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Clean energy jobs dominate in Midwest

Daily Yonder | Posted on January 24, 2019

Jobs in the renewable-energy sector are a bright spot in the rural economy, according to the report from an environmental advocacy group. Jobs are growing in the clean-energy sector more quickly than in any part of the rural economy.The deployment of clean energy is a major economic engine for the rural Midwest, eclipsing fossil fuel jobs in most states, according to a new report released by an environmental advocacy nonprofit. 

Americans Increasingly Say Climate Change Is Happening Now

Inside Climate News | Posted on January 24, 2019

Nearly half of Americans say people in the United States are being harmed by global warming "right now"—the highest point ever in a decade-long national survey called Climate Change in the American Mind. The climate communications researchers who conducted the survey believe the results mark a shift in perceptions on the urgency of the climate crisis, with far-reaching implications for the politics of what should be done to address the issue.

Climate change tipping point could be coming sooner than we think

Science Daily | Posted on January 24, 2019

A new study confirms the urgency to tackle climate change. While it's known that extreme weather events can affect the year-to-year variability in carbon uptake, and some researchers have suggested that there may be longer-term effects, this study is the first to actually quantify the effects through the 21st century and demonstrates that wetter-than-normal years do not compensate for losses in carbon uptake during dryer-than-normal years, caused by events such as droughts or heatwaves.

Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003

Science Daily | Posted on January 23, 2019

Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought -- and will likely lead to faster sea level rise -- thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth's atmosphere, a new study has found.

California governor, lawmakers confront utility bankruptcy

Capital Press | Posted on January 22, 2019

The announcement by the nation's largest utility that it is filing for bankruptcy puts Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s problems squarely in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers, who now must try to keep ratepayer costs down, ensure wildfire victims get the money they're owed and rethink California's energy picture in the face of climate change.  "This issue is all about three fundamental things: It is about safety, it's about reliability and it's about affordability," Newsom told reporters after spending the day in and out of meetings with lawmakers about the pending bankruptcy. The filing would not make the lawsuits disappear, but would result in all wildfire claims being consolidated into a single proceeding before a bankruptcy judge, not a jury. That could shield the company from excessive jury verdicts and buy time by putting a hold on the claims."The chances of victims getting what they would've gotten without a bankruptcy are not good," said state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat.

Idaho’s new governor: ‘Climate change is real’

High Country News | Posted on January 22, 2019

Less than two weeks after being sworn in as the 33rd governor of Idaho, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has broken with national party leaders on climate change, declaring unequivocally that the phenomenon is real.In an address Jan. 16 at an event organized by the Idaho Environmental Forum, an association focused on discussing environmental policy in the state, Little bluntly told the gathered crowd, “Climate change is real.” In the stunned silence that followed his unexpected pronouncement, he went on to discuss how he’d seen Idaho’s seasons shift over his lifetime: “I mean, I’m old enough that I remember feeding cows all winter long in deep snow … boy, back in the old days when I was a kid, we had winters.”

Vineyard Wind offers $6.2M to compensate R.I. fishermen

Providence Journal | Posted on January 22, 2019

Vineyard Wind is offering to pay Rhode Island fishermen $6.2 million in compensation for lost access to fishing grounds as part of a mitigation plan for its proposed offshore wind farm that also includes the creation of a $23-million fund to research new gear and technology to support safe fishing in and around wind turbines. As expected, the offer to the state’s fishermen who catch squid, lobster and Jonah crab in the project waters south of Martha’s Vineyard falls short of what they wanted.One benchmark for the potential drop in revenues they would suffer from losing access to the waters where Vineyard Wind wants to erect 84 giant turbines comes from an analysis by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which put the number at between $30.5 million and $35.6 million over the 30-year life of the wind farm.

Coal Ash Is Contaminating Groundwater in at least 22 States, Utility Reports Show

Inside Climate News | Posted on January 22, 2019

The clearest picture yet of coal ash contamination in the United States is emerging, with utilities reporting serious groundwater contamination in at least 22 states. At dozens of power plants across the country, including many in the Southeast, utilities have found coal-ash pollution severe enough to force them to propose cleanup plans. Those plans will likely become the next front in a decades-long battle over how to manage one of the nation's largest industrial waste streams—one tainted by toxic heavy metals.

Texas regulators defer to legislature on utility ownership of energy storage

Utility Dive | Posted on January 22, 2019

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Thursday deferred a decision on outstanding questions regarding the ownership of energy storage devices, leaving the matter for consideration by the state's legislature.In a report to the legislature earlier this month, the PUCT said ownership of energy storage devices has "emerged as an issue that would benefit from legislative clarity."The legislature's session runs from Jan. 8 until May 27. If the legislature does not act, the PUCT would revisit the issue, Chairman DeAnn Walker said.

Virginia rejects majority of Dominion's $6B grid modernization plan, smart meter rollout

Utility Dive | Posted on January 22, 2019

Virginia regulators on rejected large portions of Dominion Energy's grid transformation proposal, including smart meter deployment and other modernization efforts.The 10-year proposal would have cost approximately $6 billion, with the first three-year phase pegged at $1.5 billion. Regulators said Dominion's plan had not been shown to be cost effective, cutting $1.34 billion from the first phase and leaving just $154.5 million for security-related measures.While the State Corporation Commission (SCC) did approve Dominion's physical and cyber security plans, the denials sent the utility back to the drawing board in terms of developing a smarter and more efficient grid. The utility said it will take the commission's comments into account when it files its next proposal.