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Energy in the News: Friday, February 22

Congratulations to Adam Simon, who was named a Thurnau professor along with five others. See the full list here.

And to Charles McCrory, one of three LS&A faculty named a Cottrell scholar!

Energy Economics briefing by Ellen Hughes-Cromwick: Are there any economics in the Green New Deal?

Michigan ready to tackle climate change, says new DEQ director
MLive, featuring Jonathan Overpeck
When it comes to taking action to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, “Michigan is in.”
That was the simple message Liesl Clark, the new state Department of Environmental Quality director, had for a packed room of environmental and renewable energy advocates at the Michigan Climatmccrorye Action Summit held at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids.
Clark, who had a leadership role in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition, is the co-founder of the clean energy policy consulting firm 5 Lakes Energy. Her address Thursday was one of her first public appearances since taking over the state’s environmental regulatory agency.
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Expert panel discusses feasibility, political barriers to charging for CO2 emissions
Badger Herald, featuring Barry Rabe
The Forward in Energy Forum discussed carbon pricing — the idea of charging per ton of CO2 emission — and what barriers prevent it from becoming law Wednesday night.
The proposed Citizens’ Climate Lobby Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy is a national, revenue-neutral system with two basic steps, CCL Vice President Madeleine Para said. A fee would be placed on fossil fuels at the point when they enter the economy and the net revenues would then be returned equally to all households.
In 2018, members of the House of Representatives introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which embodies the fee-and-dividend approach CCL proposed.
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White House Science Adviser Outlines Vision
Eos, featuring Rosina Bierbaum
In his first major speech since being sworn in as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on 11 February, Kelvin Droegemeier said that the United States is entering a new “bold era” in science that recognizes the driving role of the private sector along with the federal government.
“There is literally no better time in the history of this planet, or any better place on Earth, to be engaged in the quest for scientific knowledge and understanding than right here, right now in America,” said Droegemeier, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., on 15 February.
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Samsung signs lease for $62.7 million battery plant, HQ in Auburn Hills
Crain’s Detroit Business
Samsung is inching closer to the move-in date for its new $62.7 million automotive battery plant in Auburn Hills.
The company is expected to move into the 137,560-square-foot facility by late spring or early summer, said Peter Kepic, senior vice president at Colliers International Detroit, which represents the building’s landlord, Joel Nosanchuk.
The new building will serve as a battery pack plant and headquarters of auto battery operations for Samsung SDI America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Samsung’s storage battery manufacturing company, as well as a research and development tech center. The facility is the first of its kind in the U.S., Samsung said.
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Ford Motor Company to Procure Locally Sourced Michigan Wind Energy Through Collaboration with DTE Energy
Press release
Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn Truck Plant, home of the Ford F-150 and Ford Raptor, Michigan Assembly Plant, home of the new 2019 Ford Ranger, and several new buildings on the Ford Research and Engineering Campus and Corktown campus, including Michigan Central Station, will soon be powered by 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy. This is in addition to the 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system already in place at Michigan Assembly.
This collaboration is part of a commitment by Ford to a substantial renewable energy procurement through DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program, supporting the company’s Southeast Michigan portfolio and providing 500,000 megawatt hours of locally sourced Michigan wind energy.
“Ford supports the implementation of renewable energy where the project can be tied to the customer’s facility, either directly or through the local distribution utility, and we believe that supports local jobs, improves the local environment and adds resiliency to the local grid,” said George Andraos, Ford Global Director of Energy and Technology. “This project is a great investment for the State of Michigan and will have direct impact on our state.”
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‘Green New Deal’ — an Obama stimulus 2.0?
E&E News
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 poured billions in loans, grants and research funds into clean energy. Tesla Inc. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. got nearly $2 billion to finance their all-electric cars. Manufacturers of everything from batteries to fuel cells claimed tax credits. Energy efficiency programs paid to weatherize 800,000 homes. The Energy Department’s innovation shop scored its first funding. And it provided funding for the country’s first — and still only — large coal plant to capture the majority of its CO2 emissions.
The biggest slice of the energy funds, about 30 percent in all, went to building out the nation’s renewable power capacity. The Energy Department doled out cash grants, backed loans for solar and wind developers, and expanded tax credits for production and investment.
In seven years, solar generation grew thirtyfold and wind generation threefold, according to a 2016 assessment from the Obama White House.
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Uber Posts $50 Billion in Annual Bookings as Profit Remains Elusive Ahead of IPO
The New York Times
Uber Technologies Inc had $50 billion (39 billion pounds) in total bookings for its ride-service and food-delivery businesses last year, a testament to the size and global reach of the company as it prepares to woo investors in one of the biggest public stock listings to date.
But figures released by the company on Friday showed revenue grew just 2 percent in the fourth quarter, a sign that Uber continues to heavily subsidize rides in competitive markets, raising questions about its future growth prospects.
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‘Artificial forests’ take root as way to pull CO2 from air
E&E News
One man’s effort in the 1990s to create an “artificial tree” to suck in and store accumulating, man-made emissions of carbon dioxide has morphed into the design of “artificial forests” that can do the job more efficiently and on a larger scale.
They’re not real forests but rather machines that use advanced biology, chemistry and new technologies to lessen the threat of global warming by pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. The “forests” either use the greenhouse gas to make low-carbon fuels and other products to reduce global emissions, or they bury the invisible gas permanently in underground mineral formations.
As it happens, the world’s financial climate appears ready to help these ambitious projects grow. One budding company in Canada has the support of two U.S. oil majors. Another is beginning to plant its seeds across Europe, with help from private investors and some government entities.
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Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere may soar to levels not seen in 56 million years
USA Today
Emissions of carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming – could soar to levels not seen in 56 million years by the middle of next century, scientists warned in a study Wednesday.
Though it won’t happen in our lifetimes, it could very well happen in the lives of our grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
“You and I won’t be here in 2159, but that’s only about four generations away,” said study author Philip Gingerich, a University of Michigan paleoclimate researcher.
He said humans pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate nine to 10 times higher than it was during a natural global warming event roughly 56 million years ago.
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Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants
The Conversation, co-written by Jeremiah Johnson, formerly of SEAS
Due to their decreasing costs, lithium-ion batteries now dominate a range of applications including electric vehicles, computers and consumer electronics.
You might only think about energy storage when your laptop or cellphone are running out of juice, but utilities can plug bigger versions into the electric grid. And thanks to rapidly declining lithium-ion battery prices, using energy storage to stretch electricity generation capacity.
Based on our research on energy storage costs and performance in North Carolina, and our analysis of the potential role energy storage could play within the coming years, we believe that utilities should prepare for the advent of cheap grid-scale batteries and develop flexible, long-term plans that will save consumers money.
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