The Terra News

Featured photo from our gallery:

A Random Image from our gallery

24Apr/14Off

EPRI Reveals Its Worldview on the Integrated Electrical Grid

“What’s happening at the edge of the grid will affect what’s happening at the transmission level.”

Eric Wesoff

April 22, 2014

The electricity business of 2024 is going to look a lot different than the situation today -- and the utility industry knows it.

The Electric Power Research Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is essentially the research arm of the electrical utility industry. The group's recent report, The Integrated Grid, is the first phase of a larger effort to look at distributed energy resources on the grid edge and their impact on business as usual. The report provides a technical rationale for staying plugged into the grid and a cogent argument in favor of capacity fees and charges for grid services. The authors also exhibit a fondness for smart inverters.

We spoke with EPRI's Jeffrey Hamel, the executive director of the Power Delivery and Utilization Team which authored the report (which can be downloaded here).

"The Integrated Grid can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people," said Hamel. But to him, it means "how DG resources, generation and storage all come together."

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/EPRI-Reveals-Its-Worldview-on-The-Integrated-Electrical-Grid?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Driven by Distributed PV, Grid Power Electronics Market to Reach $300M in 2017

Utility power electronics offer alternatives for integration of high-penetration PV.

Mike Munsell

April 23, 2014

Over the next four years, distributed solar penetration will increase by more than 300 percent in the United States, straining local distribution infrastructure in more than a quarter of the country.

According to GTM Research's latest report, Advanced Grid Power Electronics for High-Penetration PV Integration 2014, secondary distribution grid control equipment, including power-electronics-based solutions, represents the most cost-effective technical solution to these problems. The market for secondary power electronics equipment for PV integration will have a 134 percent compound annual growth rate over the next three years, reaching $320 million in 2017.

"Utility-owned power electronics offer a variety of services for utilities at a fraction of the cost of competing storage solutions,” said Ben Kellison, Senior Grid Analyst at GTM Research. “These enable utilities to fine-tune unstable portions of the distribution grid, while allowing the bulk of the grid to operate using cheaper, more traditional technology."

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Driven-By-Distributed-PV-Grid-Power-Electronics-Market-to-Reach-300M-in-2?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Climate change threatens California’s air quality, report says

By Tony Barboza

April 23, 2014, 6:09 p.m.

Climate change and extreme weather could set back decades of improvement in California’s air quality, a new report by the state’s pollution control officers says.

A higher number of extreme heat days from global warming will boost smog formation and increase severe wildfires that release harmful smoke into the air, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the California Air Pollution Control Officers’ Assn.

"The achievements we've made to date could be put in peril,” said Jack Broadbent, air pollution control officer for the San Francisco Bay Area and president of the association, which represents the 35 air districts throughout the state.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-climate-change-california-air-pollution-officers-20140423,0,2814744.story

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Subtle surprises fuel today’s green business tactics

By MARNI USHEROFF AND SARAH TULLY

The Orange County RegisterApril 24, 2014 Updated 2 hours ago

Born of the hippie, flower-child culture of the 1960s, the modern environmentalist movement in business today is in many ways about dollars and cents.

The green economy has gone mainstream, whether that means traditional businesses adopting environmental principles, or environmentally friendly businesses becoming the norm. A testament to this change can be seen in some commercial banks' willingness to lend to "green" companies.

"Things that used to sound very strange to business and to the marketplace are now sounding very common," said Scott Beckerman, director of corporate sustainability for Comerica Bank, which had over $1 billion invested in environmentally beneficial loans and commitments in 2012.

"What we're seeing is that loans that years ago would not have made business sense make good sense today. There's an increased business case for doing investment and lending in environmentally beneficial companies."

To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/04/24/225428/subtle-surprises-fuel-todays-green.html?sp=/99/200/260/

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Wyoming doesn’t want its kids to learn about climate change

By Ben Adler

Original source: http://grist.org/politics/wyoming-doesnt-want-its-kids-to-learn-about-climate-change/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520April%252023&utm_campaign=daily

“Wait — so is coal good for the environment?”

Let’s briefly review the science on anthropogenic climate change: 97 percent of articles on the subject published in peer-reviewed scientific journals over two decades have agreed with the consensus that humans are causing global warming. Now, granted, climate change is a theory, in the same way that gravity is a theory: It is the framework that explains indisputable phenomena, in this case the Earth’s warming temperatures since the dawn of the Industrial Age. So it follows that, just as school textbooks teach students about gravity, they should teach them about climate change, right?

Not if you live in Wyoming. Last month Dick Cheney’s home state passed a budget with a footnote that prohibits the use of public funds to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards were recently developed by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in concert with 26 states. They’re intended to replace a hodgepodge of state standards of varying quality, providing a national framework for teaching the most up-to-date science. Naturally, this includes climate change (though the climate sections were watered down).

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Jon Stewart jokes with the EPA’s Gina McCarthy about Texas, burning trash, and his Hummer

By Holly Richmond

Original source: http://grist.org/list/gina-mccarthy-daily-show-jon-stewart/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520April%252023&utm_campaign=daily

“Are we clean yet?” That’s how Jon Stewart got rolling on his interview with EPA head honcho Gina McCarthy last night.

She called climate change her top priority — “the biggest public health challenge that we face, as well as the biggest economic challenge we face” — and emphasized that the EPA’s proposed rules cracking down on carbon dioxide from power plants will be coming out in June.

“All these regulations put the mom ‘n’ pop oil companies out of business!” Stewart protested.

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Viewpoints: Cleaning up coal emissions through cap and trade

By Greg Arnold

Special to The Bee

Published: Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014 - 12:00 am

This week, the California Air Resources Board is planning to vote on whether to adopt changes to its cap-and-trade program, including how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines. Some may wonder why ARB is doing this with almost no active coal mines or coal-fired power plants in California. The answer lies outside our state’s borders.

Over the last decade, California has moved away from coal-burning power plants and the use of coal mines due largely to recently enacted state environmental laws, which essentially banned new power purchase contracts with out-of-state coal-burning plants. However, coal is still very much a part of the existing supply from power purchase contracts in California. For example, according to public information available from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, if you are one of the 3.9 million Los Angeles residents who receives power from LADWP, 33 percent of your electricity currently comes from coal.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/24/6348555/viewpoints-cleaning-up-coal-emissions.html

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Catholic sisters aim to purify Big Oil shale drilling

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm by Collin Eaton in Chevron, Hydraulic fracturing

HOUSTON – Even oil companies can’t escape the gaze of the biggest regulator of them all.

In a clash between Big Oil and the cloth, Sister Nora Nash and her fellow Catholic nuns in Philadelphia have been quietly pressing Chevron Corp. and others for years to give up hydraulic fracturing data they say could reveal health concerns for communities in Texas and Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia filed their fourth demand in as many years that Chevron issue reports on the quality and amount of fresh and recycled water used for shale drilling, updates on a goal to stop using open pits to store drilling fluids, and groundwater quality checks after drilling, among other issues.

To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/04/23/catholic-sisters-aim-to-purify-big-oil-shale-drilling/

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Gas boom may spell doom for Texas village

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 10:26 am by Ryan Holeywell in Environment, featured, LNG, Premium

QUINTANA, Texas — Teresa Cornelison stands on her porch looking west as night falls on Quintana, an island town of just a few dozen residents.

A sea of pipes, tanks and other industrial structures ­looms to her right, disrupting the deserted beach and threatening the village’s future.

About 10 years ago, Cornelison was on the losing end of a battle against Houston-based Freeport LNG, the company behind a liquefied natural gas import facility just a quarter mile from her home. Now, it wants to build again — this time to send gas overseas in response to the changing dynamics of the global natural gas market.

“I feel like they’re building me inside the terminal,” she says.

This time, however, Freeport LNG offered to buy her house for $225,000. She has no intention of leaving, even though the offer may exceed the value of her home.

“I love this place. It’s paid for. The taxes are low. Why the hell should I go? I was here first.”

Cornelison isn’t alone. As Freeport LNG planned its expansion last year, it made the unusual offer to every homeowner in the sleepy island town just southeast of Freeport. As residents began grumbling about the potential impact of the facility, the company offered to buy the home of anyone who wanted to sell, and it says more than half of the owners have said yes.

To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/04/21/gas-boom-may-spell-doom-for-texas-village/

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Tesla quietly leases property throughout California

By David R. Baker

April 22, 2014

As speculation grows about where Tesla Motors will build its massive battery factory, the electric automaker has been quietly snapping up real estate for other purposes.

Tesla has leased a 430,000-square-foot facility in Lathrop, a small city due east of the Bay Area in San Joaquin County. The Manteca Bulletin, which first reported Tesla's lease on Tuesday, identified the building as a former distribution center for DaimlerChrysler.

It isn't the only California property recently leased by Tesla. A company spokeswoman said Tuesday that Tesla, based in Palo Alto, has signed leases for more than 625,000 square feet of California real estate during the last two months.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Tesla-quietly-leases-property-throughout-5422505.php?t=342b46b91c

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

Canada moves ahead of U.S. in phasing out older tank cars for shipping crude oil

By Curtis Tate

McClatchy Washington BureauApril 23, 2014 Updated 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — In response to a deadly train derailment last summer, the Canadian government Wednesday ordered the country’s railroads to phase out tens of thousands of older, puncture-prone tank cars from crude oil transportation within three years.

Though Transport Canada and its U.S. equivalent, the Department of Transportation, have been working together to address widespread concerns about the safety of moving large quantities of crude oil and ethanol in trains, the announcement puts Canada a step ahead.

Both countries historically have harmonized their regulation of rail transportation because of the seamless nature of North America’s rail system. Canada’s two largest railroads have significant operations in the United States.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/04/23/225373/canada-moves-ahead-of-us-in-phasing.html?sp=/99/200/260/

Share This Post
24Apr/14Off

With surging oil traffic, Northwest at greater risk for spill

By CRAIG WELCH

The Seattle Times

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014 - 5:14 am

SEATTLE -- Efforts to transform the Northwest into a fossil-fuel hub for North Dakota's crude, Alberta's oil sands and coal from the Rocky Mountains mean the risks of major spills and explosions in and around Washington state are rising and poised to skyrocket.

Millions of gallons of oil are suddenly transiting the region by train. Barges now haul petroleum across the treacherous mouth of the Columbia River and on to Puget Sound. Oil tanker traffic through tricky channels north of Puget Sound may well increase dramatically in coming years.

"People who are paying attention are rightfully nervous about all of this," said Martha Kongsgaard, chairwoman of the leadership council for the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency leading cleanup of the Sound. "It's just scarier than heck. It makes you want to put your hands over your ears."

The scale and pace of the change can be hard to comprehend.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/23/6346285/with-surging-oil-traffic-northwest.html

Share This Post
23Apr/14Off

Forty-Four Years of Earth Day

APRIL 22, 2014

By Alan Flippen and Damon Darlin

When environmentalists proclaimed the first Earth Day, on this date in 1970, the air was filled with doomsday predictions. At the initial rallies to mark the day, people warned of overpopulation, a denuded planet, hundreds of millions of people starving to death, a new Ice Age or the greenhouse effect. Many — though not all, obviously — of those forecasts were off.

Forty-four years later, human-caused climate change has grown into the dominant concern for environmentalists and governments. America’s environmental problems are less severe, thanks in part to a market economy’s ability to produce new technologies and in part to the political action that the environmental movement produced. But the global problem — like choking smog in developing economies, rising sea levels and the rise in the planet’s temperature — remains worrisome.

Here is our overview of how the environment has changed in the 44 years since April 22, 1970:

To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/upshot/forty-four-years-of-earth-day.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0

Share This Post
23Apr/14Off

Earth Day 2014: 5 environmental wins to celebrate

This Earth Day, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about planet Earth – rising carbon emissions, long bouts of extreme weather, development’s strain on local ecosystems, among others. But, in honor of Earth Day, it is worth taking a look at some of the areas where humans have made progress on energy and the environment.

It can take decades or longer to show signs of positive environmental change, so most good news doesn't show up in everyday headlines. A gradually more efficient economy or fewer pollutants in the air are not exactly breaking news, but they are benchmarks worth noting. A lot of that progress has come since (and a result of) the first Earth Day in 1970. Advances in science, engineering, and technology have made it easier for humans to maintain higher standards of living while minimizing the impact on local animals, wildlife, as well as the global climate. There is hope that as a new wave of economies modernize, they can do so more cleanly and efficiently than past industrializations.

Of course, the environment still faces enormous challenges. Most notably, scientists have come to better understand how the consumption of carbon-heavy fuels can trap heat in our atmosphere. Over decades of analysis and discourse, climate change remains a pressing and divisive issue. Perhaps, there are lessons to be learned in confronting future challenges from five past environmental successes.

- David J. Unger, Staff writer

1. Air and water pollution

Developed nations have drastically improved air and water quality while sustaining economic growth. Between 1990 and 2008, the US cut emissions of six common pollutants by 41 percent, while gross domestic product (GDP) grew 64 percent, according the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Much of that success is attributed to the the Clean Air Act, first signed in 1970 and revised in 1990. The nation's water, too, is cleaner.  Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, billions of pounds of sewage, chemicals and trash have been averted from US waterways, and the number of American waters that meet standards for swimming and fishing has doubled, according to the EPA.

Still, conventional pollutants still pose a challenge to developed nations and are a rising challenge for the developing world – The skies of Los Angeles may be clearer, but Beijing is coming to grips with a smog problem of its own. Meanwhile, the risks of greenhouse gas emissions have reached new levels of urgency.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2014/0422/Earth-Day-2014-5-environmental-wins-to-celebrate/Air-and-water-pollution

Share This Post
23Apr/14Off

Apple announces big clean energy progress

By Adam Vaughan

Cross-posted from The Guardian

Original source: http://grist.org/business-technology/apple-announces-big-clean-energy-progress/

Climate change is real and a real problem for the world, Apple said on Monday, announcing its progress on environmental targets ahead of Earth Day.

The technology company, in a video narrated by CEO Tim Cook on its green initiatives and updated environment webpages, claimed that 94 percent of its corporate facilities and 100 percent of its data centers are now powered by renewable energy sources such as solar power.

Lisa Jackson, the former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, wrote in a letter: “We feel the responsibility to consider everything we do in order to reduce our impact on the environment. This means using greener materials and constantly inventing new ways to conserve precious resources.”

Share This Post