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Biden — Don’t Be A Pipeline President!

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By David Lapp Jost

This month’s events have made it painfully clear that we are experiencing a climate crisis. Lethal heatwaves and the ocean catching fire in a pipeline spill in the Gulf of Mexico are important signs. Yet Joe Biden is pushing us in exactly the wrong direction, supporting huge pipelines that will move tens of billions of dollars of gas and oil. We need our president to protect our environment, not just fake it. We need actions from Biden, not words.

Our climate crisis is dire. We need to recognize that and act. The West Coast of the United States and Canada practically baked these last couple of weeks, killing hundreds of people and bringing society to a standstill for several days. As everyone knows, last year’s fires show that this summer has been a mild one … so far. Meanwhile, the ocean caught on fire (watch it burn) in the Gulf of Mexico, due to another irresponsible pipeline. We U.S. Americans must sadly look forward to many more pipeline-related catastrophes, though, because our president is pushing massive new pipelines right now, and refusing to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, a sad departure from the policy of his Democratic predecessor, Obama. As long as the world can guzzle cheap fossil fuels, the climate will worsen, human health will suffer, and renewable energy will remain at a disadvantage. Biden holds executive power over these projects — we need to hold him accountable.

Enbridge

Joe Biden is sitting on the sidelines or even promoting fossil fuel extraction while the Enbridge 3 and Enbridge 5 pipelines move forward. He is betraying Indigenous leaders, environmental activists, and even the Democratic Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

Enbridge 3, a tar sands pipeline responsible for the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history, is currently being replaced. Costing billions of dollars, the thousand mile pipeline carries hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day, and facilitates tar sands oil production in Alberta, which National Geographic called the “world’s most destructive oil extraction.” These projects will likely be used for decades, hurting progress on climate and clean alternatives.

Indigenous Water Protectors have led the struggle against Line 3, which crosses hundreds of bodies of water and will presumably lead to spills like the dozens that have resulted from the current line. Seeking to protect economically, religiously, and culturally important waters, members of groups like Honor the Earth and the Giniw Collective are putting their bodies on the line every day to thwart the project. Indigenous people and supporters are being arrested and in some cases likely jailed for a long time; the groups deserve financial support and support in action. Over 700 Water Protectors have now been arrested, already well exceeding the number arrested at Standing Rock. Sadly, media devote little attention to the crisis. Joe Biden’s Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers have unfortunately chosen to follow Trump’s policy and firmly back Line 3, and will no doubt continue to unless pressured by Democrats to do the right thing and cancel the line. Well over 90% of over 70,000 public comments on Line 3 have been against it — it’s time to listen to indigenous people and the general public and stop this climate and environmental arson.

Biden has refused to take the side of Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s governor, who is acting to stop the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline. Line 5 is an aging pipeline in a busy strait that could easily leak and contaminate hundreds of miles of coastline if a ship’s anchor hit it. Enbridge has now ignored a hard deadline from the governor — a troubling instance of corporate power ignoring the power of elective democracy that news media have mostly neglected to report on. Line 5 also faces overwhelming opposition of regional Native American tribes. Much of the legal dispute around Line 5 comes down to issues of Canadian and U.S. sovereignty and trade, as well as public legitimacy — Biden could decisively intervene, and is choosing not to.

Dakota Access

In 2016, indigenous leaders mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Even one of Obama’s daughters joined in. It’s now time to honor their work and and stop pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day through DAPL — once and for all.

At the start of his presidency, Native tribes called for Joe Biden to turn off the oil flow that threatens the health and safety of their communities. Any day he wanted, Biden could honor their wishes and turn off the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers — over which Biden has authority as Commander in Chief — is conducting an environmental review of the pipeline, responding to the concerns of indigenous communities. For some reason, the Corps does not believe the pipeline should be closed during a review of its safety even though pipelines run by Energy Transfer Partners — the DAPL operator — had 349 leaks, spills, and other accidents from 2012–2020. Biden should follow his Democratic predecessor rather than following Trump and call a stop to production.

DAPL is pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day, now. That oil represents about 4% of U.S. oil production and its closure would send an unmistakable signal to the oil industry (which is thriving under Biden, with oil and gas stocks nearly doubled since election day). Every day of further pumping is an affront to tribes that have requested its closure and to those who were injured or arrested to stop DAPL in 2016 and 2017. 

Nord Stream 2

Biden has also taken up the cause of supporting Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline — a remarkable shift away from Trump’s energy policy in the wrong direction. In addition to bolstering natural gas burning to the detriment of the climate and air quality, the Nord Stream Pipeline will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine in selling gas to western Europe, so it could cut off gas to Eastern European countries as it did in 2014, causing significant disruption and freezing people to death. The German Green Party — second in German political polls — opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will not be finished until after Germany’s October election. Trying to prematurely finish that process by lifting sanctions on Russia is in the interest of no one except Putin, gas companies, and the German right wing. 

Hold Biden Accountable

Far too many in the media have trumpeted Biden’s cancellation of the already-delayed, problem-ridden Keystone XL project that was only due to start operating in 2023. Far too many are heralding Biden’s infrastructure bill, which never amounted to enough in the scale of the costs of addressing climate change and seems to be diminishing in scale with every Republican compromise. With renewables the cheapest they have ever been, there is no reason we need to develop tens of billions worth of new pipelines. Biden’s presidency should be a transition to clean energy, not this. Democrats need to hear from us — this shouldn’t continue. 

Featured image: Standing Rock protest, by Pax Ahimsa Gethen (CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Related story: U.S. Supreme Court Gives Pipeline Eminent Domain Go-Ahead


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/14/biden-dont-be-a-pipeline-president/

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Jobs In Renewable Energy Fared Better Than Other Sectors In 2020

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Employment in renewable energy and battery-related sectors was far more resilient to the shock of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an annual DOE report released Monday.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs in 2020, with oil and gas workers hit hardest despite billions in bailouts and substantial payouts to executives.

Wind energy employment grew by nearly 2%. Jobs in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle sectors grew by 8% and 6% respectively, and battery storage jobs also increased.

“While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America and to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages, with good benefits and union membership,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a virtual report release.

Sources: ReutersThe Hill

This is a quick news brief from Nexus Media.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/jobs-in-renewable-energy-fared-better-than-other-sectors-in-2020/

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EU’s Proposed Green Deal Is A Big Victory For Fossil Fuel Companies

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On the 14th of July 2021, the EU Commission published its proposal for dealing with the climate crises and biodiversity crises, using money made available to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mix of climate crises, biodiversity crises, and economic recovery makes this packet something where many people find bits to be happy about and many people find bits not to be happy about.

  • The economic recovery is high priority, very short term.
  • The climate crises is ultimate priority, very short term.
  • The biodiversity is medium priority, medium to long term.

With that last classification, many people will get very angry. But it is a task that will take our attention for the coming centuries. Getting one or two years delayed in formulating policies, writing laws, and reaching consensus is not the biggest problem. The realization that we should start doing it, that we should keep doing it for as long as we are the custodians of life on Earth, that is the hardest part. It is something that can not be, even a tiny little bit for your special case, sacrificed for convenience or financial gain.

The second classification about climate change is even harder to understand for most people. Species are disappearing today, to be never seen again. The climate is something that will last centuries from now. How can it have a higher priority?

Catastrophic climate change is already happening today. It is killing people in heatwaves and floods today — literally, today. If we do not succeed to halt the growth of the greenhouse gas layer in this decade for the most part, mopping up the rest of the pollution sources in the next decade, biodiversity does not matter anymore. We will likely go to an Earth with a completely different biotope, one where there is no place for mammals.

Without mammals in the mix, there will be room for many thousands, if not millions, of new species on earth. Biodiversity will be saved, but not as we envision it today.

Economic recovery is always a very short-term action. For the economic problems caused by the coronavirus measures, immediate relief is needed. Companies should not go broke and people should not get unemployed because of what is essentially a natural disaster.

That the money for the economic recovery is used to accelerate the necessary transition to a clean/green economy is logical. Why spend money to rebuild what we were planning to demolish. I mean, the fossil fuel–based economy has to go. No reason to waste money in preserving it.

Logical, but not what many stakeholders of the fossil industry would like to see. They have dreams of transitioning the economy to greener fossil fuels. The previous attempt to switch to clean diesel failed, but that is not a reason to give up and go find a new career. There is still the fuel of the future, hydrogen. It is preferably made from natural gas (preferably for them, not for us), and in the long run with electricity from nuclear reactors, through a future electrolysis process.

Convincing policymakers that hydrogen (green in the future) is essential for road transport will delay the growth of battery electric vehicles — those pesky toys that do so much harm to the automotive industry and can drive on electricity from the solar cells on one’s roof.

These goals in the EU Green Deal proposal — not nearly large enough (“fossil fuel friendly,” you might say) — are:

  • A 600kW station every 60 kilometers along European highways for light vehicles by 2030 (2*150kW by 2025 and 4*150kW by 2030).
  • A 3500kW station every 60 kilometers along European highways for medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles in 2030 (perhaps 5*700kW?).
  • A hydrogen station every 150 kilometers for ???????.

Currently, the fastest charging is at 175 kW or 250 kW for 350V–400V batteries. Double that for 800V batteries. A two-plug 150kW each station every 60 kilometers is probably sufficient in Northern Sweden and Lapland. Between 2025 and 2030, the number of BEVs on the roads will multiply by four (increase by 300%) at least. I expect Tesla alone to offer more stations with more plugs long before 2030.

Trucks have charging at their home depot, or are long-haul trucks charging on the road? (Okay, this is a bit simplified.) The Tesla Semi uses about 1.25 kWh/km. The charge time of the truck can be booked as the mandatory rest time of the driver. The 1 MW or 1.2 MW chargers that are now discussed are a reflection of this reality.

Truckers like to combine their rest time with their lunch or dinner break. This creates high demand for many plugs around these times with low demand during normal trucking times. Logistics is a commercial business. It will create the needed charging infrastructure via demand and supply. Selling electricity and a warm meal is the name of the game.

Local governments need to be prepared to facilitate the permitting process and plan the grid connections. Each station (both for light-duty vehicles and medium-/heavy-duty vehicles) should be planned for a 2MW–8MW connection or more. Building the transport line between the charging station and the existing grid is very expensive.

For the chargers, the most important metric is missing. That is the number of plugs needed at each station. For this, an analysis of the traffic volumes on the European roads is needed. It would show that many roads will need a charging station every 30 kilometers with 8 to 20 plugs.

In Europe, many have free travel in their company cars. Company cars are new, and after 2025, likely all electric. While the complete European car fleet will likely take 20+ years to replace, the fleet traveling on highways will be replaced in about 6 years. Due to less range, a BEV will charge more often than a fossil fuel vehicle makes a tank stop, at least twice as often. It will also keep a charging space longer occupied than a gas pump will be occupied — for ease of computation, double the time.

By 2030, at least half the fleet on the highways will be BEV. That means that half the gas pumps have to be replaced by four times that number of charging plugs. We have an awful lot more than four gas pumps every 60 kilometers of highway. The European Automobile Industry (ACEA) has even explained that the progress in selling BEVs is limited by the buildout of the infrastructure on the ground. When the EU comes with an ambitious plan for the car market, an even more ambitious infrastructure plan should accompany it to make it reality.

The fossil fuel industry will be very grateful for this ridiculous lowball number for highway charging stations. There will never be enough plugs for the yearly mass migrations to the sun and the snow. But that is only about 6 weekends each year. It is like the airlines never having enough seats for Thanksgiving weekend in the USA. Sizing to the exception is impossible, but we can aim to have enough in the rest of the year.

There is NO metric for the hydrogen station. Probably the lobbyists know that there won’t be customers. It is only about getting subsidies for the uneconomical stations and slowing the transition to fully electric ones. It is just a distraction. The well-to-wheel energy need is too clear a case to expect any hydrogen ever playing a role in road transport.

There are a number of lofty goals for hydrogen production. It should get at volume soon, and 50% of the green hydrogen should be renewable by 2030. Makes one think — what is non-renewable green hydrogen? I can only think of hydrogen fused into helium as not renewable. That would liberate a lot of energy, by the way.

Photo by Cynthia Shahan, CleanTechnica

Another way of temporizing what the market is doing is setting goals for public chargers that are too low. These are mostly Level 2 chargers for people without home charging.

  • 2025 – 1 million
  • 2030 – 3.5 million
  • 2040 – 11.4 million
  • 2050 – 16.3 million

Either those civil servants in Brussel are math-illiterate, or they think we are. The total for the EU in 2025 is just twice what the home country of the main writers of the deal plan to build by that year. The 2030 number is about three times the number in their home country. These math-illiterate people are Commissioner Timmermans and his chief-of-staff Samson, both Dutch.

Before he became chief-of-staff, Samson was one of the authors of the Dutch Klimaatakkoord, where the numbers of Dutch planned chargers can be found.

The EU is over 25 times the population of the Netherlands, and many more times the size. The Dutch numbers are from before the more ambitious goals and the rise in BEV sales in the last two years. In another article, I discussed why they are too low. With over a million chargers for the Netherlands alone in 2030, there is only a goal of 2.5 million chargers for the rest of the EU.  … Somebody is math challenged, and it ain’t me. In my very humble and biased opinion, that number needs an extra zero. And then some.

While greenwashing their actions, the EU commission is applying the brakes at full force. The fossil fuel lobby was successful.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/eus-proposed-green-deal-is-a-big-victory-for-fossil-fuel-companies/

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What Will Happen To Old ICE Vehicles In The Electric Era?

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David Waterworth

“Disabled & Elderly Parking Only.” That’s what the sign said, so he parked his ICE Corolla there. We saw the vehicle as we exited the restaurant and walked towards where we had parked our Tesla. When I pointed it out to my friend, he said, “In 20 years they’ll be using that car for a chook pen.”

Image by David Waterworth

I thought that was a little unfair, as one of my neighbours has an older Corolla (and 2 others the same model in the backyard for spares). They are certainly a great little car and have been a phenomenal success for Toyota. But so was the Morris Minor for British Motors Corporation and the Torana for General Motors Holden and the Cortina for Ford. 

Image by David Waterworth

The conversation continued around car clubs and the future of ICE vehicles for enthusiasts and hobbyists. Would they become quaint curiosities to be gawked at in special auto shows? Perhaps they would feature in car museums. While everyone else is driving normal cars (those that have electric motors, that don’t make a lot of noise or produce noxious smells), these could be taken out on weekends to drive in convoys for the nostalgic.

Or will it be smash-up derbies as was done to the old British cars of the ’60s – the Austins, Morrises, and Wolseleys were driven round the track and smashed into each other for fun and entertainment. 

When the age of horse power came to an end, many animals were kept as pets or out of kindness and duty. Unfortunately, most were slaughtered and eaten (yes, eaten). As the age of ICE vehicles comes to an end, we may have to give thought about what to do with the faithful Corollas that we will have to let go. There is a limit to how many we can keep as pets. And we can’t eat them. 

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/21/what-will-happen-to-old-ice-vehicles-in-the-electric-era/

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Tesla To Open Superchargers To Other Electric Vehicles Later This Year

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Tesla plans to make its Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year, Elon Musk just shared on Twitter. He was replying to Raphael (aka @TesLatino) who shared his thoughts on how others are wondering why Tesla even created its own charging connector. Many think that it’s not fair to other EVs, and he pointed out that Elon Musk didn’t receive any support while he was advancing the technology. “His team created a reliable way to charge the fleet,” he said. “Deal with it!”

Elon explained that the reason why Tesla created its own connector was that there wasn’t a standard in those early days. In fact, back then, Tesla was the only maker of long-range EVs. No other vehicles could even make use of superfast charging if it was available to them. The Tesla connector is quite slim and works for both low and high-power charging.

This update from Elon Musk follows previous news that Tesla is opening two public Superchargers in Norway and 6 in Sweden. However, those are slated to be opened by Q3 of next year. For the case in Sweden, Tesla applied for 6 of the public stations from TM Sweden AB. Since funding is available for public charging — not private — that makes sense. Elbilen noted that these will most likely be public Superchargers as a result.

One thing many Americans may not realize is that the Superchargers in Europe include CCS connectors already, and in China they have CHAdeMO 3.0, as our own Maarten Vinkhuyzen pointed out privately. That means that the hardware is already ready for charging from other EVs, and there are at least a couple of places where it was opened up in 2020 (Maarten charged his ZOE at one). So, in those markets, all that’s needed is for Tesla to open up permission to non-Teslas and also have an app ready to charge them (money-wise) for using the chargers. In the U.S., it seems that it will be a bit trickier. We’ll see.

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the transition to sustainability, and by opening up its Supercharging network to other EVs, it’s doing just that. Of course, I’m sure Tesla will make extra money from the service, but that is unlikely to be the aim here.

With Tesla’s Superchargers soon to be open to other EVs, this brings an entire network of charging stations online for EV owners whose cars aren’t Teslas. This helps ease range anxiety, which is a common reason why some are reluctant to switch to EVs. It’s another way Tesla will be advancing EV sales.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/20/tesla-to-open-superchargers-to-other-electric-vehicles-later-this-year/

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