In this week's newsletter: Clean Energy Connections returns in 2020 with a discussion of energy storage, natural gas, once booming, goes bust, will the love of solar panels affect GOP politics and much more!
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Clean Energy Connections Returns in 2020 with Discussion on Energy Storage

Energy storage will play a critical role in New York City’s transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to clean, renewable resources, many of which are intermittent. In addition to enabling our transition to a clean energy supply mix, energy storage can help replace dirty "peaker" power plants and provide emergency backup power, improving public health and community resilience in the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

Many understand the importance of energy storage, but few understand the current state of energy storage in New York. Join us for a lively panel discussion among experts from Con Edison, City and State agencies, and the private sector about energy storage in the Empire State. Learn how energy storage is being integrated in New York City today, and how the public and private sector are accelerating storage deployment in America's largest city. Hear how energy storage applications are being designed and executed with the complimentary goals of accelerating our transition to clean energy, improving public health in environmental justice communities, and strengthening community resilience. Listen as experts debate the greatest barriers and opportunities in New York's emerging energy storage market.

Panelists have not been finalized yet, but you can check the Clean Energy Connections website in the coming weeks for the most up-to-date information. Tickets are available now!

Agenda:

6:30 - Doors open

7:00 - Panel discussion

8:30 - Networking

Clean Energy Connections: The State of Storage in New York
Monday January 27, 2020 at 6:30pm
The WNYC Greene Space
44 Charlton Street at the corner of Varick St
$25 general admission/$15 student with valid ID


                         

US Supply of Natural Gas, Once the Bridge Fuel to the Future, Outpaces Demand

Climate activists will remember the fury over fracking in Western New York, and the fight it took to stop it. At that time, about 10 years ago, natural gas was supposed to be the bridge fuel that would get us to the renewable energy future. Now that future is at hand, and while gas is still taking market share from its dirty cousin coal, all that fracking and drilling has arrived at an eunexpected place: A gas glut so huge that Chevron, the country's second-largets oil and gas company after Exxon, is writing off $10-11 billion in assets, mostly comprised of shale gas holdings in Appalachia. 

Some analysts said the gas slump could persist for some time because the cost of wind and solar energy has tumbled in recent years, making those renewable sources of energy more attractive to power producers. And while gas exports are climbing, growing production of the fuel in Qatar, Russia and Australia threatens to drive down international prices over the next few years.

Other energy companies have also acknowledged losses, though not to the same extent. Exxon Mobil wrote down the value of its American natural gas assets by $2.5 billion in recent years after buying the natural gas producer XTO Energy for more than $30 billion in 2010.

GOP Voters Are Going Solar. Will It Affect National Politics?

Republicans have long had the reputation of being strong supporters of fossil fuels and hostile to the idea of climate science. Now that the solar revolution has gotten off the ground, two studies have tried to answer the question, "Does adopting solar technology correlate with particul;ar political views?"

Both stuidies discovered the exact same thing: No matter what may be said on Fox News about the viability of solar power, Republican voters are just as likely to use solar power as Democratic ones.

Using the satellite tool Google Project Sunroof, which maps existing rooftop solar installations, a study group at the University of California Santa Barbara found more than 4,000 houses with rooftop solar and 4,000 neighboring houses without solar. They then matched the addresses with political and voting behavior data purchased from a political data company. For each address, they acquired information like party affiliation, voting activity, whether the household rented or owned the property, and basic socioeconomic and demographic data. After crunching the numbers, they found that 34 percent of properties with solar belonged to registered Democrats, and 20 percent belonged to registered Republicans. (The remaining 46 percent were independents or unregistered.) The neighboring, non-solar houses were split along similar lines.

The group's work work builds on similar findings from an earlier study by a group out of UC-Berkeley looking at political affiliation and rooftop solar in just two states: Texas and New York. Those researchers found that Republican-majority communities had installed rooftop solar panels at the same or greater rates than Democratic-majority communities.

“Both papers are pointing to this fact that Republicans are given this image that they are not participating in the solar revolution, but they are,” said Deborah Sunter, a co-author of the earlier paper who’s now an assistant professor at Tufts. “There’s a mismatch between what the constituents are doing and what the politicians are advocating for.” In several states, like Ohio and Kentucky, Republican-led legislatures are rolling back incentives for renewable energy.

But the new study suggests that could change. That’s because people with rooftop solar were significantly more likely to vote than those without.

You can read more about this on Grist.org here.

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Upcoming Events

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E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: East Elmhurst
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Buildings of Excellence: Passive House Retrofits
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Public Forum: Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation
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