Federal Leasing of Gulf Waters for Fossil Fuels Meet Protests

by Max Breitbarth

While the United States publicly seeks to shift its energy usage to greener sources, a recent New Orleans federal auction—and the protests created in response—demonstrate that the United States is far from over its oil addiction. CNN’s John D. Sutter details the scene at an auction at New Orleans’ Superdome, where environmental protesters objected to the government’s lease of federal property in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel development. Continue reading

Solar Jobs Explode In California

by Max Breitbarth

The Golden State is leading the United States’ push for more solar energy. Sammy Roth’s Desert Sun article summarizes a recent report from the nonprofit Solar Foundation, which notes that solar jobs are on the rise, and they are increasing the fastest in California.

According to the report, California’s solar jobs have increased almost 40 percent since last year. Their current number now exceeds 75,000 workers, more than enough to lead the country. Roth notes that California actually has more solar workers than the next ten states combined. Continue reading

Justice Scalia’s Death May Have Implications on US Clean Energy Plan

by Max Breitbarth

The Supreme Court lost its longest-tenured justice this February as Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative justices in recent memory and a jurist best known for his engaging originalist decisions and dissents, passed away at the age of 79 at a West Texas Ranch. His passing may have huge ramifications for President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan, writes Eric Wolff in a February 2016 Politico article. Continue reading

Energy Growth is More Renewable than Ever

by Max Breitbarth

A February 2016 Huffington Post article by Ben Walsh explores the profile of the new American energy projects in light of last December’s COP21 Paris climate agreement.

Walsh analyzes a recent report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report shows that 68% of new energy projects in the US are renewable. There are very few coal and oil projects, but the fossil fuel, natural gas, continues to make up a significant portion of new energy projects. Continue reading

US Navy Launches First Biofuel-powered Aircraft Carriers

by Max Breitbarth

Military technology is leading to more environmentally efficient navy for the world’s mightiest superpower. A January 20th article by the Guardian describes the launch of the U.S. Navy’s “first carrier strike group powered partly by biofuel.” This group of four ships is the first step in the Navy’s four-year plan to cut fossil fuel reliance in half to power its fleet. The ships are using a blend of 90% traditional petroleum-based fuel, and 10% biofuel.

The source of the renewable fuel? Beef fat.

Like many efforts to curb carbon dependence, the Navy compromised its 50-50 goal for this particular fleet because of cost. The original price tag of 50-50 biofuel that was usable by the ships resulted in a staggering $26-per gallon price tag. Lawmakers deemed the cost prohibitive, and the current blend, at $2.05 a gallon, is much more palatable. While the ratio might be less ambitious than the original goal, it should help to alleviate the Department of Defense’s huge demand on energy that normally relies on fossil fuels to meet its needs—over 90% of the federal government’s energy consumption annually (Watson). Continue reading

Oslo Airport Achieves a Key First with Biofuel Delivery

by Max Breitbarth

Major developments in biofuel development and utilization are occurring in Norway. Samantha Cartaino’s January 25th article in AIN Magazine reports that the Oslo airport, partnering with SkyNRG, AirBP, and Avinor, has begun to deliver jet biofuel to airline operators at their airport. Following the COP21 agreement in Paris, this marks an important move by fuel providers in Europe to commit to renewable forms of energy and make a fuel-intensive industry less damaging for the environment. As someone who studied in Strasbourg this past fall and encountered many skeptics that organizations and governments would voluntarily act to reduce their environmental impact, I am encouraged by this action just a month after the agreement signed by countries around the world. Continue reading