FROM Todd Woody
Going Where No Man Has Gone Before for Renewable Energy The idea of getting energy from solar collectors in space has been around for a long time, but now the California Public Utilities Commission has given the green light to launch a real project as soon as 2016. It'll cost billions, but Pacific Gas & Electric claims there's no risk to current customers. Todd Woody covers technology and the environment for the New York Times and other publications.
The Cost of Renewable Energy Last week, President Obama doled out $3.4 billion in federal grants for renewable energy projects including " smart meters ," designed to allow consumers to track the electricity they use and, hopefully, change their habits. They're said to be the first step to what's called a " smart grid ." Twenty million dollars went to Burbank Water and Power , the publicly owned utility in a suburb of Los Angeles. Florida Power and Light also received "smart meter" grants, as well as $200 million for a solar photovoltaic plant, much praised by President Obama. That private company has a subsidiary named NextEra , which is developing solar energy "farms" in Southern California.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?