US climate action requires electric cars; utilities doing their part already

2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid charging at office park, Santa Cruz, California, Dec 2017 The subject of carbon dioxide emissions is hardly a simple one, especially when it comes to electric cars. They may not have tailpipes, but the electricity generated in order to keep them going has to come from somewhere. Electric utilities, it turns out, are doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions—and that makes it even more important that vehicles of all sorts move from gasoline to electricity to do the same. Most electric grids in the U.S. are lowering their carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour generated, as they move from coal toward natural gas because it's cheaper. Renewables like solar and wind pow

Syracuse company to light up its second Super Bowl

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will host Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 4, 2018. (Provided photo) Syracuse, N.Y. -- A Syracuse LED lighting company is on a Super Bowl roll. Eaton Corp.'s Ephesus LED sports lighting business is about to light up its second Super Bowl - and the first of three straight. The LED lighting that will illuminate Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was designed and sold by Eaton, a power management company. Employees work in Eaton Corp.'s Ephesus LED lighting business headquarters in Barclay Damon Tower in Syracuse on Jan. 25, 2018. (R

EIA: Wind to beat hydro as leading US renewable resource in next 2 years

Dive Brief: Hydroelectric facilities have historically generated the largest share of United States' renewable energy, but according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that could change this year as wind's rapid growth catches up to hydro. Hydro provided 7.4% of total utility-scale generation last year, helped by what EIA called "a relatively wet year," but its generation is slated to fall to 6.5% this year and 6.6% in 2019. Wind generated 6.3% last year but is expected to rise to 6.9% by 2019. Looking ahead, all types of wind resources are likely to expand significantly — particularly as the United States begins to embrace offshore wind facilities. According to Bloomberg New Ene

SUNY and NYSERDA Create Partnership to Accelerate Real-World Solutions to New York’s Energy Challeng

SUNY and NYSERDA Create Partnership to Accelerate Real-World Solutions to New York’s Energy Challenges Memorandum of Understanding Will Encourage Deployment of Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency at Campuses Statewide Albany – The State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced today an agreement to accelerate Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s clean energy agenda by establishing a robust partnership to drive campus-wide sustainability, catalyze entrepreneurship and economic development opportunities, and ensure New York produces a pipeline of skilled clean energy workers to advance the clean energy economy. “Through Governo

Trump's Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet

Bloomberg’s Lynn Doan reports on Trump’s decision to approve duties of as much as 30% on solar equipment made abroad. President Donald Trump dealt his biggest blow to the renewable energy industry yet. On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply. The tariffs are the latest action by Trump to undermine the economics of renewables. The administration already decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, sought to roll back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and signed sweeping tax refo

NASA Study Underscores Urgency Of Solving The Global Methane Problem

A new NASA study suggests methane emissions from fossil fuels may be responsible for half of the recent rise in global atmospheric methane concentrations. While we’ve known for some time that methane levels have been increasing worldwide, it hasn’t been clear why. The research narrows uncertainty as to both the sources and trends influencing global methane emissions. According to the study, which was published last week in the journal Nature Communications, methane emissions from fossil fuels are rising at a rate of 12 to 19 million metric tons a year. Different interpretations of global methane concentration data have attributed fluctuating methane levels to a wide variety of sources and fa

The planet just had its hottest 4 years in recorded history. Trump is dismantling efforts to fight c

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released 2017's global temperature data. See thermal images of Earth from 1860 to 2017 (NASA) 2017 was among the hottest years ever recorded, government scientists reported Thursday. The year was the second-hottest in recorded history, NASA said, while scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 2017 was the third-warmest they have ever recorded. The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but by either standard, the 2017 results make the past four years the hottest period in their 138-year archive. “The planet is warming remarkably uniformly,” Ga

'Smart' meters help Clifton Park residents curb energy use

CLIFTON PARK — Almost a year after National Grid launched a pilot program meant to help Clifton Park customers save energy, the company has reported a drop in energy use. National Grid began installing upgraded “smart” meters on Clifton Park residences in March. The new meters allow customers to track day-to-day energy use online, as opposed to waiting until the end of the month to see those details on their bills. With the new meters, customers can see when they are using extra energy and attempt to cut back. Customers are offered incentives, including gift cards or opportunities to donate to charities, if they meet certain energy-saving goals. National Grid’s aim last year was to install 1

China plug-in electric vehicle sales in 2017: almost four times those in the U.S.

BYD Qin EV300 Compared to previous years, overall car-sales growth in the U.S. has all but plateaued at around 17.5 million. China is doing little better, with growth reaching just 3 percent for 2017. But the Chinese new-vehicle market is undergoing a seismic shift in which types of cars are sold. Want proof? China sold 777,000 new-energy vehicles—electrics and plug-in hybrids—in 2017, a whopping 53-percent increase over 2016. The massive growth in plug-in vehicle sales can be attributed to government subsidies that support domestically produced models, reports Automotive News China. Of the total new-energy vehicles sold, 579,000 are passenger vehicles. The remaining sales are commercial veh

Nearly half of utility-scale capacity installed in 2017 came from renewables

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory Once final data are in, EIA expects about 25 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to have been added to the power grid during 2017, nearly half of which use renewable technologies, especially wind and solar. Another 3.5 GW of small-scale solar net capacity additions are estimated to have come online in 2017. Of the renewable capacity additions in 2017, more than half came online during the fourth quarter. Renewable capacity additions are often highest in the final months of the year, in part because of timing qualifications for federal, state, or local t


Businesses and residential customers in parts of Central New York and the Southern Tier can now buy electricity powered by a new solar array in Enfield, just west of Ithaca. Blue Rock Solar, a division of Syracuse–based BlueRock Energy, said the 2.3 megawatt array was completed and connected to the power grid. (Photo credit: BlueRock Energy) ENFIELD, N.Y. — Businesses and residential customers in parts of Central New York and the Southern Tier can now buy electricity powered by a new solar array in Enfield, just west of Ithaca. Blue Rock Solar, a division of Syracuse–based BlueRock Energy, said the 2.3 megawatt array was completed and connected to the power grid. Michael Francis, general man

Almost all power plants that retired in the past decade were powered by fossil fuels

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory Note: Includes reported retirements through October 2017 and reported planned retirements for November and December. Nearly all of the utility-scale power plants in the United States that were retired from 2008 through 2017 were fueled by fossil fuels. Of the total retired capacity, coal power plants and natural gas steam turbines accounted for the highest percentages, 47% and 26%, respectively. Most of the planned retirements through 2020 will also be coal plants and natural gas steam turbines, based on information reported to EIA. Various factors influence the decision to retire

Rick Perry’s Plan to Rescue Struggling Coal and Nuclear Plants Is Rejected

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had sought to guarantee financial returns for plants that stockpile at least 90 days’ worth of fuel. Credit Zach Gibson/Bloomberg, via Getty Images WASHINGTON — Federal regulators on Monday rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to subsidize struggling coal and nuclear plants, in a major blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to revive America’s declining coal industry. Over the past decade, an influx of cheap natural gas and the rapid rise of renewable energy have transformed the nation’s power sector, driving down wholesale electricity prices and pushing many older coal and nuclear plants into unprofitability and retirement. In September, Mr. Per

US shatters record for disaster costs in 2017

Hurricane Harvey - The hurricane hit Texas around 11 p.m. ET on Friday, August 25, between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor. The Category 4 storm became a Category 1 by late Saturday morning, packing winds of 75 mph before Harvey stalled dropping trillions of gallons of rain over Texas. Harvey busted the US record for rainfall from a single storm, dumping 51 inches of rain in parts of Texas flooding much of the Houston Metro for days. 2017 was the costliest year ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters. Highlighted

Electric Vehicle Sales Sees Big Jump in 2017, Sets New Records

Chevrolet Bolt at Syracuse Drive and Shine event, 2017 Washington, DC -- In 2017, Americans bought or leased nearly 200,000 electric cars (199,826), a 26% increase over 2016 sales. In December, more Americans purchased or leased electric vehicles (EVs) than in any other single month to date. In total, in the U.S. more than 763,000 electric vehicles have been sold since they first came on the market about seven years ago, putting the industry on track to surpass 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by the end of 2018. Worldwide, more than 3 million EVs have already been sold. Notably, in December of 2017, there were at least 15 different EV models that sold more vehicles than in any oth

Onondaga County helps seniors with home heating costs

A home thermostat.(Jupiter Images) SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Senior citizens who need help paying their energy bills can get assistance applying for the Home Energy Assistance Program, HEAP for short, from the Onondaga County Office for Aging. HEAP is a federally funded benefit program that provides limited subsidies for heating and utility costs to low-income people 60 and older. The program can help pay for electricity, gas, oil, coal, propane, wood or kerosene. Even some people whose heat and utility expenses are included in their rent may qualify for HEAP. The Office for Aging will help seniors apply 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 8, at the Solvay Senior Apartments, 200 Russett Lane, Syracuse, and

Governor Cuomo Unveils 20th Proposal of 2018 State of the State: New York's Clean Energy Jobs an

Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand "Peaker" Power Plants Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day Reg

2017 was record-setting weather year for north country

A cottage on Sandy Pond is surrounded by water and sandbags in May. AMANDA MORRISON / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES The past year saw some unusual weather patterns across much of the north country, according to weather data from Buffalo and Massena. Storms in August and October caused power outages and flooding in much of Jefferson County during the wettest year on record. Meteorologist Aaron Reynolds said that the average yearly rainfall total for the area is just under 35 inches, and 2017 has seen 48 inches of rain so far. More than a foot of additional rain had fallen this year, making it the wettest since record keeping began in 1949. Jefferson County FEMA Director Joseph D. Plummer said the sto


Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to divest the state's $200 billion pension fund from fossil fuel companies -- a provision he plans to push in his State of the State address next month. "The goal is to divest from fossil fuels. That is the energy of yesterday," he said. "It is literally polluting the planet. It is endangering our health and safety." But that is easier said than done. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is the elected official who controls the pension fund, and in a statement, said he supports discussing efforts to invest in green technology, but said there are no plans to divest from traditional energy companies just yet. "We all say we have to move to the new energy sources -- renewable. W

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