Keith Schneider

Keith Schneider, a former national correspondent and a contributor to the New York Times, began his environmental reporting career in 1979 when he covered the hazards of radioactive releases from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. He is the senior editor and producer at Circle of Blue, which covers the global freshwater crisis from its newsroom in Traverse City, Mich. He also contributes to Yale Environment 360 and The Energy Collective.

Coal

Desperate times call for dirty energy

Turning coal into liquid fuel is a majorly polluting proposition. An Ohio town starved for jobs doesn’t care.

Renewable Energy

Apollo and BlueGreen Alliance merge — a smart move at a time of clean-energy trouble

Last week, the Apollo Alliance and the BlueGreen Alliance, two of the most important national nonprofits supporting clean energy development and good jobs, announced that as of July 1, they would merge. The much larger Minneapolis-based BlueGreen Alliance, a five-year-old collaboration of big green groups and unions, will become the parent of San Francisco-based Apollo, which was founded in 2003 and gained its renown for being the first organization to understand that the transition to an economy primarily fueled by something other than oil and coal could produce a flurry of useful results — jobs, climate action, energy security, and industrial …

Bad energy

If President Obama calls it safe, watch out

Pondering whether “safe” means what he thought it meant.Photo: The White HousePresident Barack Obama is a good fellow at work in a difficult era, to say the least. So this post is not intended to be a slam on the president. Still, it is a good idea for Obama to be much more cautious when he draws from conventional wisdom, and the word of aides, to publicly express his view that a big energy sector is safe. You’ll recall that on March 31, 2010, President Obama announced the government would open much of the Atlantic coastline and the eastern Gulf …

Wind Power

Wind production in Gansu, China

As of the end of 2009, according to the China Renewable Energy Industries Association, more than 10,000 utility-scale wind turbines had been installed nationwide. And in 2010, according to figures released last month by the China Industry Energy Conservation and Clean Production Association, China spent approximately $US 45.55 billion on 378 big wind power projects, including roughly 8,000 new wind turbines that were installed last year. Wind generating capacity in China has reached more than 42 GW — the most of any country, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. The industry is growing so fast, in fact, that China’s …

Red sun

Solar production in Gansu, China

In 2009, China launched a program to build the nation’s first big solar power projects, which produced two 10-MW photovoltaic power installations in Dunhuang, at Gansu’s far northern end. More than a dozen other solar energy projects -- totaling 280 MW -- will be completed this year.

Dirty and thirsty

Coal is China’s Largest industrial water consumer

China’s coal mining, processing, and electrical generating industries consumed over 112 billion cubic meters (30 trillion gallons) of water annually, which is nearly 20 percent of all national water consumption, according to the China Ministry of Water Resources.

Dirty and thirsty

Coal is China's Largest industrial water consumer

China’s coal mining, processing, and electrical generating industries consumed over 112 billion cubic meters (30 trillion gallons) of water annually, which is nearly 20 percent of all national water consumption, according to the China Ministry of Water Resources.

Nor any drop to drink

New wind and solar sectors won’t solve China’s water scarcity

JIUQUAN, China — Business for wind and solar energy components has been so brisk in Gansu Province — a bone-bleaching sweep of gusty desert and sun-washed mountains in China’s northern region — that the New Energy Equipment Manufacturing Industry base, which employs 20,000 people, is a 24/7 operation. Just two years old, the expansive industrial manufacturing zone — located outside this ancient Silk Road city of 1 million — turns out turbines, blades, towers, controllers, software, and dozens of other components for a provincial wind industry already producing more than 5,000 megawatts per year. Photo © Toby Smith/Reportage by Getty …

What a wind farm dispute in Michigan says about us

Earlier this month, on a snowy afternoon, the newly renovated Garden Theater held the largest crowd I’ve ever seen indoors in the small Lake Michigan coastal town of Frankfort, with the exception of girls and boys basketball games. On tap that day was a polemical documentary film, “Windfall.” Two groups of citizen activists held the screening to build civic momentum in opposition to a good-sized utility-scale windfarm proposed for Benzie and Manistee counties. Afterwards the big crowd, composed principally of local residents, many of whom I have known for years, heard from Ray Franz, the newly-elected Republican state House Representative …

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