Energy and Environment

Environmental and energy related news

New Battery Recycling Plant Emits Cloud Of Confusion

7 hours ago
Amy Westervelt

A California tech company hopes to demonstrate eco-friendly lead battery recycling at its new plant in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. But there's been plenty of confusion surrounding the new plant. Reno Public Radio's Amy Westervelt sorts it out.

Aqua Metals is tight-lipped about the specifics of its technology, but in broad terms it recycles batteries using a water-based solvent. Chief commercial officer Steven Cotton says the company's new recycling facility, currently being built in Storey County, will be "practically emission free."

ELLIOTT BROWN, HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

  The Nevada Public Utilities Commission will grandfather rooftop solar customers from higher rates after public outcry. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

Commissioners voted to phase in higher electricity costs over the course of 12 years, still less time than what solar advocates had wanted.

Those rate hikes were approved back in December, touching off a firestorm among net-metering customers who say the state has reneged on its promise to encourage renewable energy.

Nevada Gets High Ranking For LEED Projects

Feb 9, 2016
Mack Male, Flickr, (CC by SA-2.0)

Nevada is ranked one of the top states in the country for LEED-certified green buildings - a program that encourages environmentally friendly building practices. Our contributor Luiza Vieira has more.

Nevada ranked sixth in the nation for LEED-certified buildings in 2015 — that's according to the U.S Green Building Council's annual review.

To get this certification, projects must factor in things such as location, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources used.

Julia Ritchey

The Oregon standoff at a national wildlife refuge enters Day 33 with only a few holdouts remaining. So far 11 people have been arrested, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of defiant Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, many ranchers say the issues involving public lands are too complex to be minimized to just one group’s actions.  

Ever since Ammon Bundy and a band of anti-government protestors took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, attention has turned to the role the federal government plays in land-use policy.

ThisisReno.com

A Reno developer's donation to help improve the water quality of Virginia Lake was approved by the Reno City Council last week…but not unanimously. Our contributor from ThisisReno, Bob Conrad, has the story.

 

Last fall, Reno developer J. Carter Witt withdrew a donation that he had promised to the city in order to help clean up Virginia Lake. At the time, Witt said the city had defaulted on their agreement, but he also expressed dismay about a proposed city labor ordinance that he said would negatively affect his business.

FDA Bans Toxic Chemicals, But Is It Too Late?

Jan 29, 2016
University of Nevada, Reno

Our newsroom recently received a puzzling press release from a national organization called the Environmental Working Group. It says that next month, the FDA will start banning certain toxic chemicals from being used in some food packaging such as card-box pizza and microwave popcorn bags.

These chemicals are called PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, and they’re used to make products that can resist heat, grease and water.

Banning them sounds like good news, right?

Julia Ritchey

Yesterday we looked at ways Lake Tahoe jurisdictions are reducing how much road grit is polluting the water. But environmentalists contend the only meaningful way to “Keep Tahoe Blue” is getting people out of their cars altogether. Our reporter Julia Ritchey explores if that’s really feasible.

At a bus stop off Highway 50 outside of The League to Save Lake Tahoe headquarters, Jesse Patterson is waiting.

Julia Ritchey

Road crews have stayed busy this winter sanding and clearing Lake Tahoe's streets and highways for skiers and snowboarders making their annual pilgrimage to the Sierras. While road pollutants have posed one of the biggest threats to the lake's clarity — recent efforts to reduce street debris appear to be helping. Last year, clarity improved by 7 feet. 

Unusual Snowpack Means Unusual Avalanches

Jan 21, 2016
Sierra Avalanche Center

Unusual snowpack conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains are contributing to an increase of a type of avalanche quite uncommon for the area. Our contributor Luiza Vieira has the story.

Even with all the snow Northern Nevada and California are receiving, the number of avalanches has not increased. The Sierra Avalanche Center, however, is seeing a type of avalanche that has not happened in this area in years.

CoCreatr, Flickr, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

  Last week state regulators ruled against suspending rate hikes for rooftop solar customers, which industry advocates say have sparked massive layoffs. But even before this decision, the industry was not faring as well as some had hoped. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Truckee Meadows Community College started its solar technician training program about six years ago and quickly saw enrollments of between 15 to 30 students. 

But that didn't last long, according to Jim New, dean of technical sciences.

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