Tired of dead zones, calving ice sheets, warming permafrost and coal pollution?
Yeah, we are too.
So we’re starting a periodic feature: And now for the good news! Here are a few recent hopeful pieces of flotsam pulled from the pileup of warnings, storm debris and disasters floating on the news stream.
Palo Alto, Calif., will go all-renewable with its electricity starting . . . yesterday.
Yes, it’s true the Silicon Valley city, home to Stanford University, Internet bazillionaires like Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a handful of regular people is already all-green when it comes to the energy sources it uses.
Come to find out the dream capital of the Valley is fully powered by hydroelectric, wind and solar power. It made its carbon-free practice official policy starting this past Monday.
Read more at Renewable Economy.
OFF-SHORE WIND POWER
The U.S. has got it, and we’re getting ready to use it.
The state of Virginia, a heavily fossil fuel-dependent state, stands to be among the first to enjoy a burst of renewable power from offshore wind. In a news blip that many might have missed, the Obama Administration announced last week that it will be releasing 113,000 acres for lease about 24 nautical miles (27.6 regular miles) off the coast of Virginia Beach. The area will be bid at auction on Sept. 4 for a private company to develop.
A maximized project on this lease could bring 2,000 Megawatts of clean power to the grid, according to the government.
“We applaud the Department of Interior and its Virginia Stakeholder group for moving forward with the lease sale of the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Area,” said David Carr, General Counsel at Southern Environmental Law Center in a statement. “We have urged the Department to structure the lease to ensure rapid assessment and development of this clean energy source, so that we can begin to replace our reliance on dirty coal-fired power plants.”
Key words: Replace dirty coal-fired power plants.
The U.S. has already put out leases in other locations off the East Coast, and just today approved a bid from Deepwater Wind New England for two offshore wind leases off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The area, about 10 miles off the coast, has the potential for generating about 3,300 Megawatts of power, the U.S. Department of the Interior reported.
SAVING ENDANGERED WILDLIFE
Panthera, a conservation group devoted to saving Earth’s wild cats, has discovered that the endangered Sumatran Tigers are bouncing back in at least one small corner of their natural habitat.
The area, part of the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation in Southern Sumatra, Indonesia, has been a center for tiger conservation since 1996. A recent survey of the TWNC found an unexpectedly high concentration of six tigers per 100 square kilometers of territory.
Tiger expert and Panthera CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz praised the founder of the Tambling project, Indonesian businessman Tomy Winata for protecting the tigers from poaching and securing protected area for them, which has allowed the wild animals to breed.
“Tambling is a model tiger conservation site that is giving the Sumatran subspecies a real chance not just to recover…but to thrive,” Dr. Rabinowitz said in a statement this week.
In tandem with the tiger program, in which patrols maintain the habitat, Winata has helped villagers by supporting the community school, health clinic and jobs.
To see more about the project, watch for the BBC documentary Tiger Island.
The Tambling project is located within the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP).
Estimates show that only about 400-500 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild; and only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild worldwide (compared with an estimated 100,000 a century ago) . Tigers have lost more than 90 percent of their historic range over the last 100 years, pushed back by poaching, according to the IUCN.