Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Solar Energy

Democrats Weigh Carbon Tax After Manchin Rejects Key Climate Provision

Democrats Weigh Carbon Tax After Manchin Rejects Key Climate Provision

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Some House and Senate Democrats, smarting from a move by Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, to kill a major element of President Biden’s climate plan, are switching to Plan B: a tax on carbon dioxide pollution.A carbon tax, in which polluting industries would pay a fee for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit, is seen by economists as the most effective way to cut the fossil fuel emissions that are heating the planet.The almost certain demise of the clean electricity program at the heart of Mr. Biden’s agenda — which comes as scientists say forceful policies are needed to avert climate change’s most devastating impacts — has prompted outrage among many Democrats and has led several to say now is the moment for a carbon tax.“I’ve had a carbon pricing bill in m...
China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

Business
BEIJING — A bread company can’t get all the power it needs for its bakeries. A chemicals supplier for some of the world’s biggest paint producers announced production cuts. A port city changed electricity rationing rules for manufacturers four times in a single day.China’s electricity shortage is rippling across factories and industries, testing the nation’s status as the world’s capital for reliable manufacturing. The shortage prompted the authorities to announce on Wednesday a national rush to mine and burn more coal, despite their previous pledges to curb emissions that cause climate change.Mines that were closed without authorization have been ordered to reopen. Coal mines and coal-fired power plants that were shut for repairs are also to be reopened. Tax incentives are being drafted f...
Transition Away From Fossil Fuels Not Moving Fast Enough, New Report Finds

Transition Away From Fossil Fuels Not Moving Fast Enough, New Report Finds

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles are advancing so rapidly that the global use of fossil fuels is now expected to peak by the mid-2020s and then start declining, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.But there’s a catch: The transition away from coal, oil and natural gas still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said, at least not unless governments take much stronger action to reduce their planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions over the next few years.The International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, a 386-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2050, comes just weeks before world leaders gather for a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgo...
Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Business
Tesla’s move from Silicon Valley to Texas makes sense in many ways: The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and the conservative lawmakers who run the state share a libertarian philosophy, favoring few regulations and low taxes. Texas also has room for a company with grand ambitions to grow.“There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,” Mr. Musk said Thursday at Tesla’s annual meeting hosted at its new factory near the Texas capital. “Here in Austin, our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown.”But Texas may not be the natural choice that Mr. Musk makes it out to be.Tesla’s stated mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” and its customers include many people who want sporty cars that don’t spew greenhouse gases f...

China’s Power Crunch Exposes Tensions Ahead of Key U.N. Climate Summit

Technology, World
Renewable energy in inland China sometimes generates more electricity than nearby consumers can use, but then at other times produces too little. Just five years ago, three inland regions that create abundant solar and wind energy power — sparsely populated Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu — were wasting up to two-fifths of that power.To address this problem, China has built ultra-high-voltage transmission lines linking the country’s interior to hubs near the coast.But connectivity still has a ways to go. “New demand can more than be met by cleaner sources of energy” if transmission networks are expanded, Ms. Lewis said.Beijing is also trying to use market forces to expand renewable energy. The Chinese government has ordered electric utilities to charge industrial and commercial customer...

Why Louisiana’s Electric Grid Failed in Hurricane Ida

Business
Just weeks before Hurricane Ida knocked out power to much of Louisiana, leaving its residents exposed to extreme heat and humidity, the chief executive of Entergy, the state’s biggest utility company, told Wall Street that it had been upgrading power lines and equipment to withstand big storms.“Building greater resiliency into our system is an ongoing focus,” the executive, Leo P. Denault, told financial analysts on a conference call on Aug. 4, adding that Entergy was replacing its towers and poles with equipment “able to handle higher wind loading and flood levels.”Mr. Denault’s statements would soon be tested harshly. On the last Sunday in August, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana and dealt a catastrophic blow to Entergy’s power lines, towers and poles, many of which were built de...
Biden Offers Ambitious Blueprint for Solar Energy

Biden Offers Ambitious Blueprint for Solar Energy

Business
One thing going for the administration is that the cost of solar panels has fallen substantially over the last decade, making them the cheapest source of energy in many parts of the country. The use of solar and wind energy has also grown much faster in recent years than most government and independent analysts had predicted.Business & EconomyUpdated Sept. 8, 2021, 1:21 p.m. ET“One of the things we’re hoping that people see and take from this report is that it is affordable to decarbonize the grid,” said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technology Office in the Energy Department. “The grid will remain reliable. We just need to build.”The administration is making the case that the United States needs to act quickly because not doing anything to reduce reliance on ...
From 4% to 45%: Biden Sets an Ambitious Plan for Solar Energy

From 4% to 45%: Biden Sets an Ambitious Plan for Solar Energy

Technology, World
The Biden administration on Wednesday released a plan to produce almost half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050 as part of its effort to combat climate change.Solar energy provided less than 4 percent of the country’s electricity last year, and the administration’s target of 45 percent would represent a huge leap and will most likely take a fundamental reshaping of the energy industry. In a new report, the Energy Department said the country needed to double the amount of solar energy installed every year over the next four years compared with last year. And then it will need to double annual installations again by 2030.Adding that many solar panels, on rooftops and on open ground, will not be easy. In February, a division of the Energy Department projected that the share of e...
California Recall Vote Could Weaken the State’s Aggressive Climate Policies

California Recall Vote Could Weaken the State’s Aggressive Climate Policies

Technology
Follow our latest updates on the California Recall Election and Governor Newsom.California has long cast itself as a leader in the fight against global warming, with more solar panels and electric cars than anywhere else in the nation. But the state’s ambitious climate policies now face their biggest reckoning to date.Voters in California are deciding whether to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ahead of a Sept. 14 recall election. Many of the Republicans vying to replace Mr. Newsom want to roll back the state’s aggressive plans to curb its planet-warming emissions, a move that could have nationwide implications for efforts to tackle climate change given California’s influence as the world’s fifth-largest economy.Under the rules of the election, Mr. Newsom would be removed from office if m...
Hurricane Ida Exposes Grid Weaknesses as New Orleans Goes Dark

Hurricane Ida Exposes Grid Weaknesses as New Orleans Goes Dark

Business
Most of New Orleans went dark on Sunday after Hurricane Ida took out transmission lines and forced power plants offline. It was an all too familiar scene in a city that has often lost power during big storms.But this was an outage that was never supposed to happen. The utility company Entergy opened a new natural gas power plant in the city last year, pledging that it would help keep the lights on — even during hot summer days and big storms. It was one of two natural gas plants commissioned in recent years in the New Orleans area, the other one hailed by Gov. John Bel Edwards last year as a “source of clean energy that gives our state a competitive advantage and helps our communities grow.”The storm raises fresh questions about how well the energy industry has prepared for natural disaste...