Clean energy has taken a hit. Will it rebound?
Late in April, Warren Leon convened a meeting of leaders from around the country who are overseeing their states’ transitions to clean energy. He feared the group — 14 states plus the District of Columbia that have committed to 100% clean power goals — would have had its ambitions set back by the ongoing pandemic.“I thought some states might say, ‘Everything’s on hold; we can’t really focus on that,’” said Leon, who directs the newly formed 100% Clean Energy Collaborative, a group of state officials sharing information and strategies about renewable and carbon-free electricity. “That didn’t ha...
Is the COVID-19 pandemic good news or bad news for renewable energy?
SAN DIEGO — The unprecedented scope of the coronavirus outbreak has led to an equal measure of uncertainty in the renewable energy sector.Will the depth of the pandemic slow down investment in solar, wind and other cleaner energy projects? Or will the economic tumult that the virus has wrought on the oil and gas segments provide an opening for renewables to fill?The answer appears as murky as so many other predictions about the virus have proven to be.“This is unprecedented, so we simply don’t have good models that tell us what happens,” said David Victor, professor of international relations ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
With demand in the dumps, North Dakota oil fields grow quiet
With production and employment falling rapidly, North Dakota’s oil industry is enduring historically bleak times.The number of drilling rigs in North Dakota — a harbinger for future oil production — is at a low not seen in the fracking era, said Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Mineral Resources Department, in a conference call with reporters Friday.The rig count, which was in the 50s during the first three months of this year, fell to 35 in April and sits at 12 today — “a massive decline,” Helms said. It’s expected to drop below 10, he added.Drilling new wells is a major source of employme...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Will Bunch: Will a coronavirus mirage of clean air, water inspire climate action — or make things worse?
OK, let’s be clear about one thing: Dolphins aren’t actually frolicking in the canals of a deserted Venice, a city on lockdown like the rest of Italy because of the global pandemic. But — as is sometimes the case — those misleading or faked viral tweets are an exaggerated version of something that is true, and also compelling: The shutdown of scores of tourist-packed gondolas has cleaned the murky waters of the ancient city to the point where fish are now visible.And that’s not the only remarkable vision — practically a mirage, really — as the coronavirus crisis shutters the developed world’s ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
A fight over fracking at a Pennsylvania steel mill is forcing a reckoning among Democrats
BRADDOCK, Pa. — About a year ago, Chardaé Jones finally had enough money to pay off some student loans and move out of her parents’ house into a third-floor apartment across the street from a steel mill that helped build America.When Jones, 31, looked out her window at night at the mill Andrew Carnegie built 145 years ago, she wrote down what she saw and heard:Jones grew up in Braddock, a town of 2,114 people about 11 miles southeast of Pittsburgh on the Monongahela River, and last year became mayor. She was used to the pollution. What she found more troubling was U.S. Steel’s plan, in the wor...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Ford's secret weapon has a passion for batteries and came from NASA
The little boy who grew up at 3931 Hubert Ave. in Los Angeles never thought he’d wind up living in Detroit — and never dreamed he would want to stay.Blame his passion for batteries.That’s right, batteries.It’s one thing to dash across town to CVS to pick up a tube of Crest toothpaste. It’s another story to travel all the way to Jupiter. But the technology can be the same.And it’s designed by a guy named Bob Taenaka (pronounced Tie-eh-NAH-ka).He’s the man, whether it’s powering the Galileo space probe at Jupiter or engineering the power source behind the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 hybrid pickup and ...
Detroit Free Press
As US coal plants shutter, one town tests an off-ramp
CENTRALIA, Wash. — Later this year, the first of two burners is scheduled to shut down at the Centralia Coal Plant in this rural Washington state community halfway between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. When the second burner is extinguished in 2025, it will end an operation that, for years, has produced about a tenth of Washington’s carbon emissions.The closure will be a win for environmentalists and left-leaning lawmakers who want to fight climate change. The town, however, will lose a significant taxpayer. And nearly 200 people will lose their jobs.Aging coal plants nationwide are going out ...