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Massachusetts seeking bids for largest renewable energy contract in New England history

By Crystal Bui

August 1, 2017

Read the original article Here

Massachusetts is now reviewing proposals to bring clean energy to the state.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is seeking project bids worldwide to provide up to 1,200 megawatts of energy.

The governor is taking proposals from water, wind, and solar power companies, with local businesses looking to grab the largest renewable energy contract in New England history.

Other proposals from energy companies come from near and far, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as Vermont, Maine, Indianapolis, Canada and even the United Kingdom.

One familiar company is making a run for the contract: Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind. They’re known for their first off-shore wind farm in the United States, right off Block Island.

Deepwater Wind shared their proposal with NBC 10 News on Tuesday.

“What we’ve proposed is the largest wind-battery combined power in the world,” CEO Jeff Grybowski said.

Grybowski plans to add 18 to 24 wind turbines about 20 miles off the coast of New Bedford — and they’re planning on to partner with an industry power-player: Tesla

Tesla’s new battery technology will store wind farm energy. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, recently visited Rhode Island

“So, it really helps us maximize the value of all that wind power,” said Grybowski.

The wind-farm energy could power about 80,000 Massachusetts households every year.

“But again, this a price competition,” said Grybowski.

The project, if approved, would be ready by 2023 to 2024.

NBC 10 asked Grybowski how many years it would take to bring the cost down for residents because of the initial investment.

“I think from day one, we think this will be a price-competitive project,” said Grybowski.

He also said it’s likely the wind-turbines won’t be seen from shore.

Deepwater Wind is hoping their off-shore wind farm will be a part of that mix for years to come.

It’s also unlikely any of the project bids will be subsidized.

The cutest solar farm ever is now live on the grid

By Yi Shu Ng

July 5, 2017

Read the original article Here

Who knew clean energy could be this cute?

China connected a panda-shaped solar power plant to the grid last week.

The project was built by the aptly-named Panda Green Energy, and has an output of 50MW, enough to power more than 8,000 U.S. households, according to Inhabitat.

It’s located in Datong, a city in the province of Shanxi, northern China.

Another panda is in the works on the site.

Two types of solar panels — white thin film photovoltaic (PV) cells and black monocrystalline silicon PV cells — give the plant the look of China’s favourite monochromatic animal.

It’s hoped that when the plant is complete, it will have an output of 100MW, and output 3.2 billion kWh of solar energy in 25 years.

The power plant is part of a UN Development Program (UNDP) effort to promote clean energy to China’s youth, and aims to teach young people about sustainable energy. It will host a summer camp organised by the UNDP and Panda Green Energy in August, for teenagers aged 13-17.

The UNDP is also organising open design challenges with Panda Green Energy.

“Designing the plant in the shape of a panda could inspire young people and get them interested in the applications of solar power,” Panda Green Energy’s CEO, Li Yuan, told state-owned Xinhua in May last year.

Panda Green Energy is hoping to build panda-shaped power plants in other countries in central and Southeast Asia, too.

The company is planning to expand into countries like Fiji and the Philippines, and wants to build over 100 panda-shaped plants in the next five years. The plants will include motifs inspired by local animals, like the koala or rhinoceros.

“I believe that the panda solar power plants will become a tourist hotspot, and in future we’ll export these panda power plants to other parts of the world,” Li told Xinhua.

Solar Power Documentary Poster

Summer Movie Night: “Catching The Sun”, a Solar Power Documentary

“Before the Flood” brought all kinds of attention and opinions out of hiding regarding climate change, and spurred an interest and an appetite in the public for environmental filmography; but this Netflix film which premiered in April of 2016 focuses much more specifically on the solar power industry.

Directed and produced by Shalini Kantayya in her film making debut, the film covers a lot of ground in explaining, outlining, and debunking solar energy; it includes a brief history of solar tech in America, as well as a look into solar practices in China, and follows everyone from laborers to politicians to show their respective connections to solar and how it impacts their lives. Best of all, it examines the ideologies behind solar energy- how people assume it will impact the economy, how industries such as oil might continue without solar, how jobs can be created and structured for this upcoming energy field.

In-depth examinations into the solar power industry such as this are a wonderful resource for the general population, to not only help dispel rumors and assumptions but to give a more rounded perspective of how the technology works, how it applies to our economic market, and how it’s influencing the present and the future as well. If you have questions but prefer a more presentation-based format of answers, or just want to inform yourself on this quickly growing industry in the comfort of your home, then this documentary is just about tailor-made for your viewing.

If you liked the overview of “Before the Flood”, but are interested specifically in solar energy and how it has progressed in the United States, I would highly recommend this glimpse into the industry, offering insight and explanation of one of our most plentiful natural resources applied to power the nation.

By Danica Bergmann

Summer Movie Night: WALL-E is an adorable way to teach kids (and adults) about environmentalism!

Animation. Cutesy romantic plot line. Futuristic setting. Feel-good ending- this movie is set up as something entertaining for the kids to watch, but ends up being just as engaging for every age. Then again, as a movie produced by Disney & Pixar, that’s about par. Yet the message is rather unique for their style of movies; instead of focusing on anthropomorphic animals and friendly human companions, or kids off on an adventure, or the major plot point centering around love and family, this film focuses on something else entirely.

There’s not much dialogue in WALL-E, and it was originally planned to have next to none. This makes sense when you consider that the movie centers around non-speaking robots who communicate largely on noises, movement, expressions, and perhaps a few “words” that rely on intonation instead of conversation or sentence pattern. But it’s the human subplot that really stops to make you think. Humanity as a whole are the villains at the movie’s start, as they’ve littered so much on Earth that there’s no space or resources left to live on, and now subside in a spaceship where they no longer need to walk thanks to technology and have all become obese and trapped behind screens due to their lifestyles. Now i’m not dissing technology (I can only write and publish this article thanks to modern miracles such as wifi), but to become so dependent upon it as to physically atrophy and to no longer even walk by oneself is quite the situation. And the humans in this movie use technology as an escape- deserting Earth without really knowing if or when it will be inhabitable again, and living in ignorant bliss- sound familiar at all?

Amongst robot antics, the movie ends on a happy note, with humanity reconnecting with nature and with each other sans technology and sand disregard for their home; but on a realistic scale, the happy end wouldn’t hasten to arrive. It may not be our future, or even our kids’ future, but we are headed down a path not dissimilar to that portrayed for humanity in the movie. The sooner we take action, the less of an inevitability this path becomes and the better of a chance we have to preserve what little nature we have left, instead of losing it all entirely. But that’s more my musings than the movie; Pixar keeps things colorful and optimistic, and I love this film for the sense of hope it instills even in the face of such a self-made future.

Check out Vox’s piece along the same lines for more thoughts on the movie’s message!

By Danica Bergmann