renewable energy


Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 23, 2020: Houston suffered a wastewater spill of over 500,000 gallons caused by rainfall from Tropical Storm Beta; heavy rainfall is expected along the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys as remnants from TS Beta move to the northeast; officials say a lack of resources caused a weak initial attack of the Bobcat Fire near Los Angeles; a generic albuterol sulfate rescue inhaler has been recalled due to clogging; California’s wildfire season is in full swing, although major lightning complexes are at or near full containment; Walmart has issued a recall for chicken salad due to mislabeling/undeclared allergens; an air tanker pilot died after his plane crashed while fighting the Schill Fire in Idaho; and General Electric Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X platform wind turbines to provide power for the Dogger Bank project to be built off the Northeast Coast of the United Kingdom.

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1) Tropical Storm Beta dumped heavy rainfall across the Houston area, causing flash floods and flooding roadways, including highways and interstates. First responders have performed over a hundred high water rescues since Monday, and according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), floodwaters were expected to continue rising in some locations through Wednesday afternoon. The intense and sustained rainfall — more than 10 inches in some locations — also led to wastewater spills totaling more than 500,000 gallons from five locations in the Houston area.

2) Remnants from Tropical Storm Beta are expected to move across the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys through Friday, dumping heavy rain in those regions. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast calls for anywhere from two to four inches of rain, with some locations receiving up to six inches of rainfall. There is an increased risk of flash flooding due to the heavy rainfall amounts, and locations recently impacted by Hurricane Laura remain at high risk for additional flooding.

3) Burning close to Los Angeles, the Bobcat Fire grew quickly, reportedly due to a lack of firefighting resources at the fire’s start. The lack of initial resources, including water and retardant-dropping aircraft, occurred because crews and aircraft were already assigned to other, multiple large wildfires burning throughout the state. The fire is currently threatening at least 1,000 homes, and has ignited deep in old wood forests located in inaccessible areas. Evacuation orders remain in place, and evacuation warnings have been issued for several locations, including the City of Pasadena.

4) According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a voluntary recall has been issued for one brand of albuterol sulfate rescue inhalers due to clogging. The medication, an unexpired albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol, was manufactured by Catalent Pharma Solutions for the Perrigo Pharmaceutical Company. Thousands of complaints have reportedly been received by Perrigo regarding clogging and/or failure of the inhaler to dispense enough, or any, medication.

5) California is still battling wildfires — 27 of which are major fires — with more than 18,700 firefighters assigned throughout the state. There have been nearly 8,000 wildfires during the 2020 season. Since August 15, fires have resulted in 26 deaths and the destruction of more than 6,500 structures. So far, wildfires have scorched 3.6 million acres. However, some of the largest fires — the lightning complexes — are nearly contained, and fire suppression repair work has now begun.

6) Walmart has issued a recall for some of its chicken salad, due to potential mislabeling and undeclared allergens, including tree nuts. The item being recalled is Willow Tree Premium White Meat Chicken Salad Classic as it may actually contain Willow Tree White Meat Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad. The product was distributed by Walmart to stores in at least seven states, including Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, but the product was also sold in grocery stores in those and other states.

7) A single engine air tanker pilot died Tuesday while fighting the newly erupted Schill Fire, burning near Emmet, Idaho. The pilot, who initially survived the crash, was dropping retardant when the plane crashed and he was rushed to the hospital, where he passed away later Tuesday night. Due to a rapid and aggressive initial attack, the fire was quickly contained after only consuming about 25 acres.

8) General Electric (GE) will provide the world’s largest wind turbine for the world’s largest planned offshore wind farm, slated to be built off the northeast coast of the United Kingdom. The Dogger Bank wind farm will use GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X Platform to help produce 2.4 GW (gigawatts) of energy, with the first usable energy slated to be delivered in 2023 and the project’s completion by 2026. The initial two phases of the project will consist of 190 turbines supplied by GE, with each of the mega-turbines providing enough electricity with a single turn of  the Haliade-X’s 220-meter rotor to power a typical home for over two days.


Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 14, 2016: A powerful earthquake hits New Zealand and triggers a tsunami; millennials seek cybersecurity careers; a new rule boosts efforts to develop sustainable power sources in the West; multiple wildfires trigger air quality alerts in the Southeast; both Tennessee and North Carolina declare a state of emergency due to fires; and drought conditions, high winds, and low humidity contribute to an unprecedented wildfire season in the Appalachians.

We have choices to make with respect to how we source energy in the future. Some choices are better than others–for us, for our children, and for our future ability to survive and thrive. It’s important that we make the right choices.

Earth Overshoot Day is that day of the year when humankind’s consumption of resources exceeds the Earth’s ability to produce them. Beginning in the 1970’s, that day has been steadily creeping forward in the calendar. This year, it’s August 8th. That should be alarming.