Energy – SciPol Weekly, February 3 – February 9

Government

WFSU News – Senate Panel Approves Fracking Ban But Longshot In The House

The Florida legislature is again considering banning fracking—the process of extracting oil and natural gas underground. Lawmakers have tussled over the issue in recent years, but proposal sponsor Dana Young says the process is too dangerous to allow in Florida.

Industry

Independent – Elon Musk's record-breaking 'virtual power plant' will see 50,000 homes given free solar panels and Tesla batteries

Elon Musk has agreed to build what is being hailed the "world’s largest virtual power plant", by rolling out solar panels and Tesla batteries to 50,000 homes in South Australia.

Knox News – Study: Coal job losses to keep hurting Appalachia, beyond

Coal isn’t back — though it may hold steady near today’s level — but the long-term decline of mining in Appalachia will have a ripple effect on related businesses, health, education and regional population, according to a new study.

The Hill – US projected to become net exporter of energy by 2022

The United States is on pace to become a net exporter of energy, according to new data released Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA). The 2018 annual report on the U.S. energy outlook projects that the country will shift from mostly importing energy to primarily exporting it by 2022. The cause is the continued development of U.S. shale, oil and gas resources, as well as a bump in energy consumption, according to the report.

The New York Times – From Oil to Solar: Saudi Arabia Plots a Shift to Renewables 

Life in Saudi Arabia has long been defined by the oil that flows from the kingdom. Over decades, the vast wealth it pumped out paid not just for gleaming towers and shopping malls but also for a government sector that employs a majority of working Saudis. Now, Saudi Arabia is trying to tie its future to another natural resource it has in abundance: sunlight.

Vox – Bitcoin’s price crashed, but it’s still devouring an obscene amount of energy

The drop in price, though, hasn’t had much of an effect on the massive amount of energy the Bitcoin network devours or its emissions. In fact, as of Tuesday, electricity consumption from Bitcoin rose to a record high of 47.4 terawatt-hours, according to Digiconomist, Alex de Vries’s Bitcoin analysis blog.

Science

The Guardian –‘Silver bullet’ to suck CO2 from air and halt climate change ruled out

Ways of sucking carbon dioxide from the air will not work on the vast scales needed to beat climate change, Europe’s science academies warned on Thursday. From simply planting trees to filtering CO2 out of the air, the technologies that some hope could be a “silver bullet” in halting global warming either risk huge damage to the environment themselves or are likely to be very costly.

Other

National Public Radio – The Forgotten Renewable: Geothermal Energy Production Heats Up

Geothermal energy uses the earth's natural heat to create electricity. While there are several different ways to accomplish this, the most common is to take super-heated water from geothermal hot spots and pipe it to the surface. It then turns into steam and spins a turbine, which generates electricity. It's completely renewable, and generates clean energy around the clock, unlike wind and solar.

Utility Dive Study: Miami is least energy-efficient US city

Renewable energy services company Arcadia Power has released data that ranks the energy efficiency of customers in 15 major U.S. cities. Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta ranked as the least efficient, and Chicago, New York and Denver were the most efficient. Arcadia claims that the cities most at risk of feeling the effects of climate change are the least energy efficient.