Two Hubbard residents are spending their time across the globe to educate people on the benefits of solar cooking. Mary Buchenic and Jennifer Gasser have presented the Solar Education Project, which has taken them from Ohio to Haiti.
Buchenic is a retired Niles teacher who taught fifth-grade science. Gasser, who ran Chestnut Ridge Park and Campground for 25 years with her husband, was an environmental education coordinator for the Butler County Conservation District and later with Junior Achievement. The women said they had been contacted by solar-cooking enthusiasts, who offered them the chance to go to Haiti in January 2017 to teach the solar-cooking program at a convent and a school.
“I had been an environmentalist but never heard of solar cooking until 2016,” Gasser said. “It surprised me, given the things I did know about reducing and recycling. Solar cooking has a different appeal.”
She said she and Buchenic also gave the presentation locally in 2016 at the Hubbard Farmers Market, where they set up the solar ovens and cookers for demonstrations on baking bread and cakes, in addition to heating meats.
Gasser said they converted a suitcase into a solar box oven with all the materials needed for solar cooking.
“When the customs agent in Haiti asked what it was and learned that we were there to educate, he wanted us to come to his church and explain about solar cooking,” Gasser said,
“We use concentrated sunlight for direct conversion of sunlight into heat energy,” Buchenic said.
The two have gone to schools and colleges for demonstrations as part of STEM education. Through Youngstown State University, they are part of the after-school program at local public schools and also the Choose Ohio First scholars research program.
During the pandemic, the two have conducted virtual programs with the Learning Strength International Program at Hiram College, which connects them to people in Kenya, Portugal and Pakistan.
“This reaches other countries of the world,” Gasser said, noting they have worked with advocacy group Solar Cookers International.
Gasser and Buchenic said they present the solar cooking as a free resource option because there is “no charge for the sun.”
“This a technology and these are appliances, and this is an option for cooking. We want to educate people to see if there is any interest in it for them,” Buchenic said.
She said the ovens are available at the Hubbard Public Library to be borrowed and used at home or when camping. All that is needed is a library card.
The two have performed demonstrations geared toward children at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.
“We are utilizing the sun’s rays no matter what the temperature may be outside. That is the energy source,” Gasser said.
Buchenic said they have done programs for the OH! WOW Science Center in Youngstown. Gasser said they also have done a Makerspace project with Sacramento College with people from around the world.
The two like to travel and meet new people.
“The solar cooking enthusiasts that we have met have inspired us. They are from all walks of life and from different regions of the world. It has been a very global experience and a lot of diversity which is interesting and challenges you,” Gasser said.
Buchenic said the Solar Cooking Project is a nonprofit that is part of Global Development Solutions.
She said COVID-19 has forced them to expand into a virtual presentation format, which has turned out to be a good thing.
“We have created content and done remote lessons with schools in Nevada and Florida. If someone reaches out to us and expresses an interest, we will show up,” Buchenic said.
“There is a new way for people to learn virtually,” Buchenic said.
Aptera, Lightyear and Sono all plan to release solar-assisted commercial EV’s over the next few years. These vehicles promise less frequent plug-in charging by using solar panels to charge their batteries.
So, if solar cars are soon set to hit the roads, why aren’t solar panels on the roof of all EVs?
These startups are using solar in conjunction with traditional plug-in EV charging. What that means is if you leave your car outside and it’s sunny, the solar panels will charge the battery of the car but if it’s cloudy or nighttime you can still plug it in. How much charge you get from those solar panels varies wildly on things like whether it’s shady or not or even what angle the sun is hitting those solar panels. Basically, it’s as changeable as the weather itself.
Dr. Bonna Newman, Senior Scientist on Photovoltaics (solar panels), TNO states:
“The performance of photovoltaics and solar modules has improved dramatically in the last few years. So, in the last decade, we’ve seen approximately about a 40% increase in the performance and the cost of those same solar components has basically been reduced by almost 70% in that same time period. So now we have very high efficiency, very low-cost solar components that are being produced globally”
There have been solar panels on EVs before, but the reduction in cost and gain in efficiency has led these startups to create vehicles that need to be plugged in a lot less frequently.
So, what are the cars? And how far could you drive one if you left it charging in an average day of sunlight?
First up is the $32,000 Sono Sion. Leave it outside for the day and the solar panels on the roof and sides will give you, on average, just under 10 miles of range. Charge it fully, and you can get around 190 miles from the battery.
Laurin Hahn, the Co-founder and CEO of Sono Motor says: “It’s affordable, it is meant for the mass market. It’s meant for families.”
Next is Lightyear’s Lightyear One. The five square meters of solar panels on the roof of this car will give you around 44 miles of range after an average day of sunbathing with a maximum battery range of over 450 miles. But all that range comes at a cost. Around $175,000.
“The best proportions for a solar car are that the car’s long, wide and low; because low and long for aerodynamics, and wide for the solar panel. And that makes for luxury car aesthetics. So that’s great.” says Lex Hoefsloot, Co-Founder and CEO of Lightyear
And then there’s Aptera’s vehicle, also called the Aptera. $26,000 gives you three wheels and two seats but also gives you up to 40 miles of range from a day in the sun. And the company says you can upgrade the battery to give Aptera a whopping 1,000 miles of range.
The Co- Founder and CEO of Aptera, Chris Anthony says:
“We have over 16,000 orders for these now, so we are looking to start production on these by the end of 2022. But obviously, you have to start with a trickle and then a flood.”
This isn’t the distant future we’re talking about here. Lightyear and Aptera have both said that they’ll be delivering vehicles to customers this year.
So, if these startups can use solar to help drivers plugin less, why are we not seeing solar panels on the roof of every EV? Part of the reason is even though solar is more efficient and affordable than it was a decade ago, some of that efficiency is still lost when you install it into a vehicle.
“As we put them into the module and put them between layers of glass, for example, and put on other protective elements, then that efficiency actually reduces, and then on top of that, you also have the fact that as it is driving through the world, the angle of the module to the sun is also changing on a fairly rapid basis. “says Dr. Newman.
In order to make the solar panels worth adding, those startups have had to completely redesign their vehicles to be as light, aerodynamic, and efficient as possible, by moving the motors or changing the body shape, or putting solar panels on as many surfaces as possible.
“And if you took the same solar packets as on the Aptera and put it on say a Prius, you may get maybe six or eight miles a day of solar range from that Prius” – says Aptera’s CEO.
If traditional automakers were to try and install solar on their vehicles, it’s likely they’d have to go down the same costly redesign process to see the benefit from the solar. And that might not be worth it given that solar only works some of the time and you still must plug in the rest of the time.
But despite that, we’re still seeing solar making some in-roads on other vehicles. Fisker has said that they intend to put a solar panel on the roof of their forthcoming Ocean vehicle. And even Musk has hinted that Tesla Cybertruck might come with a solar roof option. In their journey to try and develop these hyper-efficient solar cars, these startups are making some really interesting discoveries and generating a lot of unique intellectual property, which in time may make its way into other vehicles.
So, make no mistake, solar-assisted cars are coming!
With his massive Build Back Better plan stalled in the Senate, President Biden said on Wednesday that Democrats would break up the $1.75 trillion spending package into pieces to try to pass its most important aspects.
“It’s clear to me that we’re going to have to probably break it up,” Biden said at a White House press conference marking his first year in office. “I think that we can get — I’ve been talking to a number of my colleagues on the Hill — I think it’s clear that we would be able to get the $500-plus billion for energy and the environment issues that are there.”
Biden’s spending plan contains the heart of his efforts to combat climate change, including $555 billion in spending to subsidize the U.S. transition to clean sources of energy. Without the passage of those provisions, experts say the president’s pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 will be all but impossible.
But the sweeping Build Back Better package failed to attract the support of moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who insisted that his party cut many of its priorities from the legislation. The legislation would reshape the American social safety net, providing all U.S. workers with paid sick leave and strengthening government-provided health care.
On BBB’s climate change provisions, Manchin has given mixed messages. After demanding that Democrats remove a provision that would have incentivized utilities to switch to clean energy, he signaled earlier this month that a slimmer bill that contained climate change legislation could earn his support.
“I think that the climate thing is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else,” Manchin told reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, adding, “There’s a lot of good things in [the bill]. I’ve always said, you know, we have a lot of money in there for innovation, technology, tax credits for basically clean technologies and clean environment.”
Biden did not reference Manchin’s comments on BBB’s climate change provisions during his news conference, but he did indicate that Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., would be open to the passage of aspects of the larger bill.
“I know that the two people who have opposed, on the Democratic side, at least, will support a number of things that are in there,” Biden said. “For example, Joe Manchin strongly supports early education between 3 and 4 years of age, strongly supports it. There is strong support for, I think, a number of the ways in which to pay for this proposal.”
For the moment, Democrats have pivoted to voting rights legislation, which also lacks the 60 votes to clear a Republican filibuster. Plans put forth to pass the bill using a variety of legislative tactics, however, have so far been blocked by none other than Manchin.
Following a Wednesday night Senate vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, however, which Democrats are all but certain to lose, the party can once again take up the idea of passing the key portions of BBB.
“I think that we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, and then come back and fight for the rest later,” Biden said.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing over 80% of the world’s merchant fleet, has signed a Partnership Agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to support the decarbonization of the shipping sector and its role in the transition towards a global energy sector based on renewables.
Signed during a meeting between the heads of the two organizations at the Twelfth Session of IRENA Assembly 2022, the partnership will provide a framework over the next two years for ICS and IRENA to assist with the decarbonization of the shipping sector and the use of renewable technologies on this key sector of the global economy. It will also enable the industry to work closely with IRENA’s global membership of more than 160 countries and territories on issues related to the increasing role of renewable energy in decarbonizing shipping.
The organizations will set up a regular exchange of information regarding energy supply and demand relevant to the shipping sector and exchange of data on scenarios of ‘future fuels’ (such as green hydrogen and ammonia), for both, nation-states and the shipping industry. This partnership agreement draws particular focus on the need to ensure an equitable energy transition for developing economies, and the important role of capacity building as well as recognizing the energy needs of shipping itself.
Speaking on the agreement, Guy Platten secretary-general ICS said:
“Shipping accounts for nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions, and our decarbonization journey is a massive challenge. We need to reduce our reliance on carbon-intensive fuels to power ships, not least because in years to come the global fleet will need to ship zero-carbon fuels to countries around the world. Our new strategic partnership with IRENA is a vital stepping stone to ensuring that transporting green fuels is itself made ‘green’. It is vital that the shipping sector continues to get closer to producers and consumers to facilitate the transition to zero-emission fuels, and is a key part of the solution, not a blocker, to the zero-emission transition.”
With new access to governments from 167 countries, ICS hopes that the agreement with IRENA will spur R&D investment from political decision-makers into making zero-carbon fuels widely commercially available. ICS presented at COP26 that nearly $5BN USD is needed to accelerate the shift in R&D to zero-carbon fuels in the shipping sector, as multiple nascent technologies need to be developed to reach large-scale deployment. Shifting to alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, biofuels, and electrification from renewable sources could cut 80% of emissions from maritime transport by 2050 as presented by IRENA. The Partnership Agreement will also see consultation between the two bodies with a view to combining capacity-building opportunities and avoiding duplication of resources.
IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera, said:
‘‘Urgent action is needed to accelerate the pace of the global energy transition and the decarbonization of the global economy. International shipping is a key sector of the economy. Indeed, more than 80% of global trade is enabled via ocean-going vessels. Yet the sector is also one of the most challenging to decarbonize.
“As such, the shipping sector requires significant levels of investment and cooperation to ensure it contributes positively to the global climate agenda. To solve these challenges, we must continue with efforts to build a grand net-zero coalition, bringing industry and the policy community together. This agreement is another positive step in that direction. Under this partnership, IRENA will work towards joint solutions to overcome existing challenges to decarbonize the shipping sector.”
The memorandum specifically identifies the opportunity that exists within developing nations, supporting the recently established ‘Just Transition Maritime Task Force’, which was founded at COP26 to drive decarbonization of the industry.
Many seafarers come from developing nations, who are witnessing first-hand the effects of climate change. ICS wants these workers to be given green skills they need to keep global trade moving, and for developing nations to have access to the technologies and infrastructure to be part of shipping’s green transition.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast in its January Short-Term Energy Outlook that rising electricity generation from clean energy such as solar and wind will reduce generation from fossil fuel-fired power plants over the next two years.
US electricity generation
The EIA is forecasting the share of generation for US clean energy, excluding hydropower, to grow from 13% in 2021 to 17% in 2023.
Looking back, the EIA notes:
The amount of solar power generating capacity operated by the US electric power sector at the end of 2021 is 20 times more than it was at the end of 2011, and US wind power capacity is more than twice what it was 10 years ago.
Inversely, the EIA forecasts that the share of generation from natural gas will fall from 37% in 2021 to 34% by 2023.
Natural gas declined from 39% in 2020 to 37% in 2021. That’s because the cost of natural gas delivered to US electric generators in 2021 averaged $4.88 per million British thermal units – more than double the average cost in 2020. Natural gas is expected to decline, but operating costs of renewable generators will continue to be generally lower than natural gas-fired units.
Meanwhile, the share of generation from coal rose for the first time since 2014 to average 23% last year, but the coal share will decline from 23% to 22% by 2023, and continue to decline.
The EIA continues:
We estimate that the electric power sector had 63 gigawatts (GW) of existing solar power generating capacity operating at the end of 2021. We forecast solar capacity will grow by about 21 GW in 2022 and by 25 GW in 2023. We expect that 7 GW of wind generating capacity will be added in 2022 and another 4 GW in 2023. Operating wind capacity totaled 135 GW at the end of 2021.
The world is quickly reaching a global environmental crisis, one that will be impossible to mitigate without major changes in our current ways of life. One of the biggest culprits behind this impending disaster is fossil fuels. They are the number one source of carbon emissions, which means they are the number one source of air pollution. The byproducts of combustion (burning) fossil fuels not only pollute our environment but also release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that contribute to global climate change.
Solar energy is a promising and efficient form of renewable energy that can help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Not only does it help reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, but it also helps reduce Earth’s pollution levels. In this article, we will explore four ways how solar energy can do just that.
1 – It’s an abundant resource
We are facing a global energy crisis. According to a Southern Highlands solar installer, “when done correctly, solar power can bring decades of cheap electricity to your home”. There are too many people and not enough energy output via traditional paths to meet the demand. In addition to this, technology is constantly evolving, further fueling the want for more electricity. The quick and easy fix is to pull out the coal and oil, but that will only give us a short-term solution (if it can even be called a solution). Solar energy offers us one of the most sustainable ways to meet the world’s growing energy needs. Solar energy comes from sunlight. It is the best resource due to its abundance. The is no cost to make solar power, only for us to harvest it. It is one of the most powerful energy sources on Earth, and it is completely abundant. Installing solar panels or investing in other forms of solar energy can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which not only means we’re producing less air pollution and carbon emissions but also that we’re investing in a clean, renewable source of energy that won’t run out. According to the International Energy Agency, solar energy could meet nearly a quarter of world demand by 2060.
2 – There is no air pollution
The need for renewable sources of energy is becoming more urgent every day. We are quickly approaching a global environmental crisis, one that will be impossible to mitigate without major changes in our current ways of life. One of the biggest culprits behind this impending disaster is fossil fuels. They are the number one source of carbon emission, which means they are the number one source of air pollution. The byproducts of combustion (burning) fossil fuels not only pollute our environment but also release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that contribute to global climate change. Due to the very nature of solar energy, there is no combustion. It’s completely clean, so solar panels have zero impact on air quality.
3 – Solar energy protects the environment outside our homes
The environment outside our immediate surroundings is just as important as the area we live in. How we treat it affects not only us but also future generations. Since solar energy is free, it has minimal cost to the environment. The only major byproduct of harvesting solar energy is heating. There are no emissions to pollute the environment. Solar energy is simply absorbed by our planet’s surface and then released as heat. If solar energy was used more often, the only major change would be that heat being released into the atmosphere.
4 – Impact on climate change is lessened
The energy crisis cannot be solved overnight. It will take time and dedication. For decades, we have been relying on fossil fuels for our energy needs, both commercial and residential. Slowly but surely we will start to rely more and more on renewable sources of energy, like solar energy. By using solar energy, we can reduce our carbon footprint and positively impact climate change. In 2013, solar energy saved more than ten million tons of CO from entering the atmosphere. In that same year, solar also prevented an estimated two hundred and eighty-one million tons of CO in the atmosphere.
We’ve talked about 4 ways how solar energy can help reduce Earth pollution. Solar power is not only a sustainable and renewable resource, but it also has little to no impact on the environment outside our homes or buildings. In addition, by using more of this clean source of energy we can reduce carbon emissions which will have a positive effect on global climate change. If you’re looking for an alternative way to meet your electricity needs that don’t rely heavily on fossil fuels, then consider solar panels as one possible solution! We want to create better lives with less environmental harm, so let’s keep exploring what options are available today, together?
There’s nothing quite like the rush of feeling the reverberation of sounds from live instruments and hearing your favorite songs played live. That is, until you glance around and see energy-sucking generators powering the stage, plastic cups and bottles littering the ground, and trash cans overflowing with food scraps and wrist bands toward the end of the night.
The music industry is certainly not the No. 1 emitter of carbon, but it is associated with a large carbon footprint. Artists take private jets from city to city on tour or ride on a diesel-fueled bus. Thousands of fans drive their individual cars, sometimes for several hours, to see a show. Delivery vehicles travel miles and miles to bring CDs and vinyls to someone’s doorstep. Then there’s all the energy needed to power the studio for long nights as musicians write, record and mix their unique sounds.
In just the U.K., music festivals alone created over 24,000 tons of carbon emissions along with creating 25,800 tons of waste and using up over 7 million tons of fuel. In America, the massive Coachella music festival produces 107 tons of waste each day of the event, most of which cannot be recycled. At Unsound, a music and arts festival in Poland, estimated it generated around 943,472 kilograms of carbon emissions.
While there’s a lot of improvements to be made, some musicians are taking matters into their own hands. Here are 10 artists and bands making strides in sustainability on and off the stage.
1. The 1975
Pop-rock band The 1975 has made strides in creating a more sustainable future for the music industry and fans alike. The latest merch is made of upcycled, repurposed older merch that is printed with the latest album art. Alternatively, when touring starts back up again, fans can bring their existing merchandise and have it printed on for free. The 1975 has also partnered with REVERB to make their touring experiences more sustainable.
Most impressively, for the band’s latest album, Notes on a Conditional Form, the musicians partnered with climate activist Greta Thunberg for the title track, also called “The 1975.” In the song, Thunberg gives a chilling monologue over atmospheric melodies. The nearly 5-minute-long song has been streamed more than 7.5 million times on Spotify alone.
While the entire song is pretty empowering, the end really hits home, with Thunberg saying,
“So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules
Because the rules have to be changed
Everything needs to change, and it has to start today
So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience
It is time to rebel.”
Preparing for a tour in 2022, pandemic permitting, Coldplay is planning to create events that have the lowest carbon footprint possible. To do this, the band plans to reduce consumption, increase recycling efforts, implement green technologies, and fund nature- and technology-based projects while also offsetting more carbon than the tour will produce.
Coldplay’s concrete goal for the Music of the Spheres World Tour 2022 is to cut emissions in half compared to the band’s 2017 tour.
“Despite our best efforts, the tour will still have a significant carbon footprint,” the band explained on the sustainability section of its website. “We pledge to draw down more CO2 than the tour produces by supporting projects based on reforestation, rewilding, conservation, soil regeneration, carbon capture/storage (DACCS) and renewable energy. As part of this pledge, the tour will fund the planting — and lifelong protection of — millions of new trees, including one tree for every ticket sold.”
3. Massive Attack
Massive Attack, an English trip-hop collective, is known for its catchy beats and music to dance to, but it’s also making a name for itself in the sustainability realm. In a partnership with Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the collective has outlined many ways for the music industry to minimize emissions, from refusing the use of private jets to transitioning to electric transportation for touring.
The collective plans to practice what it preaches with an upcoming 2022 tour that will incorporate six emissions-reduction modules.
“What matters now is implementation,” Robert “3D” del Naja of Massive Attack said, as reported by Pitchfork. “The major promotors [sic] simply must do more—it can’t be left to artists to continually make these public appeals.”
Outside of the music industry, Massive Attack continues to ask the government to take action against the climate crisis.
English rock band Radiohead has been focused on sustainable touring for many years. In 2008, the band was already implementing eco-friendly actions on its tour, from swapping disposable cups to reusable options for crew, using biofuels for tour vehicles and banning air freight. It continues these practices today.
In 2019, Radiohead’s official website was hacked, and the culprit stole unreleased music and held it for ransom. Ever so cooly, Radiohead responded by releasing the music on Bandcamp, and it donated all the proceeds to the environmental activist group, Extinction Rebellion.
No one makes veganism look cooler than Lizzo. On her Instagram and TikTok accounts, the star shows just how delicious vegan food can be for her millions of fans. Unlike many other celebrities of her ilk, Lizzo also doesn’t own a car, and if she decides to buy one, she told Audacy that she’d go for an electric option.
“Everybody thinks that we’re killing the Earth, but we’re not,” Lizzo told Audacy. “The Earth is older than us and she knows exactly what she’s doing. And she’s like, ‘Listen, y’all keep playing with me. Keep playing with me. I’ma get rid of all the cute animals that you like. The hot places gonna be cold, and the cold places gonna be hot. Keep playing with me.’”
6. Dave Matthews Band
The Dave Matthews Band has worked in the sustainability sphere for many years, with an ongoing partnership with Reverb since 2005. By 2019, the band reduced emissions by 121 million pounds and raised more than $2 million for environmental causes.
Its tours focus on reducing single-use plastics, improving composting efforts, promoting local foods backstage for crew, and using biodiesel for tour vehicles. The Dave Matthews Band is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations’ Environment Program.
In 2009, the band released a song, “Dive In”, that addresses climate change and rising seas. Alongside a calming and even cheerful melody, the lyrics hauntingly go,
“Wake up you sleepyhead, I think the sun’s a little brighter today
Smile and watch the icicles melt away and see the water rising
Summer’s here to stay and that sweet summer breeze will blow forever
Go down to the shore, kick off your shoes
Dive in the empty ocean.”
7. The Roots
Hip-hop band The Roots is heavily invested in sustainability and social justice. The group, formed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter in 1987, work with many environmental organizations, including Reverb, PETA and Common Ground Foundation. The Roots and Reverb also partnered to found the Green Music Group to help other musicians to implement more sustainable actions in their work.
When touring, The Roots work toward carbon-neutral events, through actions like printing tour posters on reused paper, investing in renewable energy carbon offsets, giving away autographed compost bins for fans and more. The band has also performed for the Earth Day Climate Rally held in Washington, D.C.
8. Sheryl Crow
Singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow is another long-time climate activist, who was already campaigning to reduce toilet paper use in 2007 and toured on a biodiesel-fueled bus for a Stop Global Warming College Tour. Although Crow has said her 2019 album Threads is her last, she still remains committed to the planet.
“Unfortunately, I think there’s a large population of people that want to believe that climate change is a product of cyclical weather. And because the leaders they believe in are saying that, mainly out of convenience for them and their pocketbooks, they’re buying into it,” Crow told NME. “And I think we’re getting to the point now where we’re going to spend so much more money trying to undo what we had the opportunity to do years ago and didn’t do.”
The musician has earned a Forces for Nature Award from NRDC for her environmental activism.
9. Green Day
As early as 2006, punk rock band Green Day was already working on a Move America Beyond Oil campaign with the NRDC in hopes of inspiring young people to move toward renewable energies.
“This campaign is about channeling the power of millions into something positive and powerful. People are sick of our oil addiction and feel like nobody is doing anything about it,” Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer and guitarist of Green Day, said. “The solutions are there, the support is there, but the leadership is not. Our message is that it’s okay, and very rebellious, to take on that responsibility.”
Green Day has supported various other charities and campaigns, including creating a charity drive after Hurricane Katrina and donating to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Outside of music, the band members also founded Oakland Coffee Works, which sells coffee in certified biodegradable bags and pods to eliminate plastic waste.
Björk, a singer and songwriter from Iceland, has spent many years speaking out about climate change and the environment. Her impact is impressive, with an environmental curriculum — created in collaboration by the artist and ecology experts — implemented in Nordic schools to inspire future generations. She has also called out the Icelandic government for plans to replace wilderness with power plants.
In 2011, Björk released Biophilia, an album of songs with themes about nature.
Artists Making a Difference
While these musicians are making strides in sustainability both in their industry and beyond it, there are many more artists joining these efforts. As the climate crisis worsens, it won’t be surprising to see more support from such creative minds as they work to make touring and producing songs less carbon-intensive through innovation, technology, and influence.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration‘s (EIA) Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory report, 46.1 GW of new utility-scale electric generating capacity will be added to the U.S. power grid in 2022 – and almost half of the capacity additions will be solar.
Developers and power plant owners report planned additions to EIA in its annual and monthly electric generator surveys. In the annual survey, EIA asked respondents to provide planned online dates for generators coming online in the next five years. The monthly survey tracks the status of generators coming online based on reported in-service dates.
EIA expects U.S. utility-scale solar generating capacity to grow by 21.5 GW in 2022. This planned new capacity would surpass last year’s 15.5 GW of solar capacity additions – an estimate based on reported additions through October (8.7 GW) and additions scheduled for the last two months of 2021 (6.9 GW).
Most planned solar additions in 2022 will be in Texas (6.1 GW, or 28% of the national total), followed by California (4.0 GW).
In 2022, EIA expects 9.6 GW of new natural gas-fired capacity to come online. Combined-cycle plants account for 8.1 GW of the planned capacity additions (over 84%), and combustion-turbine plants account for 1.4 GW. Almost all (88%) of the planned natural gas capacity is located in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Illinois.
In 2021, a record-high 17.1 GW of wind capacity came online in the United States. EIA based this estimate on reported additions through October (9.9 GW) and planned additions in November and December (7.2 GW). Another 7.6 GW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online in 2022. About half (51%) of the 2022 wind capacity additions are located in Texas. The 999 MW Traverse Wind Energy Center in Oklahoma, the largest wind project expected to come online in 2022, is scheduled to begin commercial operations in April.
EIA expects U.S. utility-scale battery storage capacity to grow by 5.1 GW, or 84%, in 2022. Several factors have helped expand U.S. battery storage, including declining costs of battery storage, deploying battery storage with renewable generation, and adding value through regional transmission organization (RTO) markets.
Another 5% of the country’s planned electric capacity additions in 2022 will come from two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. One of these reactors, Unit 3, was expected to come online in 2021, but the unit’s planned start date was delayed until June 2022 to allow additional time for construction and testing.