47% Of Spain’s Electricity Made By Renewables In March

Spain is getting the vast majority of its electricity from carbon-free sources, the country’s grid operator reported on Tuesday.

According to Red Electrica de Espana (REE), the Spanish peninsula got 69 percent of its electricity generation in March from technologies that produce zero carbon emissions — that is to say, renewable energy plus some of its nuclear power. Nuclear as a whole provided 23.8 percent of the country’s electricity in March, while 47 percent came solely from renewable sources.

Most of the renewable electricity being generated in Spain comes from wind, which alone provided 22.5 percent of the country’s electricity last month. Wind often competes with nuclear for the title of Spain’s top electricity generation source overall — in fact, though nuclear pulled through in March as the top source of electricity, wind has overall provided more electricity to Spain in the entirety of 2015. From January to March, according to REE, wind provided 23.7 percent of electricity generation while nuclear made up 22.7 percent.

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New energy storage plant could 'revolutionise' renewable sector

Foundations for an energy storage plant in Ireland that could “revolutionise” the integration of renewable power into electricity supplies will be laid within weeks.

The plant will use a motor-generated flywheel to harness kinetic energy from the grid at times of over-supply. This will then be released from submerged turbines at times of supply shortfalls.

The project in Rhode, County Offaly, is expected to launch commercially in 2017, with an operating capacity of 20MW.

Although the system will initially feed off all energy in the grid – clean and dirty alike – it has the potential to resolve the transmission system operators’ dilemma of how to store large amounts of energy created during windy or sunny conditions for instantaneous use when the weather changes.

At the moment, such energy shortfalls are compensated for with fossil fuel generators such as coal or gas-fired power plants, or by hydro pump storage. Unlike conventional coal and gas generators which have an efficiency ratio of 35-40%, the flywheel operates at upwards of 85-90% efficiency.

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Why The USA Keeps Electing Climate Change Deniers

One of the most significant obstacles to addressing climate change is the fact that huge numbers of US politicians reject the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are warming the planet. Why does the situation persist? How can a senator who (literally) holds up a snowball as evidence that global warming is a hoax keep winning reelection? How can someone who declares himself a climate "skeptic" be a front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination? As newly released research from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication makes painfully clear, GOP climate deniers actually hold views that are quite similar to those of the voters who elect them.

The Yale research is based on data from more than 13,000 survey responses since 2008. It estimates that nationwide, just 48 percent of people agree with the scientific consensus that global warming is caused "mostly" by humans. While other recent polls have found a somewhat higher percentage who say they believe humans are causing the planet to warm, Yale's numbers are not a good sign for those—like billionaire activist Tom Steyer—who are trying to turn climate change denial into a disqualifying political position.

- Things look even more discouraging when you use the researchers' snazzy interactive maps

Zero Deforestation arrangement for Palm oil to be implemented by KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut

Yum! Brands, the organization that claims KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday reported a zero deforestation arrangement for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after forceful battles by ecological gatherings that argued that the restaurants weren’t doing what’s needed to guarantee the palm oil they used to cook food wasn’t connected to human rights misuses, obliteration of peat lands, and logging of rainforests.

The strategy sets December 2017 as focus for creating shields for palm oil sourcing. Yum! says it will just come from suppliers who block farmstead advancement in high carbon stock and high preservation esteem ranges, in the same way as rainforests and peat lands; have debate determination forms set up; offer traceability to the plant level; and evade underage laborers and constrained work.

The benchmarks apply Yum’s! worldwide fast food business, the importance it applies to every last bit of its restaurants.

Yum! has a comparable arrangement of rules for its paper and fiber sourcing.

The declaration was immediately accepted by Greenpeace, which battled against the organization’s mash and paper sourcing practices in 2012.

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Study Shows That The Chemical Used To Clean Up BP Oil Spill Is Completely Toxic

Researchers at the University of Alabama recently published a study suggesting that Corexit EC9500A, the primary oil dispersant used in the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is causing major harm to the local eco-system.

According to the study, Corexit damages epithelium cells in both humans and marine animals.

The study was published in PLOS ONE this week and studied the effect that the chemical had on the bodies of humans, zebrafish, and blue crabs.

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Protesters Try to Stop Nestle Water Bottling Plant in South Sacramento

In the darkness of the early morning hours protesters gathered at the driveway of the Nestlé water bottling plant. Armed with signs and props like torches and pitch forks they made their position known.

Environmental and water rights activists blockaded all truck entrances to the plant. This is a similar scene to a protest back in October of last year. The plan this morning was to shut down the company’s operations.

At issue: the amount of water the company uses to sell for profit, especially during a drought. But Nestle says they are in compliance, and pay the same rate for water as any other metered business or manufacturer in the city of Sacramento.

Nestlé’s spokesperson went on to say the company believes in people’s right to protest and that like all businesses in California they are looking at ways to conserve. In 2014 Nestlé says it used 50 million gallons from the Sacramento Municipal Water Supply, which they say is a fraction of one percent of total water demand within the city of Sacramento.

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California drought: agribusiness, fracking untouched by water rationing

California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water.

A recent study conducted by Daniel Griffin and Kevin J. Anchukaitis found that the current episode "is the most severe drought in the last 1,200 years, with single year (2014) and accumulated moisture deficits worse than any previous continuous span of dry years."

Last month (19th March) California Governor Jerry Brown announced a new bill, which he claims will provide $1 billion in drought-related spending, mostly on flood protection. The bill merely expedites funds already approved by California voters, and will do nothing to resolve the state's dire water crisis.

The following Tuesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board intensified emergency legislation targeting residential "water wasters", initially implemented last summer. The law imposes a $500 fine for offenses including excessive lawn watering.

Both measures leave untouched the giant agribusinesses and oil corporations that account for a majority of the state's water usage and dominate the political system.

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Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

The rise of the Internet means that simple factual issues can be checked quicker than would have been believed possible a generation ago. The rise of social media means that facts are not checked, they are retweeted.

Such is the case with renewable energy in Germany, where it appears almost anything is to be believed.

Here is the most popular meme: "Germany now gets half of its energy from solar panels." This does the rounds of Twitter and Facebook almost every day. In fact, it has now spread to more reputable outlets such as Popular Mechanics, and has even appeared on the website of Richard Dawkins, the inventor of the term meme, under the headline "Germany Now Produces Half Of Its Energy Using Solar." The problem, of course, is that Germany does not get half of its energy from solar panels, and will not do so any time soon.

As with any myth there are multiple versions. In this case it is either that Germany gets half of its electricity or half its energy from solar panels. The latter version is easily refuted by pointing out that the majority of German energy consumption is not in the form of electricity. BMWs, Mercedes and Volkswagens run on petrol and diesel, not electricity.

The more common version of the myth is debunked with simple reference to Germany's official statistics for electricity generation. And what they tell us is quite simple. Germany does not get half of its electricity from solar panels, instead the figure is around ten times lower. Last year only 4.5% of Germany's gross electricity generation came from solar panels, far short of 50%...

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How Growers Gamed California’s Drought

The record drought now entering its fourth year in California has alarmed the public, left a number of rural communities without drinking water, and triggered calls for mandatory rationing. There’s no relief in sight: The winter rainy season, which was a bust again this year, officially ends on April 15. Nevertheless, some large-scale farmers are enjoying extraordinary profits despite the drought, thanks in part to infusions of what experts call dangerously under-priced water.

Agriculture is the heart of California’s worsening water crisis, and the stakes extend far beyond the state’s borders. Not only is California the world’s eighth largest economy, it is an agricultural superpower. It produces roughly half of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables consumed in the United States—and more than 90 percent of the almonds, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and other specialty crops—while exporting vast amounts to China and other overseas customers...

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Costa Rica goes 75 days powering itself using only renewable energy

Costa Rica has achieved a clean energy milestone by using 100 per cent renewable energy for a record 75 days in a row.

The feat was achieved thanks to heavy rainfall, which powered four hydroelectric plants in the first three months of the year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute said.

No fossil fuels have been burnt to generate electricity since December 2014, in the state which is renowned for its clean energy policies.

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