The German government has announced that the country will shut down all of its coal-firedpower plants by 2038 in an attempt to move to cleaner energy. Currently, Germany gets 40% of its energy from coal-fired plants.
The move comes a few years after the German government decided to close down its nuclear power stations in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Up to now, 12 of the country’s 19 nuclear power stations have been shut down.
Being without nuclear energy and energy from coal-powered plants means that Germany will be relying heavily on renewable energy. Energy officials say that within the next two decades up to 80% of the country’s energy needs could be coming from renewable sources. At the moment 40% are produced from green energy sources . Last year, renewable energy beat coal power for the first time .
Environmentalists in Germany have welcomed the announcement but stress that phasing out coal power does not come soon enough. They say that the new policy could make Germany a leader in the fight against climate change yet again. At the moment, Germany’s coal-fired plants produce more carbon emissions than any other nation on the continent.
In addition to closing down all coal plants, the government has promised to give support to regions where people rely heavily on coal production for a living. Money will also be needed to help keep electricity prices for consumers down.
aftermath = the period of time after an event happened
announce = to say officially ; in public
attempt = try
beat = to win against
carbon emissions = gas or other substances that are sent into the air and produce greenhouse gases
coal-fired = using coal to produce electricity
consumer =people who buy a product
currently = at the moment
decade = ten years
electricity = power that is carried by wires and cables and is used to give us light or heat or to make machines work
energy needs = the amount of energy and electricity that a country needs
environmentalist = person who cares about nature and the world around us
government = the people who rule a country
in addition = also
nuclear power station = building in which electricity is produced by splitting atoms
official = person in a high position in an organisation
phase out = slowly stop using something
policy = the government’s way of dealing with a problem
power plant = building in which electricity is produced
rely heavily = need very much
renewable energy = form of energy that can always be used and constantly replaces itself
shut down = close
source = place where something come from
stress = point out
support = money and other things a region needs
welcome = to say that something is good; to be in favor of …
The world’s largest battery has gone into operation in Australia. American technology giant Tesla built the 100-megawattlithium-ionbattery for South Australia’s state government.
The battery was connected to the power grid only 2 months after Tesla and the Southern Australian government signed a contract. Tesla boss Elon Musk said that he could deliver the battery and make it operational within one hundred days. Tesla made the deadline easily.
According to the company, the battery can provide electricity for over 30,000 homes for an hour in case of an electricity blackout. It is also intended to help supply more energy during peak times.
The battery packs, about the size of a football field, are connected to a nearby wind farm, 120 kilometres north of Adelaide. They went into operation at the beginning of the Australian summer, when more energy is needed for air conditioning.
While many regions in Australia still rely on fossil fuels as their main energy source, South Australia gets a lot of its energy from renewable sources, especiallysolar and wind power. However, backup energy is important for a region that has recentlyexperiencedsevere storms. The entire state witnessed a blackout in September 2016. 1.6 million people were left without electricity.
according to = as said by …
air conditioning = system that makes the air in a room cooler and drier
battery pack = several batteries connected to each other
blackout = when everything goes dark because there is no electricity
connect = link to
contract = official agreement between two parties
deadline = date or time by which you have to have something finished
deliver = to bring a product to a certain place
electricity = power that is carried in wires and cables and is used for heating, lighting and to make machines work
entire = whole
especially = above all
experience = see, witness
fossil fuels = energy that is produced by dead plants and animals over millions of years; for example coal, oil and gas
however = but
intend = here: designed to work as …
lithium-ion battery = very powerful battery that can be used over and over again; it is used in laptops, cellphones, iPods etc..
make it operational = make something work
megawatt = one million watts
power grid = network of electrical wires that connect power stations
provide = give, deliver
recently = a short time ago
rely = depend on; need
renewable = here: energy that replaces itself naturally and never ends
A new study of satellite images has revealed that our planet is getting brighter and brighter during the night. More and more artificial lighting may cause harm not only to humans and animals but whole ecosystems.
The study has found out that the quantity of light has increased by 2.2 % per year over the last decade. Much of that increase comes from the Middle East and Asia, while in Europe and the USA brightness has stayed about the same. Only a few countries have actually seen a decrease in the amount of light. Among those are Syria and Yemen.
Artificial light on earth is growing because more and more towns and other settlements are being created in places that were once farmland, forests or wilderness. In addition, China and other booming economies are building whole cities in sparsely populated areas.
Even though large areas of land surfaceremain dark, there are places on earth where lights never go out, for example, shopping malls, dining districts or international airports.
The technology of artificial lighting is also changing. More and more LED lights are replacing older light bulbs. They are more energy-efficient and emit a brighter bluish-white light. As they are becoming cheaper people tend to buy more.
Doctors warn that too much artificial light can bear health risks. It can lead to shorter periods of sleep, insomnia and changes in a person’s biorhythm.
Scientists have claimed that increased light have an effect on animal habitats. More light near beaches may affect the turtle population that comes there to lay their eggs. Migrating birds that rely on stars to navigate can be influenced by light and travel off course.
actually = in fact, really
affect = influence, change
artificial light = light that is produced by people or machines, not naturally by the sun
bear = have
biorhythm = changes in the way and speed that your body reacts at certain times
booming economy = country where business is growing very strongly
brightness = being bright
cause harm = be a danger
claim = to say that something is true, even if you cannot prove it
decade = ten years
decrease = to go down
effect = change
emit = send out
energy -efficient = here: an object that produces more light and uses less energy
even though = while
habitat = natural home of a plant or animal
image = picture
in addition = also
increase = to go up
influence = here: to change the way you travel
insomnia = not able to sleep
migrate = to travel regularly to other parts fo the world
navigate = to find out which way you need to go when you travel from one place to another
off course = away from the route you would normally take
quantity = how much of something
rely = depend on, need
remain = stay
replace = to use instead of something else
settlement = group of houses or buildings where people live, especially in areas where nobody has lived before
shopping mall = large area with a lot of shops
sparsely = here: with few people
study = piece of work that is done to find out more about a special subject
surface = the top layer of an object
technology = here: how something is done or produced
tend = here: will probably happen
wilderness = large area of land that has never been developed or farmed
Sidewalk Labs, a Google company, has announced plans to build a futuristic city in Toronto, Canada. The new urban area, called Sidewalk Toronto, aims at turning the waterfront of Lake Ontario into a playground for city developmentand a testing site for new technologies.
The project wants to make cities cheaper, healthier and even more exciting to live in . The new city will offer its residents ultra-fast WiFi connections, lanes for self-driving cars and sustainableenergy sources. Thousands of sensors will report pollution and noise levels, as well as monitor traffic and levels of carbon monoxide.
Planners of Sidewalk Toronto want to find new solutions for overpopulation, waste management , traffic , pollution and other urban problems. Several companies have said that they will make their services available to the new city.
Planners estimate that the project will cost around 1 billion dollars. However, it will also offer tens of thousands of people a place to live, work and have fun. Eventually, similar projects may spread to other parts of the world, helping to build smarter and greener cities.
Google has also announced that it plans to move its Canadian headquarters to Sidewalk Toronto.
aim = wants to , plans to
announce = to officially say something in public
available = here: something that people can use
carbon monoxide = poisonous gas that produces carbon when it is burned
development = to become bigger, more modern and advanced
estimate = think about how much something will cost
eventually = as time goes on, slowly
futuristic = something that looks unusual and very modern
headquarters = the main building or offices used by a large company
however = but
lane = one of two or many areas on the road that keeps cars apart
monitor = watch, observe
overpopulation = too many people live on a small area of land
resident = here: a person who lives in a city
services = work or help that a company gives you
similar = almost the same
solution = way of dealing with a problem
spread = move to another place
sustainable = something that can be used without causing danger to the environment or nature
urban = about a city
waste management = way of getting rid of unwanted materials and dirty water
waterfront = part of a city or town that is next to the sea or lake
WiFi connection = connecting computers and other machines to the Internet by using radio signals
Winds and storms in the Atlantic are so strong that wind-powered turbines in the Atlantic Ocean could provide the whole world with clean energy. Energy experts now claim that ocean wind farms can produce three to five times more energy than wind turbines on land. Over water wind speeds are up to 70% higher.
Winds on land create friction because of mountains and buildings. They slow down as they move inwards . In addition, turbines are built closer together, which takes some of the wind speed away .
Winds are especially strong across the northern Atlantic Ocean because of differences in water temperature. When the warm Gulf Stream moves up the North Americancoast it mixes with cold water in the northern Atlantic. This leads to higher storm activity and more winds, especially during the winter months.
Norway’s energy company Statoil has been operating floating wind turbines in the shallow North Sea for over a decade. These are connected via cable to the ocean floor. In order to make them work in the deep sea , however, they must be attached to vertical poles that have massiveweights in the water.
One of the biggest problems that face ocean wind farms is transporting energy from the deep sea to land. Energy companies , like Statoil, are looking for high-wind areas that are closer to shore.
While wind farms on land are becoming more and more common, production costs of running them are becoming lower. In the near future wind energy is expected to become one of the cheapest alternative energy sources .
Europe is the number one wind energy producer at the moment. Every year, about 12 gigawatts of energy are produced by wind power, whereas in America green energy from wind is still in its infancy. If produced more effectively, the solution to the world’s energy problems may lie in ocean wind farms.
alternative energy source = energy that does not come from fossil fuels, like, coal, oil or gas
attach = fix, connect to something
claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
coast = where land meets the sea
common = widespread, popular
connect = fix or tie to something
decade = ten years
deep sea = far away from land
Gulf Stream = warm water that flows to Europe from the Gulf of Mexico
effectively = here: to produce more with less money
especially = above all
face = deal with, manage
float = to move on water without sinking
friction = when something rubs against a surface
gigawatt = one thousand million watts
in addition = also
infancy = at the beginning
inward = here: away from the sea
massive = very big
provide = give
shallow = not deep
shore = land near the coast
speed = how fast something is
turbine = energy or motor in which pressure pushes a wheel around