden, these initiatives have only intensified.
Transport decarbonization – 2022 in review (World Economic Forum) To learn is to grow, both as a professional and an individual. No one ever succeeds in anything grand by thinking they know everything. In fact, I would argue that those who admit they don’t know something but quickly strive to learn and educate themselves are all-around smarter than those who shy away from additional thoughts and knowledge. 2022 was an incredible year for the transport industry, but it wasn’t without a few twists and turns. We covered them for you right here in Transport Weekly, so let’s take a look back at some of those moments.
Wind Power on Mars Can Power Human Habitats, Scientists Discover (Vice) Picture, for a moment, the first human base on Mars. Perhaps you’re thinking of a modest habitat, a communications dish, or a return ship on a launchpad at a distance. As you look around, though, you might be surprised to see a line of wind turbines spinning in the Martian breeze, providing power to the first astronauts to walk on another planet. This vision of a wind-powered Mars base is not only feasible, it could actually open up novel locations on the Martian surface for exploration, reports a new study published on Monday in Nature Astronomy.
America’s most important EV is also its goofiest (Vox) Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor climate change stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. On Tuesday, the US Postal Service announced that it plans to buy 106,000 new vehicles by 2028, of which 66,000 will run on electricity and produce zero greenhouse gas emissions. The $9.6 billion investment for mail trucks and chargers, including $3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, could soon give the Postal Service the largest electric fleet in the US. A massive bulk purchase like this stands to move the entire EV market, spurring demand for the entire electric car supply chain, from batteries to semiconductors. The economies of scale could then lower the cost of these vehicles for everyone, making it easier to decarbonize transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
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