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World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens in Irish Sea
The world's largest offshore wind farm opened in the Irish Sea on Thursday, covering an area of 145 square kilometers (55 square miles).
The 659-megawatt Walney Extension, located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Cumbria, England, consists of 87 turbines and is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes.
The 87 turbines are located in the Irish Sea, covering an area the equivalent of 20,000 football pitches.Ørsted UK
To compare, the 175-turbine London Array—now the second largest offshore wind farm in the world—has a 630-megawatt capacity, or enough to power about half a million homes.
The Walney Extension is run by Danish energy giant Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy) and the Danish pension funds PKA and PFA.
The project was constructed on time and within budget, Ørsted UK managing director Matthew Wright said in a press release.
The wind farm features 40 MHI Vestas 8-megawatt turbines and 47 Siemens Gamesa 7-megawatt turbines, the first project to use wind turbines from two different manufacturers. That's less than half the number of turbines used at the London Array, but Walney's turbines are more powerful.
"It's another benchmark in terms of the scale. This—bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out—is really the shape of projects going forward," Wright told The Guardian.
MHI Vestas turbines stand 195 meters (213 yards) tall, and are the most powerful being used globally.
The UK government approved the Walney Extension contract in 2014 that promised a minimum price of £150 ($195) per megawatt hour for 15 years. Since the contract was awarded, costs of offshore wind plummeted more than 50 percent, with the latest auction dropping as low as £57.50 per megawatt hour, Reuters noted.
Offshore wind technology is advancing at a rapid pace, meaning the Walney Extension could soon lose its title. For instance, Ørsted's Hornsea Project One off the UK's Yorkshire coast is expected to be fully operational by 2020 and will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, or enough power for more than one million UK homes.
The Netherlands is also planning a massive offshore wind farm proposed by Dutch electric grid operator TenneT. If that gets the green-light, the 10,000-turbine complex could produce up to 30 gigawatts of power by 2027. That's enough electricity to power a city of 20 million people.
Watch here to learn more about the Walney Extension:
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.