The internet has the ability to bring the brain power of all human beings together to devise ways of making our civilization better. In theory, it could be the way to force changes in government that would limit the power of tyrants.
In reality, the simple “like” button created by Mark Zuckerberg — without a similar “dislike” button — has created a monstrous perversion in which unfiltered gossip substitutes for wisdom, a development that has virtually destroyed our ability to engage in critical thinking. If concerted action to address an overheating planet fails to materialize, it will probably be because the idea didn’t get enough likes on Fakebook.
Recently, a Fakebook post appeared that showed two identical cars, one a diesel spewing a cloud of sooty smoke from its tailpipe and the other an electric car running on electricity generated by coal-fired facilities shooting clouds of sooty smoke into the air. The caption reads, “Manufacturing the battery for one electric car produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as running a petrol car for eight years.” As with everything on Fakebook, the source of that claim is not revealed. All that matters is that someone posted it and others “liked” it. And so now people are spreading that lie to their family and friends.
PolitiFact decided to delve into this claim a bit and decided it is “mostly false.” Why mostly? Because, as should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, every manufacturing process creates carbon emissions, even making batteries and assembling cars. There are emissions associated with the production of steel, aluminum, copper, glass, and tires. There are even emissions associated with making that “vegan leather” that is so popular right now.
PolitiFact contacted Zeke Hausfather, director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute, for clarification about the claim that manufacturing a battery creates as many emissions as driving a gasoline powered car for 8 years. He responded by saying that producing a 75 kilowatt-hour battery for a Tesla Model 3 results in 4,500 kilograms of carbon dioxide if it is made at the Gigafactory in Nevada. That’s equivalent to driving a gasoline-powered sedan for 1.4 years at a yearly average distance of 12,000 miles.
If the same battery is made in Asia, manufacturing it would produce 7,500 kilograms of carbon dioxide, equivalent to driving a gasoline powered sedan for 2.4 years. That is nowhere near the 8 years claimed by that cartoon on Fakebook. The larger emission amount in Asia can be attributed to its “higher carbon electricity mix,” which relies more on coal for energy production than the electrical supply in Nevada.
“More than half the emissions associated with manufacturing the battery are associated with electricity use,” Hausfather said in an email to PolitiFact. “So, as the electricity grid decarbonizes, emissions associated with battery production will decline. The same is not true for sedan tailpipe emissions.”
PolitiFact notes that the Fakebook post does not mention the carbon emissions associated with the electricity used to build conventional cars. That post also omits the fact that the emissions created during battery manufacture are offset over a short period of time by zero tailpipe emissions during operation. There is no gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle on the face of the Earth that offsets any of the emissions associated with its manufacture.
Lying Liars & The Lies They Tell
Most of what PolitiFact found when it investigated the claims made by that Fakebook post will come as no surprise to CleanTechnica readers. But the pernicious effect of such lies cannot be downplayed. I recently had dinner with an educated man who has a Ph.D in economics. During our conversation, he asked about my LEAF and said he heard electric cars were not very clean because the electricity needed to charge them comes from burning coal. So this sort of deliberate disinformation gets around to people at all levels of society.
The corrosive effects of our internet culture are everywhere. I know people who believe that every person who got vaccinated against the coronavirus will be dead within 6 months. Critical thinking is in short supply these days and the lack of it is a clear and present danger to civilization. Ignorance can be cured with information. There is no cure for stupidity. If you agree, please like this story and share it with your friends!
Featured image courtesy of Volkswagen.
Sharon Lavigne Recognized For Fight “To Breathe Clean Air” in Cancer Alley
“They’re trying to make our area a sacrifice zone,” she told Bloomberg of the petrochemical industry and state and local officials who support it. “They’re killing Black people with guns and stuff, and with us, they’re killing us with poison in the air and in our water. It’s still a killing.”
Lavigne was awarded what is often described as the “Green Nobel” for North America; winners in other regions were honored for their work on a range of issues, including deforestation, coal power plants, and toxic pollution. “I’m doing this to save our community. I’m doing this to breathe clean air and drink clean water. I wasn’t looking for recognition,” Lavigne told the New Orleans Advocate. “I had no idea people could win awards for this.”
The United States Consumed a Record Amount of Renewable Energy in 2020
In 2020, consumption of renewable energy in the United States grew for the fifth year in a row, reaching a record high of 11.6 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), or 12% of total U.S. energy consumption. Renewable energy was the only source of U.S. energy consumption that increased in 2020 from 2019; fossil fuel and nuclear consumption declined. Our U.S. renewable energy consumption by source and sector chart shows how much renewable energy by source each sector consumes.
We convert sources of energy to common units of heat, called British thermal units (Btu), to compare different types of energy that are usually measured in units that are not directly comparable, such as gallons of biofuels compared with kilowatthours of wind energy.
We use a fossil fuel equivalence to calculate primary energy consumption of noncombustible renewables (wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal), which are not burned to generate electricity and therefore do not have an inherent Btu conversion rate. In this approach, we convert the noncombustible renewables from kilowatthours to Btu using the annual weighted-average Btu conversion rate for all fossil fuels burned to generate electricity in the United States during that year to estimate the amount of fossil energy replaced by these renewable sources.
We use the fossil fuel equivalency approach to report noncombustible renewables’ contribution to total primary energy, in part, because the resulting shares of primary energy are closer to the shares of generated electricity. This calculation also represents the energy that would have been consumed if the electricity from renewable sources had instead been generated by a mix of fossil fuels.
Wind energy, or electricity generated by wind-powered turbines, is almost exclusively consumed in the electric power sector. Wind energy accounted for about 26% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Wind surpassed hydroelectricity in 2019 to become the single most-consumed source of renewable energy on an annual basis. In 2020, U.S. wind energy consumption grew 14% from 2019.
Hydroelectric power, or electricity generated by water-powered turbines, is almost exclusively consumed in the electric power sector. It accounted for about 22% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. U.S. hydropower consumption has remained relatively flat since the 1970s, but it fluctuates with seasonal rainfall and drought conditions.
Wood and waste energy, including wood, wood pellets, and biomass waste from landfills, accounted for about 22% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Industrial, commercial, and electric power facilities use wood and waste as a fuel to generate electricity, produce heat, and manufacture goods.
Biofuels, including fuel ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewable fuels, accounted for about 17% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. U.S. biofuel consumption fell 11% from 2019 as overall transportation sector energy use declined in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Solar energy accounted for about 11% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, including rooftop panels, and solar thermal power plants use sunlight to generate electricity. Some residential and commercial buildings use solar heating systems to heat water and the building. Overall, 2020 U.S. solar consumption increased 22% from 2019.
Principal contributor: Mickey Francis
India X Cleantech — June 2021
Originally published on Future Trends.
Welcome to another issue of our new India x Cleantech series! On a monthly basis, we are pulling news from across clean technology sectors in India into a single, concise summary article about the country.
SoftBank To Exit India Solar Business In US$3.5 Billion Deal
SoftBank is set to sell its entire stake in SB Energy to Adani Green Energy, one of India’s largest renewable energy companies. Bharti Enterprises is also expected to sell its 20% share in the joint venture which, at one point, also had Foxconn Technologies as a partner. The total value of the transaction is reported at US$3.5 billion, including debt.
Tata Power Renewable Energy Plans $470 Million IPO For Yieldco
One of India’s leading renewable energy companies — Tata Power Renewable Energy — has announced plans for a public listing of its infrastructure investment trust or yieldco. The news of possible public listing of the yieldco comes just days after multiple media outlets reported that talks to onboard Malaysian petroleum giant Petronas had fallen through. Petronas has reportedly reached an understanding to invest around $500 million to acquire 30–35% stake in the yieldco.
Renewable Energy & Batteries
India Announces US$600 Million Incentives Scheme For Manufacturing Solar
The Indian government has announced a new incentive scheme to boost manufacturing in the solar power sector. Through this scheme, the government plans to disburse more than $600 million in incentives over the next five years. India’s Ministry for New and Renewable Energy recently announced the guidelines for a production-linked incentives scheme for the solar equipment manufacturing sector. Incentives will be offered to manufacturers of polysilicon, wafers, cells, and modules. The Ministry will call for bids from manufacturers in order to allocate the earmarked incentive.
Adani Green Energy Posts 86% Jump In Q1 2021
One of India’s largest renewable energy generation companies, Adani Green Energy, has reported stellar financial performance during the first quarter of this year. According to the company’s filing with the Indian stock exchanges, Adani Green Energy’s profit rose from US$7.6 million in Q1 2020 to $14.1 million in Q1 2021. The company also reported a sharp increase in revenue – from $97 million in Q1 2020 to $147 million in Q1 2021.
Tata Power Wins 250-megawatt Solar Auction at ¢3.4 per kWh
According to media reports, a subsidiary of Tata Power Renewable Energy secured the rights to develop 250 megawatts of solar power projects in the western state of Maharashtra. The capacity is part of a solar power park in the state. A tender was issued by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited, a power distribution utility. Apart from Tata Power, India’s largest power generation company, NTPC, and hydropower generation company SJVN also participated in the auction. NTPC and SJVN submitted bids of Rs 2.82 (US¢3.8) and Rs 2.53 (US¢3.4) per kilowatt-hour.
Indian State Issues 1.3 Gigawatt Solar Power Tender
The Indian state of Maharashtra has issued a tender for the installation of 1.3 gigawatts of solar power projects. According to media reports, the entire capacity will be used for supplying electricity to agricultural consumers. The capacity would be spread across 29 districts in Maharashtra. Project developers would be required to set up projects of 25 megawatts or 50 megawatts. Power generated from these projects would be purchased by the state’s power distribution utility, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited.
ReNew Power Announces 2 Gigawatts Solar Manufacturing Facility
One of India’s largest renewable energy generators, ReNew Power, has announced plans to expand into solar manufacturing. The company announced that it has identified a site in the western state of Gujarat to set up a manufacturing capacity for 2 gigawatts of solar cells and modules. The company aims to start operations at the facility before March 2023.
JSW Energy Finalizes 540 Megawatts Wind Energy PPA
A subsidiary of thermal power generator JSW Energy signed a power purchase agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for the sale of 540 megawatts of wind power. JSW Renew Energy had secured rights to develop 810 megawatts of wind energy projects in an auction conducted by SECI in August 2020. JSW Energy has 4.5 gigawatts of power generation capacity, including 3.2 gigawatts of thermal power capacity.
India Opens Anti-dumping Investigation Into Imported Solar Cells
Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has initiated an anti-dumping investigation into solar cells imported from China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The investigation was launched after complaints were filed by two Indian solar module manufacturers.
Brooklyn To Deploy Old Navy Yard For New Offshore Wind Ventures
The old Brooklyn Navy Yard was the centerpiece of seagoing innovation from its startup in 1801 to its decommissioning in 1966, and it has not been asleep at the wheel since then. In the latest development, the emerging tech incubator Newlab has paired with the leading renewable energy developer Ørsted to launch a whole new raft of ventures from the Navy Yard, beginning with offshore wind power — just in time to take advantage of a huge new offshore wind opportunity announced by the Biden administration for the New York Bight. Wait, the New York what?
New York State Is Ready For Its Offshore Wind Closeup
Before we take a look at Newlab and Ørsted, let’s take a quick look at the New York Bight.
At first glance, New York State does not seem to be a particularly fruitful candidate for national offshore wind leadership. Aside from an inland foothold on the Great Lakes, New York would be almost entirely landlocked if it wasn’t for Long Island, which juts out like a giant splinter on the southernmost toe of the state.
The northern shore of Long Island sits opposite Connecticut and forms something called the Long Island Sound, which refers to a relatively deep, narrow stretch of coastal ocean between two land masses. In this instance, “sound” is also is shorthand for nope, not gonna let any wind turbines in here. The local fishing industry is among a number of factors working against the idea of adding wind turbines to the crowded waters of the Long Island Sound.
The situation is different on the southern shore of Long Island, which is a feature of the New York Bight. A bight tends to be more open and less deep than a sound, forming a sort of broad, curving elbow or corner in a coastline. Picture Long Island as the forearm, with the upper arm formed by the northern reaches of the somewhat notorious New Jersey shoreline.
Where Have You Gone, New Jersey?
The relatively shallow waters of the New York Bight combine with its proximity to the high-population New York – New Jersey metro to make it a prime location for offshore wind energy, and therein lies a tale.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been quick to jump on the wind energy economy. Back in 2018 the curiously wind-friendly Trump administration even handed leadership of the nation’s the newly minted Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium to the Empire State, which is curious considering that Trump’s history with wind turbines is less than friendly.
In New Jersey, it was a different story. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie swept into office in 2010 with a Koch-fueled energy agenda. The to-do list included slow-walking renewable energy standards written into state law, and passing up an opportunity to host millions in Energy Department funding for an innovative new wind turbine.
Oh, There You Are!
Well, that was then. Even while Christie was still in office, the Trump administration was moving forward with plans to festoon the Jersey coast with offshore wind turbines. Christie left office in 2018, a new Governor took the reins, and now the Garden State is jockeying for its place in the wind power spotlight.
In the latest development on that score, last year current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced plans to build a massive wind turbine monopile manufacturing facility at an existing New Jersey port on the Delaware River, giving it easy access to the booming market for offshore wind turbines all along the Atlantic Coast, beginning with Ørsted’s forthcoming 1,100 megawatt Ocean Wind offshore wind farm located down in the southernmost reaches of the state.
It looks like the era of slow-walking is over. Ground broke on the new monopile factory in April, bringing New Jersey’s so-named Wind Port to life. Monopiles are long, pole-type supports for offshore wind turbine towers, and they are just the beginning. If all goes according to plan, the idea is to add wind turbine blade, nacelle, and tower manufacturing to the Wind Port mix.
Ørsted & Newlab & More Offshore Wind
If you caught that thing about Ørsted and the Ocean Wind offshore wind farm, you may be wondering how they got dibs on the first order of monopiles to roll out of the New Jersey Wind Port. That’s an easy one. Ørsted is a lead investor in Wind Port, and that’s just part of its interest in New Jersey’s budding wind industry.
Ørsted is already working on winning the bid for Ocean Wind 2, which includes an investment of $11 million for a fleet of electric trucks at the Port of Newark. The company is also chipping in $2 million for green workforce training through the New Jersey WIND Institute, which is also an R&D center, and speaking of R&D, that finally brings us to Newlab.
Earlier this week, Newlab and Ørsted announced the launch of of Blue Energy Studio, described as a “a collaborative initiative designed to drive innovation towards a future powered by renewable energy.”
“The Blue Energy Studio will engage entrepreneurs, engineers, inventors, and corporate partners, beginning with Ørsted, to test and iterate innovative solutions to critical challenges across the renewable energy value chain,” the partners explain.
Newlab and Ørsted plan for Blue Energy Studio to cast a wide renewable energy net, but the initial focus will be squarely on offshore wind.
“During its initial phase, the Studio will focus on offshore wind innovation, and will recruit technology companies focused on streamlining the investigation and installation of new sites for offshore wind development; improving efficiency in site operations and maintenance; and optimizing power distribution to energy grids,” they explain, which sounds kind of what the WIND Institute is all about.
If there is any rivalry between New York and New Jersey, it looks like Ørsted is determined to bridge the troubled waters with a ring of offshore wind turbines featuring the latest cost-cutting, high efficiency technology, so stay tuned for more on that.
Offshore Wind Comes To The New York Bight
If the name Newlab rings a bell, that’s because CleanTechnica has become a frequent visitor of late. Recent coverage includes moveable mini urban farms, a trial of new e-bikes and scooters, and a new energy harvesting device for parking garages from the startup Roadpower (Ford is another high profile Newlab partner, btw).
Meanwhile, the opportunities for planting more monopiles off the shores of both New York and New Jersey have been sprouting like red Solo cups on the lawn after a house party.
Earlier this week, the US Interior Department blew up the Internet by proposing the first sale of offshore wind leases in the New York Bight. This is kind of a a dog-bites-man story, because offshore wind leases were a dime a dozen during Trump’s tenure (weird, right?). However, the proposed Bight sale rises to the man-bites-dog level because it is the first proposed offshore lease sale during the Biden-Harris administration, and it comes under the President’s environmental justice, inclusive, and worker-friendly policies.
“The New York Bight is a prime example of how regional cooperation, partnerships, and stakeholder feedback can come together to identify areas suitable for offshore wind development,” said Amanda Lefton, who directs the Interior Department’s Of. “Today’s announcement demonstrates that fighting climate change and creating union jobs can go hand in hand.”
The proposed sale consists of eight leases in the New York Bight, which could generate a combined total of more than 7 gigawatts in offshore wind energy.
That could be an underestimate. At the current rate of wind energy innovation, New York Bight developers could be looking at a whole new generation of high efficiency wind turbines and related equipment by the time they’re ready to get steel in the water, thanks in part to Ørsted and Newlab.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Image: Monopiles and other offshore wind turbine foundation systems courtesy of US Department of Energy.
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