In this roundup, solar is in the spotlight as a potential way to update old energy systems that have been decimated by recent hurricanes. However, as pointed out in Science X, solar energy isn’t necessarily the “panacea” that many hope it will be. Those stories, along with why businesses reduce costs with solar and why Virginia leaders need to respond to climate change that is reshaping the coastline are in our monthly roundup.
Severe power failures in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean spur new push for renewable energy
In the wake of a string of particularly harsh hurricanes, Caribbean islands are looking at ways to update their energy grids to be more sustainable and storm-resistant. The use of centralized grids and overhead cables on island nations leaves them vulnerable to massive power outages during storms. Furthermore, shipping fossil fuels to islands and isolated areas leads to high utility bills. CARICOM, an assembly of Caribbean nations, is already focused on decreasing dependence on imported fossil fuels, and the recent damages by hurricanes have only spurred island nations to rethink how they distribute their energy. Read more here.
Solar power alone won’t solve energy or climate needs
While solar energy is heralded as a natural and easy alternative to fossil fuels, it is important to understand terminology and conversion rates. Specifically, a kilowatt is not the same as a kilowatt hour — which is how we measure the actual usage we can get out of a certain amount of energy. This assessment is not meant to dismiss or abandon solar or renewable energy, but to better understand the limitations of technology paired with humanity’s current and expected needs. Read more here.
Virginia’s leaders have a serious case of the slows on climate change
Virginia’s landscapes and temperatures are already being affected by climate change, but elected leaders have been slow to respond. The coastlines of Virginia are experiencing chronic flooding, which, if unchecked will result in the loss of billions of dollars of real estate and ecologically priceless wetlands. Virginia’s forests will be at increased risk of fire, and our yearly number of above-90-degree days will triple by 2065. Read more here.
How businesses are reducing their energy costs and building resilience
Businesses are feeling pressure to improve their energy usage and distribution. Work interruptions from severe weather events, the fluctuating costs of fossil fuels, and the vulnerability of large grids to cyberattacks have brought this issue to the forefront of executives’ minds. However, only a third of executives interviewed for this Harvard Business Review article have a long-term energy plan; the rest are still distributing energy on a short-term, reactionary basis. Cost efficiency and social awareness both play a part in this new trend. Read more here.