Climate change is a highly polarized and contentious issue. It has taken on great symbolic significance for both sides of America’s deep partisan divide. And if Donald Trump and the GOP actually follow through on what they’ve promised, federal climate policy may all but disappear.
Clean energy, however, is different. In public opinion polls, it is supported by virtually every demographic, region and party.
As part of their fascinating American Futures project, the Atlantic’s James and Deborah Fallows have been flying around the country (in their Cirrus SR22), “taking seriously places that don’t usually get registered seriously.” They’ve been telling fascinating and optimistic stories about the way Americans, even as their national politics is awash in rancor and division, are coming together in practical, pragmatic ways to build better futures.
Their latest episode is about the quiet renewable energy revolution happening in small places outside the national spotlight. Check it out.IEEE Spectrum: Can Synthetic Inertia From Wind Power Stabilize Grids?
As renewable power displaces more and more coal, gas, and nuclear generation, electricity grids are losing the conventional power plants whose rotating masses have traditionally helped smooth over glitches in grid voltage and frequency. One solution is to keep old generators spinning in sync with the grid, even as the steam and gas turbines that once drove them are mothballed. Another emerging option will get a hearing next week at the 15th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power in Vienna: synthetic inertia.
Synthetic inertia is achieved by reprogramming power inverters attached to wind turbines so that they emulate the behavior of synchronized spinning masses.
Montréal-based Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie, which was the first grid operator to mandate this capability from wind farms, will be sharing some of its first data on how Québec's grid is responding to disruptive events such as powerline and power plant outages. “We have had a couple of events quite recently and have been able to see how much the inertia from the wind power plants was working,” says Noël Aubut, professional engineer for transmission system planning at Hydro-Québec.RenewEconomy: Climate Deniers Linked With Trump’s EPA Pick Booted From COP22 Talks
Climate science denier Marc Morano just got himself kicked out of the U.N. climate talks in Marrakech. Of course, that was probably his aim all along.
Morano stood in a Trump hat, next to a life-size cutout of the president-elect, waving shredded copies of the Paris Agreement. The stunt gave Canadian outlet The Rebel the footage it has been craving since it arrived, and got Morano kicked out of the talks. But there are a number of things that are weird about the story.
To start with, Morano -- who is communications director for well-known climate deniers Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow -- was actually here on a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) badge. The CEI’s Director of Energy and Environment is Myron Ebell, who has been picked by Donald Trump to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team. Ebell, who was also accredited to attend the talks but has not been seen, is also a climate science denier.Reuters: Old and Worn Out, U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants Easy Prey for Gas
Since the current administration began in January 2009, more than 400 coal-fired power units have closed across the United States and around 33,000 coal-mining jobs have disappeared.
Coal now accounts for only a third of electricity generated in the United States down from almost half when the president took office.
The administration's opponents criticize it for waging a "war on coal" to support cleaner forms of energy including wind, solar and natural gas.
The administration's supporters credit it with forcing the closure of power plants that were a major source of air pollution, as well as greenhouse gases.
But the reality is most of the coal-fired units that have closed since the president took office were very old and inefficient and would likely have closed anyway.