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Bloomberg Foundation Donates $50 Million to Anti-Coal Campaign

Money goes to Sierra Club, which takes credit for stopping 150 new coal-fired plants

1 min read
Bloomberg Foundation Donates $50 Million to Anti-Coal Campaign

Electrical engineer Michael Bloomberg, who also happens to be mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LLC, and the rich uncle behind the Bloomberg Philanthropies, doesn't play by the usual rules. Not content as mayor to adopt an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction program and to foster green technology, he also has taken charge of the C40 group of mayors dedicated to combating climate change. (In the photos, he's seen unveiling an electric car charging station and the city's latest greenification plan.) Now, through his personal foundation, he's donating $50 million to the Sierra Club's campaign to shut down as many of the nation's aging and dirty coal plants as possible by 2020.

It's a strikingly bold move, considering that Bloomberg is a member of the Republican Party, most of whose other members very probably oppose the Sierra Club's campaign. And that's not to mention the nation's coal-stage Democrats and union leaders, who also don't have much use for it.

The strategic objective of the campaign is to replace the old coal plants with "clean energy," meaning, as the Sierra Club sees it, wind, solar, and conservation. Bloomberg personally is somewhat pro-nuclear and has expressed skepticism about Governor Cuomo's objective of closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant north of the city.  But that's not exactly the Sierra Club's position. It opposes current generation nuclear power and worries, with good reason, about the environmental ramifications of natural gas fracking.

Can a large number of coal plants be closed without greater resort to natural gas and perhaps more nuclear energy as well? Not likely. But it will be an interesting game to watch. 

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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