Rick Perry’s Early Days As Energy Secretary: Bonanza For Corporations And Koch Brothers

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By Alex Kotch for AlterNet – Most people who know anything about Rick Perry know he’s a friend to the fossil fuel industry. For 14 years, he was the Republican governor of Texas, a state that contains one-third of the nation’s oil reserves and is home to oil giants ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Valero Energy. As a political candidate, Perry received millions in donations from oil and gas companies and their executives. Until recently, he was a board member of Energy Transfer Partners, the co-owner of the dirty tar sands oil transport mechanism, Dakota Access Pipeline, which was approved by Donald Trump in January and runs through Native American lands in North Dakota. Perry supported new coal plants in Texas as well, but he also allowed a major expansion of wind energy and signed a renewable portfolio standard that aided growth in that industry. He appears to favor an all-of-the-above approach to energy production, as opposed to the severely anti-clean energy agenda Trump projects and which the conservative Heritage Foundation hoped he would adhere to. In the past, however, Perry called the science of climate change a “contrived phony mess.”

Germany Breaks Record: 85% Of Energy Comes From Renewables Last Weekend

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By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – “Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th,” Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende told RenewEconomy. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.” Graichen added that days like Sunday would be “completely normal” by 2030 thanks to the government’s continued investment in the Energiewende initiative. Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Germany announced in May 2011 that it plans to phase out nuclear and shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022. That Sunday, nuclear power plants reduced their output from 7.9 to 5 gigawatts. Germany’s ambitious energy transition aims for at least an 80 percent share of renewables by 2050, with intermediate targets of 35 to 40 percent share by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.

Half Of California’s Energy Met With Solar For First Time

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By Danielle Ola for PV Tech – From the hours of 11am to 2pm on 11 March, the total solar share of gross demand exceeded 50%, according to the EIA. Source: Flickr/ lindalino. On 11 March, for the first time ever, over 50% of California’s power needs were met with solar power, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). From the hours of 11am to 2pm, “the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50%,” the EIA said – noting that it was a combination of residential and commercial rooftop generation that constituted 4 million kWh of electricity during peak time. During the same time window, wholesale electric rates dipped below zero, compared to the average price of between US$14-$45MWh in March between 2013 and 2015.

Utility Survey: Trump Will Not Stop the Clean Energy Transition

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By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.

Why Protest Camp In Florida Is Being Called The Next Standing Rock

Opponents of the Sabal Trail pipeline say it is not only harming the natural beauty of the Suwannee river but also doing irreversible environmental damage. Photograph: Richard Luscombe for the Guardian

By Richard Luscombe for The Guardian – At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks it’s become a centre of opposition A north Florida river that attracted the state’s first tourists a century before Walt Disney’s famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515-mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling America’s next Standing Rock. One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to cure anything from marital strife to gout.

Time And Money Run Out For Nuclear Revival

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By Paul Brown for Climate News Network – LONDON, 11 January, 2017 – The prospects for expansion of the nuclear industry worldwide look worse in 2017 than at any time since the first atom stations were built in the 1950s. Toshiba, the giant Japanese company that owns the American reactor designer Westinghouse, is the latest company to face financial difficulties due to unforeseen cost overruns and delays that run into billions of dollars. Westinghouse Electric’s troubles began after it bought construction contractor CB&I Stone & Webster and then had to write down the value of the acquisition by billions of dollars because of problems with building four new reactors for US utilities.

Rick Perry, DAPL Board Member, Chosen For Energy Secretary

Rick Perry smiled to photographers Monday as he left Trump Tower after a meeting with the president-elect. (Photo: AP)

By Nika Knight for Common Dreams – President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday appointed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy. Perry infamously forgot the name of the department at the same time that he advocated for axing it, during his failed 2012 presidential bid. Perry’s career—which has included two presidential campaigns and a turn on the reality TV show “Dancing With The Stars”—has shown him to be a stalwart friend to Big Oil. Indeed, the transparency advocacy group OpenSecrets.org observed Tuesday that the industry donated nearly $2 million to Perry’s 2016 campaign:

Has Dalit Uprising Given Birth To A Movement?

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By Mari Marcel Thekaekara for New Internationalist Blog. While most of India was busy celebrating its 70th Independence Day, many people were trying to comprehend and make sense of a sudden Dalit uprising in Gujarat. Gujarati Dalits had begun a huge march for dignity and respect culminating in a rally on 15 August, Indian Independence day. They were demanding justice for four young Dalit men who had been stripped, tied to a car and viciously thrashed for hours in public on 11 July, by cow vigilantes, known locally as gau rakshaks, for skinning a dead cow. Every single day I receive a report of collated Dalit stories. With sickening, mind boggling regularity I read about Dalits who have been raped, flogged, humiliated and murdered, every single day, in some part of the country. Yet this particular incident, the flogging of four young lads from the leather tanning community, for doing a job their forefathers have done ever since anyone can remember, that is, skinning two dead cows, created an uproar not just in Gujarat but in Dalit circles all over India.

California Fast Tracks Solar Permits

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News. California cities are leading the nation in eliminating one of the biggest hurdles to the growth of residential solar: lengthy and confusing permitting. Spurred by a recent state law, hundreds of California communities have streamlined their permit process for small residential solar systems over the past year, some bringing it down to a single day. Some cities have also fast-tracked inspections to within a few days of permit approvals. The outcome? The state’s biggest cities are now processing and signing off on hundreds of these solar projects each month. San Jose, for example, streamlined its permit review and approval process last August and has since approved more than 4,500 residential rooftop solar permits. That’s a nearly 600 percent increase over the previous year, when San Jose, California’s third-largest city, permitted a mere 661.

E.On’s Ambitious Wood Power Station Plans In France Pose Threat To Forests

Cevennes National Park, threatened by E.On’s biomass plans

By Staff of GJEP – Twenty six civil society society groups worldwide have sent an Open Letter to E.On [1], demanding that the energy corporation scraps plans to convert a mothballed coal power station in Gardanne, southern France, to burning wood pellets. Groups warn that burning over 800,000 tonnes of wood pellets a year in the power station poses a serious threat to forests. Residents, environmental campaigners and local authorities in southern France have been protesting against E.On’s biomass plans since they were first published several years ago.

Fracking, Failure Of Mainstream Greens And Corporate Control

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By Mark Hand for Counter Punch – The name of her new book is Frackopoly, but author Wenonah Hauter tackles issues beyond hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. She writes about energy spats past and present, explaining why she believes the energy industry won most of these fights and succeeded in monopolizing U.S. energy policy-making over the past 100 years. But momentum, she notes, has shifted slightly toward the people over the past half-dozen years.

Beyond Extreme Energy Too Extreme? Not At All

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By Staff of Beyond Extreme Energy – Recently, Wyoming has been in the news regarding the negative health impacts of fracking on people in the state. In April, for example, scientists found dangerous levels of chemicals in the groundwater of Pavillion, a town in central Wyoming. The scientists reported that the town’s 230 residents were drinking water that contained levels of benzene 50 times above the allowable limit. The source of this contamination–fracking. Similarly, just last week, the Coming Clean coalition released a report showing how volatile organic compounds from fracking near Pavillion have been absorbed by residents.

Environmental Groups Oppose McAuliffe’s Energy Policies

Climate justice advocates say heavy role of private sector in upcoming Paris climate negotiations is a sign that the conference has already been taken over by corporations. (Photo: International Journal of Socialist Renewal)

By Staff of Nelson County Times – A grassroots alliance of 57 groups chided Gov. Terry McAuliffe Wednesday for, in their view, turning a deaf ear to the concerns of communities facing impacts from natural gas pipelines, offshore drilling, coal ash, climate change and other potential threats to human health, property rights and the environment. The allied groups and supporters plan to take their message directly to McAuliffe in Richmond during a “March on the Mansion” scheduled for July 23 and billed as “the biggest rally for climate justice and clean energy Virginia has ever seen.”

5 More US Nukes To Close

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By Harvey Wasserman for EcoWatch. A rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition. Five U.S. reactor closures have been announced within the past month. A green regulatory decision on California’s environmental standards could push the number to seven. The focus is now on a critical June 28 California State Lands Commission meeting. Set for Sacramento, the hearing could help make the Golden State totally nuke free, ending the catastrophic radioactive and global warming impacts caused by these failing plants. A public simulcast of the Sacramento meeting is expected to gather a large crowd at the Morro Bay Community Center near the reactor site.

Obama Administration Rejects “Keep It In The Ground” As Climate Strategy

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By Justin Mikulka for Desmog – “We’re certainly not advocating any strategy for reducing hydrocarbon emissions by keeping oil in the ground…that’s not a position.” This was the response of Christopher A. Smith when he was asked what he thought of the “growing movement of keeping oil in the ground” at the 2016 Columbia Global Energy Summit in April. Since Chris Smith worked for more than a decade for Chevron and Texaco, this answer should not surprise anyone.