Member Highlight: Offshore Wind Farms Could Protect Coastlines

2018-10-09T14:06:43+00:00 October 1, 2018|

(Credit: iStock/ssuaphoto) Offshore wind farms may have a greater capacity for coastal protection than first imagined. Scientists had shown previously that arrays of turbines placed in the sea may buffer storm surge and flooding. Now simulations featuring data from Hurricane Harvey suggest that smart wind farm designs have the capacity to protect [...]

Columbia Engineers Develop Floating Solar Fuels Rig For Seawater Electrolysis

2017-12-20T16:36:53+00:00 December 20, 2017|

(Credit: Justin Bui / Columbia Engineering) Design is the first practical floating solar hydrogen-generating device to perform water electrolysis without pumps or membranes; could lead to low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production. (From Columbia University) -- In a single hour, more energy from the sun hits the Earth than all the energy used by humankind [...]

Tax Reform: Graduate Student Tuition And ANWR Drilling

2018-02-02T14:28:47+00:00 November 20, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) Map of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). (Credit: USGS) What It Was Both chambers worked on tax reform bills, which are advancing through the budget reconciliation process. The House’s bill, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), passed the chamber along a largely party-line vote (227-205) and includes a [...]

There’s Enough Wind Energy Over The Oceans To Power Human Civilization, Scientists Say

2017-10-16T16:36:59+00:00 October 12, 2017|

New research published on Monday finds there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate “civilization scale power” — assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments. It’s very unlikely that we would ever build out open ocean turbines on anything like that scale — indeed, doing so could even alter the planet’s climate, the research finds.

Member Highlight: Fueling The Future

2018-01-02T13:52:04+00:00 October 10, 2017|

A group of Jackson School scientists and students embark on a high-stakes research mission. Standing on the helideck of the Helix Q4000 with nothing but waves in sight, Peter Flemings is bleary eyed and exhausted. But, for this moment at least, the Jackson School of Geosciences professor and chief scientist of the coring mission is relieved and something akin to happy. The scene marks a seminal moment in a ground-breaking project, an $80-million, multi-year national effort that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) picked the Jackson School to lead. Flemings and his team have finally hit pay dirt, pulling a core of frozen methane hydrate from about 1,300 feet under the Gulf floor, through a mile of water, and to the deck of the deep-water coring vessel, while still keeping the methane hydrate under pressure.

Member Highlight: Fueling The Future

2017-10-10T12:59:21+00:00 October 10, 2017|

A group of Jackson School scientists and students embark on a high-stakes research mission. Standing on the helideck of the Helix Q4000 with nothing but waves in sight, Peter Flemings is bleary eyed and exhausted. But, for this moment at least, the Jackson School of Geosciences professor and chief scientist of the coring mission is relieved and something akin to happy. The scene marks a seminal moment in a ground-breaking project, an $80-million, multi-year national effort that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) picked the Jackson School to lead. Flemings and his team have finally hit pay dirt, pulling a core of frozen methane hydrate from about 1,300 feet under the Gulf floor, through a mile of water, and to the deck of the deep-water coring vessel, while still keeping the methane hydrate under pressure.

Senate Committee Approves Energy And Water Appropriations Bill

2017-07-24T15:15:31+00:00 July 24, 2017|

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill by a margin of 30-1. The Senate bill, which passed out of the Energy and Water subcommittee earlier in the week, clocks in at $629 million above the FY 2017 enacted level and a staggering $4.1 billion above President Trump’s request. The $38.4 billion bill, which prioritizes energy security and nuclear capabilities, funds Department of Energy (DOE) programs (including energy development and research) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) infrastructure projects.

Trump Dramatically Changes US Approach To Climate Change

2017-03-29T08:49:42+00:00 March 29, 2017|

President Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, which officials said looks to curb the federal government's enforcement of climate regulations by putting American jobs above addressing climate change. The order represents a clear difference between how Trump and former President Barack Obama view the role the United States plays in combating climate change, and dramatically alters the government's approach to rising sea levels and temperatures -- two impacts of climate change.

Congress’s March Madness

2017-03-27T15:43:27+00:00 March 27, 2017|

While the budget, health care, and Supreme Court hearings dominated the news this month, members of Congress were also busy introducing bills and passing the first science-related acts of the new year.

President’s Cabinet Begins To Take Shape

2017-01-23T16:35:02+00:00 January 23, 2017|

Multiple Senate confirmation hearings overlapped last week, forcing members to scurry to and from simultaneous committee meetings. A confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for Representative Ryan Zinke, nominee for Secretary of the Department of Interior (which includes the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service), was one of the more contentious ones. Rep. Zinke vowed not to sell nor lease public lands and emphasized support for allowing for extraction activities within them. He acknowledged the changing climate while stepping back from an earlier, stronger stance that called it a ‘threat multiplier’ in respect to national security and committed to maintaining science funding levels with particular interest in more research into “clean coal.”

BOEM Denies Airgun Seismic Surveys In Atlantic From Virginia To Florida

2017-01-11T11:53:41+00:00 January 11, 2017|

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has denied six pending permits for airgun seismic surveys in Atlantic Ocean planning areas from Virginia to Florida, pleasing conservationists and irritating industry groups. In announcing the decision Friday, BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said there was no immediate need for such tests now that the Atlantic Program Area was removed last year from President Barack Obama's Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. She said the move was also based on an "abundance of caution." "We believe that the value of obtaining the geophysical and geological information from new airgun seismic surveys in the Atlantic does not outweigh the potential risks of those surveys' acoustic pulse impacts on marine life," Hopper said in a statement.

The Irreversible Momentum Of Clean Energy

2017-01-11T11:15:51+00:00 January 11, 2017|

The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to human activity is increasing global average surface air temperatures, disrupting weather patterns, and acidifying the ocean (1). Left unchecked, the continued growth of GHG emissions could cause global average temperatures to increase by another 4°C or more by 2100 and by 1.5 to 2 times as much in many midcontinent and far northern locations (1). Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S. policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term politics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow. This Policy Forum will focus on the four reasons I believe the trend toward clean energy is irreversible.

Oceans Act As A ‘Heat Sink’: No Global Warming ‘Hiatus’

2016-12-05T17:10:58+00:00 November 28, 2016|

A new multi-institutional study of the so-called global warming "hiatus" phenomenon -- the possible temporary slowdown of the global mean surface temperature (GMST) trend said to have occurred from 1998 to 2013 -- concludes the hiatus simply represents a redistribution of energy within Earth system, which includes the land, atmosphere and the ocean.

Marine Microalgae, A New Sustainable Food And Fuel Source

2016-11-28T09:39:26+00:00 November 28, 2016|

Taken from the bottom of the marine food chain, microalgae may soon become a top-tier contender to combat global warming, as well as energy and food insecurity, according to a study by researchers associated with the Cornell Algal Biofuel Consortium, published in the journal Oceanography.

Ocean Policy Wrap Up for June 2016

2016-07-08T14:13:22+00:00 July 8, 2016|

Oceans month 2016 saw the reauthorization of the Freedom of Information Act become law, defense appropriations and COMPETES reauthorization advance, and a number of ocean-related bills be introduced in the House and Senate.

Should Offshore Energy Leases Be Available Online?

2016-07-08T14:05:41+00:00 July 8, 2016|

Technology has changed almost every aspect of American life, and some think it’s time for offshore leasing to receive an update as well. The Innovation in Offshore Leasing Act (H.R. 5577) would modernize the process, originally defined by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

House Subcommittee Picks Science Funding Winners and Losers (Spoiler Alert: NOAA's Taking A Hit)

2016-05-20T14:58:29+00:00 May 20, 2016|

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science passed their fiscal year (FY) 2017 bill by voice vote this week; it is responsible for funding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Commerce (including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

House Subcommittee Picks Science Funding Winners and Losers (Spoiler Alert: NOAA’s Taking A Hit)

2016-05-20T14:58:29+00:00 May 20, 2016|

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science passed their fiscal year (FY) 2017 bill by voice vote this week; it is responsible for funding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Commerce (including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

New Catalyst Is Three Times Better At Splitting Water

2016-06-28T19:24:18+00:00 March 31, 2016|

With a combination of theory and clever, meticulous gel-making, scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Toronto have developed a new type of catalyst that's three times better than the previous record-holder at splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen

Obama Steers Climate Battle “Upstream” With New Coal Policy

2016-01-22T10:47:21+00:00 January 22, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Emissions from coal fired power plant. (Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr) The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has hal­ted new leases for coal min­ing on fed­er­al lands as it launches a multi-year re­view of the pro­gram, which crit­ics have long called a tax­pay­er rip-off and a threat to the cli­mate.(From the National Journal) -- The or­der an­nounced [...]

Obama's Offshore Drilling Moves Could Tie Hands Of Successor

2016-01-07T14:43:07+00:00 January 7, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Oil drilling platform Heritage. (Credit: Glenn Beltz/Flickr) President Obama has a chance to significantly tie the hands of his successor and his or her energy policy with the upcoming five-year plan for offshore drilling leases. (From the Hill/ by Timothy Cama) -- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the [...]

Obama’s Offshore Drilling Moves Could Tie Hands Of Successor

2016-01-07T14:43:07+00:00 January 7, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Oil drilling platform Heritage. (Credit: Glenn Beltz/Flickr) President Obama has a chance to significantly tie the hands of his successor and his or her energy policy with the upcoming five-year plan for offshore drilling leases. (From the Hill/ by Timothy Cama) -- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the [...]

US DOE Grants $10.5 Million For Next-gen Marine Energy Systems

2016-01-07T11:50:16+00:00 January 7, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Oceanlinx is a wave energy converter device, that is a device which uses wave energy and converts it into electrical energy operating on the oscillating water column principle. The Oceanlinx was developed in Australia. The technology has developed greatly in the past ten years thanks to the large amount of international [...]

National Offshore Wind Strategy Workshop

2015-12-02T14:00:42+00:00 December 2, 2015|

The Department of Energy (DOE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Office (BOEM) are convening a workshop to obtain individual stakeholder insight into the technical and market challenges and potential pathways to facilitate the development of the offshore wind industry in the United States.

Concern Over Economic Impact Voiced During House Committee Hearing On Impacts Of Federal Policies On Energy Production In The Gulf

2015-09-18T11:16:01+00:00 September 18, 2015|

(Click to enlarge) New Orleans. (Credit: Wikipedia commons( The House Committee on Natural Resources held a field hearing in New Orleans on Tuesday to deliberate on the impacts of federal policies on energy production and economic growth in the Gulf of Mexico.The discussion focused on the new well control rules proposed by the Bureau [...]

Democrats Walk Out Of Controversial Environmental Markup

2015-08-06T18:49:20+00:00 August 6, 2015|

Pesticides entering waterways, extending wildlife conservation efforts, reauthorizing the National Estuary Program, and opposition to the recently released Clean Power Plan were all debated this week in a heated markup held by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. On the agenda were several bills (S.1324, S.1500, S. 1523, S.722) to be considered, but the discussion focused on the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015, S.1324.

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