Weekend Reads - Smart Energy Decisions

December 16, 2023

Weekend Reads: Women Underrepresented in Green Jobs; Heat Pumps Spur Minnesota's Energy Transition

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

Born in a Flood: The Epic Story of the Controllable Grid Interface (NREL)  In September 2013, a team of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers, led by Vahan Gevorgian and Robb Wallen, faced a looming deadline. Not only did the brand-new 5-megawatt (MW) dynamometer need to be up and running, connected to a 2.75-MW wind turbine nacelle as a trial technology component, but the power generated by the nacelle also had to be sent through the never-before-tried Controllable Grid Interface (CGI) and back to the grid.

‘Quite a gap to close’: women ‘vastly underrepresented’ in green jobs sector (The Guardian)  A new analysis of data by the Fuller Project in collaboration with Revelio Labs, a company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze employment data, found that people who hold clean energy jobs in sectors such as solar and wind tend to be overwhelmingly male. Women comprise just 31% of workers in green energy, the analysis found, a level largely unchanged since Barack Obama promised to create 5m green jobs in 2008. 

Euroviews. The EU and UK are backing the wrong horse in the race to net zero (Euronews)  Bioenergy has been much in the headlines over the last year, especially regarding the reform of the EU’s rules for how burning forest wood qualifies as “renewable energy.” It’s always been far-fetched to rely on burning trees — which emit more CO2 than coal when burned and take decades to regrow — as a way to “reduce” emissions.But climate policy could be about to go further off-track with a new focus on biomass energy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, as a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (in climate-speak, achieve “negative emissions”).

Heat pumps poised to accelerate Minnesota’s green energy transition (MPR News)  Minnesota has seen a surge in installations of heat pumps since 2019, fueled by cost savings and technological improvements that enable heat pumps to operate efficiently even in extreme Minnesota winters. Now, with additional federal and state incentives in the pipeline for 2024 that could reduce the cost of a heat pump by $12,000 or even more, installers are bracing for an even larger growth spurt.

The Solar Forest (Science Daily)  A verdant forest is one of the most iconic symbols of the power of nature, from the abundance of plant and animal life that shelters among its thick vegetation to the positive impact it has on Earth's climate, thanks in part to photosynthesis, which removes carbon dioxide from the air, thereby mitigating the effects of global warming. Cutting down tropical evergreen forests has played a significant role in exacerbating the climate crisis, and many environmental initiatives focus on rehabilitating destroyed forests or planting new trees. 

Keywords: Weekend reads

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