Chinese Province Larger Than Texas Just Ran For An Entire Week On Only Renewable Energy
Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost June 29, 2017
While the U.S. flounders on environmental action and a growing number of cabinet officials out themselves as climate deniers, China continues to make waves as an emerging leader in this space.
Chinese state media announced this week that the sprawling province of Qinghai in the country’s northwest had run for seven consecutive days entirely on renewable energy. The province, which is larger than Texas, relied only on wind, solar and hydroelectric power from June 17-23, reported Xinhua. These renewable energy sources reportedly provided Qinghai and its population of 5.8 million with 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity — equal to about 535,000 tons of coal.
Qinghai’s fossil fuel-free week was part of a trial that the Chinese government initiated to see if an entire province could successfully achieve zero emissions for an extended period of time. Wang Liming, deputy governor of Qinghai, told China Daily this month that the experiment would set a new global clean energy record.
“It will break the current record of four days held by Portugal,” he said, referring to the four days in May last year when the European nation of 10 million ran on just renewable energy.
As Grist notes, Qinghai is a hub for clean energy in China. Located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, the province gets plenty of sun (more than 3,000 hours of daylight every year) and is home to the world’s largest solar farm. Also the location of the headwaters of Asia’s three largest rivers ― the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong ― Qinghai’s hydropower potential is immense.
“Qinghai is the country’s important warehouse of natural resources and it plays a vital role in the development of the nation’s green industry,” said Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, this month, according to China Daily.
China has been positioning itself as a global leader of green energy in recent years. In January, the Chinese government announced plans to spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020, an investment they could create 13 million jobs.
With its commitment to clean energy development and reduced its coal consumption, China is set to overachieve the pledges it made in the Paris climate agreement, according to a recent Climate Action Tracker report. Together with India, China’s climate commitments have been so significant that they could offset the negative impacts that President Donald Trump’s climate policies could have on the globe, the report’s authors said.
“Five years ago, the idea of either [China or India] stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these nations. Yet, recent observations show they are now on the way towards overcoming this challenge,” the report said. “This stands in contrast to the decisions of the U.S. administration under President Trump, who appears intent on going in the opposite direction.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost .
An entire region of China just ran on 100% renewable energy for 7 days
Leanna Garfield, Business Insider June 27, 2017
From Pittsburgh to Frankfort, cities around the world are pledging to stop burning fossil fuels for electricity by 2050 or sooner.
But the Chinese province of Qinghai has already reached that goal, according to news outlet Xinhua. For seven days — from June 17 to 23 — the region ran on 100% renewable energy, including solar, wind, and hydropower.
The week was part of a trial conducted by the State Grid Corporation of China, which aims to test the viability of relying on renewables long-term. During that time, the Qinghai province generated 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of energy for over 5.6 million residents. That’s equal to burning 535,000 tons of coal.
Hydropower contributed to approximately 72% of the electricity generated during the seven days, Xinhua News said. As of May 2017, Qinghai’s power grid had a total installed capacity of 23.4 million kilowatts, with around 82% of that capacity made up of solar, wind, and hydro sources. By 2020, the province plans to expand its clean energy capacity to 35 million kilowatts, which could supply 110 billion kWh of renewable energy annually.
Nationwide, China hopes to produce 20% of its electricity from clean sources by 2030. Despite the recent rapid growth of clean energy, wind power accounted for just 4% and solar for about 1% of China’s electricity in 2016, according to The Guardian.
Qinghai is not the first place to run on 100% renewable power. Tokelau, a set of three tiny islands between Hawaii and New Zealand, replaced its diesel energy system with one that uses solar in 2012. And Costa Rica ran on 100% clean energy for 285 days in 2015, and on 98% renewables for 250 days in 2016. Austria’s largest state also currently gets all of its energy needs from solar, wind, and hydropower.
These efforts signal that a power grid that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels is possible for other cities, too.
Related: Tesla will begin selling its Solar Roof this year.
Business Insider, Science
ExxonMobil and BP want to tax themselves and give the money to Americans
Leanna Garfield June 21, 2017
Oil companies, corporate giants, and several prominent individuals — from Stephen Hawking to Michael Bloomberg — announced Tuesday they are joining the Climate Leadership Council, a group proposing a plan to tax carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
A group of Republican elder statesmen introduced the plan in February 2017. They called it a “conservative climate solution” that would tackle global warming by taxing greenhouse-gas emissions and returning the money to American taxpayers.
The coalition argues that, by raising the price of energy that comes from fossil fuels, the free market will naturally gravitate toward renewable energy solutions.
Under the plan, the US government would tax oil companies $40 per ton of CO2 they produce, which would add about 36 cents to the cost of each gallon of gasoline at the pump. Some of that money, which the council calls “climate dividends,” would then go to Americans in monthly installments through the Social Security Administration.
The plan’s supporters include ExxonMobil, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble. Individual backers include physicist Stephen Hawking, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of Steve Jobs), and Stephen Chu, a secretary of energy under Obama.
While it may seem unexpected that oil companies would support such a plan, they would reap some financial benefits if it comes to fruition. In addition to instituting the carbon tax, the plan would roll back some Obama-era environmental regulations and protect oil companies from lawsuits over greenhouse-gas emissions.
For those reasons, some environmentalists are skeptical of the plan. Greenpeace called it a way for oil companies to skirt lawsuits over their contribution to climate change. ExxonMobil, for example, is under investigation to determine whether the company lied to the public or investors about climate change risks.
“ExxonMobil will try to dress this up as climate activism, but its key agenda is protecting executives from legal accountability for climate pollution and fraud. Buried in pages of supposedly ‘free market’ solutions is a new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change,” Greenpeace’s Climate Liability Project Lead, Naomi Ages, said in a press release.
High school girls with no engineering experience won a $10,000 grant for inventing a solar-powered tent to combat homelessness
Talia Lakritz, Insider June 21, 2017
The INSIDER Summary:
- A team of 12 high school students invented a solar-powered tent that folds into a backpack for the homeless.
- It has insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system, and a UV sanitization system.
- They presented their invention at MIT after winning a $10,000 grant.
For some high school students, after-school activities might consist of rehearsals, study groups, or babysitting gigs. These 12 kids invented a high-tech tent to help combat homelessness in their spare time.
The inventors, juniors and seniors at San Fernando High School in California, are part of a nonprofit organization called DIY Girls that aims to inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Last year, MIT awarded the group a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant to put towards solving a real-world problem with engineering. They chose to combat the homelessness they encounter in their low-income community by inventing a solar-powered tent that folds into a backpack.
Through a combination of sewing, coding, and 3D printing, they equipped the tent with insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system, and a UV sanitization system.
MIT invited them to Boston to present their invention, but they couldn’t afford the trip on their own. Thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, they surpassed their $15,000 goal and raised enough money to fly all 12 members of the group to Boston.
“The ingenuity that is possible when students are given the time and resources to explore their passions is remarkable,” the group’s coordinator wrote on their GoFundMe page.
Read the original article on INSIDER.