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Category Archives: Energy

Report: Boosting Energy Efficiency Would Bring Vast Health Benefits

Environmental Working Group: “A new report estimated the sweeping public health benefits that a 15 percent reduction in energy demand would yield in one year. The February report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, or PSR, found that the savings from modestly cutting energy demand in the electric sector, and thus reducing air pollution, would be the equivalent of the annual insurance premiums for nearly 3.6 million families. The health harms from air pollution reviewed in the report include premature deaths, respiratory-related visits to the hospital, heart attacks, lost work days and cases of acute bronchitis. According to the report, this single year reduction in energy demand in the power sector would result in:

  • More than six lives saved per day from premature death
  • Up to $20 billion in avoided health harms
  • Nearly 30,000 fewer asthma episodes

Energy efficiency investments reduce the need to generate electricity from polluting power plants, reducing air emissions and reducing health harms. The ACEEE and PSR estimated the following substantial reductions in lung-damaging air emissions:

  • Particulate emissions: more than 20,000 tons, or 11 percent
  • Nitrogen oxide emissions: about 192,000 tons, or 18 percent
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions: about 276,000 tons, or 23 percent..”

The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook

CRS report via FAS – The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook. Richard J. Campbell, Specialist in Energy Policy. April 10, 2018. “The electrical grid in the United States comprises all of the power plants generating electricity, together with the transmission and distribution lines and systems that bring power to end-use customers. The “grid” also connects… Continue Reading

The World’s Wilderness: Going, Going and Soon Gone?

Outside: Recent studies have arrived at the same blunt conclusion: the world’s last, big wildlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Is there anything to be done? ““We are running out of wilderness,” James Watson, director of the science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told fellow scientists last summer at the International… Continue Reading

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States

The Guardian – John Abraham: “In order to combat climate change, we need to rapidly move from fossil fuel energy to clean, renewable energy. The two energy sources I am most interested in are wind and solar power; however, there are other sources that have great potential. Some people doubt how much wind and solar… Continue Reading

Study – Taste test gauges how recycled wastewater performs against bottled and tap water

EurekAlert: “Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, recently published a study of recycled wastewater that did not focus on its safety-which has long been established-but rather its taste. After years of drought, the notion of drinking recycled wastewater has gained momentum in California. Thoughts turned to all the water being discarded–to supplementing “conventional” groundwater… Continue Reading

CRS – Is the Grid More Secure? Not Yet!

NERC Standards for Bulk Power Physical Security: Is the Grid More Secure? Paul W. Parfomak, Specialist in Energy and Infrastructure Policy. March 19, 2018. “Although the electric power sector seems to be moving in the overall direction of greater physical security for critical assets, many measures have yet to be implemented and the process of… Continue Reading

Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plant

“New computer screenshots released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday made clear that Russian state hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate or shut down power plants.” Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger in the NYT: Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants. “The Trump administration accused Russia… Continue Reading

Urban Heat: Can White Roofs Help Cool World’s Warming Cities?

Yale Environment 360: “Summers in the city can be extremely hot — several degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside. But recent research indicates that it may not have to be that way. The systematic replacement of dark surfaces with white could lower heat wave maximum temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius or more. And with… Continue Reading

Manhattan Tree Map: A Data Through Design exhibit

Data Driven Journalism: “On January 9th of 2017, the official Twitter account of MillionTreesNYC (@MillionTreesNYC) announced that they had reached the initiative’s ambitious goal to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs. Starting in April of 2007 as a joint venture between the city’s Parks Department, private organizations, residents,… Continue Reading

Emails – Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument

The New York Times: “Even before President Trump officially opened his high-profile review last spring of federal lands protected as national monuments, the Department of Interior was focused on the potential for oil and gas exploration at a protected Utah site, internal agency documents show. The debate started as early as March 2017, when an… Continue Reading

Economist – The known unknowns of plastic pollution

The Economist “…of the 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest has been dumped in landfills or the natural environment. Often, as with disposable coffee cups, drinks bottles, sweet wrappers and other packets that account for much of the plastic produced in… Continue Reading

America’s Most Toxic Town Is Not Where You Think

A small city in remote Alaska is working to reduce contamination from the nearby Red Dog Mine: “…The village has long had issues with the mine. Ore from Red Dog is transported by eighty-ton haul trucks along a 50-mile road that links the mine to a port on the Chukchi Sea south of Kivalina. There… Continue Reading