According to a report released by The Wilderness Society “If U.S. public lands were their own country, they would rank fifth in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.” There’s been a big hullaballoo over Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plans to turn our public lands over to industry interests. But a lot of that land is already leased out to oil and gas companies, in transactions that have been largely shielded from public view.Here’s a breakdown of some of the report’s more alarming findings:Oil, gas, and coal projects on public lands are responsible for at least 20 percent of our country’s total emissions.There is currently no “systematic effort to track nor disclose the carbon consequences of energy leasing on public lands.” That means the American public has had little opportunity to weigh in on how its energy resources are managed.The Bureau of Land Management under President Trump has instructed land management agencies to forgo climate impact assessments in the interest of spurring new energy developments.
Colorado could have nearly 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, according to one estimate. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday released broad plans to foster growth in the state’s already booming electric vehicle market, saying he believes the keys to economic development and cleaner air lie — at least in part — outside of the internal combustion engine. “They say it takes a village,” Hickenlooper told reporters while flanked by a host of electric vehicles in downtown Denver. “Really, it takes a lack of silos to get an electric vehicle framework in place. … I think it really does a great job of capturing Colorado’s vision that we are going to have a network of fast-charging stations, we’re going to be able to address what’s sometimes referred to as ‘range anxiety.’ ” The plan, which largely encompasses previous state electric-vehicle initiatives, calls for public-private partnerships to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, provide a consistent refueling system across the state and Rocky Mountain West and build new relationships to bolster investment in infrastructure.
The Department of Energy announced a new competition Wednesday to "re-energize innovation" in the U.S. solar manufacturing market, following the president's decision earlier this week to place tariffs on imported solar panel technology. The challenge-based "American Made Solar Prize" would award $3 million to U.S. entrepreneurs focused on developing processes and products related to solar energy with a goal to "reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace."“The United States possesses the talent, expertise, and vision to surpass the rest of the world in solar technologies and forge a new solar energy landscape around the globe,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement. “The American Made Solar Prize will galvanize our country’s entrepreneurs, allow them to utilize technologies and innovations developed through [the Department of Energy's] early-stage research and development, and, ultimately, bring new American-made products to market.”
Wind power is forecast to surpass hydroelectricity for the first time as the nation’s top source of renewable electricity sometime in the next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. The sector is expected to produce 6.4 percent of utility-scale electricity in 2018, and 6.9 percent in 2019, propelled by a construction boom of new turbines across the country.Few new hydropower plants are in the works, so new electricity generation depends on how much rainfall and water runoff pools in existing dams and reservoirs. Hydropower provided 7.4 percent of utility-scale generation in 2017 ― a particularly wet year ― but that figure is projected to fall to about 6.5 percent in 2018 and 6.6 percent in 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a steep tariff on imported solar panels on Tuesday, a move billed as a way to protect American jobs but which the solar industry said would lead to thousands of layoffs and raise consumer prices.But the solar industry countered that the move will raise the cost of installing panels, quash billions of dollars of investment, and kill tens of thousands of jobs, raising questions about whether Trump’s move will backfire by triggering mass layoffs.“We are not happy with this decision,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association, on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “It’s just basic economics - if you raise the price of a product it’s going to decrease demand for that product.”The leading solar trade group predicted that the tariffs could cut forecasted solar installations this year by nearly 20 percent, to 9 gigawatts from 11 gigawatts, and lead to the loss of 23,000 jobs in the United States, the world’s fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany.
California’s attorney general said the state plans to sue the Trump administration over its repeal of Obama-era rules meant to address public safety concerns in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands. The federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2015, under Democratic President Barack Obama, issued rules that would have required companies to provide data on chemicals used in fracking and to take steps to prevent leakage from oil and gas wells on federally-owned land. However, the rules for federal and tribal lands were never implemented because oil and gas industry groups sued to block them, arguing that they were unnecessary and would slow the country’s path to energy independence. That litigation ended when the Trump administration repealed the regulations last year.
A group of scientists with U.S. Stanford University have discovered a new type of cellulose in bacteria that could be used as a source for renewable fuels and antibiotic drugs in the future. A study by the Stanford researchers, whose findings were carried in the latest version of the journal Science, said the new modified cellulose, called pEtN, was extracted from one of the best studied bacteria -- E. coli, which is a large group of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia and other illnesses.Lynette Cegelski, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford and senior author of the research, discovered that the new cellulose had properties that were thought to be made to improve other sources of cellulose such as switchgrass or poplar for producing ethanol for fuels.
President Donald Trump’s effort to put coal miners back to work stumbled in most coal producing states last year, even as overall employment in the downtrodden sector grew modestly, according to preliminary government data obtained by Reuters. The effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with U.S. utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas - moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump. Unreleased full-year coal employment data from the Mining Health and Safety Administration shows total U.S. coal mining jobs grew by 771 to 54,819 during Trump’s first year in office, led by Central Appalachian states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania - where coal companies have opened a handful of new mining areas for shipment overseas.
In its January 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that total fossil fuels production in the United States will average almost 73 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018, the highest level of production on record. EIA expects total fossil fuel production to then set another record in 2019, with production forecast to rise to 75 quadrillion Btu.
An unlikely legal win by neighbors of a Michigan wind farm would have the potential to chill wind energy development in the state, legal experts say. A group of landowners filed suit in state court in August alleging a wind project near Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula is causing adverse health effects. These include sleep interruption and deprivation, stress, “extreme fatigue, anxiety and emotional distress.”Those claims will be difficult to prove, legal experts said, but if the landowners are successful it could have significant implications. That’s why clean energy groups are closely watching the case, which resurfaced in circuit court a month after being dismissed by a federal judge in July.