VoxBy 2020, Every Chinese Coal Plant Will Be More Efficient Than Every U.S. Coal Plant

The Center for American Progress recently sent a team of researchers to China to investigate its energy markets, analyze regulatory and plant construction data, and interview Chinese coal miners and coal plant operators. It sought to answer a simple question: What is China doing about coal?

The result is a report -- authored by Melanie Hart, Luke Bassett and Blaine Johnson -- that offers the clearest picture yet of the big picture on coal in China. And a closer look, it turns out, utterly destroys the conservative argument. Far from sitting back and coasting while the U.S. acts, China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out -- reducing emissions from existing plants, mothballing older plants, and raising standards for new plants. Unlike the U.S., it is on track to exceed its Paris carbon reduction commitments.

In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship.

Washington Post: Under Trump, Inconvenient Data Is Being Sidelined

The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses.

Officials also removed websites run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department that provided scientific information about climate change, eliminating access. for instance, to documents evaluating the danger that the desert ecology in the Southwest could face from future warming. (On Friday, protesting against the disappearance of the EPA website, the city of Chicago posted the site online as it had existed under the Obama administration.)

And within a week of President Trump’s inauguration, the White House retired the two-year-old Federal Supplier Greenhouse Gas Management Scorecard, which ranks firms with major federal contracts on their energy efficiency and policies to curb carbon output.

Microgrid Knowledge: Utility Microgrids Win $7M from Washington State Clean Energy Fund

Two utility microgrids -- one under development by Avista and the other by the Snohomish County Public Utility District -- yesterday received $3.5 million each from the state Clean Energy Fund.

The utility microgrids are part of a larger push by the state to develop grid modernization models that can be replicated elsewhere. Issued by the Department of Commerce, the funds will help Spokane-based Avista develop a $7 million microgrid within a larger smart city program.

NREL: Experts Outline Pathway for Generating Up to 10 Terawatts of Power From Sunlight by 2030

The annual potential of solar energy far exceeds the world's energy consumption, but the goal of using the sun to provide a significant fraction of global electricity demand is far from being realized.

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, their counterparts from similar institutes in Japan and Germany, along with researchers at universities and industry, assessed the recent trajectory of photovoltaics and outlined a potential worldwide pathway to produce a significant portion of the world's electricity from solar power in the new Science paper, "Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics: Trajectories and Challenges."

Hass Energy Institute: Evidence of a Decline in Electricity Use by U.S. Households

Americans tend to use more and more of everything. As incomes have risen, we buy more food, live in larger homes, travel more, spend more on healthcare, and, yes, use more energy. Between 1950 and 2010, U.S. residential electricity consumption per capita increased tenfold, an annual increase of 4% per year.

But that electricity trend has changed recently. American households use less electricity than they did five years ago. Consumption dipped significantly in 2012 and has remained flat, even as the economy has improved considerably.

It is not clear yet whether U.S. household electricity use has indeed peaked or this is just a temporary reprieve. Probably the biggest unknown in the near future is electric vehicles. Currently only a small fraction of vehicles are EVs, but widespread adoption would significantly increase electricity demand. It is worth highlighting, though, that this would be substitution away from a different energy source (petroleum), so the implications are very different from most other energy services.