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Solar's great and so is wind, but we still need nuclear power

Los Angeles Times

If you are concerned about climate change, then you should take note of this: Over the last eight months, utilities from New York to Nebraska have announced plans to shutter six nuclear reactors by 2019. These closures will come on the heels of earlier ones -- five reactors have been shuttered in the last three years alone. The latest closure announcement came earlier this month when Exelon Corp., the country's largest nuclear-energy producer, said it would close three reactors at two sites in Illinois by 2018. The six targeted reactors have been safely producing about 40 terawatt-hours of zero-carbon-emissions electricity per year (one terawatt-hour equals 1 billion kilowatt-hours). These reactors' output exceeds the amount of zero-carbon electricity produced annually by every solar energy installation in the nation.


Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

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.


Solar energy sector lost 8,000 jobs in US last year, but future looks bright – report

The Guardian > Energy

The solar energy sector lost 8,000 jobs in the US last year, the second consecutive year of declines, hit by uncertainty over the Trump administration's energy and trade policies and a 30% tariff on imported solar panels, according to a report released on Tuesday. But according to the Solar Foundation the future is still bright for solar. Despite the two-year dip, solar employment has grown 159%, from just over 93,000 to more than 242,000 jobs in all 50 states over the past nine years and the report concludes the long-term outlook for solar energy production is positive. Solar, which currently represents about 2.4% of overall US electricity generation, already employs twice as many workers as the coal industry and almost five times as many workers as the nuclear industry. States hit hardest by the slowdown were some of those with well-established solar industries, including California, with almost 10,000 job losses, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Arizona, while 29 states – many with less established solar penetration, including Florida, Texas and Illinois – continued to see job growth.


Aliso Canyon shutdown jolts utilities to push energy storage plans

Los Angeles Times

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.


New energy forecast has good news for Elon Musk, but spells trouble for Trump

Mashable

President Donald Trump can forget reviving America's fossil fuel sector, because the future belongs to renewable energy titans like Tesla's Elon Musk. According to a new report, there may not be any growth in oil and coal use worldwide after the year 2020. This contrasts with Trump's vision of a revived coal, oil and gas sector in the U.S., which was central to his electoral victory in states such as Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. The report, co-authored by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, found that solar and wind power plus electric vehicles will each experience explosive growth in the coming decades, to the point where electric vehicles alone could slash global oil use per day by 2 million barrels by 2025. This may rise to 25 million barrels per day by 2050, the report states.