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Topic: More Power Lines or Rooftop Solar Panels: The Fight Over Energy’s Future
The nation is facing once-in-a-generation choices about how energy ought to be delivered to homes, businesses and electric cars — decisions that could shape the course of climate change and determine how the United States copes with wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather linked to global warming.
On one side, large electric utilities and President Joe Biden want to build thousands of miles of power lines to move electricity created by distant wind turbines and solar farms to cities and suburbs. On the other, some environmental organizations and community groups are pushing for greater investment in rooftop solar panels, batteries and local wind turbines.
Biden has secured $73 billion for thousands of miles of new power lines in an infrastructure proposal he and senators from both parties agreed to in June. That deal includes the creation of a Grid Development Authority to speed up approvals for transmission lines.
Most energy experts agree that the United States must improve its aging electric grids, especially after millions of Texans spent days freezing this winter when the state’s electricity system faltered.
The option supported by Biden and some large energy companies would replace coal and natural gas power plants with large wind and solar farms hundreds of miles from cities, requiring lots of new power lines. Such integration would strengthen the control that the utility industry and Wall Street have over the grid.
“You’ve got to have a big national plan to make sure the power gets from where it is generated to where the need is,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.
But many of Biden’s liberal allies argue that solar panels, batteries and other local energy sources should be emphasized because they would be more resilient and could be built more quickly.
“We need to build the electricity transmission and distribution system for the grid of the future and not that of the past,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a nonprofit based in Chicago. “Solar energy plus storage is as transformative to the electric sector as wireless services were to the telecommunications sector.”
In all probability, there will be a mix of solutions that include more transmission lines and rooftop solar panels. What combination emerges will depend on deals made in Congress but also skirmishes playing out across the country.
最終很可能會有個綜合性方案，包含更多傳輸線和屋頂太陽能板。至於何種組合會出線，取決於國會達成的方案以及全國各地的爭論。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5672857
Topic : California Is Trying to Jump-Start the Hydrogen Economy
Since President George W. Bush fueled a minivan with hydrogen 15 years ago, the promise of cars and trucks powered by the fuel has come up mostly empty.
That hydrogen pump, in Washington, closed long ago. But in California, the beginnings of a hydrogen economy may finally be dawning after many fits and starts.
Dozens of hydrogen buses are lumbering down city streets, while more and larger fueling stations are appearing from San Diego to San Francisco, financed by the state and the federal government. With the costs of producing and shipping hydrogen coming down, California is setting ambitious goals to phase out vehicles that run on fossil fuels in favor of batteries and hydrogen.
Some energy executives said they expect investment in hydrogen to accelerate under President-elect Joe Biden, who made climate change a big part of his campaign and proposed a $2 trillion plan to tackle the problem.
A recent McKinsey & Co. study estimated that the hydrogen economy could generate $140 billion in annual revenue by 2030 and support 700,000 jobs. The study projected that hydrogen could meet 14% of total American energy demand by 2050.
The use of hydrogen, the lightest and most abundant substance in the universe, is still in its infancy, and California is determined to be its cradle in the United States.The state now has roughly 40 fueling stations, with dozens more under construction. While those numbers are tiny compared with the 10,000 gasoline stations across the state, officials have high hopes.
With about 7,500 hydrogen vehicles on the road, an aggressive state program of incentives and subsidies from cap-and-trade dollars envisions 50,000 hydrogen light-duty vehicles by mid-decade and a network of 1,000 hydrogen stations by 2030.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are similar to electric cars. But unlike electric cars, which have large batteries, these cars have hydrogen tanks and fuel cells that turn the gas into electricity. The cars refuel and accelerate quickly, and they can go for several hundred miles on a full tank. They emit only water vapor, which makes them appealing to California cities that are trying to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Almost any objective analysis for getting to zero emissions includes hydrogen,” said Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
爾灣加州大學國家燃料電池研究中心主任傑克‧布勞爾說：「幾乎所有關於如何達到零排放的客觀分析都會提到氫。」Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5106534
Topic: Israel’s Energy Dilemma: More Natural Gas Than It Can Use or Export
For decades, Israel was an energy-starved country surrounded by hostile, oil-rich neighbors.
Now it has a different problem. Thanks to major offshore discoveries over the past decade, it has more natural gas than it can use or readily export.
Having plenty of gas is hardly a burden, and it offers a cleaner-burning alternative to Israel’s longtime power sources. But it presents challenges for a country that wants to extract geopolitical and economic benefits from a rare energy windfall, including building better relations with its neighbors and Europe.
Part of the problem is timing. Just as Israel prepares to produce and export large amounts of gas, the United States, Australia, Qatar and Russia are flooding the market with cheap gas. The other is math: Israel’s 8.5 million people use in a year less than 1% of the gas that has been found in the country’s waters.
“We have a surplus of gas,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview. “Israeli waters are swimming in gas, and what we have discovered is only the beginning.”
Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that made its first discovery of gas in Israel in 1999, has found more than 30 trillion cubic feet of gas off the country’s coast over the past decade. Some experts say new discoveries could double that.
As a result, Israel is phasing out diesel and coal-fired electricity, replacing it mostly with gas-fired generation and some solar power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet is considering banning the import of gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2030 and gradually switching to vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas or electricity.
Israel is also stepping up exports to neighbors like Jordan and Egypt. There are even plans to supply gas to a power plant in the West Bank for Palestinian customers.
Yet these efforts will make only a dent in the country’s reserves.
“We want to export,” said Jacob Nagel, former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “The question is: How much will it cost? Is it possible? How much time will it take?”
For decades, Israel depended on Russia and other sources for fuel, while its industries and homes relied on coal and oil power plants that blanketed its cities with smog.
The switch to gas has helped clear the air in cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa that have converted diesel-fueled plants.Israel’s biggest coal plant — in Hadera, a coastal city — will be converted over the next three years, cutting national coal consumption by 30%. Officials say they expect to eliminate coal use in 11 years.
改用天然氣使特拉維夫、海法等城市空氣變得清新。特拉維夫和海法已將柴油火力發電廠轉換成燃氣電廠。以色列最大燃煤電廠在濱海城市哈德拉，將在三年內轉換為燃氣電廠，能使全國煤炭消耗量減少三成。官員說，希望能在11年內淘汰煤電。Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/343671/web/#2L-15341939L