Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last week US EPA released its 2017 draft “Inventory of Greenhouse Gases Emissions and Sinks;” draft because it’s open for comment until March 9.  Bottom line: Total gross 2016 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,546.2 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 equivalent. Emissions decreased from 2015 to 2016 by 2.0% (131.1 MMT CO2 Eq.), driven in large part by a decrease in CO2 emissions because (1) natural gas was used instead of coal in the electric power sector and (2) warmer winter conditions in 2016 resulting in a decreased demand for heating fuel in residential and commercial sectors.  Emissions peaked in 2007 at 7,362 MMT.
*  NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center has released a “Report on the State of the California Current in 2017.”  This document is an interdisciplinary research effort led by NOAA; its goal is “to provide science support for ecosystem-based management of the California Current Ecosystem,” which covers nearly 1800 miles and includes thousands of plant and animal species.  The California Current is said to be in “a state of transition.”  One recent concern: the “warm-water blob of 2014-15” resulting in abnormally high ocean temperatures from 2013-16 but returning to more normal levels in 2016-17.  NOAA says it’s too early to tell whether the warmer water affected animal and plant life within this ecosystem.
*  This information is buried in a footnote within the ISO New England Fuel Security Analysis: Nameplate capacity refers to the maximum electricity a power generation resource is rated capable of providing.  Actual output is usually a smaller percentage of maximum due to outages.  Most renewable resources have a lower actual output percentage due to the variability of weather. The output from onshore wind is expected at about 48% and offshore wind at about 53% of nameplate capability.  “Actual production from solar photovoltaics (PV),” the ISO writes, “is expected to be about 8% of nameplate.”
Tom Ewing
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