By Neela Banerjee, Inside Climate News
Rushing rivers have exposed once-buried pipelines before, leading to oil spills. With climate change exacerbating flood risks, Keystone XL critics see dangers ahead.
NAPER, Nebraska — Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it’s buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress’s property. “It would’ve taken out their shut-off valve,” Allpress said of the river flooding. “Right where they propose to put it at. And it wouldn’t have been a good thing.” Read more here.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
What the historic Midwest floods look like from space — and from the ground, by Vox. “This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history,” Nebraska’s governor said.
12 excuses for climate inaction and how to refute them, by Eliza Barclay & Jag Bhalla, Vox
There’s a reason why the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has successfully goaded powerful politicians into long-overdue climate action in just six months. Fortunately, Thunberg is just one of many great minds helping us summon moral clarity to address the tricky problem of framing the climate crisis.
A chat with Paul Hawken about his ambitious new effort to “map, measure, and model” global warming solutions. By David Roberts, Vox
Unlike most popular books on climate change, it is not a polemic or a collection of anecdotes and exhortations. In fact, with the exception of a few thoughtful essays scattered throughout, it’s basically a reference book: a list of solutions, ranked by potential carbon impact, each with cost estimates and a short description. A set of scenarios show the cumulative potential. It is fascinating, a powerful reminder of how narrow a set of solutions dominates the public’s attention. Alternatives range from farmland irrigation to heat pumps to ride-sharing.
The number one solution, in terms of potential impact? A combination of educating girls and family planning, which together could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by
2050 — more than on– and offshore wind power combined (99 GT). Read more here.
[Wind turbines are ranked #2 and solar farms #8].
By Ben Schwartz, Lexington Clipper-Herald
LEXINGTON, Neb. – The Lexington City Council dealt with a range of projects Tuesday at their regular meeting, perhaps chief among them a partnership in what Mayor John Fagot called the biggest solar energy project in the state of Nebraska. The council voted unanimously to enter into a power purchase agreement with Sol Systems, a solar energy company. Sol will build a five-megawatt capacity solar panel array on city-owned land north of the Greater Lexington addition. Fagot noted that the city isn’t purchasing and won’t maintain any of the equipment, and will retain ownership of the land. Continue reading.
Photo: Downtown Lexington, Nebraska
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
EIA: Monthly renewable generation beat levels from previous year, Utility Dive
Data through June shows that renewable generation has surpassed levels from previous years in every month so far this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports
U.S. solar PV prices hit “all-time low”, at rooftop and utility-scale, ReNew Economy
The falling costs of US solar power, in 7 charts, Vox
Ohio solar power has moved from cottage industry to growth industry, Cleveland.Com
Survey: Consumers Ready to Embrace Renewables, Electric Co-op Today
South Dakota plans to build a 201-megawatt wind farm on 36,000 acres, Finance & Commerce
MidAmerican Energy moves forward with $3.6 billion investment in Wind XI project, AltEnergy Magazine
5 things you didn’t know about the wind for schools program, Windpower Engineering Development
Photo by Michael Kappel
By David Roberts, Vox
Wind and sunlight have many advantages as fuel sources, but one big drawback is that they aren’t portable. You can’t carry them to a power plant. You have to build the power plant wherever you find them.
That puts the US in an awkward situation, because the most intense wind and sunlight tend to be found in remote, low-population areas — think the sunny desert Southwest or the windy Great Plains.
By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News
Sheep graze at the site of one of Wisconsin-based Vernon Electric Cooperative’s solar arrays. Photo by Vernon Electric Cooperative
In Wisconsin, where state regulators and utilities have been perceived as cool to renewable energy, rural cooperatives are making major investments in solar power. According to solar installers and experts, co-ops, which aren’t subject to regulation by the state’s Public Service Commission, are being more responsive to their customers’ interest in solar . . . “It’s really impressive to see all over the country how cooperatives are embracing solar and finding new ways to implement it,” added Andy Olsen, with the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
Read the entire article.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING / VIEWING
Rural electric co-ops, traditional bastions of coal, are getting into solar, by David Roberts, Vox
Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Mission Statement – YouTube Video
By David Roberts, Vox
In the US, rural areas and constituencies have typically weighed against progress on clean energy. But that may be changing. A new story out of Wisconsin illustrates that a slow, tentative shift is underway, as rural electricity consumers and the utilities that serve them take a new look at the benefits of solar power. In fact, if you squint just right, you can even glimpse a future in which rural America is at the vanguard of decarbonization. The self-reliance and local jobs enabled by renewable energy are of unique value in rural areas, and rural leaders are beginning to recognize that solar isn’t just for elitist coastal hippies any more.
Click here to continue reading.
To learn more about Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) grants mentioned in the article, click here. May 2nd is the deadline for the current round of grant applications.