Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions …

That is because two of the most important gases, carbon dioxide and methane, contain carbon. (Some other pollutants are lumped into the same category, even if they do not actually contain carbon.) When you hear about carbon taxes, carbon trading and so on, these are just shorthand descriptions of methods to put a price on emissions, which economists say is one of the most important steps society could take to limit them. Entire states and nations have to decide to clean up their energy systems, using every tool available and moving as quickly as they can. So the most important thing you can do is to exercise your rights as a citizen, speaking up and demanding change. You can plug leaks in your home insulation to save power, install a smart thermostat, switch to more efficient light bulbs, turn off unused lights, drive fewer miles by consolidating trips or taking public transit, waste less food, and eat less meat. President Trump has claimed that scientists stopped referring to global warming and started calling it climate change because ?the weather has been so cold? in winter. Taking one or two fewer plane rides per year can save as much in emissions as all the other actions combined. If you want to be at the cutting edge, you can look at buying an electric or hybrid car or putting solar panels on your roof. You can pay attention to company policies, support the companies taking the lead, and let the others know you expect them to do better. These personal steps may be small in the scheme of things, but they can raise your own consciousness about the problem ? and the awareness of the people around you. By submitting to us, you are promising that the content is original, does not plagiarize from anyone or infringe a copyright or trademark, does not violate anyone?s rights and is not libelous or otherwise unlawful or misleading. You are agreeing that we can use your submission in all manner and media of The New York Times and that we shall have the right to authorize third parties to do so. And you agree to our Terms of Service. As of early 2017, the Earth had warmed by roughly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 1 degree Celsius) since 1880, when records began at a global scale. The number may sound low, but as an average over the surface of an entire planet, it is actually high, which explains why much of the world?s land ice is starting to melt and the oceans are rising at an accelerating pace. If greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, scientists say, the global warming could ultimately exceed 8 degrees Fahrenheit, which would undermine the planet?s capacity to support a large human population. 3. What is the greenhouse effect, and how does it cause global warming? In the 19th century, scientists discovered that certain gases in the air trap and slow down heat that would otherwise escape to space. Carbon dioxide is a major player; without any of it in the air, the Earth would be a frozen wasteland. The first prediction that the planet would warm as humans released more of the gas was made in 1896. The gas has increased 43 percent above the pre-industrial level so far, and the Earth has warmed by roughly the amount that scientists predicted it would. 4. How do we know humans are responsible for the increase in carbon dioxide? Hard evidence, including studies that use radioactivity to distinguish industrial emissions from natural emissions, shows that the extra gas is coming from human activity. Carbon dioxide levels rose and fell naturally in the long-ago past, but those changes took thousands of years. Geologists say that humans are now pumping the gas into the air much faster than nature has ever done. 5. Could natural factors be the cause of the warming? In theory, they could be. If the sun were to start putting out more radiation, for instance, that would definitely warm the Earth. But scientists have looked carefully at the natural factors known to influence planetary temperature and found that they are not changing nearly enough. The warming is extremely rapid on the geologic time scale, and no other factor can explain it as well as human emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead of negotiating over climate change policies and trying to make them more market-oriented, some political conservatives have taken the approach of blocking them by trying to undermine the science. President Trump has sometimes claimed that scientists are engaged in a worldwide hoax to fool the public, or that global warming was invented by China to disable American industry. The climate denialists? arguments have become so strained that even oil and coal companies have distanced themselves publicly, though some still help to finance the campaigns of politicians who espouse such views. Over the coming 25 or 30 years, scientists say, the climate is likely to gradually warm, with more extreme weather. Coral reefs and other sensitive habitats are already starting to die . Longer term, if emissions rise unchecked, scientists fear climate effects so severe that they might destabilize governments, produce waves of refugees , precipitate the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in the Earth?s history, and melt the polar ice caps, causing the seas to rise high enough to flood most of the world?s coastal cities. The simple reality is that people are already feeling the effects, whether they know it or not. Because of sea level rise, for instance, some 83,000 more residents of New York and New Jersey were flooded during Hurricane Sandy than would have been the case in a stable climate, scientists have calculated. The refugee flows that have destabilized politics around the world have been traced in part to climate change. The ocean has accelerated and is now rising at a rate of about a foot per century, forcing governments and property owners to spend tens of billions of dollars fighting coastal erosion. Scientists who study the Earth?s history say waters could rise by a foot per decade in a worst-case scenario, though that looks unlikely. Many experts believe that even if emissions stopped tomorrow, 15 or 20 feet of sea level rise is already inevitable, enough to flood many cities unless trillions of dollars are spent protecting them. Scientists have published strong evidence that the warming climate is making heat waves more frequent and intense . It is also causing heavier rainstorms , and coastal flooding is getting worse as the oceans rise because of human emissions. Global warming has intensified droughts in regions like the Middle East, and it may have strengthened a recent drought in California. In many other cases, though ? hurricanes, for example ? the linkage to global warming for particular trends is uncertain or disputed. Scientists are gradually improving their understanding as computer analyses of the climate grow more powerful. Society has put off action for so long that the risks are now severe, scientists say. But as long as there are still unburned fossil fuels in the ground, it is not too late to act. The warming will slow to a potentially manageable pace only when human emissions are reduced to zero. The good news is that they are now falling in many countries as a result of programs like fuel-economy standards for cars, stricter building codes and emissions limits for power plants. But experts say the energy transition needs to speed up drastically to head off the worst effects of climate change. The reductions are voluntary and the pledges do not do enough to head off severe effects. But the agreement is supposed to be reviewed every few years so that countries ramp up their commitments. President Trump announced in 2017 that he would pull the United States out of the deal , though that will take years, and other countries have said they would go forward regardless of American intentions. The energy sources with the lowest emissions include wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric dams and nuclear power stations. Converting to these cleaner sources may be somewhat costlier in the short term, but they could ultimately pay for themselves by heading off climate damages and reducing health problems associated with dirty air. And expansion of the market is driving down the costs of renewable energy so fast that it may ultimately beat dirty energy on price alone ? it already does in some areas. The solar industry in the United States now employs more than twice as many people as coal mining. Hydraulic fracturing, or ?fracking,? is one of a set of drilling technologies that has helped produce a new abundance of natural gas in the United States and some other countries. Burning gas instead of coal in power plants reduces emissions in the short run, though gas is still a fossil fuel and will have to be phased out in the long run. ?Clean coal? is an approach in which the emissions from coal-burning power plants would be captured and pumped underground. It has yet to be proven to work economically, but some experts think it could eventually play a major role. The cars draw power at night from the electric grid and give off no pollution during the day as they move around town. They are inherently more efficient than gasoline cars and would represent an advance even if the power were generated by burning coal, but they will be far more important as the electric grid itself becomes greener through renewable power. The cars are improving so fast that some countries are already talking about banning the sale of gasoline cars after 2030.

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A $10 Billion Renewable Energy Startup Just Unveiled Their Largest Onshore Wind Turbine

$10 billion dollar startup GE Renewable Energy has just unveiled a massive new onshore wind turbine designed for low and medium wind sites. It’s the company’s largest onshore turbine to date and can power up to 5,000 homes. As they are stationed out at sea, these farms can also be larger, like the turbines rated at 8.5 megawatts that are currently being installed at the Walney Extension West facility off the coast of the U.K. New innovations�like this, which combine the best elements of both kinds of wind farms, will be essential to the continued adoption of the renewable energy technology. The company claims the 4.8 megawatt turbine will be able to generate enough�electricity to power up to 5,000 homes when placed in low and medium wind sites. ?The 4.8?158 design is an important next step in turbine technology and efficiency, and we?re excited to introduce this turbine at this moment in time,? Pete McCabe, president and CEO of GE?s onshore wind business, said in a GE press release . ?It is well suited for low to medium wind speed regions worldwide ? examples include Germany, Turkey, and Australia.?

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How 139 Countries Could Be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Scientists have published a detailed road map to move 139 countries to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, according to a recent study. In 2009, Jacobson and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, published a study in Scientific American that outlined a plan to power the world with 100 percent renewable energy. In the ensuing years, Jacobson and Delucchi worked on follow-up studies that examined these issues at the state level, and the researchers have now expanded that research to 139 countries. Detailed energy data for the remaining 59 countries in the world did not exist and thus could not be included in the study, the scientists said. The overall cost of transitioning to an infrastructure of 100 percent renewable energy ? a plan that sees countries moving first to 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 ? may, at first glance, seemcost-prohibitive, but Jacobson and his team have crunched those numbers, too. And if the world takes no action to address climate change and ice continues to melt at Earth’s poles at the current pace, 7 percent of the world’s coastlines will be underwater, Jacobson said. Several countries are already moving toward a renewable energy portfolio to meet 100 percent of their power demands for all business sectors, according to the study. The study found that countries like the U.S., with more land per population size, would have the easiest time making the transition. “With this information, we’re giving confidence to countries that they can be self-sufficient,” Jacobson said. “I’m hoping that different countries will commit to 100 percent renewable energy [by 2050] and 80 percent by 2030.” By 2050, the world will need 20.604 TW if nothing changes and every country continues with the same approach it currently uses to meet energy demand, the researchers wrote in the study. But if those same business sectors were to turn to renewable energy sources to electrify their all of their power requirements, the world would need just 11.804 TW to meet global power demands, according to the study. In a video explaining the main points of the study, Jacobson offered an example: In an electric car, he said, 80 to 82 percent of the electricity used goes toward moving the car; the rest is wasted as heat. In a gasoline-powered vehicle, on the other hand, only 17 to 20 percent of the energy in the fuel goes toward moving the car, and the rest is wasted as heat, he said. Energy is also needed to mine, refine and transport fossil fuels . As such, switching to 100 percent renewable energy would eliminate these energy-intensive and environmentally destructive processes, the report authors said. In their study, Jacobson and his colleagues show how wind, water, geothermal and solar power can meet the worldwide demand for 11.804 TW of energy while avoiding the predicted global temperature increase of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2050.

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Energy shortfall in eastern Australia could be three times worse than forecast

Australia?s eastern states face an energy shortfall three times higher than forecast, with gas supply predicted to fall well short of what is needed unless action is taken, potentially meaning further export controls. The Australian Energy Market Operator has reported next year?s gas supply shortfall could be ?higher than expected? which could lead to even higher energy prices for eastern and south-eastern Australia, particularly for industry, which accounts for almost 40% of gas usage. Labor has been calling on the government to start it up , but although the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said it was ?ready to go?, the government needed to make sure it was ?fit for purpose?. ?If we are not able to receive the assurances from the industry to our satisfaction and that of the ACCC, then we will impose those export controls.? In a statement which accompanied its report, Aemo?s chief executive, Audrey Zibelman, said: ?Projections of aggregated gas production and LNG gas demand vary, based on market conditions and contracting, indicating a dynamic situation that can change rapidly and warrants continued close attention and monitoring.? ?This is all part of the process that we set out when we set up the gas security mechanism at the beginning of the year.?

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Mercedes-Benz’s $1 billion electric car ‘attack on Tesla’ is missing a zero, says Elon Musk

The money will go toward retooling for EV production at theirTuscaloosa factory in Alabama and build an adjacent battery factory to produce the packs for those vehicles and to export them for other electric car production. It?s a rare commitment to volume electric car production in the US, but Musk argues that it?s actually not that big of an investment relative to Daimler?s size. He added that he?d like to see them add a zero to their investment in electric vehicles ? make it $10 billion. The German automaker invested $50 million into Tesla back in 2009 ? an investment that Musk said likely saved the startup from going bankrupt. Mercedes also contracted Tesla to make the electric powertrain for a BEV�version of their B-Class hatchback. But in 2015, Daimler sold their shares for a more-than-healthy profit and they discontinued�their contract with Tesla. They started to work on their own electric vehicle programs and we are now starting to see the results with the first vehicle, the� Mercedes-Benz EQC , an all-electric SUV, coming to market in 2019.

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Can Renewable Energy Pay a Peace Dividend?

Co-authored by Sherwin Das, David Mozersky and David Williams, the co-founders of Energy Peace Partners , which leverages transformative clean energy solutions to support peace and development in the world?s most fragile regions. These operations are almost exclusively powered by dirty diesel generators for on-site electricity, and as a result they pay some of the highest energy costs in the world. Despite this enormous expenditure, the host communities are often left in the dark, and the potential for renewable energy remains largely untapped. What if the hundreds of millions of dollars spent each and every year burning fossil fuels to power peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts could instead create lasting energy infrastructure powered by the wind and the sun? Third, and perhaps most importantly for the mission, they would introduce new clean energy infrastructure that can last for 20 years or more in some of the world?s least electrified places. This could lay the foundation for the utilities of the future in a post-crisis phase and assist communities to reap the development benefits associated with increased energy access. First, the United Nations and influential member states, must commit to unpacking the complex energy-related issues in fragile countries that lead to a fossil fuel dependence where field operations are deployed. This will require new thinking, innovation, and partnerships, including with the private sector, which could facilitate the upfront financing of clean energy systems that is currently discouraged. Third, better collection, disaggregation and transparency of data on energy procurement, delivery and usage by field missions is necessary for devising effective energy solutions, including clean energy options. Fourth, new policy is required to ensure energy infrastructure deployed during peacekeeping and humanitarian operations extends energy access and transitions energy assets from the missions to states and local communities over time. It’s time we recognize the changing world around us and take advantage of the clean energy revolution to help pay a peace dividend. Instead, despite the increasing acknowledgement that there are growing links between conflict and climate change renewable energy is not a mainstay in these international field operations. That, it turns out, is a wasted opportunity because renewable energy is not only a principal tool in the fight against climate change, it also provides a unique opportunity to expand our toolkit for consolidating peace in volatile regions. Put simply, the lack of clean energy deployment in the international community’s crisis response mechanisms is unjust. Instead, the clean energy revolution currently underway is bypassing some of the most fragile and least electrified countries in the world. Instability and insecurity hinder significant renewable energy investment in these and other troubled nations, even though it is their populations who have the most to gain.

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A Bittersweet Milestone for the World’s Safest Nuclear Reactors

And for over a decade, it has been the presumed successor to China?s mainstay reactors, which employ a 1970s-era French design. Yet after more than three decades of engineering, regulatory reviews, salesmanship, and construction, the AP1000 has yielded zero electricity and plenty of trouble. Delays and cost overruns at the four reactors under construction in China and another four in the United States drove Westinghouse into bankruptcy this March. But the Chinese reactors, at the Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant in Shandong and at the Sanmen plant in Zhejiang, could press the reset button for the AP1000 and Westinghouse. And China is where success really matters most because it is the only country building reactors by the dozen. The question, say experts, is what share the AP1000 can capture of a Chinese reactor market that has taken a downturn since the Fukushima accident and may slow even further. Government plans to tie nuclear power rates to wholesale prices for coal-fired power will ?definitely mean a slowdown of nuclear power construction down the road,? says Henry Chan, an Asian geopolitics expert at the National University of Singapore who tracks China?s nuclear energy sector. The AP1000?s ascent in China began in 2004 when the government launched a rigorous two-year evaluation aimed at selecting an advanced Western reactor design that would underpin its future nuclear sector. The Westinghouse reactor beat out the latest French-German EPR and Russian VVER designs, thanks to its promised blend of safety, affordability via modular construction, and the company?s willingness to progressively transfer ownership of the intellectual property to China. So, in 2009, Beijing launched a new entity, the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp . (SNPTC), to oversee construction of two pairs of AP1000s: the plants at Haiyang and Sanmen. The Fukushima accident, in 2011, seemed to further cement the AP1000?s status as the preferred reactor for the future , with its emphasis on passive safety. However, to seal the deal, Westinghouse and SNPTC needed a completed AP1000 project in order to prove that the design worked and was cost effective. It has been a long wait for the first Sanmen and Haiyang reactors, which were to begin operating in 2013 and 2014. Post-Fukushima safety inspections and requirements have contributed to the delays, but no more so than design flaws and construction mishaps. The projected cost to complete the AP1000 pair abandoned in South Carolina had spiraled upward from $10�billion to an estimated $25 billion. Ramana, an expert in international security and energy supply issues at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. The Hualong One reactor design was certified by China?s nuclear authorities in 2014, and construction of the first four units began in 2015 and 2016. Westinghouse and SNPTC, meanwhile, have recently shifted strategy, according to the World Nuclear Association . As of May 2017, AP1000s had accounted for over half of the 38 reactors in the advanced planning stages. By August, nearly all of the planned AP1000s had been supplanted by an SNPTC domestic adaptation of the Westinghouse reactor, dubbed the CAP1000. And at the current rate of construction, say analysts, China is likely to fall short of its 2020 nuclear generation target. That goal was set at 70 to 80 gigawatts in 2010, then slashed to 58 GW after the Fukushima accident. But even with the completion of all reactors being built as of August 2017?several of which are scheduled to start up in 2021? Further endangering nuclear power?s prospects are the Chinese government?s moves to cut wholesale rates for nuclear energy and a growing power supply glut. In Ramana?s view, China?s nuclear sector may have already peaked: ?The rapid growth of nuclear power in China is a thing of the past.? False Start: Installation of the containment dome at China?s Haiyang nuclear plant in August 2015 was the end of the beginning of this AP1000 facility?s problems. By late this year or early in 2018, two nuclear reactors could start operating in China?an event that might be a lifesaver for the units? crippled builder and designer, Westinghouse Electric Co., and for the technology they represent.

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GM Buys More Electricity from Alternative Power Sources

General Motors is moving closer to its goal of using alternative energy to power its factories across the United States and end for good the company?s century-long use of electricity from coal-fired power plants. GM will be the sole user of the Northwest Ohio Wind farm, a 100 MW project owned by Starwood Energy Group. In the past, GM had often built, owned and operated coal-fired power plants adjacent to its largest assembly plants and manufacturing complex. However, the company is now the midst of a concerted effort to move away from coal in favor of renewable energy from wind and solar as well as the methane gas produced from landfills. In 2018, it�will be the first of GM?s factories to be totally reliant on renewable energy, GM officials said at the time. GM announced this week the company?s plant in Ohio and Indiana, including the assembly plants that build the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, will meet 100% of their electricity from renewable energy by the end of 2018. In addition to the Arlington plant, the wind-generated electricity from Concho County will power GM?s Austin IT Innovation Center, a GM financial office in Fort Worth and 13 parts warehouses. GM estimates use of alternative energy saves the company about $5 million annually.�Renewable energy use supports a resilient grid while offering more stable energy pricing, GM officials have noted. This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at and is filed under Automobiles . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. GM said it plans to use 200 megawatts of wind energy from wind farms in Ohio and Illinois. Once the turbines come online by the end of 2018, renewable energy will power 20% of GM?s global electricity use, GM said in a statement. The goal is use a mix of onsite and offsite renewable energy solutions to reach to meet 100% of its energy needs. ?Technology is driving solutions for mobility and safety in our vehicles, as well as the new energy solutions that build them,? said Gerald Johnson, GMNA vice president of Manufacturing and Labor. ?This is the way we do business: offering vehicles that serve our customers? lifestyle needs while providing sustainable solutions that improve our communities,?

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Wind turbines pit environmentalists against neighbors tired of noise, view

PAYNE, Ohio ? From the ground, the narrow aluminum ladder might as well extend to infinity. On one side are�the wind-energy industry, environmentalists and companies that want to increase the supply of clean power.�On the other are some of the neighboring residents, along with a patchwork of conservative-leaning groups. The payments vary, but are often in the range of $10,000 per turbine per year. Another type of contract is a neighbor agreement, which is for people who are near wind farms but have no turbines on their land. The residents are saying they will not object to the project�in exchange for annual payments that are often in the $1,000 range. Avangrid gave special attention to the fewer than 10 households that did not sign any agreement and had more than 30 hours of flicker. In some cases, the company agreed to reduce the effects by shutting off certain turbines at certain times. The state’s�wind farms are all in northwestern Ohio, but regulators have approved others just outside of the Columbus metro area, with projects planned for�Crawford, Champaign, Hardin and�Logan counties, and still more�in the pre-development stage. “This is a project that has roughly 250 participating landowners and that reflects a lot of effort to talk to a lot of people in the community, at kitchen tables and in living rooms and in public meetings,” he said. “We think the onus is on us to develop responsibly and talk to people about the benefits we feel the project delivers to everybody in the community.” The competing interests collide in an ongoing debate about how much distance should be required between the turbines and nearby property lines. In 2014, Ohio Senate Republican leaders expanded the required distance by making a last-minute amendment to an unrelated budget bill. Supporters of wind energy, a mix of Republicans and Democrats, have repeatedly tried and failed to pass rules that are more wind-friendly and warned that investment might soon shift to other states. The bill would allow construction of wind turbines within about 600 feet of property lines, which is down from about 1,300 feet under the 2013 amendment. “If wind farms cannot be developed without borrowing or stealing their neighbors’ nonresidential property in order to satisfy the setback, health and safety requirements, then perhaps they should not be developed at all,” Seitz said in a 2016 letter. For DeLong and her friends, Hite has become the face of the pro-wind crowd. Meanwhile, the opposite view, from the top of the turbine, is breathtaking. Inside the wind tower, the climb takes about an hour, and the final steps are a strain. At the very top is a schoolbus-size room that holds a generator and control equipment. On the ceiling is a clear plastic hatch that one of the EDP guys pops open. A Dispatch videographer straps on a protective harness, hard hat and safety glasses, joined by two employees of the farm’s operator, EDP Renewables. And, if you stop to focus, you see the tiny rectangles of houses, on farms and along rural highways. When active, the carbon-fiber blades slice through the air at speeds�that can�reach�185 mph at the tips. The top room and its contents weigh a crushing 70-plus tons, and send�electricity down the tower through a series of high-voltage lines. The lines then go underground to connect with substations,�and then meet up with interstate powerlines that feed into the country’s power grid. All 255 of the wind-farm turbines operating in Ohio have been built along a stretch of Paulding and Van Wert counties, where the land is flat and the winds are some of the�most brisk.��If you include turbines at homes and businesses, the statewide total is 302, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group. A typical turbine�in northwest Ohio�is 1.5 to 2 megawatts; the Timber Road II wind farm has a total 99 megawatts. For some perspective, a 2 megawatt turbine in moderate wind generates enough electricity in a year to provide for the needs off�more than�500 houses,�based on�estimates cited by EDP. When a wind farm�is developed, there is a flurry of spending for parts and construction services. The fuel�? wind�? is free, and the developer�needs only a few people to do ongoing work. “I used to drive a dump truck, right out of high school, because I didn?t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “And then I was hauling stone and dirt at the first wind farm they put in Indiana, and it just sparked my interest, and I went from there.” He lives in Van Wert, one of 23 full-time EDP workers who live in the area. This small employment footprint means that there are no throngs of wind-industry workers to advocate for their business the way there would be for a power plant that runs on coal or nuclear and might�employ hundreds of people. And, EDP’s headquarters is nowhere near, with a base in Spain and a main U.S. office in Houston. EDP primarily interacts with its Ohio�neighbors financially ? lease payments to landowners, taxes to local governments, and charitable giving�? and visibly, given the near-constant sight of the turbines. This creates a dynamic that some people see as a conflict between the haves and have-nots, with some�residents�surrounded by turbines but receiving little or no money. She lives on a lot that has been in her family for generations and was once part of her parents’ farm. Now, she has a view of Blue Creek Wind Farm, the state?s largest, along with parts of the Timber Road farms. In other words, she can see nearly half of all the turbines on all of Ohio?s wind farms without leaving her 1-acre property. She is a retired fourth-grade teacher and now spends most of her time volunteering for 4-H, the Red Cross and her church. “The first thing that really hits you (is)�the size in general, the gravity of just how much machinery goes into putting these things together,” said Jeremy Chenoweth, an EDP operations manager whose territory includes all of Ohio, and who made the climb. From her porch, she hears a near-constant sound, like a plane flying overhead, from the turbines. On some mornings and evenings, when the sun is behind the turbines, she sees a�flicker of shadows on the walls of her house. Rex McDowell, 69, a neighbor of DeLong’s, describes the area as the “Red Light District.” By way of explanation,�he walks to the backyard, where each of the turbines has a red light that goes on for a moment, then off, and then on again. DeLong is part of a local group of opponents of wind energy, called Citizens for Clear Skies. “I love how�(wind-energy supporters)�think we?re getting paid off by the Koch brothers,” Kitson said, referring to the politically active family behind the Kansas-based conglomerate Koch Industries. “Citizens for Clear Skies is just a lot of regular folks kicking in 25 bucks at a time.” At state and local hearings dealing with wind energy, he is often in the audience and ready to speak, a familiar face for officials. Here, wind energy is a godsend, providing 11 percent of local tax revenue in the K-12 budget. On a recent afternoon, one of the middle-school football teams practices on a field just west of the complex that houses the high school, middle school and district offices. “We just don’t have a lot of people seeking out the district�for large industry,” said Ben Winans, the district?s superintendent.� “The wind�industry is one thing we can have.” They’re�a part of the state?s clean-energy economy that has gone from near zero to more than $1 billion worth of spending in the past 10 years, with the potential to grow fourfold if every announced project is built. Winans grew up in the area and is an alumnus of the district he now runs.�Though the wind turbines are barely visible from the school, he knows what it is like to be right next to them. In addition, there are at least a half-dozen other projects that are awaiting state approval, or are in a pre-application stage, based on filings and interviews with industry officials. But some neighbors view the turbines as an affront, spoiling the landscape with noise, the flicker of shadows from turbine blades�and blinking red lights. “It’s important to remember that this kind of opposition to any kind of infrastructure development is normal,? said Joseph Rand, a scholar who specializes in energy policy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. At the same time, “people are inherently protective of place, of their landscape,” he said. In his work, he hopes to determine the underlying motivations and find out how developers and communities can better respond. Opponents of wind farms give the impression that the projects essentially receive a rubber stamp, with little consideration of the effects on residents and little skepticism of developers’ assertions. This is the�gut-level underpinning of a Statehouse battle over rules on where turbines can be placed, a debate that�will determine how much building will be allowed to occur. For example, Blue Creek Wind Farm was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board, with a multiyear review before the project went online in 2012. The board’s docket has 4,460 pages for Blue Creek, not counting two related cases, with extensive testing to estimate levels of noise, shadow flicker and other ramifications. The developer is a company that has since changed its name to Avangrid Renewables and has U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Most of the residents of those houses have signed on to the project by either leasing property for the turbines, or by signing so-called ?good neighbor? agreements. With leases, property owners are signing a long-term contract to allow their land to be used to build a turbine and access roads.

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Nuclear energy: The unsung hero of American infrastructure

?Infrastructure? is often thought of as the steel and concrete foundation of the economy, but there is a more practical definition: hardware that runs all the stuff we take for granted. Flip a light switch, recharge a phone, flush a toilet, pump gasoline into your car and drive to a supermarket to buy a pint of ice cream, and you are relying on the heart of that infrastructure, the electric system. But there has been a change in the power grid, and despite years of continuous improvement in nuclear operations, today some plants are having trouble recovering their costs. As the Department of Energy study of the power grid identified in August, a sustained period of very low prices for natural gas has cut energy prices on the grid. Some flaws in the marketplace and minimum quotas set by most states for other energy sources, like solar and wind, have also made it hard for reactors. All nuclear power plants are providing what the Department of Energy called ?unpriced benefits? to the electricity market. Nuclear power plants produce more than 60 percent of the nation?s emission-free electricity, keeping the system cleaner. And by providing diversity, they reduce the risk that a supply disruption of a single fuel could make us all suddenly acutely conscious of the things we take for granted, like light switches that always work. Or, as the Department of Energy report put it, ?Society places value on attributes of electricity provision beyond those compensated by the current design of the wholesale market.? President Trump said in June, during a week devoted to energy topics, ?We will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector, which I?m so happy about, which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy.? Demand for electricity is growing around the world, and the world will be cleaner and more secure if a vibrant American nuclear industry can export its product. American reactors sold abroad mean energy independence for the buyer, multi-decade commercial relationships with countries where our global rivals are seeking influence, firm controls on nuclear proliferation, and clean air and clean water everywhere. It is impossible to talk about infrastructure without focusing on electricity, and it?s impossible to talk about electricity without considering the critical role of nuclear power. They don?t run the system by themselves; it takes a balanced, diverse portfolio of generators to meet the varying conditions that face a dynamic power grid. And some other parts of the system are a lot more visible, like the graceful blades of wind turbines on hilltops or the conspicuous solar panels on rooftops. But reactors are the foundation on which the rest of the edifice is built.

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