Adaptation

Benefits Outweigh Costs of Massive Renewable Energy Deployment

The power grid is a massively complicated network of generators, power converters, and transmission lines controlled through the cooperation of numerous private corporations and local and international agencies. Grid operators rely on long and short-term “to-the-minute” weather predictions and other inputs to predict demand and prevent disruption. Government policies and economic constraints of the coming decades require the grid in the United States (and elsewhere) to become even more intelligent, interconnected, and efficient.

New Design Innovation May Keep Solar Manufacturing Prices Trending Down

Dramatically lower prices for raw silicon (Si) have reduced the cost of solar power modules (panels). For total power system cost to continue to fall, however, new methods are required to produce high efficiency silicon solar cells that minimize material costs and processing complexity. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy recently demonstrated a method for high-efficiency silicon that may do just this.

Land Use Planning for Mitigating & Adapting to Climate Change: Local Examples

Alex Felson discusses examples of ecological land use planning and site-level green infrastructure in seaside Connecticut communities that represent mitigation and adaptation strategies in anticipation of climate change.  Dr. Felson has joint appointments with Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the School of Architecture.

Hurricane Sandy Task Force COO Marion McFadden on "Rebuilding Stronger"

Connecticut-born Marion McFadden, Chief Operating Officer of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task describes the history of the task force and how it’s helping the region rebuild “smarter and stronger than before” with science as the foundation of the world.  Her presentation was part of a YCEI-sponsored town hall meeting entitled, “Climate Change in New England: What’s Next?” which explored how global warming will affect New England in the 21st century and how the region is preparing for the coming changes.

First United Nations Resilience Academy Held in Bangladesh

By Elizabeth Tellman

Densely populated, and with 80% of its area located on a floodplain within 8 meters of sea-level1, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most flood-prone nations.  As such it’s an appropriate setting for a series of two United Nations University Resilience Academies that convene experts in research, policy and practical applications to help developing nations deal with the effects of climate change.

New York City's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resilience: Strengths and Limitations of Climate Model-Based Approaches

Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-lattitude climate.

Fuel Switching Can Save Water: Freshwater Use for Coal Vs. Natural Gas Extraction, Power Generation

Emily Grubert studies electricity fuel cycles, focusing on integrating knowledge about various environmental and social impacts of fuel extraction, use, and disposal to aid decision makers at a local level using life cycle assessment, textual analysis, and multi-criteria decision analysis. Her particular focus is on fuel extraction and water resources. This talk, based on a recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters (Grubert, Beach, and Webber 2012), addresses freshwater consumption for the natural gas- and coal-fired electricity fuel cycles in Texas. Specifically, I will focus on fuel extraction, power plant cooling, and power plant emissions controls, which account for an estimated 95% of the freshwater consumption associated with electricity production. Most of this water consumption (~80%) is for power plant cooling, but fuel extraction and emissions controls have become increasingly important with the advent of unconventional natural gas production that requires hydraulic fracturing and stricter sulfur dioxide control standards for power plants.

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