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Ireland Just Set a New Wind Energy Record

A whopping 70% of the island’s electricity was generated by wind turbines on Wednesday.

Offshore wind.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The “green” puns pretty much write themselves. On Wednesday, Ireland set an all-time high for wind output on the Irish grid at 4,629 megawatts, Green Collective reports.

By midnight Thursday, wind had accounted for a smidgen over 70% of Ireland’s total electricity demands for the day.

In 2022, Ireland ranked third in the world, alongside Uruguay, when it came to its share of electricity generated by wind power: 33%. Only perennial wind leader Denmark, which generated a whopping 55% of its electricity from gusty weather last year, and surging Lithuania (38%), edged it out.

It’s not just — forgive me — luck, either. According to the COP28 Global Offshore Wind Update, a new report from industry consultancy ERM published yesterday, only two countries out of the 19 that have 2030 offshore wind targets are expected to hit them: Ireland being one, and Poland being the other, Recharge writes. Most of its current wind capacity, however, is from onshore wind farms.

Ireland’s wind generation information is easily accessible from EirGrid, making the region a favorite case study among energy nerds — including the creators of the charming Irish Energy Bot (which later evolved into Green Collective). Earlier this year, the account also celebrated wind generation exceeding “all-island electricity demand” in Ireland for the first time, during overnight hours and Storm Agnes-related gusts. According to EuroNews, such trends have translated into significant savings:

[As of September, the] latest figures mean that in total, Irish wind farms provided 32% of the country’s power over the first eight months of 2023. Electricity prices on days with the most wind power dropped by an average of 5% to €88.34 [$95] per megawatt-hour.

On days when Ireland relied almost entirely on fossil fuels, that cost rose to €123.07 [$132] per megawatt-hour.

With numbers like that, who needs a crummy old pot of gold?

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Jeva Lange

Jeva is a founding staff writer at Heatmap. Her writing has also appeared in The Week, where she formerly served as executive editor and culture critic, as well as in The New York Daily News, Vice, and Gothamist, among others. Jeva lives in New York City. Read More

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Sparks

Coal’s Slowdown Is Slowing Down

Rising electricity demand puts reliability back on the table.

Pollution.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United States has been able to drive its greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level since the early 1990s largely by reducing the amount of energy on the grid generated by coal to a vast extent. In 2005, by far the predominant source of U.S. electricity, making up some 2.2 million gigawatt-hours of the country’s 4.3 million GWh total energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2022, by contrast, coal generation was down to 900,000 GWh out of 4.5 million GWh generated. As a result, “U.S. emissions are 15.8% lower than 2005 levels, while power emissions are 40% lower than 2005 levels,” according to BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

But the steady retirement of coal plants may be slowing down. Only 2.3 GW of coal generating capacity are set to be shut down so far in 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. While in 2025, that number is expect to jump up to 10.9 GW, the combined 13.2 GW of retired capacity pales in comparison of the more than 22 GW retired in the past two years, according to EIA figures. Over the past decade, coal retirements have averaged about 10 GW a year, with actual retirements often outpacing forecasts.

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Sparks

Trump Thinks EV Charging Will Cost $3 Trillion — Which Is Incorrect

Nor will charging infrastructure ”bankrupt” the U.S.

Electric car charging.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Shortly after being fined $350 million (more than $450 million, including interest) over fraudulent business practices and then booed at Sneaker Con, former President Donald Trump traveled to Waterford, Michigan, where he said some incorrect things about electric vehicles.

Even by Trump’s recent standards, Saturday’s Waterford rally was a bit kooky. During his nearly hour-and-a-half-long speech, the former president claimed that his opponents are calling him a whale (“I don’t know if they meant a whale from the standpoint of being a little heavy, or a whale because I got a lot of money”) and, improbably, claimed not to have known what the word “indictment” meant.

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Sparks

This Chicken Named Potato Will Teach Your Kids About Climate Change

A chicken from the future, to be clear.

Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

If I told you there was a chicken named Potato who was going to teach our kids about climate change, would you think I was kidding? Either way, I’m here to inform you that Future Chicken, an “ECOtainment platform” co-created by Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight, launched last year, including original content like a TV show that airs on CBC and YouTube, games, and a podcast, all aimed at warding off climate doom and instead highlighting climate solutions.

Winder and Slaight have, to put it mildly, impressive resumes, with Slaight having been an executive producer of The Big Comfy Couch and Winder a force behind multiple Angry Birds movies. The show’s premise is fun, and was actually thought up by kids. The main character is a chicken (named Potato) from the year 2050, a time when climate change has seemingly been solved. She travels back and forth between the future and the present, sometimes talking about the solutions of her time.

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