Almost every country in the world can power itself with renewable energy

The country’s energy mix is under scrutiny. A report commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry acknowledges that low natural gas prices—not renewables—are behind the recent closure of coal energy plants, and that the grid has managed to withstand the increasing presence of renewable energy. According to an unrelated study published this week in the journal Joule, the world is poised to give up fossil fuels altogether.

The research lays out renewable energy roadmaps—the mix of resources a given country would need to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy—for 139 countries collectively responsible for more than 99 percent of the global carbon emissions. According to the resulting analysis, the planet is pretty much ready to go 100 percent renewable by 2050.

Fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil are not renewable resources. It took an extremely long time for the Earth to produce them, and they're going to run out. And now that we know them to be significant contributors to human-caused climate change, trying to replace them is basically a no-brainer. Still, many regard renewable energy as the flighty, less dependable sibling of our go-to fossils. But according to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources accounted for roughly 15 percent of total electricity generation and 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2016. Some of that investment in renewable energy is being led by places that we tend to associate with petroleum, like Texas, where wind energy provided more than 12 percent of that state’s electricity in 2016.

Source: Almost every country in the world can power itself with renewable energy | Popular Science

A two-decade lobbying crusade by tax-exempt conservative charities fueled Trump’s exit from the Paris Climate Accord

It's time to discredit the false choice between environmental protection and economic growth, that climate change is simply an ideological choice and giving government more authority to address it would stimulate a “regulatory onslaught,” damaging the U.S. economy and subvert human freedom.

We must have the courage to come together and make changes to preserve the stability, resiliency and safety of our local communities at home and throughout the planet. Otherwise what is detailed in this article will continue as a smokescreen to delay productive and profitable efforts to prevent crises.

Source: A two-decade lobbying crusade by tax-exempt conservative charities fueled Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord – The Washington Post

A victory for Texas trees — and for local control

When Gov. Abbott issued his call for a special legislative session this summer, he only included one environmental issue: eliminating local tree protection ordinances in over 110 Texas cities. This gave Texas environmentalists a unique opportunity to organize an all-hands-on-deck effort focused on defending Texas trees and local democracy.

And you know what? We won.

Abbott pushed hard for this pre-emption legislation, calling local ordinances “socialistic,” a pretty big surprise for communities with tree protection rules like Mineral Wells, Mansfield and League City — hardly bastions of left wing politics.

…read more about how producing consensus policies can make Texas a better place to live…Source: A victory for Texas trees — and for local control

Mission Solar Energy’s New President to Debut at Solar Power International – Mission Solar Energy

On June 12th, Jae Yang was appointed President of Mission Solar Energy. This new endeavor has become a source of passion and excitement for him. We sat down with Jae and chatted about the job, his expectations and his plans to take the Mission Solar Energy into the future. LAYERS OF EXPERIENCE Jae previously worked for […]

Source: Mission Solar Energy's New President to Debut at Solar Power International – Mission Solar Energy

CPS Energy bracing for changes posed by technology

With a welcoming by former Texas Legislative Representative and CPS Energy retiree, Joe Farias (pictured at the podium), CPS Energy President & CEO, Paula Gold Williams, delivered her State of the Energy update on Wednesday to a sold-out luncheon of local business leaders and elected officials. In partnership with the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Gold-Williams spoke to the complexities of the energy industry’s changing business model.

Gold-Williams doesn’t see CPS Energy becoming a technology company. But it will be ready to partner with companies like Google and Amazon to make their new solutions work better for our community.

“We can’t tell you exactly what our next technologies will be,” she says. “There will be more solar, more wind, and energy storage. We will make it a priority to process those options and bring them to market quickly. Our goal is to be your energy expert and advisor, as well as your service provider, to help you aggregate technology in the right way. And of course, always keeping a sharp eye out for our customers.”

She says CPS Energy and San Antonio already are seeing the benefits of working with New Energy Economy (NEE) partners on technologies like solar power and LED lighting. “For example, we’re wrapping up a 450-megawatt solar initiative that utilizes a variety of technologies. At the same time, as many as 30,000 energy-saving LED lights are replacing old sodium lights and making local streets brighter.”

“We want to provide a high standard level of service, and get our partners to tweak that service to meet our customers’ needs,” she says.

Source: CPS Energy bracing for changes posed by technology

Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

The program offers just one example of the continuing efforts at the local level to rethink a largely carbon-based power system. The initiatives are driven by financial advantages as well as environmental ones.

Green Mountain’s chief executive, Mary Powell, sees the program here as the best way to please customers while making the system more environmentally and physically sustainable.

“The opportunity for us,” she added, is to lead the transformation of an electric system that depends on power sent along big transmission lines “to a community-, home- and business-based energy system.”

Source: Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid – The New York Times

Identify Anything, Anywhere, Instantly (Well, Almost) With the Newest iNaturalist Release –

A new version of the California Academy of Sciences’ http://inaturalist.org/iNaturalist app uses artificial intelligence to offer immediate identifications for photos of any kind of wildlife. You can observe anywhere and ask the computer anything. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it seems like it mostly works. It is completely astonishing.

One iNaturalist user compared it to getting your hands on a real-life Star Trek tricorder.

iNaturalist adds an option to use artificial intelligence to provide instant nature identifications.

Source: Identify Anything, Anywhere, Instantly (Well, Almost) With the Newest iNaturalist Release –

CPS Energy and AACOG Partner to Better Serve San Antonio – CPS Energy Newsroom and Blog

The Utility Will Coordinate Air Quality Data Collection Activities, Previously Handled by the Agency and Funded by the State

CPS Energy has agreed to further partner with the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), ensuring air quality data collection remains active at a half-dozen air monitoring stations across San Antonio and the surrounding area. While State funding for this work was recently eliminated, the new agreement between CPS Energy and AACOG will help both organizations keep up their efforts to effectively monitor San Antonio’s air quality…

Source: CPS Energy and AACOG Partner to Better Serve San Antonio – CPS Energy Newsroom and Blog

CPS Energy Grants UTSA $500,000 for Local Climate Research

A $500,000 grant from CPS Energy will allow researchers at University of Texas in San Antonio to dive into San Antonio’s climate inventory and, for the first time, develop the framework for a local climate action plan to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The project was announced Tuesday, moments before Mayor Ron Nirenberg signed a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“This Council, in resoundingly approving the resolution, made a clear statement that [climate action] is a priority. Now we are acting on it today,” Nirenberg said. The City’s comprehensive SA Tomorrow plan calls for a climate action initiative, but has yet to receive funding.

Source: CPS Energy Grants UTSA $500,000 for Local Climate ResearchRivard Report

San Antonio’s Potential Use of Cement Manufacturing Biomimicry Tech

With four major cement manufacturers in the area, is San Antonio ripe for using and developing carbon capture biomimicry tech to ward-off more than $1 billion in EPA non-attainment air quality and health costs? At least until these cement-making bacteria can build the cities of the future.

The Algoland Carbon Capture Project in Sweden Uses Algae to Help the Country Reach Zero Emissions

The green goo – in a corner of the factory, there are neatly lined, large, clear bags of green liquid with gas bubbling through them. This is part of the Algoland project, the brainchild of environmental scientist Catherine Legrand, executed by her team of researchers from Linnaeus University, and managed by Olofsson. The project has found a way to wield naturally occurring algae to capture carbon dioxide coming from the cement plant before it enters the atmosphere.

It’s elegant: Take water from the Baltic Sea’s Kalmar Strait next to the plant, pump it about 100 meters (110 feet, about the length of a soccer field) into bags that can hold about 3,000 liters (800 gallons) of liquid. Add key nutrients to multiply the naturally occurring algae, and then let them soak in the gases piped to it from the cement plant (what would otherwise be the factory’s waste product) while the sun shines…

Source: The Algoland carbon capture project in Sweden uses algae to help the country reach zero emissions — Quartz

Want to cut carbon emissions? Try growing cement bricks with bacteria

Draining the Swamp? Key EPA Appointee Was an Energy Lobbyist This Year, Senators Say

Even without conflicts of interest, is this Appointee really what we need in an already prone group of group thinkers?

Two senators are challenging a Trump EPA appointee, saying her lobbying record appears to prevent her, under Trump’s own ethics order, from doing most of her job.

Source: Draining the Swamp? Key EPA Appointee Was an Energy Lobbyist This Year, Senators Say | InsideClimate News

San Antonio Outshines Other Texas Cities In Solar Energy Capacity

San Antonio is the state's leader in solar energy capacity, according to a recent report assessing local "smart" policies across America.

Within the last decade, growth in the solar energy industry has brought numerous businesses and new initiatives to San Antonio.

CPS Energy, the city's municipal utility, for example, extended $15 million of funding to their solar photovoltaic rebate program in 2015 due to residential demand. Proposed changes to the solar rebate program could be in place as soon as June 1, affecting rules regarding installation, greater transparency for consumers, and a potential 10 cent increase per watt under the rebate.

How accessible are choices like solar panel roofs to citizens? Can solar energy be a viable, affordable alternative for San Antonio residents?

Guests:

Source: San Antonio Outshines Other Texas Cities In Solar Energy Capacity | Texas Public Radio

The Electric-Car Boom Is So Real Even Oil Companies Say It’s Coming

  • Oil major Total SA says EVs will drive 30% of car sales
  • Outlook is more bullish on EVs than most forecasters

Electric cars are coming fast — and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade.

The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline.”

Couse’s projection for electric cars is the highest yet by a major oil company and exceeds BNEF’s own forecast, said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“That’s big,” McKerracher said. “That’s by far the most aggressive we’ve seen by any of the majors."

Source: The Electric-Car Boom Is So Real Even Oil Companies Say It’s Coming – Bloomberg

The Cult of Perma – Food and Farm Discussion Lab

Editor’s Note: I stumbled across this piece by Graham some time in 2013, not long after it was published, and it set off more than one lightbulb moment for me. Up to that time I’d considered permaculture an intriguing subculture. I had thought that it might be a place to look for ideas and innovations for building out a better food system, one that is more in sync with nature, treading more lightly on the planet. What I expected was design and engineering insights to more closed loop, steady state modes of living. As you’ll find from reading Graham’s seminal essay that is not what you’ll find on balance from the permaculture movement. – MB

Source: The Cult of Perma – Food and Farm Discussion Lab

Exxon’s Opposition to Climate Fraud Probes Gets Less Sympathy From NY Judge

It will be interesting to see how this all works out…

A New York judge has signaled to lawyers for ExxonMobil that she is skeptical of their arguments to derail climate fraud investigations by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts. Exxon's position had won the support of a judge in Texas whose rulings were heavily weighted in its favor.

Source: Exxon's Opposition to Climate Fraud Probes Gets Less Sympathy From NY Judge | InsideClimate News

Energy is the new new internet

At heart, the enernet is the foundation for smart-city tech, including the “Internet of Things,” distributed systems, interconnected backbones and networking technologies, EV-charging services and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. These technologies will drive dramatic change and force us to rethink our cities, municipal services and sectors like transportation, insurance, real estate and financial services. From the enernet evolution will come smart cities that are an order-of-magnitude smarter, healt

Source: Energy is the new new internet | TechCrunch

Architects Show Leadership in Addressing Climate Change

Architects have a big responsibility for the role the built environment plays in climate change. At the Grassroots 2017 Conference in Washington DC, the AIA, the country’s largest professional association and accrediting body of architects, released a commentary to reaffirm and clarify its existing position on climate change, showing how the Institute is doubling down on its commitment to address carbon emissions in the built environment.

Source: Architects Show Leadership in Addressing Climate Change

eLab Accelerator Projects Sustain Hope for Clean Energy Innovation

Starting yesterday, the 2017 eLab Accelerator teams has convened at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah to accelerate their initiatives with the support of nationally renowned expert faculty and eLab’s specially trained facilitators. At Accelerator and beyond, projects from across the country are continuing to develop solutions for a transformed electricity system that will grow the clean energy economy and grant access to clean energy technologies for untapped parts of the population.

Source: eLab Accelerator Projects Sustain Hope for Clean Energy Innovation