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Ta'u, an island in American Samoa, runs nearly 100 percent on renewable energy thanks to Tesla technology. Photo credit: Tesla

Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico's Power Grid With Solar

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded positively to Tesla CEO Elon Musk's offer to help restore the island's hurricane-wrecked power grid with the company's batteries and solar panels.

"Let's talk," the governor tweeted to Musk Thursday evening. "Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project."


Musk tweeted back that he would be "happy to talk."

Puerto Rico is still struggling without power a week after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Only 5.4 percent of citizens on the U.S. territory have electricity, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.

Rosselló also tweeted to the Tesla boss early Friday, "Let's talk today; I will be in touch. I have no doubt #Teslasolar will work w/#PuertoRico to globally showcase the power of its technology."

Ta'u, an island in American Samoa, runs nearly 100 percent on renewable energy because of Tesla's solar and battery storage-enabled microgrid. The microgrid, which only took one year to build, features 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity (or 5,328 solar panels) and 6 megawatt hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. An estimated 109,500 gallons of diesel will be offset per year. The company also built a 13 megawatt solar farm on the Hawaiian island of Kauai which includes nearly 300 Tesla Powerpack batteries, which provide 52 megawatt-hours of capacity and allows the farm to sell stored power during the evening.

Musk got the ball rolling Thursday morning with a tweet saying that his company could build a similar system for Puerto Rico but noted that the project would need the government's support.

Tesla has already sent "hundreds" of its battery systems to be paired with solar systems to the U.S. territory as it tries to restore its badly damaged power grid.

Musk's Twitter conversation with Rosselló is similar to his back-and-forth with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes in March, which eventually led to South Australia's massive lithium ion battery project.

Musk made an audacious bet to solve the Australian state's energy woes by building a 100-megawatt battery storage farm. If the system is not operational in 100 days, the technology will be provided for free. Construction kicked off at the end of last month.

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An aerial view of of the Power County wind farm in Power County, Idaho. U.S. Department of Energy / Flickr

Who’s Behind a Letter Asking Congress to End the Wind Production Tax Credit?

By Dave Anderson

A new letter asking Congress to end the wind production tax credit has ties to the Institute for Energy Research, a group that has received funding from the fossil fuel and utility industry and is a close ally of the Trump administration.

The Energy and Policy Institute downloaded a pdf of the letter from WindAction.org, an anti-wind website run by the New Hampshire-based Lisa Linowes. A look at the "Document Properties" seemed to identify "Chris Warren" as the "Author" of the file:

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Victory! Monsanto Shill Michael Dourson Withdraws After Public Outcry

The Center for Food Safety heralded reports that Michael Dourson, President Trump's controversial nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Wednesday withdrew his nomination after senators raised concerns over his past work and conflicts of interest.

"Dourson is a long-time pesticide industry shill, with a history of manipulating scientific research to benefit corporate special interests. He was a dangerous, irresponsible choice to oversee chemical safety at the EPA," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director a Center for Food Safety.

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Cap Sciences / Flickr

Electronic Waste Study Finds $65 Billion in Raw Materials Discarded in Just One Year

The amount of electronic waste around the world grew to a record 45 million tons in 2016, according to a United Nations-backed study released on Wednesday.

To put that in perspective, the weight of last year's e-waste was equivalent to about 4,500 Eiffel Towers, according to the study by the UN university, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Solid Waste Association. The amount of e-waste—defined as anything with a plug or a battery—rose by eight percent since 2014, the time of the last assessment.

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An important fishing port of the French Atlantic Island Ile d'Oleron is Port La Cotinière. Robert Schüller / Flickr

Fishing Limits Set Too High Again by Council of the EU

As their annual end-to-the-year meeting closed on Dec. 13, the 28 fisheries ministers who sit on the Council of the European Union again set some fishing limits for Atlantic Ocean and North Sea stocks higher than scientists had advised and higher than the European Commission had proposed. Council deliberations went through the night and officials have not yet made all the details available on how 2018 fishing limits were calculated.

As in previous years, participants in the Council meeting announced that good progress had been made towards achieving the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) deadline to end overfishing by 2020. We can only hope the figures bear out this optimism when a full analysis comparing the decisions to scientific advice is completed.

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President Just Signed Bill That Says Climate Change a National Security Risk, But Does He Know That?

By Angela Ledford Anderson

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Tuesday. The act would require the Pentagon to do a report on how military installations and overseas staff may be vulnerable to climate change over the next 20 years.

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'The Wrong Mine in the Wrong Place': Former Republican EPA Administrators Blast Alaska Mining Project

By Taryn Kiekow Heimer

An U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under every Republican presidential administration since the EPA was created, except the Ford administration, whose administrator is deceased, have joined forces to make a statement in opposition to the Pebble Mine proposed in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Their statement appeared Tuesday as a full-page ad in the Washington Post.

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2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium. motortrend.com

Toyota Urged to Reject Tainted 'Partnership' Claimed by Destructive EPA Chief

The Environmental Working Group is urging Toyota to reject a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because EPA chief Scott Pruitt's plan to "evaluate management practices" is cover for his real agenda of destroying the agency's ability to do its job.

In a letter sent Wednesday to James Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, EWG President Ken Cook wrote that helping Pruitt "manage EPA into the ground" would betray the ideals of quality, effectiveness and efficiency represented by the vaunted "Toyota Way" and the company's reputation for and commitment to environmental responsibility.

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A storm cell dumps rain in rural western Illinios. Tom Gill / Flickr

Extreme Storms to Multiply, Intensify Across U.S., New Simulations Suggest

By Tim Radford

For the U.S., harder rain is on the way: America's summer thunderstorms are about to get stormier. Later this century, the notorious mesoscale convective storms of middle America will not just darken skies—they will also dump as much as 80 percent more water on the farms, highways and cities of the 48 contiguous states.

Mesoscale thunderstorms cover an area of around 100 kilometers (approximately 62 miles): these have been on the increase, both in frequency and intensity, in the last 35 years and new research suggests that, as the world warms, their frequency could triple.

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