Stories by David Livingston

Expert Voices

Turning Trump's trade weapons into climate tools

Reprsentative Bill Pascrel speaking at a lectern
Representative Bill Pascrell. Photo: Michael Lofenfeld/Getty Images

Representative Bill Pascrell, a Democratic member of the House Ways & Means Committee that oversees U.S. trade policy, is expected to send a letter this week to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking his department to investigate whether “imports of carbon emissions” pose a national security threat.

The big picture: The largely symbolic maneuver highlights a new tactic among climate hawks: treating President Trump's aggressive use of executive powers as a template for action.

Expert Voices

The Congo’s chaotic election throws the future of cobalt in doubt

The controversial election of Felix Tshisekedi to the presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of last year raises many new questions about the country’s future, especially with respect to the global cobalt market. Because the DRC holds half of all known, economically recoverable cobalt reserves — currently accounting for 60% of global production — the world’s cobalt supply is inextricably tied to the DRC’s political stability.

Expert Voices

Solar storage technology is having its time in the sun

The new mass battery storage for electricity from a solar field is located in a former airplane hangar at the airfield in Neuhardenberg, Germany, 05 July 2016.
A battery storage facility for electricity generated from a solar field in Neuhardenberg, Germany. Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hawaiian Electric Company just submitted to state regulators seven massive new solar-plus-storage contracts. If built, these would add more than 260 megawatts of solar and, more significantly, over 1,000 megawatt-hours of storage to the Hawaiian grid — more than the total cumulative amount of energy storage deployed across the U.S. between 2013 and 2017.

Why it matters: Solar plus storage is having a breakout moment. The technology allows the power generated by intermittent renewables to be better matched to times when the grid needs it most, which is critical for clean energy growth to continue. It also means that renewables may come to compete more directly with natural gas in some markets, rather than requiring more gas to balance their intermittency, as has been the case so far.

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