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Utilities companies won't let you sell your own solar power. Why not?

The electric utility sector is broken – but the transformation we need will be virtually impossible so long as a handful of wealthy elites are calling the shots

           

Utilities companies have their sights on ending net-metering: your ability to sell excess power at market rates. Photograph: Rex

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Energy and Policy Institute - Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change From 1968-2017

theguardian.com - by Kate Aronoff - August 1, 2017

A new report from the US-based Energy and Policy Institute last week found that investor-owned utilities have known about climate change for nearly 50 years – and done everything in their power to stop governments from doing anything about it.

From their commitment to toxic fuels to their corrosive influence on our democracy to their attempts to price-gouge ratepayers, it’s long past time to bring the reign of privately-owned electric utilities to an end.

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12 years after Gulf Oil Platform Destroyed, Feds Start Investigating Environmental Damage

nola.com - by Mark Schleifstein - July 28, 2017

Twelve years after Hurricane Ivan destroyed a Taylor Energy Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has finally started investigating how oil and gas that is still leaking from its wells damages natural resources. The flow of oil, "if left unchecked, could continue for 100 years or more," says the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Interior Department agency that oversees gulf drilling.

Although the storm waylaid Taylor Energy's MC-20 Saratoga platform on Sept. 15, 2004, it was not until late 2016 that the government began its inquiry, and not until Thursday (July 27) that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the investigation. 

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Multi-Billion Dollar Electric Grid Risks Need Risk Transfer: Swiss Re

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Swiss Re - LIGHTS OUT: THE RISKS OF CLIMATE AND NATURAL DISASTER RELATED DISRUPTION TO THE ELECTRIC GRID - 25 July 2017

artemis.bm - July 25, 2017

Risks to the electric grid due to severe weather, natural catastrophes and climate change can cause losses in the billions of dollars, and while threats make our energy future more uncertain there is a role for risk transfer and potentially the capital markets in helping to stave off economic disruption.

A new report published by reinsurance firm Swiss Re but authored by students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) explains that the electric grid is among the most important pieces of our critical infrastructure, but is also one of the most exposed to natural disasters, weather and climate related threats.

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Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades

           

Credit: Joe Raedle  Getty Images 

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating as Earth warms and ice sheets thaw

scientificamerican.com - by Jeff Tollefson - July 19, 2017

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady—or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

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CLICK HERE - University of Colorado - CU Sea Level Research Group

CLICK HERE - New estimate of the current rate of sea level rise from a sea level budget approach

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Prospect of Trump Tariff Casts Pall Over U.S. Solar Industry

           

FILE PHOTO: An employee makes a final inspection on panels during a tour of an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore, May 5, 2017.  Edgar Su/File Photo

reuters.com - by Nichola Groom - July 25, 2017

U.S. solar companies are snapping up cheap imported solar panels ahead of a trade decision by the Trump administration that could drive up costs and cloud the fortunes of one of the economy's brightest stars.

Domestic consumers and businesses have been embracing solar energy at a furious pace - thanks to a big assist from China. Low-cost photovoltaic cells and panels made in China and other Asian countries have helped drive down costs by around 70% since 2010, enabling more Americans to go solar.

Installations in the United States last year hit a record. Jobs are mushrooming too.

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Why are Californian Solar Firms Paying to Give Away Power?

           

Getty Images

bbc.com - June 29, 2017

California companies are generating so much solar power that firms in other states are getting paid to take it.

The state has been forced into the arrangement to "avoid overloading its own power lines", according to the Los Angeles Times.

The situation doesn't necessarily mean we are "throwing money away", says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"But it probably is an indication that there are some serious problems in the way we're running the grid and the way we're making investment decisions."

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Jimmy Carter Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar

           

From peanut farmer to solar farmer . . . A view of the new solar "farm" on land owned by former President Jimmy Carter, with the city of Plains seen in the background. Nearly four decades after he turned heads by installing solar panels on the White House roof as part of his push to increase "clean" energy use in America, Carter has leased part of his property to SolAmerica. The Atlanta based company says more than 50 percent of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's hometown will be solar-powered as a result.  SolAmerica

ecowatch.com - by Joe McCarthy - July 13, 2017

 . . . Earlier this year, he <Jimmy Carter> commissioned SolAmerica to create a solar farm on 10 acres of his land in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Today, that farm is supplying half of his town's electricity needs. It's expected to supply 1.3 megawatts of electricity annually, the equivalent of burning 3,600 tons of coal.

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Haitians Found at Sea Show Dire Conditions Could Worsen on Island Nation

reuters.com - by Sebastien Malo - July 13, 2017

U.S. authorities sent home some 100 Haitian immigrants discovered on a rickety boat this week, the most found at sea in more than a year and a sign of more people likely to flee the impoverished island, advocates said on Thursday.

Haitians are struggling to survive a homeland devastated by natural disasters and disease, and the situation could worsen if U.S. officials return home more than 50,000 Haitians in the United States on temporary visas, they said.

Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has cast uncertainty over whether to extend a special immigration status that has been granted to Haitians since a 2010 earthquake.

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Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is Society's Biggest Risk

           

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the National Governors Association's meeting Saturday Providence, R.I. (STEPHAN SAVOIA/AP)

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO urged governors to regulate artificial intelligence before it's too late.

usnews.com - by Casey Leins - July 16, 2017

Artificial intelligence is the "biggest risk that we face as a civilization" Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Saturday, speaking to state leaders on the last day of the National Governors Association summer meeting.

The business magnate participated in a question and answer session with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, whose initiative explores how state leaders can prepare for and benefit from innovative technologies.

Musk made his stance clear that governors must address artificial intelligence proactively, or it will be too late.

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To Solve Climate Change, Solve Income Inequality

A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers.

           

CREDIT: Pixabay

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Roosevelt Institute - Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links Between Inequality and Climate Change

thinkprogress.org - by Marlene Cimons - May 24, 2017

We often talk about how climate change exacerbates social and economic inequality, but rarely do we consider the opposite: that inequality itself can be a driver of climate change.

“What’s missing from the conversation is what our inequality crisis is doing to our planet,” said Susan Holmberg, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of a new report that shows how unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies. “One key topic that is still overlooked is how environmental degradation and climate change are themselves the toxic byproducts of our inequality problem,” Holmberg said.

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