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June 24 News: Houston To Become ‘The Alternative Energy Capital Of The World’?

By Ryan Koronowski

"June 24 News: Houston To Become ‘The Alternative Energy Capital Of The World’?"

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Houston, Texas just agreed to buy $2 million worth of renewable energy, which will feed into the city for the next two years. [Houston Business Journal]

The City of Houston said it agreed to pay $2 million for two years worth of renewable power from Houston-based Reliant Energy Inc.

That’s more than 140 megawatts of renewable power — or about half of the city’s annual electricity demand, which will feed into the city from July 1 to June 30, 2013, according to a June 20 statement. The buy has the capacity to power more than 55,000 homes in Houston per year.

“Houston is already known as the energy capital of the world, but we are committed to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world as well,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in the statement.

The deal makes Houston the largest municipal renewable power buyer in the country, according to the statement.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said President Obama’s soon-to-be-announced plan on climate could be a “political game-changer.” [The Hill]

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who has said “the question is not whether climate change is occurring, but how our nation is going to respond to it,” joined the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. [The Hill]

Secretary of State John Kerry said in New Delhi on Sunday that “the irreversible climate challenge is speeding towards us, crying out for a global solution.” [AP, New York Times]

A new bill would require government agencies to cooperate on climate change adaptation efforts. [The Missoulian]

Wildfires continue to burn in Southwest Colorado, as high winds and hot weather have made containment attempts difficult. [LA Times]

At least 1,000 people have been killed as a result of flash flooding and landslides in northern India. [New York Times]

Last year’s drought in Nebraska was so severe that trees are still struggling from heat stress, while many are succumbing to pests and disease. [Associated Press]

Record-breaking floods in Alberta, Canada last week displaced more than 100,000 people and will leave the city of Calgary without power for days. [Reuters]

By 2100, Earth will host 10.9 billion people, growing at 10 million a year. [Yale 360]

If the radiated trees around Chernobyl were to catch fire, the smoke and ash currently inside them would go into the air. [Climate Central]

Utilities and solar energy producers are coming into conflict over the small-scale solar power. [Wall Street Journal]

Solar gardens, which enable people to buy or rent a piece of a solar array, are popping up across Colorado, aided by a pilot program by the state’s largest electricity provider. [The Denver Post]

Nissan just unveiled the world’s fastest electric car, which will be entered in next year’s LeMans race. [Mashable]

Next year, Massachusetts could be able to vote to adopt the first direct price on carbon in the United States. [Boston Globe]

Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology are developing self-assembling DNA molecules as a scaffolding for artificial photosynthesis. [Clean Technica]

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim emphasizes how unchecked climate change could roll back recent successes in the fight against global poverty. [Huffington Post]

‹ Scientist: ‘Miami, As We Know It Today, Is Doomed. It’s Not A Question Of If. It’s A Question Of When.’

Obama Should Tell Ex-Im Bank To Move Beyond Coal ›

23 Responses to June 24 News: Houston To Become ‘The Alternative Energy Capital Of The World’?

  1. Will Fox says:

    A cheaper drive to ‘cool’ fuels

    Researchers at the University of Delaware are developing an inexpensive catalyst to drive the production of synthetic fuel that could one day replace liquid fossil fuels.

    If carbon dioxide emissions become taxed in the future due to continuing concerns about global warming, this solar-driven catalyst for making synthetic fuel will compete even better economically with fossil fuels.

    http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2013/06/24.htm

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Houston has always been more progressive than Dallas, and a good place for music and art, too. Sane, in other words.

    Dallas residents will be driving big trucks when gas is $12 a gallon, and they won’t stop building their big 2×6 mansions, either. Let’s hope we can put enough pressure on the oil industry to wake them up.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Solar power still better than nuclear in the fight against climate change
    I concede I’ve lost the £100 bet, but it’s a folly to put faith in costly reactors to cut emissions http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/jun/24/solar-nuclear-power-climate-change

    • prokaryotes says:

      George Monbiot claims in a gentlemanly article to have won our £100 bet, made three years ago, that solar PV would be at grid parity – the same cost as conventional retail electricity – by 2013.

  4. Andy says:

    Just to clarify. The 140MW of power is for use by the City’s governmental buildings. The City’s populace uses many times this amount of power and it is variously sourced.

    • Omega Centauri says:

      The quoted numbers don’t make sense. Maybe it was $2billion not million? So typical of energy journalism, that the journalists are numerically clueless, and the message hopelessly garbled.

  5. BobbyL says:

    Here is a surprising finding: cleaner air linked to stronger hurricanes. If that turns out to be true reducing coal burning could produce stronger storms. I guess you can’t win.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/24/pollution-natural-disasters

  6. Robert in New Orleans says:

    The headline about the irradiated trees around Chernobyl should probably say “the radioactive particles (isotopes)” would be released into the atmosphere.

  7. fj says:

    Poor people first and poverty eradication are important strategies for addressing climate change and would likely be a major way to limit population growth rates.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    The renewable energy rollback that wasn’t
    ALEC’s attempt to squash clean energy standards in the states has failed, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/06/24/stateline-renewable-energy/2452093/

    • Sasparilla says:

      That’s really good news….

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The rollback is having more success in Australia, which shows all the signs of sinking to the very bottom of the global intelligence hierarchy.

  9. rollin says:

    Reliant energy does not have it’s own solar or wind. They purchase wind power from two companies and purchase solar energy renewable certificates. In their portfolio of renewables are landfill methane and coal refuse from Pennsylvania!

  10. catman306 says:

    TomDispatch:

    How Tv News Gets All the Eye-Gluing Benefits of Climate Change without Having to Deal with It

    Terms like “extreme weather” or “severe weather” convey destruction without any sense of responsibility.

    http://www.alternet.org/environment/how-tv-news-gets-all-eye-gluing-benefits-climate-change-without-having-deal-it

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Interesting…..

    “Canada’s insurance lobby says Albertans are less likely to be worried about weather trends linked to climate change than others in the country, despite a recent six-fold increase in insured damages from severe storms, fires and flooding.

    But as property and casualty carriers respond by hiking premiums up to 25 per cent this year, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says the province and its municipalities need to get serious about mitigating losses in Alberta that have mounted to an average of $670 million annually in the past four years compared to an average of $100 million annually in the previous 15 years.

    “Alberta has become the place where bad weather pays a visit more often,” said Don Forgeron, IBC’s president and chief executive.

    “We could simply raise premiums, walk away and be quiet, but we think there is another way.”

    Polling done this month for IBC found 91 per cent of Canadians have noticed a change in weather patterns over the past decade, but only 80 per cent of Albertans had spotted a trend.

    The numbers also showed residents of the province were less likely than others in the country to be concerned about the changes that have made Albertans the worst hit by natural catastrophes.

    According to the poll, residents were also more likely than other Canadians to make the mistake of naming Ontario instead of their home province as the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions that have been linked to climate change.”

    Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/alberta/Alberta+urged+prepare+increasingly+severe+weather+insurance+losses+mount/8446756/story.html#ixzz2XAA8sv3e

  12. Paul Magnus says:

    At this rate we are going to see big cities in perpetual states of emergency as extreme events roll by every 2-5yrs. Its starting to happen now….

    This cant continue for long with out countries being forced in declaring nation wide states of emergencies.

    It will be a slippery slope of coping with the current disruption and trying to rebuild to adapt to increasingly accelerating chaotic conditions.

    I suspect the argument and action to tax fossil fuels will become esoteric and governments or powers will either declare their use illegal or rouge states/ enclaves will just keep on using them.

    The global economy will be crushed and so at least the level of consumption will be down.

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-war-this-time/Content?oid=17055890

    “They’re calling 2013 the “most destructive wildfire season in Colorado history.” The last wildfire season they described that way? That would be last year’s wildfire season—the 2012 wildfire season—when 600 homes and countless acres in Colorado burned.”

  13. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    My bet, next year alberta will suffer billions of dollars in damage from record drought, heat, and fires. this is getting easier to figure out, just like the american midwest floods and droughts in recent years.

  14. John McCormick says:

    RE: By 2100, Earth will host 10.9 billion people, growing at 10 million a year. [Yale 360]
    Robert Englelman uses numbers and birth rate and life expectancy data to make points that are so out of synch with reality. Though it is an interesting read.

    I found a comment to his piece so well written, I offer it here and second Mr. Rabbitt’s point of view

    “If “No end to global population growth is in sight,” the claims of “resource scarcity”, a lack of a “sustainable population”, and “overpopulation” seem logically impossible. A population does not continue to grow if it cannot support itself. It sounds as if the author is trying to argue “something which only happen if something bad does not occur is actually happening therefore the bad thing which could not occur is actually happening.” This logic is quite fallacious.”

    Posted by Brian P. Rabbit on 24 Jun 2013

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The ‘growth’ mentality of neo-capitalist metastases is a perfect example of ‘magical thinking’ in action.

  15. James says:

    Global clean energy investment hit a record $260 billion in 2011. That’s five times as much as 2004. The shift to clean energy is already happening. http://clmtr.lt/cb/tPG0AU