In Nebraska, a unique carbon-capture concept has a lot of unknowns

NPPD became interested in the fuel when it contracted to purchase hydrogen — one of the two chemical components of methanol — that will be produced as waste from a factory under construction near the utility’s Sheldon Station coal-burning plant. Monolith Materials plans to manufacture carbon black, a versatile industrial material, from natural gas using electricity from Sheldon Station, located about a quarter-mile away.

The utility envisions burning most of the hydrogen from Monolith in a boiler at Sheldon Station that it would convert from coal. Anticipating a small amount of excess hydrogen, the utility began casting about for a use, according to John Swanson, NPPD’s generation strategies manager.

The Southwest May Be Deep Into a Climate-Changed Mega-Drought

“The drought in the Southwest is now in its 19th year. So it’s right on the cusp of technically being a mega-drought,” Overpeck told me.

The current drought is “relentless,” he said, with consequences that reverberate across the West. “It’s reflected in the levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two largest reservoirs in our country … You see it in the way the forests are outright dying in some places, in big insect outbreaks as [plants] are weakened by a lack of moisture in the soil, in more catastrophic wildfires. There’s a lot of signs this drought is unusual.”

Climate change activists vow to step up protests around world

Members of the Extinction Rebellion(XR) movement said there was a rising tide of protest. “We pay tribute to activists, students, civil society and the leaders of vulnerable countries who are rising up all over the world demanding more,” said Farhana Yamin, from XR UK. “We need now to work together to build an emergency coalition focused squarely on tackling climate devastation.”

XR branches have been set up in 35 countries, organisers said. US protesters aim to organise a day of action on 26 January 2019, and international activists are planning a global week of action from 15 April 2019. XR protests took place in more than a dozen towns across the UK over the weekend, from chalk-spraying a government building in Bristol to holding a “die-in” demonstration in Cambridge and handing out trees in Glasgow.

Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors

Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.

The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced.

UN climate accord 'inadequate' and lacks urgency, experts warn

The world has been put on notice that its best efforts so far will fail to halt the devastation of climate change, as countries came to a partial agreement at UN talks that failed to match up to the challenges faced.

Leading figures in climate science and economics said much more must be done, and quickly, to stave off the prospect of dangerous levels of global warming.

Nicholas Stern, the former World Bank chief economist and author of a seminal review of the economics of climate change, said: “It is clear that the progress we are making is inadequate, given the scale and urgency of the risks we face. The latest figures show carbon dioxide emissions are still rising. A much more attractive, clean and efficient path for economic development and poverty reduction is in our hands.”

We can move forward now': UN climate talks take significant step

Despite the progress made at this year’s talks, some believe that the UN process will always be too slow to measure up to the scale and urgency of the problems, and new ways should be found to take action independently.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: “In the climate emergency we’re now in, slow success is no success. [The rulebook] is decades too late. It should be clear that the UN consensus process can never produce the muscular agreement we need to meet the emergency.”

Farmers produce energy, too

Last year, Nebraska farmers collected nearly $4 million in lease payments to place wind turbines on their land. And that’s not to mention the indirect benefits of wind farms paying millions to counties and school districts, helping to lessen everyone’s property tax burden.

A wind turbine is a part-time job that keeps a farmer on the farm. Like ethanol did, renewable energy opportunities are helping bring new life and new hope to farmers and rural communities.

Matt Gregory, Lincoln

Colorado Launches Clean Energy Fund Modeled After Green Banks

Colorado has launched its own version of a green bank, the nonprofit Colorado Clean Energy Fund.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Energy Office and the Coalition for Green Capital recently launched the fund, which is part of the implementation of the Colorado Climate Plan.

The Colorado Clean Energy Fund will bring a green bank model to Colorado, drawing on the success of those in other states, such as NY Green Bank and Connecticut Green Bank. Green banks use mission-driven financing to leverage private investments in clean energy projects.

What utilities can teach us about fighting climate change

Electric utilities across the country have come to the same conclusions about the emerging cost-effectiveness of low-carbon resources compared to legacy coal technologies. Even among utilities who own and operate significant fleets of coal-fired generation, there is increasing recognition that replacing coal with lower-cost renewables will benefit customers — and even help make systems more resilient against disruption.

Colorado adopts rule to include storage in utility planning

Colorado is preparing to boost its use of energy storage, especially since Xcel revamped its energy plan, committing to completely eliminate carbon emissions by 2050, and regulators are beginning to lay out rules to ensure batteries are included in utility planning processes when they acquire supply-side resources. The order approved this week by the PUC codifies the intent of legislation passed earlier in the year.

The new rules "establish requirements for a coordinated electric planning process that is to be conducted on a comprehensive, transparent, statewide basis." The PUC noted in its order that the commission "does not currently treat all electric facilities alike from the perspective of planning or procurement." 

The Energy Storage Association in a statement celebrated the PUC's move, saying the new rules "raise the bar for including energy storage in utility planning."