Day: March 4, 2021

Kenyan recycles plastic waste into bricks stronger than concrete

Read the full story from Reuters.

Nzambi Matee hurls a brick hard against a school footpath constructed from bricks made of recycled plastic that her factory turns out in the Kenyan capital.

It makes a loud bang, but does not crack.

“Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete,” said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials.

DOD Announces Release of the DOD Regional Sea Level Database

The Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program has announced the public release of the DOD Regional Sea Level database.  

Making the information available broadly “is a critical requirement for its use in our Unified Facilities Criteria program for planners and designers,” said Thadd Buzan, Assistant Director for Military Construction, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment). 

Public access to the database allows for the integration of future sea level change information by contracted third parties such as engineering firms in their efforts to provide installation and facilities planning and design services for coastal locations. The database and its accompanying report, Regional Sea Level Scenarios for Coastal Risk Management, were developed by the DOD-led Coastal Assessment Regional Scenario Working Group to provide a consistent, authoritative approach to account for changing sea levels at DOD sites worldwide.  

Use of DRSL information is now incorporated into the department’s installation master planning criteria and civil engineering design criteria for coastal locations. When using the DRSL database, planners and designers must apply the planning horizon and regional scenario appropriate to the installation requirement, and the vertical datum (such as the North American Vertical Datum of 1988) appropriate to the location.

For more information on the DOD program, visit the SERDP-ESTCP website.

Webinar: Flood Resilience in the Year Ahead: Opportunities for the New Congress

Friday, March 5, 2021, 10-11 am CST
Register here.

Join experts, officials for webinar discussion of how federal policy can support state and local efforts to limit losses and recovery costs.

US lags international peers on renewables development, and federal policy is to blame: Moody’s

Read the full story in Utility Dive.

The United States “has the lowest renewable energy penetration among the top 5 global economies,” Moody’s Investors Service concluded in an infrastructure and project finance report released Monday. Leading that list is the European Union and U.K., followed by China, India and Japan.

The analysis blames the laggard status on weak U.S. federal policies, including the lack of a national renewables mandate and inconsistent tax incentives for wind and solar. Where renewables have thrived in the United States, Moody’s said, is in large part due to their growing cost competitiveness and local policy.

Analysts and advocates agree U.S. federal policy has not sufficiently championed renewables growth, but see reasons for optimism with President Joe Biden indicating his support for clean energy. “It is really important for the federal government to lay down some markers and set some goals,” said Uday Varadarajan, a principal in Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) carbon-free electricity practice.

House Democrats introduce bill with pathway to 100% clean energy by 2035

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

House Democrats unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would bring economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net-zero by 2050, and cut emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 or sooner.

The CLEAN Future Act proposes a national Clean Energy Standard that would require all retail electric providers to generate 100% of their power from zero-emissions resources by 2035, and 80% by 2030. It would also require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to update U.S. transmission policy in order to better integrate renewables onto the grid, and direct greater investment in energy storage, microgrids, distributed energy resources and more.

The bill also targets transportation electrification, environmental justice, economic transition for fossil fuel workers, building efficiency and more. It would also include major changes to the Federal Power Act (FPA) and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

Transition Opportunities for Prairie State Energy Campus

Download the document.

The 1,600 MW Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Illinois. It is also less than 10 years old, making it one of the newest coal plants in the country.

Using publicly available information, RMI evaluated historic economics of PSEC and analyzed future scenarios to determine how continued PSEC operations will compare to market and clean energy solutions in 2029.

The analysis finds that over the past four years, the plant cost $20 million more per year to operate than short-term market energy and capacity purchases. When the cost of servicing PSEC’s debt is considered, the plant cost an average of between $390 million and $470 million more than buying from the market.

The report analyzed future plant economics compared with market and clean energy alternatives and concluded that plant net economics are likely to deteriorate prior to 2030.

The RMI analysis suggests that at the very least, 2030 closure of PSEC (as has been proposed in the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act) will not result in any significant rate increases to PSEC owners. In fact, 2030-mandated closure may help extricate the many plant owners from an asset which is currently expensive and may become highly uneconomic in the coming years.

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