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An offshore, 2 megawatt (MW) wind turbine became operational this week, according to the consortium operating the turbine as part of an experimental study. Named the Fukushima Mirai, the turbine is one of several projects the Earth Policy Institute predicted would lead to a seventh consecutive record year for offshore wind power installations around the world. Developers added 1,080 MW of generating capacity in the first half of the year, expanding the world total by 20 percent in just six months.
By the end of the year, there should be more than 7,100 MW of wind power in the world, according to the Earth Policy Institute.
“Fukushima is making a stride toward the future, step by step,” Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said at a ceremony this week, Bloomberg reported. “Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.”
The turbine, manufactured by Hitachi, was funded by the Japanese government and is operated by Marubeni Corp. and 10 other companies, including The University of Tokyo, Mitsubishi Corp. and Shimuzu. It is accompanied by a 66-kilovolt floating power sub-station and part of an upcoming trio of turbines that will total 16 MW when two more turbines are added to the floating substation, Fukushima Kizuna.
"The evaluation of safety, reliability and economic potential of the offshore floating wind farm through the collection and analysis of meteorological data, hydrographic data and performance data will be carried out during the experimental study," according to a statement from the consortium. "In addition, we are targeting to establish the method of operation and maintenance of the offshore floating wind farm at the same time."
The group says it will continue the study until the 2015 fiscal year with the intention of creating an offshore industry for Fukushima and to help offshore wind facilities lead "Japan’s new export industry" that can coexist with fisheries.
The Earth Policy Institute previously expressed enthusiasm for floating turbines.
"Not only do they greatly expand the area available for wind farms, they also have the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of offshore wind generation, which today is more than twice as expensive as that from turbines on land," according to the Earth Policy Institute. "While offshore wind manufacturers have managed to achieve cost reductions for the turbines themselves—through lighter, stronger materials and increased efficiency, for example—these savings have thus far been offset by the rising cost of installing and maintaining turbines fixed to the seabed as projects move into deeper waters."
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Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.