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    WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. energy secretary is planning to visit a nuclear power plant in Connecticut on Friday at the invitation of the local congressional member as they both work to change how spent nuclear fuel is stored nationwide to solve a decadeslong stalemate. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney are scheduled to tour the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut. Spent fuel that was meant to be stored temporarily at current and former nuclear plant sites nationwide is piling up. Some of it dates to the 1980s. There’s renewed momentum to figure out a storage site, or sites, to free up the land where the waste is currently being stored and move it away from population centers, fault lines and flood plains. The Biden administration and many state officials view nuclear energy as essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and staving off the worst effects of a warming planet. To responsibly use nuclear power, Courtney said, “We have to move on this issue.” The Energy Department is working to...
    London (CNN Business)Russia is about to cut off natural gas supplies to a third European country that refuses to accept the Kremlin's demand for payment in rubles. Russian gas will stop flowing to Finland at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday, Finnish state gas company Gasum said in a statement Friday. Poland and Bulgaria were cut off in late April because they did not make payments in the Russian currency — a move EU leaders described at the time as "blackmail" by Moscow."It is highly regrettable that natural gas supplies under our supply contract will now be halted," Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen said, adding that the company has been "carefully preparing for this situation." Earlier this week, Gasum said it was preparing for Russia to turn off the taps after it refused to meet President Vladimir Putin's demand that "unfriendly" countries pay for gas in rubles, rather than the euros or dollars stated in their contracts.Finland on Sunday formally announced its intention to join NATO, ditching decades of neutrality and ignoring Russian threats of possible retaliation in a bid to...
    Meta is using AI technology to create sustainable concrete to reduce the carbon footprint of its data centers. Source: Rajamanickam Antonimuthu/Youtube Cement is widely used for construction all over the world and creating sustainable concrete could be a great way to combat global emissions. Researchers at Meta recently began developing a formula for concrete that uses less energy and is sturdy enough for their data centers. The company has teamed up with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and they have now made concrete that is 40 percent less carbon-intensive than the average of the Chicago-area data center where they have been testing. “Using the input data on concrete formulas along with their corresponding compressive strength and carbon footprint, the Al model was able to generate a number of promising new concrete mixes that could meet our stated data center requirements with a lower embodied carbon impact than the industry standard,” the authors of the study said. The AI system was able to create formulas and find their corresponding carbon impact and strength. The algorithm create a list of...
    A view shows valves near a drilling rig at a gas processing facility, operated by Gazprom company, at Bovanenkovo gas field on the Arctic Yamal peninsula, Russia May 21, 2019.Maxim Shemetov | Reuters Gasum, Finland's state-owned gas wholesaler, said in a statement that natural gas imports from Russia will be halted on Saturday. "Starting from tomorrow, during the upcoming summer season, Gasum will supply natural gas to its customers from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline. Gasum's gas filling stations in the gas network area will continue in normal operation," Gasum's CEO Mika Wiljanen said in a statement. "It is highly regrettable that natural gas supplies under our supply contract will now be halted. However, we have been carefully preparing for this situation and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months." It gave no reason for the move but it comes just two days after Finland formally applied to join NATO. Russia had warned of retaliation if the traditionally-neutral nation decided...
    Maintenance workers see to an Enercon wind turbine in the German state of Saxony.Jan Woitas/dpa via ZUMA Press This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The EU plans a “massive” increase in solar and wind power, and a short-term boost for coal, to end its reliance on Russian oil and gas as fast as possible. In a plan outlined on Wednesday, the European Commission said the EU needed to find an extra €210 billion ($222 billion) over the next five years to pay for phasing out Russian fossil fuels and speeding up the switch to green energy. Senior officials conceded that in the short term, the race to get off Russian gas would mean burning more coal and using nuclear energy. The plan, drawn up in response to the Kremlin-ordered invasion of Ukraine and subsequent soul-searching about Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, proposes upgrades to the EU green deal, the bloc’s flagship policy to confront the climate crisis. The Commission proposed that 45 percent of the EU’s energy mix should come from renewables by...
    A wind turbine and coal in Lower Saxony, Germany. The EU's desire to wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons means it will need to find fossil fuels from other parts of the world to plug supply gaps.Mia Bucher | Picture Alliance | Getty Images The European Commission has fleshed out details of a plan to ramp up the EU's renewable energy capacity and reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, at the same time acknowledging that existing coal facilities may have to be used for "longer than initially expected." A document outlining the Commission's aims for the REPowerEU plan was published on Wednesday, highlighting the importance of energy savings, the diversification of energy imports and speeding up what it called "Europe's clean energy transition." In total, it envisages extra investment of 210 billion euros ($220.87 billion) between 2022 and 2027. When it comes to renewables' share in the EU's energy mix, the Commission has proposed that the current target of 40% by 2030 should be increased to 45%. The Commission's proposals came on the same day the governments of Denmark, Germany,...
    Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Thursday confronted Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm over rising energy costs in the U.S., laying out how President Biden quashed American energy independence from day one as she continued to deny the administration’s responsibility. During the exchange, Granholm continued to place the blame on everyone but the Biden administration, telling Hawley, “you can thank the activity of Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.” “With all due respect, Madam Secretary, that’s utter nonsense,” Hawley said, noting that gas prices were already on the rise long before Putin invaded Ukraine. “It is not administration policies that have affected supply and demand,” she said as Hawley asked, “How can you say that,” laying out the facts. “From January to August, the price of gasoline was up over 30 percent in my state alone. It has been a continuous, continuous upward tick since then,” Hawley said during the hearing, which fell on the tenth consecutive day of the national gas price average climbing. “And here’s what your president did when he first came to office,” the senator continued. “He immediately...
    The Department of Energy launched a $3.5 billion program Thursday to build four large-scale facilities that will suck out carbon dioxide from the air, a step toward President Joe Biden’s climate goals of removing legacy carbon pollution. The Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program is funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill and seeks to capitalize on a new technology to help bring down atmospheric concentrations of CO2 on a major scale. NEW FIVE-YEAR OFFSHORE LEASING PROGRAM TO BE FILED BY JUNE 30, HAALAND SAYS The Department of Energy said in a statement that the hubs will utilize a process known as direct air capture to separate CO2 from the air. That CO2 will then be stored deep underground, or converted for use in long-life products such as concrete or pavement, which can prevent its release back into the atmosphere. Progress on the hubs program in the United States comes amid growing momentum for carbon removal technology programs nationwide. Last month, a new report from the United Nations's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that...
    Liberal groups are pressing Democrats to go beyond their current anti-price gouging efforts and more aggressively target energy companies' profits to stave off record gasoline prices. The House passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act on Thursday, which would authorize the president to declare an energy emergency prohibiting sales of consumer fuel at an "unconscionably excessive" price and charge the Federal Trade Commission with enforcement. But several groups want the party to prioritize a windfall profits tax to cut into companies' earnings during periods of high oil prices. A NEW FIVE-YEAR OFFSHORE LEASING PROGRAM IS TO BE FILED BY JUNE 30, HAALAND SAYS Collin Rees, U.S. program manager for environmental outfit Oil Change International, called passage of the gouging bill "a great start" and said the Senate should pass it immediately, as the national average per-gallon price of gasoline stands at a fresh record of $4.491. "But enhanced investigatory powers won't be enough to stem Big Oil's greed and stop its exploitation — the House must move rapidly to tax the fossil fuel industry's...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely divided House approved legislation Thursday to crack down on alleged price gouging by oil companies as prices at the pump continue to soar. A bill backed by House Democrats would give President Joe Biden authority to declare an energy emergency that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an “excessive” or exploitative manner. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies that engage in price gouging. “At a time when people across the country are feeling the pinch at the gas pump, Congress needs to be doing all it can to bring down costs for American families,″ said Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., who co-sponsored the bill. She called it “infuriating” that spikes in gas prices were “happening at the same time that gas and oil companies are making record profits and taking advantage of international crises to make a profit. This must stop.″ The measure was approved, 217-207. It now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill is pending but faces steep odds amid a 50-50...
    The Interior Department plans to file its new five-year offshore leasing proposal by the end of June, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Thursday, following pressure from Republicans and a growing number of Democrats lay out plans for the future with just weeks before the current program is slated to expire. Haaland made the announcement Thursday morning in an appearance before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. There, she told lawmakers that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, “is moving forward expeditiously” on development of the new five-year program. "The [Interior] Department will release the proposed program, which the next step in the five-year planning process—by June 30, which is the expiration of the current program," she said. "We take this responsibility seriously, and are not prejudging an outcome," she told lawmakers, adding: "I welcome your continued interest in inquiries and my team will follow up next month with details of a proposed plan."" Haaland's announcement follows weeks of mounting concern and calls to submit the five-year plan both from Republicans and some Democrats....
    THOUSANDS of Minnesotans are eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in energy assistance from a local non-profit group. Kootasca Community Action's 2021-22 Energy Assistance Program is available to residents of Itasca and Koochiching County in Minnesota. 1Minnesotans can apply for assistance with their energy bills through May 31 The initiative fields applications from households and provides financial aid to help cover the cost of home energy bills. Koochiching County is home to about 12,500 people, and more than 45,000 live in Itasca. Available assistance programs Eligible households can receive three types of grants. READ MORE ON ENERGY BILLSLIGHTS OUT The five regions facing the highest energy prices this summer of up to $524 ENERGIZING RELIEF Thousands could get up to $3,850 including an energy relief check First are primary heat grants, which are extended to renters and homeowners to subsidize energy and heating costs. Grant amounts are based on household size, total energy cost, and your income. To qualify for a primary heat grant, your income must be at or below 60 percent of the state median....
    The climate-change clock continues to tick away as time draws nearer to when the most disastrous consequences of global temperature increases are unavoidable. A team of meteorologists from the World Meteorological Organization recently predicted that within the next five years there’s a nearly 50-50 chance that earth will at least once exceed that tipping point — 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial temperatures. There is, however, hope on the horizon — the blue horizon. Offshore wind energy has the potential to be a gamechanger for California and the United States in our race to achieve fossil-fuel-free energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). According to Environment America, the United States has the technical potential to produce enough offshore wind energy to nearly double the amount of electricity the country consumed in 2019 and about 90% of what it would consume in 2050 if we transitioned our buildings, transportation systems and industries away from fossil fuels. The Pacific region, which includes Hawaii but excludes Alaska, has the technical potential for offshore wind to produce more than double...
    U.S. electric vehicle maker Lucid Group will set up its first overseas factory in Saudi Arabia, the company announced.Javier Blas | Bloomberg | Getty Images U.S. electric vehicle maker Lucid Group will set up its first overseas factory in Saudi Arabia, the company has announced. The manufacturing facility will be able to produce 155,000 vehicles a year, and will initially serve the local market, the luxury car maker said in a press release Wednesday. The vehicles will later be exported to global markets. Lucid's factory in Arizona can produce 350,000 units a year. "That means we can accelerate plans to produce half a million cars a year from what was going to be 2030, to mid decade," CEO Peter Rawlinson told CNBC's Hadley Gamble. "And that's really important because the planet can't wait." The ongoing energy crisis "really just fuels the transition to battery electric vehicles," said Rawlinson. "The demand is now multiplying," he said.EV industry ambitionsSaudi Arabia's minister of investment, Khalid al-Falih, said the Lucid factory is just the beginning. "I believe it unleashes the whole industry of electric...
    An oil flare burns at Repsol's oil refining complex in Cartagena, Spain. Repsol was one of the top sellers of assets between 2017 and 2021 in EDF's analysis.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images Oil and gas giants are increasingly selling off dirty assets to private firms, amplifying concerns that the fossil fuel industry's traditional dealmaking is not compatible with a net-zero world. It comes at a time when oil and gas majors are under immense pressure to set short and medium-term targets in line with the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement. It is widely recognized that this accord is critically important to avoid the worst of what the climate crisis has in store. Research published last week by the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund shows how oil and gas mergers and acquisitions, which may help energy giants execute their transition plans, do not help to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. To be sure, the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, is the chief driver of the climate crisis and researchers have repeatedly stressed that limiting global...
    The head of the United Nations on Wednesday criticized the "broken" global energy system that's leading humanity "ever closer to climate catastrophe" and urged world leaders to instead grab onto "the lifeline... right in front of us"—a transition to renewable sources. "We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition, before we incinerate our only home," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. His remarks were delivered in a video address alongside the release of the World Meteorological Organization's latest flagship report, the State of the Global Climate 2021. That publication, according to Guterres, represents "a dismal litany of humanity's failure to tackle climate disruption." The report notes that four out of seven climate indicators hit record levels last year. Since greenhouse gas concentrations hit a new global high in 2020, reaching 413.2 parts per million, real-time data from monitoring sites including Mauna Loa in Hawaii confirm the rising trend of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide continued in 2021. Additionally, 2015 to 2021 were the seven warmest years on record, the report states, while sea-level rise also hit a...
    A COMPROMISE state budget containing as much as $3,850 in energy relief for eligible Americans is heading to a final vote today. The vote comes on the last regular day of the Alaska Legislature and if passed could mean an energy rebate check for thousands of Alaska residents as soon as later this summer. 1Energy relief checks could reach thousands of qualifying Alaska residents later this yearCredit: Getty A six-member committee completed work on the compromise budget late yesterday, three days after the Alaska House failed to agree to a budget proposal that passed the state senate. How much would Alaskans receive? That proposal was for a payout of $5,500 for a total cost of $3.5billion, but house lawmakers said the dividend and energy payments were too large, according to the Alaska Beacon. The compromise budget has been altered only slightly from the Senate’s version. More on energy pricesLIGHTS OUT The five regions facing the highest energy prices this summer of up to $524 CUTTING COSTS Three easy changes to make to your daily routine which slash energy bills...
    In the world of renewable energy, there’s perhaps no more ambitious goal than fusion power. This involves fusing hydrogen atoms to create helium—a process that generates an ungodly amount of energy as a result. It’s a reaction that occurs every single moment in the sun, but replicating it on Earth is a much rarer and arduous process. If we succeed, however, we’d have access to a clean source of renewable electricity that meets our ever-growing energy needs. To that end, researchers are chasing after a phenomenon called “ignition,” which is when a fusion reactor generates more energy than was needed to create the initial reaction. A few major attempts are underway to achieve this goal, including the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France. That effort utilizes powerful magnets in a machine called a tokamak to create superheated plasma created using hydrogen fuel. But therein lies an issue: There’s only so much hydrogen fuel you can put into a tokamak before everything starts going horribly wrong. “One of the limitations in making plasma inside a tokamak is the amount of...
    RAMPANT inflation continues to eat into Americans' wallets, so it is little surprise that you will be hit with significantly higher energy prices this summer. There are five regions facing the biggest hikes - with bills of up to $524, which is about 5% more than last year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). 1As summer approaches, hundreds of millions of Americans face higher electric billsCredit: Getty Regions that will see the biggest cost increases West South Central US will see an average bill of $524, up from $500 in 2021 East South Central is forecast to see an average of $503, up from $488 New England is expected to see an average bill of $495, up from $451 last year, which is an almost 10% increase for the area South Atlantic will see an average bill of $493, versus $473 in 2021 Mid-Atlantic will see an average bill of $446, compared to $434 last year More on electric costsPLAYING THE SYSTEM I’m a money expert - how to cut your electric bill during certain hoursNIFTY GADGET...