For first time, U.S. renewable energies surpass coal
In April, the U.S. generated more electricity from renewables — hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass — than coal.
- Wind and solar saw the biggest increases in April.
- Spring is when coal-generated electricity is typically lowest, and when hydro-generated electricity is highest.
- American coal-fired power plants are shutting down at record rates, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
In April, the U.S. generated more electricity from renewable energies than coal, marking a first for the country. Renewable energies – including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass – made up 23 percent of the national power supply for the month, while coal-fired electricity constituted 20 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
One reason renewables beat coal in April is because people generally use less electricity in the spring – when air-conditioning and heating are less necessary – and it's also when some generators undergo scheduled maintenance. Of course, renewable-energy generation also changes by the season, particularly hydro, which peaks in the spring as the snowpack melts and flows downstream to generators. Solar-energy generation also hit a record monthly high in April.
Looking at the big picture, more renewable-energy infrastructure is coming online while coal-fired power plants are shutting down at record rates.
"U.S. coal generation has declined from its peak a decade ago," the EPA wrote. "Since the beginning of 2015, about 47 GW of U.S. coal-fired capacity has retired, and virtually no new coal capacity has come online. Based on reported plans for retirements, EIA [The U.S. Energy Information Association] expects another 4.1 GW of coal capacity will retire in 2019, accounting for more than half of all anticipated power plant retirements for the year."
Despite the surge of renewables and the shuttering of coal plants, the EIA predicts that coal will provide more electricity than renewables for the rest of 2019 and 2020, though it said renewables will surpass nuclear next year.
On Monday, West Virginia-based Revelation Energy LLC and its affiliate Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy, making them two of several major U.S. coal companies to announce bankruptcy or closures in the past few weeks. More than 1,000 workers across several states could lose their jobs.
"It's devastating for the community," Charles Raleigh, mayor of Cumberland, told the Herald Leader. "It's a sad situation. I hate it for the miners."
Jeff Hoops, owner of Revelation Energy and Blackjewel, wrote in an affidavit that the weakened national coal market caused the bankruptcy.
"The entire industry either has gone through, or is currently going through, a period of financial distress and reorganization," he wrote, according to the Herald Leader.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
An extinction events expert sounds a dire warning.
- The supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park could cause an "ultra-catastrophe," warns an extinction events writer.
- The full eruption of the volcano last happened 640,000 years ago.
- The blast could kill billions and make United States uninhabitable.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.