The United States has now added the capacity to store a billion watts of power for one hour and it may double that total by the end of this year. According to the firm GTM Research, the energy storage industry – previously nearly invisible – is undergoing rapid growth. Much of the growth has been in homes with products like the Tesla Powerwall but has also been on the scale of the electric grid, where power companies can use storage to control when to deploy excess electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar power.
There are major trends going on in the renewable energy world. Several will merit close attention this year.
A byproduct of plastics production, dioxane is a clear, synthetic, liquid solvent that easily mixes with water. It’s frequently used in paint strippers, dyes, and varnishes, as well as shampoos and body washes – particularly those that are sudsy. Dioxane doesn’t really biodegrade and is widely regarded as a contaminant.
Recent sightings of a destructive tree-eating beetle in northeast pine forests have been alarming. And a new study from Columbia University has confirmed what ecologists had feared all along: they’re here to stay.
Now that the Trump administration announced that the United States would cease implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, various state, local and corporate entities in this country have been stepping up to assume climate leadership.
Recently, we talked about the problems New York’s native turtles have during their mating season as they cross roads and highways seeking places to lay their eggs. The state Department of Environmental Conservation even issued recommendations for how people can help turtles avoid getting crunched by cars.
New York State has been encouraging its communities to install microgrids for quite a while. Now the state has committed to build a 16-megawatt microgrid to power the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany. The microgrid will use combined heat and power to supply 90% of the electricity as well as heating and cooling for the 10 buildings where 11,000 state employees work.
Poor air quality is a problem all around the world. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year, making it the fourth largest threat to human health, trailing only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking.
New York is home to 11 native species of land turtles. Many of the species can’t breed until age 10 and then they lay just one small clutch of eggs each year by digging in a suitable patch of sandy soil. As a result, breeding females are at a premium for the welfare of the species. Overall, turtles are on decline in the Empire State.
The population of black bears in southern New York has grown and expanded its range over the past 20 years, which has led to increased encounters with people. Until recently, a detailed knowledge of bear populations in the state has been lacking.
The seven northeastern U.S. states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have all set ambitious emissions reduction goals and renewable energy targets that will be difficult to meet. For example, New York has the goal of getting 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.
Community solar is a cooperative enterprise in which customers can make use of the output of a large local array of solar panels when they are not able to install a solar power system on their own property. The customers of a community solar system can offset as little or as much of their electrical usage as they want by participating in a community solar program.
Despite efforts by the new administration to increase support for fossil fuels, there is increasing momentum towards a clean-energy future. State and local efforts are driving the country to a 21st-century energy infrastructure, with or without the federal government.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state’s support for solar power initiatives has resulted in an 800% increase in industry growth since 2011. New York’s various renewable energy programs have resulted in $1.5 billion in investments. The NY-Sun Initiative has produce a 10-fold increase in solar projects in several regions of the state. The Mohawk Valley led the way with an almost 16-fold increase in solar capacity.
For many decades, hydroelectric dams were the top source of renewable energy in the United States. But for the first time ever, by the end of last year, installed wind power capacity in the U.S. outpaced hydroelectric capacity.
The Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority has voted to approve the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, which is also the first offshore wind farm in New York. The South Fork Wind Farm, located 30 miles southeast of Montauk, New York, will be a 90 megawatt facility that will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes and help meet increasing electricity demand on the South Fork of Long Island.
An abandoned, centuries-old iron mine in the Adirondacks about 100 miles north of Albany, New York may become the site of a new hydroelectric energy storage system. The mine in the tiny hamlet of Mineville near Moriah, New York contributed iron for the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War that took place on Lake Champlain. The mine hasn’t been used in over 45 years.
Combating climate change is a bit like treating a disease whose early stage symptoms are not very severe. People are not as motivated as they should be. Businesses have to comply with new regulations and spend money on new technologies, which seems like a losing proposition.
The Cuomo Administration recently released the New York State Offshore Wind Blueprint, a plan to advance the development of offshore wind along New York’s coastline.