This is how cities of the future will get their energy

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

In the global effort to fight climate change, cities have some of the greatest potential– and the greatest imperative — to make a difference. With an increasing global migration into the world’s urban areas, which are expected to support at least two-thirds of the total human population by 2050, experts have argued that cities have no choice but to transition toward low-carbon systems if they’re going to remain sustainable.

Energy will need to be a primary focus of that effort. From the expansion of renewable energy sources to the adoption of cutting-edge energy efficiency and storage technologies, cities have the opportunity to drastically reduce their carbon footprints.

This is the focus of a new paper, published Thursday in the journal Science, that discusses the ways cities can integrate renewable energy, as well as energy-saving technologies, into the urban landscape. This can be a challenge, given that cities — with their closely packed buildings and dense populations — don’t always lend themselves to traditional renewable techniques. It’s not exactly practical to fit an acres-long solar panel array in the middle of Shanghai, for instance, or to place a 200-foot-tall wind turbine in downtown New York City.

June 15 deadline: Fund for Environmental Journalism

TOPIC FOCUS:  THE POLITICS AND ECONOMICS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE U.S.

APPLICATION PERIOD: Proposals will be accepted APRIL 15, 2016 through JUNE 15, 2016, midnight local time.

WHO MAY APPLY FOR A GRANT?

Journalists working independently or on the staff of news organizations (for-profit or non-profit) are eligible for grants from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.

SEJ membership is not required, but all applicants must meet SEJ’s membership eligibility requirements.

If your work involves lobbying, media relations or public relations on environment-related issues you will not be eligible for membership in SEJ.  Please review requirements if you are not sure.

Applicants for FEJ story grants are limited to receipt of one grant per two-year period and two grants per five-year period. Prospective applicants who have served on the Society of Environmental Journalists board of directors, staff or FEJ grantee selection jury must observe a one-year blackout period before applying.

WILL PROPOSALS ON OTHER TOPICS BE CONSIDERED THIS ROUND?

No. For the June 15, 2016 deadline, grants from the Fund for Environmental Journalism will be available only for journalism projects covering “the politics and economics of renewable energy in the U. S.”

If your project is focused on a different topic, do not apply this time. 

Story project grants from the Fund for Environmental Journalism of the Society of Environmental Journalists can be provided only when opportunities are funded in advance through foundation grants and individual donations. SEJ will announce new categories and new deadlines when new underwriting can be secured.

For more information or to apply, visit http://www.sej.org/initiatives/fund-for-environmental-journalism.

It’s Really Happening: The Collapse of U.S. Coal

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Coal production is not just declining. It’s falling off a cliff — and it’s barely a third of what it was just six years ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The worst is yet to come, as the EIA predicts 2016 will be the biggest year-on decline for coal … ever.

Nothing is crazy when it comes to the collapse of coal anymore. Just a few years ago, coal was still America’s top fuel and its lobbyists were among the most well-connected (and deep pocketed) in Washington, D.C. Today, that era seems like a distant dream. The coal lobby is shrinking fast, and the industry isn’t faring much better: Just last month the largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, which in 2008 had a market cap of $20 billion, declared bankruptcy.

As Drought Grips South Africa, A Conflict Over Water and Coal

Read the full story at Yale e360.

Facing one of the worst droughts in memory, South Africa’s leaders have doubled down on their support of the water-intensive coal industry. But clean energy advocates say the smartest move would be to back the country’s burgeoning wind and solar power sectors.

EIA publishes Annual Energy Outlook 2016 Early Release with a summary of the Reference case, including the Clean Power Plan, and a No-CPP case

Today, the U.S. Energy Information Administration posted a summary of two cases of energy projections covering 2015 to 2040 from the forthcoming Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016). EIA also posted the full results of these cases in spreadsheet files and in its AEO Table Browser.

The cases released today are the Reference case, which includes one possible implementation of the final Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and a No-CPP case, which assumes that the CPP rule is not implemented. Both cases show substantially more growth in electricity generation from wind and solar energy than EIA’s previous projections. Wind and solar capacity additions are particularly robust through the early 2020s, reflecting the extensions of tax credits for these technologies enacted in December and lower estimates of their capital costs than in previous projections. In the Reference case, CPP implementation plays a significant role in the deployment of solar power through the end of the projection period and in an expanded role for natural gas-fired generation.

The two cases released today mark the beginning of the AEO2016 release process, which will culminate in the publication of the full AEO2016 by July. Starting in mid-June, EIA plans to release several “Issues in Focus” discussions of topics, including alternative implementation approaches for the Clean Power Plan; proposed Phase 2 Fuel Economy Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks; and an Extended Policies case that extends existing tax credits for renewable technologies at their current levels, extends the provisions of the Clean Power Plan beyond 2030, and adds follow-on efficiency and emissions standards for light duty vehicles, appliances, electric power generators, and buildings. As each of the Issues in Focus articles is posted, the full modeling results for the cases that are discussed will be posted in the AEO Table Browser.

The AEO2016 Reference case, which incorporates only existing laws and policies, is not intended to be a most likely prediction of the future. As noted by EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, “EIA’s approach to addressing the inherent uncertainty surrounding the country’s energy future is to develop multiple cases that reflect different sets of internally consistent assumptions about key sources of uncertainty such as future world oil prices, macroeconomic growth, energy resources, technology costs, and policies. The energy sector has always been dynamic and undoubtedly will continue to change in the future. In creating the AEO, EIA has tried to make its projections as objective, reliable, and useful as possible.”

Projected growth in CO2 emissions driven by countries outside the OECD

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to increase by one-third between 2012 and 2040 in EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) Reference case, largely driven by increased energy use in countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The continuing increase in total emissions occurs despite a moderate decrease in the carbon intensity (CO2 per unit of energy) of the global energy supply.

Energy Department Suspends Funding for Texas Carbon Capture Project, Igniting Debate

Read the full story from Inside Climate News. See also the DOE Inspector General’s April 2016 report on the project.

The Obama administration has suspended funding for a large, troubled carbon capture and storage project, a decision being challenged by politicians from both parties and environmental advocates alike.

While the Texas Clean Energy Project is not officially dead, continued refusal by the Department of Energy to extend any more money would effectively kill it, according to its builder. That would make it the fifth CCS project the DOE has backed away from.