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Renewable Energy

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative /YouTube screenshot

World's Largest Solar + Battery Plant Unveiled in Hawaii

Hawaii has a new, game-changing tool in its renewable energy arsenal. Power producer AES Corporation and the not-for-profit Kaua'i island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) unveiled what's claimed to be the world's largest solar-plus-storage peaker on the island of Kauai on Tuesday, the Lāwa'i Solar and Energy Storage Project.

This is a significant step to help the Aloha State reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, one of the most aggressive decarbonization targets in the nation.

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Lava from the Kilauea eruption engulfs a nursery in Kapoho, Hawaii on June 2, 2018. Hawaii Army National Guard / Sgt. John Schoebel

U.S. Has 18 'Very High Threat' Volcanoes

Did you know that the U.S. is one of the most volcanic countries in the world? There are more than 160 active volcanoes in the nation—but which ones could cause the most damage if they erupt?

On Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released an update of its national volcanic threat assessment for the first time since 2005 and categorized 18 volcanoes as "very high threat."

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View of the damage caused by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Oct. 13. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP / Getty Images

As Scientists Sound Climate Change Alarm, States Lead on Solutions

By Abigail Dillen

This column originally appeared in USA Today.

The world's leading panel of climate experts sounded the alarm this week that we are running out of time to get rising temperatures under control. Its latest report calls for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented" steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from worsening wildfires and extreme drought to rising sea levels and more powerful storms. It also reminds us what is at stake if we fail to act: our health, our food and water security, our environment and our economy.

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Oceans
Hawaii, Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) with surface reflections. Robinson Ed / Perspectives / Getty Images

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Animals
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Just How Bad Was Hawaii’s Volcanic Eruption for Sea Turtles?

By Jason Bittel

Since Hawaii's Kilauea volcano began erupting in early May, we've been mesmerized, month after month, by videos depicting what can happen when molten rock dances through the air, forms gigantic rivers or crashes into a Ford Mustang.

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Climate

Hawaii Devastated by Flooding as Lane Rainfall Nears U.S. Record

Although Hawaii avoided a direct hit by Hurricane Lane, which weakened to a tropical storm over the weekend, areas of the Big Island were inundated with waist-deep water and flash flooding.

Mountain View, located on the east side of the island, received a preliminary total of 51.53 inches of rain from Aug. 22-26—the third highest storm total rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the U.S. since 1950, according to the National Weather Service.

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A map showing the track of Hurricane Lane. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia

Hurricane Lane Could Be First to Directly Hit Hawaii’s Big Island in Recorded History

Update: Hurricane Lane is now a Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Lane could become the first hurricane to make landfall in the state of Hawaii since 1992, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

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Oceans
New computer forecasting tools could buy time to help corals in trouble, like this knobby finger coral in Hawaii. Keoki Stender / marinelifephotography.com

Forecasting Coral Disease Outbreaks Could Buy Time to Save Reefs

By Amy McDermott

Hawaii's knobby finger coral careened toward extinction in 2015. The species was so rare that scientists could only find a few fragments in the wild, scattered across the seabed of Oahu's Kaneohe Bay.

It might have been a familiar story. Vanishing species like Southern Resident orcas and North Atlantic right whales pile up in the news. Outlooks are especially bleak for corals. Rising ocean temperatures cause bleaching, which has killed 30 to 40 percent of reefs worldwide in recent years. But the knobby finger coral's story didn't go that way, thanks to computer forecasting: science's crystal ball.

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Animals
Debra McGuire / Getty Images

More Than 17,500 Square Miles Protected for Hawaii's False Killer Whales

Monday the National Marine Fisheries Service designated 17,500 square miles of ocean as protected critical habitat for Hawaii's false killer whales, a dolphin species whose numbers have dwindled to around 150 in the wild.

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