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Energy News

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel. They’re also the future.

Vox | Posted on October 25, 2018

The latest model has blades longer than football fields.The math on wind turbines is pretty simple: Bigger is better. Specifically, there are two ways to produce more power from the wind in a given area.The first is with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area. That increases the capacity of the turbine, i.e., its total potential production.The second is to get the blades up higher into the atmosphere, where the wind blows more steadily. That increases the turbine’s “capacity factor,” i.e., the amount of power it actually produces relative to its total potential (or more colloquially: how often it runs).

Injury rates jump at coal giant Murray's West Virginia mines

Reuters | Posted on October 25, 2018

 Injury rates have more than doubled at five West Virginia coal mines acquired by Murray Energy Corp. in 2013, according to a Reuters review of federal data, as the firm sharply increased the amount of coal produced per manhour.

New York Sues Exxon Mobil, Saying It Deceived Shareholders on Climate Change

The New York Times | Posted on October 25, 2018

New York’s attorney general sued Exxon Mobil claiming the company defrauded shareholders by downplaying the expected risks of climate change to its business. The litigation, which follows more than three years of investigation, represents the most significant legal effort yet to establish that a fossil fuel company misled the public on climate change and to hold it responsible. Not only does it pose a financial threat to Exxon that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars or more, but it could also strike a blow to the reputation of a company that has worked to rehabilitate its image, framing itself as a leader on global warming.The suit does not charge Exxon with playing a role in creating climate change, though the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to human-driven warming. Rather, it is a fairly straightforward shareholder fraud suit, the kind that New York attorneys general have long brought and successfully prosecuted under state law.

Fighting to Breathe in the Shadow of a Coal Power Plant

Esquire | Posted on October 25, 2018

A glimpse at a small Pennsylvania town in the middle of a health crisis, all while the Trump administration moves to relax what regulations there still are on how their nearby plants operate. ut there are also thousands of smaller casualties of this effort to dismantle the EPA. The Flint water crisis increasingly looks to have been a harbinger, not an aberration, something that will not improve with looser water standards. Some of the rollbacks have been almost comical, like the administration's twin moves—based on fringe science—to loosen restrictions on asbestos and small amounts of radiation exposure on the basis their threats to human health are overstated. And then there are the ordinary American victims—past, present, and future—of coal power generation, a dangerously dirty process given a new lease on life with the CPP's rollback, but which has been decimating small and powerless communities for decades.Here is one such community: an area of Pennsylvania called Allegheny County that is home to a large coal power plant in the town of Springdale—and a mortality rate in some areas that's 87 percent above the national level. People in this little corner of the country get cancer, and they get asthma, and they get it early and often. They have no doubt about the cause. It is not a question of bureaucracy or environmentalism or liberty to them—it's life and death. 

Trump Gives Farmers a Jolt of Fuel

Wall Street Journal | Posted on October 18, 2018

President Trump’s decision last week to allow the year-round sale of E15 is a promise made and kept to farmers throughout rural America. E15 is shorthand for gasoline blended with 15% ethanol, instead of the more common E10, and was prohibited for sale in the summer by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.Biofuels are a part of everyday life in Iowa, the top corn-and ethanol-producing state in the U.S. Ethanol supports more than 43,000 Iowa-based jobs and 350,000 jobs throughout the country, directly and indirectly. Ethanol contributed $44.4 billion to gross domestic product and $5 billion in federal tax revenue in 2017.Year-round E15 sales will bring increased stability to the market and create new growth opportunities. Today only about 1,400 out of 122,000 filling stations in the U.S. sell E15. That’s a result of the Obamaera regulation, not a lack of consumer demand. With filling stations prohibited from selling higher-ethanol blends for nearly a third of the year, it often didn’t make economic sense to install the infrastructure necessary to sell the product at all. That will change after the implementation of year-round E15.The change couldn’t come at a better time. Farm income is down 47% over the past five years. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement will help, but there’s still unrest in America’s heartland about trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. The administration’s E15 action will deliver a timelyinfusion of optimism to farmers. It will also put an end to an unnecessary government regulation that hinders consumer choice at the pump.

Sony Shifts US 100% Renewable Energy Goal Forward By A Decade

Clean Technica | Posted on October 17, 2018

Only a month after it announced that it was joining the RE100 initiative and committing to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040, entertainment and electronics giant Sony Corporation has announced this week it is bringing forward its US goal by a decade.

Applying auto industry's fuel-efficiency standards to agriculture could net billions

Science Daily | Posted on October 17, 2018

Adopting benchmarks similar to the fuel-efficiency standards used by the auto industry in the production of fertilizer could yield $5-8 billion in economic benefits for the U.S. corn sector alone, researchers have concluded.

Neighbors sue to block planned Montana wind farm

The State | Posted on October 17, 2018

Neighbors of a planned wind farm in southwestern Montana are suing to block the project. The Livingston Enterprise reports the Crazy Mountain Wind Farm would harvest 80 megawatts of electricity from 24 wind towers near the Sweet Grass and Park county line.Construction is scheduled to begin next spring.The lawsuit filed late last month in Park County is by four neighboring property owners with ranching and agricultural land.They allege the wind project will threaten wetlands, migratory birds, bald eagles, historic trails, businesses and the health of people living in the vicinity.

Expanding ethanol sales would have limited U.S. market impact: analysts

Reuters | Posted on October 16, 2018

The Trump administration’s plan to allow year-round sales of higher-grade corn ethanol would have limited impact on the depressed U.S. ethanol market, with record supplies and prices for the fuel hovering near the lowest in a decade, analysts said. Oil refiners are opposed to the move and have vowed to sue, arguing that only Congress can lift the ban.Even if the plan moves forward by next summer and hundreds of mostly small and rural gasoline station chains install new dispensers to sell E15, overall sales likely would increase only slightly.There are more than 1,300 stations with pumps that can dispense E15, according to the Renewable Fuels Association trade group. That is a small portion of the estimated 122,000 stations in the country, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.RFA said the number of stations offering E15 could double to around 2,700 by late 2019 to early 2020, or 2.2 percent of the total.

Rick Perry’s coal rescue runs aground at White House

Politico | Posted on October 16, 2018

One of the Trump administration’s major efforts to prop up ailing coal companies has run aground in the White House, a setback to an industry that had hoped for a major resurgence after Donald Trump won the presidency. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has spent more than a year pushing various plans that would invoke national security to force power companies to keep their economically struggling coal plants running — a goal in line with Trump’s frequent pledges to revive what he calls “beautiful, clean coal.” But the White House has shelved the plan amid opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council and National Economic Council, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions.It is unclear whether Trump himself has decided against following Perry’s proposal. Even if he has, the sources warned that Trump frequently changes his mind, and the idea could re-emerge in advance of the president’s reelection campaign