This week we saw news sources reporting that the Biden administration is targeting mid-May to begin relaxing COVID travel restrictions. Around the same time, the U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Oil prices rose slightly today, following a large sell-off earlier in the week cause by fears of a new wave of coronavirus infections spreading across Europe that generated concerns about a recovery in fuel demand. We also saw positive news as U.S. liquefied natural gas exports were projected to be on track to hit record highs in March.
This week we also saw a number of states loosening capacity restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other businesses, which many have seen as a positive step forward for their economies and employment. As New York City restaurants were given the ability to operate indoor dining at 50% capacity, a new report found NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s energy ban could cost every household in the city over $25,600.
With so much energy news happening this week, be sure to check out our five favorite stories as you kick off your weekend!
5Solar power meets interior design
Roof-top or industrial solar panels is usually what comes to mind when most of us think of solar energy, but as the energy source becomes more popular and affordable, we can look forward to seeing it sourced in new and fun ways. My Modern Met reports that designers have designed a solar powered light fixture that mimics the beautiful colors visible at sunrise, during daylight, and at sunset.
4New Volkswagen Electric Microbus to be used as a platform for autonomous driving technology
The VW ID.Buzz electric microbus, could be available for purchase by 2023. Electrek reports that the German automaker may use the bus as a platform for it’s autonomous driving technology.
3Covering canals with solar panels saves billions of gallons of water while generating renewable power
Scientists in California published a study which estimates that 63 billion gallons of water could be saved from evaporating if the state covered their canal system with solar panels, while also providing up to 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually. WIRED reports that this is about half of the new capacity California needs to meet its decarbonization goals by 2030.
2Floating hotel is the latest in eco-friendly tourism
A floating eco-hotel powered by solar, wind and tidal energy could become a reality in just a few years. Yanko Design explains that the hotel, planned for Qatar, would also collect rainwater for irrigation, purify seawater and be mobile, allowing it to be taken to different places.
1Harvest energy from almost any movement with water-filled nanogenerators
Researchers have designed a new modular nanogenerator that uses small water-filled tubes to produce electricity as the water sloshes between two electrodes. New Atlas explains that the device can harvest energy from almost any movement, and can even be attached to vehicles, float on ocean waves or be worn by a human to yield energy.