Five Stories: Fracking’s Adverse Health Impacts Looking Worse Than Ever

Here are five recommended reads for today (1/8/16).

  1. Nathanael Greene writes at NRDC’s Switchboard blog: “Building on previous National Renewable Energy Laboratory research that found RPS compliance increased the average cost of electricity by less than 2 percent–that is, compliance raised the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity from 10 cents up to 10.2–yesterday’s NREL analysis finds a host of benefits that aren’t normally factored into the retail cost of electricity but make the case for RPSs and renewable energy in general even stronger.”
  2. According to MIT Technology Review: “Silicon probably won’t be replaced as the dominant solar material anytime soon, but it might not be too long before it gets a partner from a promising class of materials called perovskites. A group led by Henry Snaith, a physicist at the University of Oxford and leading perovskite researcher, has demonstrated what it says is a viable pathway to a device that combines a conventional silicon cell with a perovskite cell to boost the efficiency of that silicon cell by several percentage points.”
  3. Bloomberg reports: “A landmark study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that concluded fracking causes no widespread harm to drinking water is coming under fire — this time, from the agency’s own science advisers. The EPA’s major finding in June’s preliminary report, that there’s no evidence fracking has led to ‘widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water,’ was seen as a vindication of hydraulic fracturing. A repudiation of the results could reignite the debate over the need for more regulation. Members of the EPA Science Advisory Board, which reviews major studies by the agency, said in a report released Thursday the agency’s main conclusion ‘is ambiguous and requires clarification.'”
  4. According to Greentech Media: “The Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s decision last month to apply rate cuts and higher fixed charges to existing solar customers, not just future customers, is a huge problem for solar installers like SolarCity, Vivint Solar and SunRun. It’s also a big problem for their customers, who are likely to see the value of their solar-generated electricity evaporate, as NV Energy cuts their compensation from full retail rates to wholesale rates over the next five years.”
  5. Grist reports: “A new study from the Yale School of Public Health links the chemicals used in fracking with potential reproductive and developmental problems. This isn’t exactly new — we’ve known for some time that fracking is connected with lowered sperm counts, as well as premature births and a host of other health issues. This particular study, however, raises concerns about wastewater in particular, which the researchers found is even more toxic than the chemicals used in fracking.”