Rolnick, David, Donti, Priya L., Kaack, Lynn H., Kochanski, Kelly, Lacoste, Alexandre, Sankaran, Kris, Ross, Andrew Slavin, Milojevic-Dupont, Nikola, Jaques, Natasha, Waldman-Brown, Anna, Luccioni, Alexandra, Maharaj, Tegan, Sherwin, Evan D., Mukkavilli, S. Karthik, Kording, Konrad P., Gomes, Carla, Ng, Andrew Y., Hassabis, Demis, Platt, John C., Creutzig, Felix, Chayes, Jennifer, Bengio, Yoshua
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we, as machine learning experts, may wonder how we can help. Here we describe how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. From smart grids to disaster management, we identify high impact problems where existing gaps can be filled by machine learning, in collaboration with other fields. Our recommendations encompass exciting research questions as well as promising business opportunities. We call on the machine learning community to join the global effort against climate change.
Fewer than four months ago, the still-emerging energy storage industry faced a big challenge. With the Aliso Canyon natural gas field in Los Angeles essentially out of commission after a massive leak, the California Public Utilities Commission called on San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison to come up with storage solutions to help ward off the risk of power outages for the upcoming winter. The two investor-owned utilities did not have to come up with a specific amount of storage but they were under a major time constraint: SCE had to find the sources by the end of the calendar year while SDG&E was given roughly the same target deadline. It seemed like a tall order but in less than three months, SDG&E came back to the commission saying it had lined up two lithium-ion battery storage facilities totaling 37.5 megawatts that are scheduled to be ready by Jan. 31 of next year. And on Thursday, the CPUC is expected to approve contracts SCE has procured with three developers for 27 megawatts of energy storage expected to be online by Dec. 31.
The U.S. will purchase 32 tons of heavy water from Iran, in a deal valued at 8.6 million, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing senior American officials. The deal will be signed by U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna Friday. "The idea is: Okay, we tested it, it's perfectly good heavy water. We'll buy a little of this," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told the Journal. "That will be a statement to the world: 'You want to buy heavy water from Iran, you can buy heavy water from Iran.
California lawmakers' grand ambitions to fight climate change are running into a familiar obstacle: the parochial concerns of local governments and property owners. The latest battle over state needs vs. local control is being fought in San Bernardino County, where the Board of Supervisors voted last month to ban solar and wind farms across vast stretches of rural desert communities. The decision was cheered by residents who have complained that the proliferation of large renewable energy projects threatened to wipe out their scenic vistas and upend the fragile desert ecosystem. San Bernardino County's ban comes just as California is supposed to be dramatically ramping up its renewable energy usage as part of the state's effort to slash the carbon emissions that promote climate change. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring utility companies to get 60% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% from zero-carbon sources by 2045.
California is accelerating its rollout of clean energy, even as the White House is racing to unravel climate regulations. On Tuesday evening, the California Assembly passed a bill requiring 100 percent of the state's electricity to come from carbon-free sources by the end of 2045, putting one of the world's most aggressive clean-energy policies on track for the governor's desk. Given the size of California's economy and the bill's ambitions, it "would be the most important climate law in US history," says Danny Cullenward, an energy economist and lawyer at the Carnegie Institution for Science. The actual impact of the measure on global emissions and climate risks will be negligible, unless the rest of the world responds in similar ways. But California is effectively acting as a test bed for what's technically achievable, providing a massive market for the rollout of clean-energy technologies and building a body of knowledge that other states and nations can leverage, says Severin Borenstein, an energy economist at the University of California, Berkeley.