Lawmakers in California and Massachusetts Introduce Bills for 100% Renewable Energy
Onshore wind turbine image; Credit: © SmartestEnergy
Here are some of the stories we’re reading this morning.
Desert Sun: California Senator's New Bill Calls for 100% Renewable Energy
Kevin de León has promised to lead the resistance to President Trump. A new bill could make good on that promise.
The California Senate leader has introduced legislation that would require the Golden State to get 100 percent of its electricity from climate-friendly energy sources by 2045. That's a big step up from the state's current renewable energy mandate, 50 percent by 2030 -- a target that's only been on the books for a year and a half, and that California is still a long way from meeting.
Under Gov. Jerry Brown, California has become a world leader in efforts to limit global warming, which is caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. De León's 100 percent clean energy proposal would up the ante considerably -- and fly in the face of Donald Trump's agenda. The president has repeatedly called human-caused global warming a "hoax," despite overwhelming scientific evidence that it's real and dangerous, and has pledged to boost America's production of climate-polluting coal, oil and natural gas, which he says will create millions of high-paying jobs.
WAMC: Bill Would Require Massachusetts to Use 100% Renewable Energy
Environmental activists launched a campaign Monday to win passage of a bill in Massachusetts that would commit the state to 100 percent renewable energy over the next few decades.
Three Massachusetts legislators have filed a bill that would require that all electricity used in the state be generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2035, and fossil fuels be eliminated as power sources for heat, transportation, and anything else by 2050.
The bill, dubbed the 100 percent Renewable Energy Act, was filed by Democratic lawmakers Rep. Sean Garballey, Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Jamie Eldridge. During a conference call with reporters Monday, Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts, announced there are now 53 co-sponsors.
Auto Blog: The Race for Autonomous Cars Is Over. Silicon Valley Lost
Up until very recently, the talk in Silicon Valley was about how the tech industry was going to broom Detroit into the dustbin of history. Companies such as Apple, Google and Uber -- so the thinking went -- were going to out run, out gun, and out innovate the automakers. Today that talk is starting to fade. There's a dawning realization that maybe there's a good reason why the traditional car companies have been around for more than a century.
Last year Apple laid off most of the engineers it hired to design its own car. Google (now Waymo) stopped talking about making its own car. And Uber, despite its sky-high market valuation, is still a long, long way from ever making any money, much less making its own autonomous cars.
To paraphrase Elon Musk, Silicon Valley is learning that "making rockets is hard, but making cars is really hard." People outside of the auto industry tend to have a shallow understanding of how complex the business really is. They think all you have to do is design a car and start making it. But most startups never make it past the concept-car stage because the move to mass production proves too daunting. Even Tesla, the only successful automotive company to come out of Silicon Valley so far, made but 80,000 cars last year, and it's been in business for nearly 15 years.
Washington Post: ‘We Don’t Have to Choose’ Between Jobs and the Environment, Says Pruitt
In his first full work day as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt made clear Tuesday that he intends to step back from what he sees as the agency’s regulatory overreach during the Obama administration.
Pruitt, who spent years criticizing and suing the EPA before becoming its newest leader, reiterated an argument he often had made as Oklahoma attorney general.
“The only authority that any agency has in the executive branch is the authority given to it by Congress,” he said during a noon address to employees at the agency headquarters. “We need to respect that. We need to follow that. Because when we do that, guess what happens? We avoid litigation. We avoid the uncertainty of litigation, and we reach better ends and outcomes at the end of the day.”
IEEE Spectrum: Want an Energy-Efficient Data Center? Build It Underwater
When Sean James, who works on data-center technology for Microsoft, suggested that the company put server farms entirely underwater, his colleagues were a bit dubious. But for James, who had earlier served on board a submarine for the U.S. Navy, submerging whole data centers beneath the waves made perfect sense.
This tactic, he argued, would not only limit the cost of cooling the machines -- an enormous expense for many data-center operators -- but it could also reduce construction costs, make it easier to power these facilities with renewable energy, and even improve their performance.
Together with Todd Rawlings, another Microsoft engineer, James circulated an internal white paper promoting the concept. It explained how building data centers underwater could help Microsoft and other cloud providers manage today’s phenomenal growth in an environmentally sustainable way.