Friday, January 6, 2017

Renewable Energy: Powering the World with Wind, Water and Sunlight

Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, has published a number of peer-reviewed scientific publications dealing with electric power derived from three renewable energy sources: wind, water and sunlight.

His publications demonstrate that renewable energy will not only benefit the environment in terms of avoiding pollution and global climate change, but also will provide far more jobs than will be lost in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. In addition to environmental and economic benefits, the transition to clean energy will provide significant heath benefits to society.

In the video below, Jacobson delivers a short lecture to California high school students titled "Powering the World with Wind Water and Sunlight (WWS)."

Want to see how Jacobson's WWS plan would apply to New York State?  
- Powerpoint Presentation (34 Mb) by Mark Jacobson titled "Powering New York State with Wind, Water and Sunlight"- Click here.
- Publication (2013) by Mark Jacobson and colleagues titled "Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight" -- Click Here to download the PDF. 
[Click image to enlarge]

See how the Jacobson WWS plan applies to the 50 United States:
- Publication (2015) by Mark Jacobson and colleagues titled "100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States" - Click Here.

See how the Jacobson WWS plan applies to the World:
- UPDATED October 24, 2016: "100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All- Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World" - Click Here.

Video at Youtube:  Click here.

China will invest $361 billion in clean, renewable energy by 2020 to curb pollution from fossil fuel combustion

Global Energy News | Thu Jan 5, 2017

China to plow $361 billion into renewable fuel by 2020

China will plow 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country's energy agency said on Thursday, as the world's largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation's energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period.

The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.

The agency did not disclose more details on where the funds, which equate to about $72 billion each year, would be spent.

Still, the investment reflects Beijing's continued focus on curbing the use of fossil fuels, which have fostered the country's economic growth over the past decade, as it ramps up its war on pollution.

Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's economic planner, said in its own five-year plan, that solar power will receive 1 trillion yuan of spending, as the country seeks to boost capacity by five times. That's equivalent to about 1,000 major solar power plants, according to experts' estimates.

The spending comes as the cost of building large-scale solar plants has dropped by as much as 40 percent since 2010. China became the world's top solar generator last year.

"The government may exceed these targets because there are more investment opportunities in the sector as costs go down," said Steven Han, renewable analyst with securities firm Shenyin Wanguo.

Some 700 billion yuan will go towards wind farms, 500 billion to hydro power with tidal and geothermal getting the rest, the NDRC said.

The NEA's job creation forecast differs from the NDRC's in December that said it expected an additional 3 million jobs, bringing the total in the sector to 13 million by 2020.

Concerns about the social and economic costs of China's air pollution have increased as the northern parts of the country, including the capital Beijing, have battled a weeks-long bout of hazardous smog.

Illustrating the enormity of the challenge, the NEA repeated on Thursday that renewables will still only account for just 15 percent of overall energy consumption by 2020, equivalent to 580 million tonnes of coal.

More than half of the nation's installed power capacity will still be fueled by coal over the same period.

(Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Michael Perry and Christian Schmollinger)

~   ~   ~

See also: ThinkProgress
Trump to cede millions of high-wage jobs to China
Beijing will create 13 million jobs by 2020, investing $360 billion in clean energy, while Trump vows to abandon the sector. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Webinar: NY Renews Community - Looking for Ways to Make a Difference?

NY Renews Community,
Looking for ways to make a difference?  

NY Renews is looking for you!

A year after our launch, NY Renews is building rapid momentum toward timely, just, and equitable action on climate change in New York State. Our coalition has grown to unite more than 100 environmental, social, labor and economic justice organizations with a mission to move the state’s economy off of fossil fuels and foster a just transition to renewable energy, create well-paying, safe jobs and revitalize impacted communities.

Facing a President-Elect who has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Big Oil, our best chance for progress is at the state and local level, and New York can show the way.

In recent weeks, hundreds of New Yorkers have turned out to town halls and press conferences, asking the Governor to stand up to Donald Trump by passing the nation's most ambitious climate policy. We need as many New Yorkers as possible to play an active part in pushing Governor Cuomo to be a real climate leader.

Ready to get involved? 

Join us for a Webinar on Monday, January 9th
from 7 to 8 pm

Find out how you can take action with NY Renews 
at this critical moment

*RSVP for the Webinar Here

[Click image to enlarge]

Spread the word widely on Facebook

In the meantime, please keep up the pressure by calling the Governor's office nonstop. Click here to go to our call-in tool (or here for Spanish). Urge him - soon and often - to stand up to Trump and make the Climate and Community Protection Act part of the 2017 NY State budget.

We look forward to your joining us on Monday, January 9th to discuss next steps.
Onwards, in solidarity,
Marc Weiss
for NY Renews Organizing Committee

Rally Outside Cuomo's UB Speech to Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline

RALLY outside Governor Cuomo's 'State of the State' speech 
Monday January 9th, 2:00 UB North Campus!

Say NO to the Northern Access Pipeline!

In the days before his SOS speech, CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO.
Press 3 to talk with a representative
To see suggested messages, Click Here.
Use your own…there are plenty of compelling reasons to say  
NO NOrthern Access 2016!

We need Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to Deny the DEC 401 Water Quality Permit for National Fuel’s proposed Northern Access 2016 Pipeline Project

CONTACT: Diana - Niagara Sierra Club 

Friday, December 9, 2016

New York must Lead the Fight against Climate Change - Take Action!

Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he plans to appoint Scott Pruitt as Administrator for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In response, NY Renews, a statewide coalition of 100 environmental, community, and labor groups, released the following statement: 

“The nomination of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator is an unmitigated disaster, yet more proof that the Trump administration intends to willfully ignore science and push our planet toward the brink of catastrophe, all at the bidding of the sole constituency they truly represent: the corporate elite.

As a former fossil fuel industry lobbyist, Scott Pruitt’s only expertise lies in lining the pockets of his friends in Big Oil, at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, especially poor people and people of color already feeling the impacts of climate change.

In the face of the Trump administration’s rapacious greed, New York must lead the country in the fight against climate change. NY Renews is calling on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to reject this nominee, and for Governor Cuomo to lead boldly in this moment of crisis. The Governor can stand up to Trump by proposing the nation’s most ambitious climate policy—the Climate and Community Protection Act—as a key component of his budget.

By mandating that New York de-carbonize its economy (the world’s 12th largest) by 2050, while protecting disadvantaged communities on the front lines and creating thousands of good green jobs, New York can break through the Trump administration’s corrupt lies and send a signal to the rest of the world: that we are strong, united, and more determined than ever to rise to the challenge of climate change.

Let Trump and his cronies shirk the responsibilities of history. New York needs to lead the way, now more than ever.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. Cuomo to be a Climate Leader! 
Join our fight by signing our petition - Click here
Local members of NY Renews include the Climate Justice Coalition of WNY, Interfaith Climate Justice Community, Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, Sierra Club, WNYCOSH, Massachusetts Avenue Project and Grassroots Gardens WNY.
~    ~    ~ 

EPA chief Scott Pruitt. Adam Zyglis / The Buffalo News

Gas Pipeline Leaked for Over 1 Year in a NY State Forest

The gas leak shown in the video.
On Nov. 30, Ryan Weatherley and Tim Ross, both of Olean, NY, were hunting in a NY State Forest near Franklinville  where they came across an unusual site. A large quantity of water was rising up above the surface of a puddle. It resembled the beginnings of a geyser eruption (see photo).

Nearby was a marker in the ground indicating that this was the location of a National Fuel Gas pipeline, suggesting that this was a gas leak. Weatherley spotted a total of 4 leaks in the area and recorded a closeup video of one of them.

See a 10 second video clip showing a closeup of the leak in the photo with sound: click here to open in YouTube.

View the full video (2 minutes): click here

Weatherley called National Fuel Gas who said they would handle it and that he should leave the area, according to a statement posted online with his video. He went back to his car with his friend and the company called back. They verified that there was a gas leak and that they wouldn't be able to do anything until after Christmas.

Contacted by the Olean Times Herald, Karen L. Merkel, National Fuel corporate communications director, said on Friday, Dec. 2, that the company has been aware of the leak for some time.

When it was discovered, it was determined to be “a Type 3 leak that did not require an urgent fix based on its location” in a rural area, Merkel said.

“We knew about the leak long before we saw it on YouTube,” Merkel said.

Late Friday afternoon, Merkel said crews had measured the extent of the leak, which had not changed in over a year.

However, Merkel said, “because of the volume of calls received about this leak in light of the Facebook and YouTube videos, we are in the process of repairing it so our system isn't inundated with leak calls that does not involve an inherent safety risk.”

To read the full report at Olean Times Herald, click here.

See also: Gas leak has now been repaired, click here.

Editorial Comments:
National Fuel knew that this pipeline was leaking for over 1 year and did nothing to stop it until it was spotted by citizens and posted on YouTube. Surprising, and at the same time, troubling.

This was not a small leak. Those were not simply gas bubbles in the photo and video. A sizeable mass of water was constantly being lifted above the surface of the surrounding puddle. It would take substantial amount of gas to do that and to constantly maintain it.

It's difficult to accept that this was not a safety hazard. What would happen if someone tossed a lighted cigarette butt in the vicinity of that leak? Explosion? Forest fire?

Safety aside, natural gas is primarily methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and climate change. National Fuel said that the extent of the leak "had not changed in over a year."

How many Type 3 leaks like this exist for a year or more in all of the gas pipelines in NY State? What is the total contribution of all such leaks to greenhouse gas emissions in the State? We need to know this information to accurately assess the full contribution of natural gas operations to global warming.

Gas pipeline (blue line) in Boyce Hill State Forest near Franklinville, NY

PROGRAM: Kids Speak Out for a Sustainable World

Learn about sustainability from those who will 
inherit and extend our environmental movement !!!  

Bring the whole family. This program is free and open to all.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cities and States: Rise of Clean Energy can't be Trumped

A wind turbine in Adair, Iowa. Credit Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

IOWA CITY — THE wind turbines that rise out of the cornfields here reminded me on a recent drive of one postelection truth, even in the red state of Iowa.

As President-elect Donald J. Trump considers whether to break the United States commitment to the Paris climate accord, the rise of clean energy across the heartland is already too well entrenched to be reversed.

By 2020, thanks to MidAmerican Energy’s planned $3.6 billion addition to its enormous wind turbine operations, 85 percent of its Iowa customers will be electrified by clean energy. Meanwhile, Moxie Solar, named the fastest-growing local business by The Corridor Business Journal of Iowa, is installing solar panels on my house, and is part of a solar industry that now employs 200,000 nationwide.

Doomsday scenarios about the climate have abounded in the aftermath of the November election. But responsibility for effectively reining in carbon emissions also rests with business, and with the nation’s cities and states. Those are the battlegrounds. Worldwide, cities produce as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of the planet’s cities lie along the coasts and are threatened by slowly rising seas. Seventy percent of those cities are already dealing with extreme weather like drought and flooding. Add in aging infrastructure and waves of migrants and it is obvious that city planners, mayors and governors have had to re-envision how their cities generate energy and provide food and transportation.

“The concept of a regenerative city could indeed become a new vision for cities,” the Germany-based World Future Council reported recently. “It stands for cities that not only minimize negative impact but can actually have a positive, beneficial role to play within the natural ecosystem from which they depend. Cities have to constantly regenerate the resources they absorb.”

This idea won broad support at a recent gathering of city leaders from around the world in Quito, Ecuador, hosted by the United Nations. The Habitat III conference approved a “new urban agenda” that urges cities to adapt to climate change but minimize their harm to the environment and move to sustainable economies.

In a changing climate, these approaches make sense. As Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, told the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce recently, “Cities, businesses and citizens will continue reducing emissions, because they have concluded — just as China has — that doing so is in their own self-interest.”

With or without significant federal support, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require major private investment, as it has here in Iowa, and ambitious private-public initiatives from mayors and governors. We need to activate a new era of “regenerative” cities and states.

California’s recent move to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is a hopeful shift that other cities and states should emulate. This would involve setting high benchmarks for developing green enterprise zones, renewable energy, cultivating food locally, restoring biodiversity, planting more trees and emphasizing walkability, low-carbon transportation and zero waste.

Following this regenerative approach, the Australian city of Adelaide reduced its carbon emissions by 20 percent from 2007 to 2013, even as the population grew by 27 percent and the economy increased by 28 percent. The city experienced a boom in green jobs, the development of walkable neighborhoods powered by solar energy, the conversion of urban waste to compost and a revamped local food industry. The city also planted three million trees to absorb carbon dioxide.

Over 10,000 climate initiatives are underway in cities worldwide, according to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which represents 80 major cities. In nearby Des Moines, for instance, Mayor Frank Cownie recently committed the city to reducing its energy consumption 50 percent by 2030 and becoming “carbon neutral” by 2050.

Initiatives like those have become a “fill the potholes” reality for many mayors, regardless of political games in Washington. In San Diego, the Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, helped to push through a climate action plan that commits the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Other cities are following his lead.

“Dull, inert cities, it is true, do contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else,” the urban visionary Jane Jacobs wrote. “But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.”

In an age of climate change, and a possible shift in the federal government’s priority on climate action, never have those words been truer.

Jeff Biggers, the author of “Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland,” is the founder of the Climate Narrative Project at the University of Iowa.

New York Times

Cities and States Lead on Climate Change

Op-Ed Contributor
New York Times
Nov. 30, 2016