MTA Launches NYC Flood Control Tests, States 'Climate Change Is Real'
The Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City tested out a new system designed to protect its subways stations from flooding when another super storm hits, creating a bizarre sight on Wednesday, as The Verge reported.
For four hours on Wednesday, the entrance to the Broadway Station on the G line in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was completely submerged, even though it hadn't rained. The flooding was intentional because the MTA is prepping itself for extreme weather events that will become increasingly common as the climate crisis escalates, as CBS News in New York reported. It was testing out a "flex gate" that seals off the entrance to the station and can hold back 14 feet of water bearing down on it, as The Verge reported.
MTA explain yourself https://t.co/yT2GXAzG9H— Kaye Blegvad (@Kaye Blegvad)1574285589.0
The MTA joked in a reply to a tweet that it was pivoting to submarines, but then followed up with its own tweet, "But actually, we were testing a new 'flex gate,' which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We 'test flood' the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which it was!" The tweet said. It continued, "We're doing this because climate change is real."
But actually, we were testing a new "flex gate," which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We "test flood" the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which it was!— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) November 20, 2019
We're doing this because climate change is real. ^JLP
In another reply, the MTA wrote, "We're investing in capital projects around the system to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate." The tweet linked to an statement titled Preparing for Climate Change, where the agency made about taking a drastic step to prepare for the climate emergency by completely shutting down several stations for six months so it can protect a maintenance facility and storage yard for its trains in Coney Island.
"The location of the yard provides ideal access to multiple subway lines, but it's vulnerable to flooding," said the statement. "With intense weather events like Superstorm Sandy expected to occur more often, we need to act now to protect this vital part of our system, so we can keep trains running safely."
The "flex gate" that the MTA tested on Wednesday easily unrolls and makes a tight seal against a metal lip that runs along the edges of a subway stairwell opening to keep water from running underground, as the New York Post reported.
The subway system experienced catastrophic flooding during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 when stations were inundated from track to ceiling with corrosive salt water. Since that weather event, the MTA has upgraded stations and tunnels to prevent flooding and installed the flexible stairwell cover, or flex gate, at 65 station entrances so far, as The Verge reported. The agency spent $369 million to upgrade the South Ferry 1 train station at the southern tip of Manhattan, which was flooded by 15 million gallons of salt water, according to Gothamist.
"At street level, we built flood gates into flood-prone train station entrances, while hatches and manhole covers were redesigned to withstand large volumes of standing water. Underground, marine cabling replaced the regular wiring in the under-river tubes to increase flood resiliency," the MTA Climate Action Task Force wrote in its 2019 Resiliency Report, as Gothamist reported.
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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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