Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
The $2.5 Billion U.S. Power Line That No State Can Stop (Bloomberg) A $2.5-billion transmission line carrying wind power to the U.S. Southeast is coming -- whether state regulators there like it or not. On Friday, the U.S. Energy Department used a decade-old statute to clear Clean Line Energy Partners LLC's 705-mile (1,134-kilometer) power line for construction over any objections from the states involved. The Energy Department's approval of the line, proposed to carry 4,000 megawatts of power from the wind-rich Oklahoma panhandle through Arkansas and into Tennessee, marks the first time the 2005 statute has been used to bypass state approval and push through an interstate transmission project.
Buffett: Wind and Solar Power Competition Challenges Utilities (Bloomberg) Warren Buffett says that utilities can no longer stay afloat generating and distributing power inefficiently. Utilities across the country have been grappling with how to integrate wind farms and solar plants into their systems and business models. Cheap power from large-scale renewables has undercut the profitability of conventional electricity generation from coal and nuclear sources. In addition, rooftop solar panels have sapped sales for power distribution companies. Berkshire is both a utility owner and a producer of electricity from renewable energy. After it pledged in July to almost double its $16 billion investment in renewables, its Nevada utility, NV Energy, persuaded state regulators to raise fees and cut credits for new home-solar customers. Nevada casino operators have tried to break away, saying they can buy cheaper power in the open market, including some from renewable sources.
U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year High (Gallup) Americans are taking global warming more seriously than at any time in the past eight years, according to several measures in Gallup's annual environment poll. Most emblematic is the rise in their stated concern about the issue. Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a "great deal" or "fair amount" about global warming, up from 55% at this time last year and the highest reading since 2008. Of the several graphics and tables, two graphs show more extreme numbers now than at any other time shown and a table shows the extreme political bias on the issue.
Belgium Fears Nuclear Plants Are Vulnerable (The New York Times, MSN News) On Friday, the authorities stripped security badges from several workers at one of two plants where all nonessential employees were sent home hours after the attacks at the Brussels airport and one of the city's busiest subway stations three days before. Surveillance footage of a top official at another Belgian nuclear facility was discovered last year in the apartment of a suspected militant linked to the suicide bombers who unleashed the horror here in Brussels, as well as those who carried out the massacre that killed 130 people in Paris in November. Asked on Thursday at a London think tank whether there was a danger of the Islamic State's obtaining a nuclear weapon, the British defense secretary, Michael Fallon, said that "was a new and emerging threat".
The latest bomb attacks in Brussels are clear proof that the attacks in Paris were not a fluke, but the first in what is likely to be a long string of similar terror attacks. Such attacks are really nothing new, this is exactly what Russia had to endure in the 1990s, from the same people and for the same reasons. But whereas Russia eventually succeeded in defeating both the Chechen Wahabi insurgency and the Chechen Wahabi terrorism, Europe appears to lack all the resources needed to prevail. What is even worse, EU leaders appear to be dead set in their current russophobic policies thereby cutting themselves off the much needed help Russia could offer.
Iraq says it's launched offensive to recapture IS-held Mosul (Associated Press) The Iraqi military backed by U.S.-led coalition aircraft on Thursday launched a long-awaited operation to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants, a military spokesman said. In the push, Iraqi forces retook several villages on the outskirts of the town of Makhmour, east of Mosul, early in the morning on Thursday and hoisted the Iraqi flag there, according to the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool. It was not immediately clear how long such a complex and taxing offensive would take. Only recently, Iraqi and U.S. officials refrained to give a specific time on when the Mosul operation could begin, saying it would take many months to prepare Iraq's still struggling military for the long-anticipated task of retaking the key city.
China Plans 22% Boost for Wind Power Capacity After Record 2015 (Bloomberg) China plans to increase total wind power capacity by 22% in 2016, underscoring the government's effort to develop clean energy at nearly the same pace as last year's record installations. The nation plans to develop 30.83 gigawatts of wind power this year, the National Energy Administration said in a statement on its website on Monday. It added 33 gigawatts in 2015, triple France's entire capacity of the clean resource, according to data from NEA. The rate of bringing up new wind power installations has now raced ahead of the grid's ability to transport the power.
Public sentencing of protesting workers backfires in China (Associated Press) Authorities in southwestern China had apparently thought their Cultural Revolution-style public sentencing of eight workers who took to the streets demanding back wages would stand as a warning to others at a time of a slowing economy and rising worker unrest. Instead, the parading of the three women and five men through streets with their heads bowed and a guard on each arm has drawn fire and sympathy with the defendants, and calls for the deadbeat bosses to be publicly humiliated. The incident in the Sichuan province city of Langzhong underscores concerns over the system's inability to protect worker rights against politically connected employers and a government obsessed with social stability and terrified of rippling unrest - even at the expense of justice. Econintersect: There are some frayed edges on the communal fabric. Individual rights do get some attention in China in recent years and the government will have to reform the old order or the fabric could rip.
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