February 10, 2024
Weekend Reads: Why Are Clean Energy Plants Being Banned?; The First Solar-Powered Super Bowl
It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web:
Across America, clean energy plants are being banned faster than they're being built (USA Today) At least 15% of counties in the U.S. have effectively halted new utility-scale wind, solar, or both, USA TODAY found. These limits come through outright bans, moratoriums, construction impediments and other conditions that make green energy difficult to build. The impediments come as a gigantic effort to build green energy also is underway. U.S. energy from commercial wind and solar is expected to hit 19% by 2025, and those sources are expected to surpass the amount of electricity made from coal this year. But green energy must increase radically over the next 11 years to meet U.S. goals. And those projects are becoming harder to build.
Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy. The US government is about to find out how much. (Grist) In a few short years, the U.S.’s share of global crypto mining operations grew from 3.5 percent to 38 percent, forming the world’s largest crypto mining industry. The impacts of this shift have not gone unnoticed. From New York to Kentucky to Texas, crypto mining warehouses have vastly increased local electricity demand to power their 24/7 computing operations. Their power use has stressed local grids, raised electricity bills for nearby residents, and kept once-defunct fossil fuel plants running. Yet to date, no one knows exactly how much electricity the U.S. crypto mining industry uses.
National push for ‘green amendments’ puts states at forefront of climate fight (The Hill) A national coalition of environmental activists is trying to amend state constitutions to establish a guaranteed right to a safe climate or a clean environment — analogous to the right to freedom of religion or freedom of speech. They argue that such language, which the constitutions of Pennsylvania, New York and Montana already sport, would give the environment a solid legal grounding against industrial interests amid the climate fight — and enable states to maintain meaningful protections even in the face of deregulation by a future conservative federal government.
Solar geoengineering could start soon if it starts small (MIT Technology Review) For half a century, climate researchers have considered the possibility of injecting small particles into the stratosphere to counteract some aspects of climate change. The idea is that by reflecting a small fraction of sunlight back to space, these particles could partially offset the energy imbalance caused by accumulating carbon dioxide, thereby reducing warming as well as extreme storms and many other climate risks. Debates about this idea, a form of solar geoengineering called stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), commonly focus either on small-scale outdoor research that seeks to understand the physical processes involved or on deployment at a climate-altering scale.
Super Bowl 2024 to be powered by Nevada desert solar farm, marking a historic green milestone (CBS News) This year, the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host a Super Bowl powered entirely by renewable energy — a first in the history of the event. The seemingly desolate area of the Nevada desert is the source of the green energy used to power the game. A vast solar farm with over 621,000 panels shimmers like a mirage but with the capability to power close to 60,000 residential customers — or one very big stadium. The Las Vegas Raiders, which call Allegiant Stadium home, have entered into a 25-year agreement to buy power from this new solar installation owned by NV Energy. CEO Doug Cannon said that the solar installation would supply more than 10 megawatts of power for the Super Bowl.
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