Home / Politics / Midday open thread: Colorado wind power cheaper than coal; Guantánamo prison has 16th anniversary

Midday open thread: Colorado wind power cheaper than coal; Guantánamo prison has 16th anniversary

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is A Calvinist and Hobbesian look at the very stable genius of Donald Trump:

Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -A Calvinist and Hobbesian look at the very stable genius of Donald Trump

New Colorado wind farms with batteries now cheaper source of energy than running old coal plants:

Solar, wind, and battery prices are dropping so fast that, in Colorado, building new renewable power plus battery storage is now cheaper than running old coal plants. This increasingly renders existing coal plants obsolete.

Two weeks ago, Xcel Energy quietly reported dozens of shockingly low bids it had received for building new solar and wind farms, many with battery storage (see table below).

The median bid price in 2017 for wind plus battery storage was $21 per megawatt-hour, which is 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour. As Carbon Tracker noted, this “appears to be lower than the operating cost of all coal plants currently in Colorado.”

MIDDAY TWEET

Engineers grow human muscle from skin cells:

Engineers have grown the first functioning human muscle from non-muscle cells—skin cells reverted to their primordial stem cell state. The ability to start from cellular scratch using non-muscle tissue will allow scientists to grow far more muscle cells, provide an easier path to genome editing and cellular therapies, and develop individually tailored models of rare muscle diseases for drug discovery and basic biology studies.

Watch these 100-year-old women tell their secrets for a long and healthy life.

A better U.S. rail network would help fix the strain on airports:

American airport terminals are routinely operating at, and sometimes even past, capacity. A 2016 airport satisfaction study by market-research company J.D. Powernoted that three terminals at New York’s LaGuardia airport currently undergoing $4 billion in renovations collectively handle 13 million passengers a year. They’re only built to handle eight million.

American airports simply aren’t built for today’s travel. The average age of American airports is about 40; the newest, in Denver, was built in 1994 before the market was flooded by low-cost carriers. It’s clear American airports—particularly major hubs like Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, and LAX in Los Angeles—are under major strain.

Rail has the potential to unload some of that burden. So why are high-speed rail networks in the United States—and all of the Americas, to be honest—so horribly underdeveloped?

Unhappy 16th anniversary, Guantánamo Bay Detention Center:

Hidden and inaccessible as they are on a U.S. Navy base in Cuba, the remaining 41 detainees at Guantánamo might no longer grab people’s attention these days. But fortunately, many of them have lawyers.

On Thursday, a group of them filed a mass petition in federal court on behalf of about a dozen of the men still stuck at Guantánamo who have never been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is launching a global campaign urging the immediate transfer out of Guantánamo of one of the plaintiffs, Toffiq al-Bihani, a 45-year-old Yemeni man who was tortured by the CIA and has been detained without charge for more than 15 years. He’s been cleared for transfer out of the prison since 2010.

Study: Global warming will extend deadly river floods to tens of millions more people.


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