Conservationists in California and across the West are deeply skeptical of hydropower, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a long history of government agencies damming spectacular canyons, choking off rivers, obliterating fish populations and cutting off access to Indigenous peoples. It’s a history detailed in books such as “Cadillac Desert,” and experienced by anyone who has spent time fishing, kayaking or swimming in the region’s reshaped waterways, or hiking alongside them.
Of concern is potentially migrating dioxins from pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative that was used at the mill site before being banned in the mid-1980s. In response, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has hired an engineering firm to do a new round of testing at the site.
The collapse of the power grid in Texas last week, and the cascading infrastructure failures that resulted from it, are stark examples of why a proactive government matters. A complete evaluation will surely show that, like most accidents and failures, many factors played a role, but it is already easy to see that the avoidance of government regulation contributed to the cold-weather chaos.
A battery storage demonstration project already providing a carbon-free source of electricity to California’s grid is about to be tested to see how well it can work on microgrids.
Located on a bluff at a San Diego Gas & Electric substation in Bonita, the energy storage project uses vanadium redox flow battery technology that stores electricity when the grid has excess supply and then discharges the energy when the power system needs it.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and AES Corp. have executed and filed a power purchase agreement with Hawaii regulators to develop a solar-powered pumped hydro storage project the utility says will bring its total resource mix above 80% renewables. The West Kauai Energy Project could come online in 2024.
While negotiators largely sidelined energy issues during months of stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, a number of significant energy and environmental provisions will hitch a ride on the year-end agreement set to pass today.
House and Senate leaders yesterday announced they had reached a deal on a $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 spending omnibus, pandemic relief legislation and a number of major items that will ride along. Final text had yet to be released by publication time.
An international research team has proposed to use nighttime radiative cooling to harvest water from PV panels and reuse it for module cleaning during the daytime. According to their findings, the proposed system has, also, a beneficial effect on the modules’ operating temperature.
California is on fire. And the wildfires we’ve seen already this year are not just alarming – they’re a forewarning. In 2020 alone, record temperatures and tens of thousands of dry lightning strikes led our state to experience five of its six largest wildfires in recorded history.
The first large-scale study of the risks that countries face from dependence on water, energy and land resources has found that globalisation may be decreasing, rather than increasing, the security of global supply chains.
With more than 4 million acres burned this year – shattering a state record – California’s wildfire season came with a wicked ferocity, along with the climate-induced crises of crippling heatwaves and forced power outages.