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March 9, 2018

Energy – SciPol Weekly, March 3 – March 9

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CNBC – Steel tariffs won't help Trump achieve his goal of 'American energy dominance,' oil industry warns

Unleashing U.S. energy production is a pillar of President Donald Trump's agenda, but industry groups are warning that his plan to slap tariffs on steel imports will sabotage his quest for "American energy dominance." Trump said Thursday he will soon announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, telling reporters his administration plans to put a 25 percent fee on overseas steel. The news sent stock markets reeling and sparked fears of a trade war.

Des Moines Register – Iowa Senate OKs plan to rewrite utilities laws while critics predict higher costs

The Iowa Senate passed a controversial bill Tuesday night that rewrites some key provisions of the state's utilities laws with changes that Republicans promised will provide clean, reliable energy at a reduced cost for Iowa consumers. Democrats who fought the bill angrily claimed that Iowa consumers will be forced to pay millions more each year for their utility bills as a result of the changes. They also warned that thousands of Iowa jobs will be lost because the legislation will make energy efficiency initiatives optional.

Inside Climate News – GOP Pushes 80 Anti-Environment Riders, Dark Money Rule Changes in Spending Bill

Congressional Republicans are planning a two-fisted assault on climate and other environmental policies as they push a must-pass spending package for the current fiscal year, which is already half over.

The New York Times – College Republicans Propose an Unusual Idea From the Right: A Carbon Tax

As the Republican Party struggles to find its footing with the next generation of voters, several conservative college groups have banded together to champion something anathema to the party: a carbon tax.


Fast Company – Exxon Thinks It Can Create Biofuel From Algae At Massive Scale

“The goal here is to get to a sustainable, renewable biofuel that can be cost-competitive with pumping oil out of the ground, but can scale to levels that go far beyond demonstration levels,” says Oliver Fetzer, chief executive officer at Synthetic Genomics. “We see this step as a very important step along the way to scalability.”

Greentech Media – Tesla and Uber Weigh In on Policies to Boost EV Adoption

U.S. plug-in electric vehicle sales increased by 25 percent to just under 200,000 units in 2017. While promising, the rate of growth still lags what is needed to drive down greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Last week, policy experts gathered at the University of California, Davis for a conference focused on what researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) call the “three revolutions” -- shared, automated and electric vehicles.

The Washington Post – The U.S. just hit a major milestone for energy storage — which is also great news for solar

The United States has now added the capacity to store a billion watts of power for one hour and may double that total in 2018 alone, says a heady new forecast that highlights the rapid growth of the battery business.


Fast Company – Here’s The World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine

GE Renewable Energy this week announced what it calls the world’s most powerful wind turbine– 12-megawatt Haliade-X–and it’s a whopper. At 853 feet high, it’s roughly three times the size of New York City’s Flatiron Building (which has 21 floors). Due for commercial operation in 2021, the turbine has 45% more capacity than today’s standard 8 MW turbines, according to the company.


Popular Science – With wind farms, bias is in the eye of the beholder

Depending on your ideas about renewable power, you may view a towering, twirling wind turbine as the paragon of elegance or a hideous monstrosity. “Certain aesthetic experiences are conducive to human flourishing. The others do the opposite,” said Yuriko Saito, professor of philosophy at Rhode Island School of Design and author of Aesthetics of the Familiar. “Aesthetics is the fundamental vehicle that we have to negotiate this world through our senses.”

Quartz – Utilities are paying their customers to buy electric vehicles

Utilities scrambling to reinvent themselves are turning to electric vehicles. The transport sector may be the only major new source of electricity demand for developed economies. 

Image Citation 

Canon EOS 5d Mark IIi CC0 Public Domain