Trump misunderstands several truths about energy in 2017

first_imgIn some countries like India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Chile, auction prices for renewable energy have fallen so much that they are “comparable or lower than generation cost of newly built gas and coal power plants,” according to the agency, which researches the energy sector for 29 member countries, including the United States.Based on current trends, the agency forecasts that the cost of land-based wind turbines and utility-size solar projects will fall an additional 15 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in the next five years.In the United States, developers of new wind farms signed contracts to sell power at about $20 per megawatt-hour last year, down from about $61 per megawatt-hour in 2010, according to a recent report by the Department of Energy.That report also points out that these prices are lower than those for electricity from natural gas plants and are expected to stay that way for years to come.That’s because wind power contracts lock in low prices for 20 years or longer, whereas the cost of natural gas fluctuates from day to day.Developers of wind farms — and solar projects — do receive federal tax credits, but those subsidies are being phased out and will be eliminated in 2020.5. Technical advances are making renewables more productive and reliable.Wind turbines and solar panels cannot produce electricity at all times in all weather conditions. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency published its proposal to undo the Clean Power Plan without putting anything in its place.The plan was one of the most important parts of former President Barack Obama’s commitment under the Paris climate agreement to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.The plan was meant to accelerate emission reductions in the power sector.Earlier, Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to come up with rules that would require businesses, consumers and anybody else who uses the electricity grid to pay coal-fired plants to be ready to supply power whether that energy was needed or not.He claims such payments will make the grid more “resilient” — many experts doubt that.Taken together, these proposals are a brazen attempt to promote one source of energy over others — a criticism that conservatives often lobbed at Obama for his attempts to do something about climate change.In fact, tied up in court, the Clean Power Plan has not even gone into effect. 2. Natural gas is beating coal.Coal has been falling out of favor because utilities are switching to natural gas, which has become much cheaper in recent years thanks to a boom in shale production.3. Renewable energy is coming on strong.The worldwide average cost of wind and solar power has fallen sharply over the past three years, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.While these sources of energy make up a small portion of the overall system — for example, about 15 percent of electricity generated in the United States last year and 24 percent generated worldwide — they are growing fast:Two-thirds of generation capacity added globally last year came from renewable sources.4. Wind and solar are becoming cheaper every year. But there have been great technical strides that have improved their performance.For example, modern wind turbines are much more productive than the turbines installed just one decade ago.What’s more, batteries have become much cheaper, making it less expensive to store electricity when it’s windy or sunny for times when it is not.The average cost of lithium-ion batteries fell 73 percent, to $273 per kilowatt-hour, between 2010 and 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.The world needs to shift to renewables because they represent our best hope of avoiding the most calamitous consequences of climate change.Now, the economic case for these technologies is growing, too.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The New York Times:“Trump Digs Coal” read the signs during the campaign, and Donald Trump promised he would be “an unbelievable positive” for the miners.Now he’s trying to deliver by repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and proposing to subsidize coal-fired power plants.These moves are, in fact, unbelievable.Not only are they a setback in the fight against climate change, but they also make no economic sense, since the cost of renewable energy is falling sharply.1. Trump can’t save coal. He only claims he can.last_img read more

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Women already have role in city government

first_imgCharter change supporters have made the argument that a city manager form of government in Saratoga Springs will allow more women to hold political office, ignoring the fact that 85 percent of city managers are men.In Saratoga Springs under our commission form, though:1) Two of the last three mayors of Saratoga have been women; another woman is running for mayor this year.2) Two of the five top office holders in our city are women. 3) Three of the five deputies who are in charge of running the city departments — the layer of our government the charter change people continually denigrate and want to eliminate — are women.Other women have run for office, including a woman who ran for public safety commissioner in the last election cycle.We can always improve, but we have a good record of women involved in our current commission form of government, where top officeholders oversee departments and serve as council members.I’m offended that some charter change supporters think the way to get more women to support the change in government form is to make a dubious, condescending claim that women’s roles will increase.Carol F. ReynoldsSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

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Only way is up

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Get your ticket to ride

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Tuesdays in Amsterdam

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SSSB analysts positive on property outlook

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MWB in data centre joint deal

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High tension

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Raging Bullring

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National service

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