In one coal state, renewable energy is set to win by 2028

Indiana ranks 3rd in coal consumption, but a primary energy utility there just declared the end of coal by 2028

  • Where politicians fail, economic realities mean renewables are far less expensive: A savings of $4 billion over the next 30 years
  • Indiana is 7th in coal production and 3rd in consumption; this is due to change rapidly
  • The big winners? Solar and wind energies

$4 billion savings and a reduction in carbon monoxide? OK. 

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on September 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania.

Indiana is a state ranked #7 in coal production and #3 in coal consumption across the U.S., but not for long. Some numbers just came out of that have spelled the end of coal, in favor of renewables. It wasn't a political battles as much as it was a clear indicator that the market, in this case, wins out. Simply put, renewables will be far less expensive than continuing to burn coal.

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company, traditionally a coal dependent giant, announced that it will save electricity purchasers – that is, consumers and industries — $4 billion over the next 30 years. It will use a mix of solar, wind, energy storage, mixed with more efficient end-user equipment and "demand management," to reduce its dependence on coal by 100% by 2028.

It's also good for global warming: Just one of the coal plants it maintains generates over 8 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Economic realities are driving this train

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A bucket excavator and other heavy mining machinery extract lignite coal from the pit of the Jaenschwalde open-pit coal mine on October 11, 2018 near Griessen, Germany.

Mark Maasel, president of the Indiana Energy Association, made the findings clear: "There is no question that there are efforts out there to sustain the coal industry, but the reality is that economics are driving the decisions that these utilities are making."

The ramifications for other states — indeed, for anyone else in the world still using coal — are huge.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A general view of a wind farm, using five turbines in the Port of Rotterdam on October 27, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

From the report:

"Across all scenarios, converting … would cost NIPSCO customers between $540 [million] to $1.04 [billion] more than retirement and replacement with economically optimized resource selections from the RFP results."

Despite some politicians — many who collect large direct donations from coal mining companies — claiming that coal is here to stay, this indicates the death of coal will happen sooner, rather than later.

An Op-Ed for Clean Technica states it quite well:

"Economics will do what politicians cannot. There is no engine on Earth that can restrain the imperative of lower prices for long."

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Robot pizza delivery coming later this year from Domino's

The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.

Nuro
Technology & Innovation
  • Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
  • The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
  • The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.

Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.

Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."

How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.

Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.

What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.

For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.

Check out how Nuro's vehicles work: