Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Tracking the Earth’s ‘ultimate record of change’

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A satellite tv for pc succesful of cataloguing the development of megacities, the trajectory of wildfires and the behaviors of wildlife launched into orbit on Monday morning, giving humankind what the BBC described as “the ultimate record of change.” 

The satellite tv for pc mission, referred to as Landsat-9, “is especially useful for teasing out land changes that might contribute to local weather change, like deforestation, and which might be precipitated by local weather change, like intense wildfire burn scars,” the United States Geological Survey (USGS) tweeted forward of the launch — a joint operation between the USGS and NASA.

Landsat-9 is the newest in an Earth remark program that stretches again virtually 50 years — and which has given us an unparalleled record about the altering state of the planet, the BBC reported. The program has been used to trace the evolving outlines of coasts, glaciers, forests and deserts, whereas enabling scientists to trace real-time developments by offering free and open-access information.

“We’ve assembled an incredible historical past of how the planet has modified over the final half century,” Dr. Jeff Masek, NASA’s Landsat-9 challenge scientist, informed the BBC. 

Today we’ll check out the efforts a Brooklyn-based startup is making to vary how under-served communities can entry clear vitality applied sciences and low-cost WiFi. Then we’ll have a look at one other intersection between vitality and know-how, as we contemplate whether or not bitcoin mining may help save America’s struggling (and low-carbon) nuclear trade.

For Equilibrium, we’re Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Please ship suggestions or feedback to Saul at [email protected] or Sharon at [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter: @saul_elbein and @sharonudasin

Let’s get to it.


Cleantech startup bringing rooftop Wi-Fi to 100k Bronx residents 

A Brooklyn-based vitality startup identified for “turning buildings into Teslas” is about to roll out free and low-cost WiFi to about 100,000 new customers in the Bronx — in a system administered by the very individuals it serves.

“Once we noticed of us, and actually kids, battling the digital divide throughout the pandemic, we knew that we might…present a knowledge sign at low price throughout sure communities,” Donnel Baird, founder of BlocPower, informed Equilibrium.

What makes this web particular? BlocPower is putting in “mesh networking antennae” on rooftops all through the South Bronx, Baird defined. Unlike conventional Wi-Fi networks, which use one router and supply restricted service, mesh networks have “nodes” that talk with one another — on this case, through rooftops — to boost protection. That helps present residents with the digital assets vital to attain financial sustainability — to not point out fairness.

The community, which incorporates 50 public housing buildings, in addition to church buildings and faculties, must be on-line in a pair weeks, Baird stated.   

A platter of sustainability options: BlocPower’s principal focus since its 2014 launch has been on retrofitting greater than 1,100 buildings in under-served New York communities with sensible, all-electric heating and cooling techniques. 

The firm now has comparable initiatives underway in 26 U.S. cities, and just lately raised $63 million in debt and fairness — one of the greatest early-stage funding rounds by a Black entrepreneur, based on Reuters. 

The firm deployed a Wi-Fi community to assist assist its clear vitality property in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 2017, based on Baird. So when Bronx church buildings and faculties approached him throughout the top of the pandemic to construct an analogous community for them, he jumped at the alternative.

Just the starting: The firm plans to develop the Bronx initiative down into Harlem and Manhattan’s East Side, to Downtown Brooklyn and out to the 2017 system in East Brooklyn. 

“We’re going to attempt to cowl, three, possibly 4, boroughs, with the system earlier than the finish of the yr,” Baird stated.

The Bronx community, financed by native philanthropic foundations, might be owned and managed by the residents and supply free WiFi, based on Baird.



The Environmental Partnership just lately launched its annual report highlighting its new flare administration program that reported a 50 p.c discount in flare volumes from 2019 to 2020. Read more.


Keeping Wi-Fi low price: BlocPower is already in talks about deploying such techniques in different cities. While these might not at all times have the ability to run on philanthropy, he stated he hopes to maintain Wi-Fi prices low.

“We did not notice that the digital divide was as massive as it’s,” Baird stated. “I used to be a bit bowled over, whilst a former neighborhood organizer and low-income individual myself.”

Community bonds: Key to BlocPower’s enlargement has been its reference to neighborhood and non secular leaders. Not solely do residents belief spiritual establishments, Baird added, however the buildings that home these establishments additionally “burn a ton of fossil fuels” — making them “nice candidates” for a retrofit.. 

BlocPower can also be increasing in its home-base of New York, the place Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioFederal appeals court docket blocks NYC instructor vaccine mandate Meghan, Prince Harry go to One World Trade Center Google to buy Manhattan constructing for .1 billion MORE just lately introduced that the firm would obtain $37 million, to create 1,500 jobs for people in danger of gun violence, a press release from his workplace stated.  

Some of these new hires are already setting up the Bronx Wi-Fi community, Baird stated.

“Achievable, actionable”: Looking at broader U.S. infrastructure overhaul efforts, Baird careworn that as Congress considers the proposed $3.5 trillion spending invoice, officers should undertake “achievable, actionable” objectives like bridging the digital divide and retrofitting buildings. 

Policymakers, he stated, should make sure that “low-income communities are getting the greatest that trendy know-how has to supply.”  

Freeing cities from fossil fuels: Baird additionally informed Equilibrium that BlocPower is about to signal an settlement “to take an entire metropolis off of fossil fuels.” While he couldn’t but reveal the exact location, he stated that it’s going to “be in the Empire State” and it will be fossil gasoline free by 2025-2026.

“It’ll be the first American metropolis to go off fossil fuels solely,” he stated. 

To learn the full story, please click on right here.


Nuclear energy weds crypto-mining in marriage of comfort 

Cryptocurrency miners in search of low-carbon vitality are teaming up with nuclear vegetation in want of clients, in a transfer that might assist every trade cowl the different’s weaknesses.

These new plans spotlight the significance of clear vitality to the long-term future of cryptocurrency — and the unsure specter of regulation that’s hampering its development.

Remind me: what’s cryptocurrency? Digital currencies or bitcoins — together with Bitcoin and Ethereum in addition to tons of of others — which might be traded with out the assist of, or managed by, a financial institution or central authorities. 

These have drawn criticism on environmental grounds, most famously from Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskElon Musk, Grimes break up after three years collectively  UN secretary-general blasts area tourism Elon Musk guarantees upgraded bogs, Wi-Fi on subsequent SpaceX flight MORE, who introduced in May that his company would no longer accept the currencies as payment, resulting from issues over the ever-increasing energy required to “mine” them.

Breaking down the energy drawback: Bitcoin mining accounts for about 98 terawatt hours in power consumption, based on the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index — about vitality that’s required to energy the state of Alabama. Much of that vitality comes from coal — notably earlier than the crypto mining trade was kicked out of China, as we reported in August, but also in the U.S., as The Wall Street Journal reported in May.

Bitcoin’s pressing must develop low cost low-carbon energy — and the scramble to fill demand opened up by China’s August eviction of bitcoin mining corporations — has mixed to make the industry an attractive opportunity for struggling U.S. nuclear plants, based on the Journal.

Why does the nuclear trade want bitcoin mining? Despite being a particularly low-carbon kind of vitality, the nuclear trade can’t simply compete towards cheaper varieties of vitality, whether low-carbon like wind and solar, or high-carbon ones like natural gas, based on the Chicago Tribune. A record quantity of different nuclear vegetation are set to close this year, the Houston Chronicle reported.

That could possibly be an issue: Without a U.S. worth on carbon to even the enjoying subject with oil and fuel, the U.S. dangers dropping quite a bit of low-carbon nuclear energy that might be very costly to exchange, the CEO of Exelon, nation’s largest nuclear firm, argued in 2018, as reported by  UtilityDive.

The firm made comparable arguments to the Illinois state legislature this September, which finally spent $700 million to maintain three Exelon nuclear vegetation from going offline.



A nuclear stopgap: Bitcoin mining isn’t a salvation for nuclear — but it surely could possibly be a stopgap, notably in the kind of “quite a bit of them aggregated collectively,” Benergy advisor Bill Dugan informed the Journal.

In the Ohio Valley, a couple of such initiatives are coming on-line. Nuclear firm Talen Energy Corp is partnering with TeraWulf Inc., which payments itself as a zero-carbon bitcoin mining agency, to build out a much larger data and cryptocurrency mining center, based on commerce journal InformationCenter Dynamics, which also highlighted a similar partnership at a converted paper mill in Ohio.

But a massive unknown hangs over the trade: regulation. Last week, China made it unlawful for bitcoin exchanges to offer providers to Chinese nationals, sending shockwaves through online exchanges as they scrambled to purge Chinese users, one other Journal story reported.

That crackdown is unlikely to significantly influence the U.S. crypto-mining trade — unless federal regulators here take a similarly stringent approach, based on a CNBC evaluation. 

Gary GenslerGary GenslerSenate poised to battle over Biden’s choose of massive financial institution critic Laws that deter corporations from going public price our financial system dearly Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It’s ‘silly’ to purchase Treasury bonds MORE, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been vocal about the want for regulating the currencies, whose speedy positive aspects have attracted speculators, and has promised that rules are underway, one other CNBC piece stated. 

Takeaway: Though a U.S. ban appears unlikely, any critical scaling-up of the rising crypto-mining and nuclear energy complexes will probably be constrained till U.S. states and companies have a greater thought of what the SEC goes to do.


The Environmental Partnership just lately launched its annual report highlighting its new flare administration program that reported a 50 p.c discount in flare volumes from 2019 to 2020. Read more.

Motor Monday 

Michigan constructing America’s first public highway for wi-fi EV charging

  • Michigan is planning to assemble the nation’s first public highway succesful of wirelessly charging electric vehicles whereas they drive, Yale E360 reported. 
  • “Michigan was residence to the first mile of paved highway, and now we’re paving the way for the roads of tomorrow with modern infrastructure that may assist the financial system and the surroundings, serving to us obtain our objective of carbon neutrality by 2050,” Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerWhitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 factors in Michigan governor race: ballot Michigan creating electrified highway to wirelessly cost EVs, Whitmer says Michigan GOP governor hopeful says he would assist state abortion ban: recording MORE stated in a press release.
  • Michigan’s Department of Transportation will quickly subject a proper request for proposals to design and take a look at an Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot, based on Yale E360. 
  • While the state has but to announce when such a pilot would start working, a analysis challenge in Indiana is using magnetizable concrete to allow wireless charging on a quarter-mile expanse of personal highway, Yale E360 reported, citing The Drive. The mechanism for charging electrical automobiles, on this situation, works very similar to wirelessly charging smartphones, the report stated.

“Supercar” makers in a lifeless dash towards high-power electrical motors

  • The makers of supercars — high-performance, highly-expensive luxurious sports activities automobiles — are in a race for their lives as they anticipate coming restrictions on their carbon-guzzling engines, based on Reuters.
  • In making an attempt to create electrical fashions of automobiles like the SLS AMG, carmakers are caught in a three-way conundrum: they’ve to chop weight from and improve energy to their batteries — all whereas coping with their electrical motors’ larger tendency to overheat, Reuters reported.
  • Daimler has bought startup YASA, which has developed an “axial flux” motor that weighs lower than 10 p.c than that of a Ferrari’s gas-powered V12.
  • This know-how might push the boundaries of what’s potential in additional standard automobiles. “Automotive know-how would not scale to quantity in a single day, you have a tendency to start out with the premium area of interest sectors,” YASA founder Tim Woolmer informed Reuters.


Please go to The Hill’s sustainability part on-line for the net model of this text and extra tales. We’ll see you on Tuesday.

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