Friday Linkage 8/19/2022

This is what the other side of the climate change debate is doing right now.  Yes, they are giving away books written by official sounding organzitions that are really just fronts for the industries that profit from the continued emission of carbon dioxide primarily due to burning fossil fuels.

I am actually surprised it was not a picture book.

On to the links…

Cigarette Butts: How the No 1 Most Littered Objects are Choking our Coasts—My dad used to say that if people were going to smoke they should smoke unfiltered cigarettes.  That way we did not have to put up with the remainder of their nasty habit.

Renewables To Equal 22% Of U.S. Electricity Generation In 2022 — U.S. EIA Forecast—Number pretty much speak for themselves.

How the Western Drought is Pushing the Power Grid to the Brink—The drought in the western U.S. is bad.  Now it is getting so bad we are forced to face assumptions about things that do not seem related to water.

Texas Cattle Industry Faces Existential Crisis from Historic Drought—Maybe we should stop trying to raise cattle on drought prone scrub land.

22% Of New Car Sales Now Electric In The Netherlands!—Every month seems to bring a new record for countries in terms of EVs as a portion of total sales.

U.S. Grant Awards $1.66 Billion for Low-Emissions Buses—Given how much we spend on so many other things—cough, cough, defense—it seems like such small potatoes.  However, it will make a big difference and jump start the market in the U.S.

The IRA Gives USPS Billions to Buy Electric Vehicles—Seems like a no-brainer use case for EVs.

Massachusetts Passes Historic Bill To Advance Clean Energy, Transportation—The federal government has finally passed legislation that will make a meaningful difference in cutting emissions.  Now states can go even further.

Fight Climate Change. End Fossilflation. Here’s How.—The dramatic swings in oil prices are not good for the economy.

Wind Blows Away Australian Records—It’s amazing.  Get a government in place that does not actively stand in the way of renewables and the market takes off.

Foxconn To Build Electric Tractors At Former Lordstown Motors Factory—It seems like just about everybody has been looking to build something in Lordstown, Ohio.  I have my doubts about Foxconn doing anything after watching their deal in Wisconsin crash and burn.

Bio-Recycling gets Fashionable with Enzymes that Will Eat Your Shoes—Somewhere Michael Crichton had a manuscript about an enzyme that could eat your shoe escaping a lab.

Life Hacks From India on How to Stay Cool (Without an Air Conditioner)—This is pretty much our future now.

Goats and Sheep Deploy Their Appetites to Save Barcelona from Wildfires—Goats!

Why Do So Many Recipes Call for So Little Garlic?—The answer to how much garlic is almost always…more!


Friday Linkage 8/12/2022

My hope is that by the time you are reading this the ill-named Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is passed by the House of Representatives and on its way to President Biden’s desk.

The bill is not perfect.  No bill created in Congress is ever perfect.  However, this is the kind of action we need—hell, we needed it a decade ago but that is the way D.C. works—and it could make a demonstrable impact on reducing U.S. carbon emissions.

Trust me, I will be on the phone with a plumber trying to get that hybrid air source heat pump water heater the minute I can figure out the tax credit situation.

On to the links…

Global Coal Consumption Surged In 2021—Well, that sucks.

Investigation Confirms What We All Know: GOP is Deliberately Targeting Corporate Climate Measures—Surprise, surprise…nope, this is pretty much par for the course.

The Tax Scam That Won’t Die—And you thought it was going to be about the carried interest loophole for hedge fund billionaires.

Electrify Everything: These Are The Most Important Things To Change ASAP—With the IRA passage imminent, it is time to develop a roadmap to electrify everything in your life.

The Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Problem in Four Charts—With a new enforcement mechanism in the IRA, now is the time to really put the oil and gas industry’s feet to the fire when it comes to methane emissions.

Windfarms Raise Incomes and House Prices in Rural US, Study Finds—Somewhere Donald Trump’s head just exploded…oh wait, he would just think this is another fake news story.

Plugin Vehicles At 10.3% In June As Italy’s EV Sales Gain Traction—Even at 10% or more of new car sales I do not remember seeing any EVs in Rome or Naples while on vacation.

EV Charging Trends Multifamily And Commercial Properties Should Consider—Building out a charging infrastructure not based around a detached single family home is a thorny issue for the EV transition.

Researchers in Colorado have Figured Out What Makes Air Conditioners Consume so Much Energy. It’s Not the Heat.—Any Midwesterner could have told them it’s the humidity that kills you.

The Search for an AC that Doesn’t Destroy the Planet—Air conditioning that does not use harmful refrigerants or a lot of energy will be the technology that makes or breaks us in the near future.

These Voracious Goats Might Be the Next Best Tool for Battling Colorado Megafires—I think that it can go without saying that the world would be a better place with more goats.

‘Incredibly Promising’: The Bubble Barrier Extracting Plastic from a Dutch River—This seems like an easy thing to deploy on a much broader scale.

Microplastics Discovered Throughout Colorado’s Snowpack—Our age will be known as the “Plastic Age” when researchers are digging up our cities in thousands of years.

Panaracer Gravelking SS Plus+ 3,000 Mile Check-In

A new set of wheels and a revised sealant choice have led to over 1,000 trouble free miles for my tubeless setup.  An apology needs to be made to the tires because all of the problems I was having seem to have been a result of other components.  Whoops.

There is not much to say about the Gravelking SS Plus+ tires.  The tires are wearing like iron, although I think I am starting to see the rounded profile being worn down to a squarer profile.   I could also be going crazy after so many miles in the saddle.

Below you will see how my tires have weathered the riding season so far at various intervals:

Note: I bought these tires with my own money.  Nothing has come to me from Panaracer.  If I were pimping a product I would let you know.

Friday Linkage 8/4/2022

Spending two weeks somewhat removed from the twenty four hour news cycle was therapeutic.

Listening to U.K. nationals bitch and moan about their own political foibles made me realize that the U.S. is in no way unique in its ability to elect complete buffoons to high office.
Seeing the ruins of former civilizations made me wonder what people will look back on in a thousand years and wonder about our current epoch of humanity.

On to the links…

After Going Solar, I Felt the Bliss of Sudden Abundance—Put solar panels on your house and you can feel the same way.

Leaked: US Power Companies Secretly Spending Millions to Protect Profits and Fight Clean Energy—I would like to say I am shocked, but this is pretty much par for the course at this point.

Biden Administration Touts Plans to Plant a Billion Trees, Restore Forests Scarred by Wildfires—Why have we not been doing this for the past decade or more?  $260 million is chump change in Washington D.C.  Make it a cool billion dollars.

The Forest Growing in the World’s Hottest Sea—Why isn’t there a massive global campaign to plant mangrove forests wherever feasible?  These forests seem to do so many good things.

Record EV Sales Month Globally! 12% Share For BEVs!—If automakers could get their supply chains sorted out I imagine that this number would be even higher given where gas prices have been lately.

Gasoline Demand in U.S. Falls Below 2020 Lockdown Summer—It is amazing what higher prices will do to people’s behavior.  All right, it is not actually amazing and most economists would tell you this exact thing would have happened.

San Diego Electric School Bus Puts Electricity Into The Grid—Every EV, especially EVs with large battery packs, are also potential energy storage sites.  Combine a lot of large battery packs that spend most of the day parked and you can create a decent sized virtual power plant.

US Postal Service To Increase Its Order Of Electric Vehicles—This seems like the bare minimum we should be doing.

Recycling Lead-Acid Batteries Is Easy. Why Is Recycling Lithium-Ion Batteries Hard?—Effectively and economically recycling lithium ion batteries is one of the primary challenges in the energy transition.

How Does the EU Plan to Cut Gas Usage by 15% this Winter?—This may be the most important action taken this year in Europe.  If Europe can get through the winter without Russian gas it could be both a stepping stone to a greener future and a death knell for Vladimir Putin.

Alliant Energy Doubles Battery Storage Capacity in Iowa—The future is now.

Drake’s Private Jet Shows the Climate Impact of the Influencer Economy—How does a mid-level and fairly mediocre hip hop artist get a private 767?

GOP Gun Bill Loses Support Amid Outrage From Hunting, Conservation Groups—You know something is unpopular when a gun bill sponsored by the GOP loses support from several constituencies who generally do not see eye to eye on much.

There are 40% More Tigers in the World than Previously Estimated—It’s not that there are more tigers, but that we are just better at counting them.

Town of Vail blocks all permits for Vail Resorts housing project—It will be interesting to see if the town of Vail applies the same logic to the next billionaire that wants to build a showcase mansion.  I doubt it.

One Piece a Ride

After most rides my handlebar bag looks like this:

It is amazing to me how many plastic bottles and aluminum cans that I see on the trails here in eastern Iowa.  It is rare that I go an entire ride without taking a moment to pick up someone else’s trash.

Taking a cue from the good people at One Piece a Day, I suggest that all of us cyclists take the opportunity to pick up One Piece a Ride. 

It’s not a lot, but it is better than nothing and your local trails will thank you.

July 2022 Solar PV Production and EV Efficiency

There is a hidden advantage to leaving town for thirteen days in July: your solar PV system can just crank electrons back into the grid.  Check it out:

A total of ~1.15 mWh produced for the month.  Yep, that is more than a megawatt of clean energy from the sun.  It was also just under the prior month’s ~1.2 mWh of production, but also good for the second best month of production in my system’s history.

In terms of electricity production versus consumption my household ended up “in the black” ~466 kWh..  For the year so far we flipped to being “in the black” by 366 kWh.  As a side note, we also flipped back to being net positive since our new meter was installed about two years ago.

In the chaos of getting ready to leave for almost two weeks I missed recording our last billing cycle’s natural gas consumption.  I remember it actually being higher than the same period the prior year, which makes sense given we were gone for two weeks in June 2021.  I will rectify the numbers next month.

For the month of July we drove the Nissan Leaf 628.9 miles at an average efficiency of 6.2 miles per kWh. This works out to a CO2 avoidance of ~737 pounds versus my truck assuming we pulled every watt for the Nissan Leaf from the grid at an average carbon intensity for my region. For the year so far we have avoided ~5,051 pounds of CO2.

Friday Linkage 7/15/2022

This is the last post until August.  I will be out of touch and loving it for the next two weeks.

On to the links…

Renewable Sources Powered 88.5% of MidAmerican Iowa Customers’ Energy in 2021—Damn, almost 90% of MidAmerican’s Iowa customers got their electricity from the wind and more wind power is on the way.

Clarence Thomas Wants to End Marriage Equality. He Has Two Different Strategies to Do It.—This Supreme Court is coming for any rights and/or privileges you currently have that they do not like.  Birth control?  Gone.  Same sex marriage?  Gone.  Interracial marriage?  Well, that one hits a little close to home for Justice Thomas so we might get to keep that one.

The Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Is Going to Be Very, Very Expensive—It would be very ironic if the Supreme Court’s ruling gutting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide pollution ends up being more expensive for industry because the EPA is unable to utilize a free market approach.  Then again, today’s Republicans are not really into actual free markets.

GOP Bill Takes Aim At Gun Tax That Has Funded Conservation For Decades—In today’s Republican Party guns are the be all and end all.  Guns have more rights than you do.  Heck, guns may have more rights than a corporation.

Why You Can’t Put a Price on Biodiversity—Not everything can be financialized and that is a good thing.

Price of Offshore Wind Power Falls to Cheapest Ever Level in UK—The prices for offshore wind keep falling.

Bloomberg Says US Has Hit Electric Car Tipping Point—I think that the tipping point was viable EVs from companies not owned by Elon Musk.

What Happened to the “War on Coal” in West Virginia—The media and national names moved on, but the locals are still fighting.

Texas Claimed It “Fixed” Its Power Grid, but It Doesn’t Seem That Way—ERCOT really did not do much to “fix” the grid following a disastrous 2021 winter storm.  Instead they claimed it was fixed and hoped for the best.

Plant Based Meats Do More to Address Climate Change Than Green Buildings or Zero-Emission Cars—Our mindless love affair with eating animals is our biggest opportunity to reduce emissions on a dollar per dollar basis.

Corporate Demand for Carbon Credits Could Support Climate Ambitions of Tropical Forest Countries—If carbon offset programs funded by corporations can slow or even reverse deforestation in the topics it would be a major win.

The Controversial Plan to Unleash the Mississippi—It may be controversial, but it might be best if we just let the river do what is was designed over millions of years to do.

Sooty Emissions from Private Space Flight Are Way Worse Than We Thought—It turns out shooting yourself into space on a dick shaped rocket is really bad for the environment.

Climate Chaos Finds Its Way Into the Bakery—The impacts of climate change will keep coming and we will not see most of them ahead of time.

Sysco Accuses 4 Largest Beef Processors of Price Fixing—Now the big food distributors are turning on the big meatpackers.  It’s a battle where they can be no real winner or real loser because both sides are pretty awful.

Our Old Muscle Cars Aren’t as Fast as We Thought They Were—When you realize how fast even basic electric cars are today it really is amazing.

Panaracer Gravelking SS Plus+ 2,500 Mile Check-In

500 trouble free miles makes me start to wonder if I have slayed the reliability demons that were bedeviling my wheels for the first part of the riding season.  My fingers are crossed.

The only real comment I have on the tires at the 2,500 mile mark is that these tires wear like iron.  You can still the slight patterning along the centerline on both tires.  Granted, the now front tire is much more faint.  The question I have now is whether these tires can last the rest of the season pushing my replacement Gravelking SS Plus+ in 38c width to next season.  We shall see.

Below you will see how my tires have weathered the riding season so far at various intervals:

Note: I bought these tires with my own money.  Nothing has come to me from Panaracer.  If I were pimping a product I would let you know.

Friday Linkage 7/8/2022

This is the future of the United States under the Republican Party.

Social Security?  Forget it if you are not already retired because the Republican Party does not care about anyone except its current voter base.

Contraception?  Hah.  With the recent Supreme Court decision essentially overturning Roe vs. Wade the Republican Party needs a new object of ire for its most fervent culture warriors.

Guns?  More.  It’s always more when it comes to guns.  More places to carry, more people carrying, and more…just more.
On to the links…

US Supreme Court Rules Against EPA and Hobbles Government Power to Limit Harmful Emissions—I cannot wait until the no talent ass clowns on the Supreme Court tie themselves into knots trying to delineate what exactly defines a “major question” in their interpretation when it comes to something they like to regulate.  Do they know it when they see it?

Texas Law Leads to Proposal to Replace the Term ‘Slavery’ with ‘Involuntary Relocation’—Does it count as being Orwellian if it is just plain ridiculous?  What about a slave who was born on the same plantation where they were kept in bondage?  This slave was not relocated anywhere, involuntary or otherwise.  Just asking for a friend.

Minnesota Just Legalized Edibles After a Republican Didn’t Read the Bill—Republicans…don’t even read the bills anymore.  Seriously, is this not why you have legislative aides who are good at reading proposed legislation?  Oh wait, the staff is probably partisan hacks angling for jobs on cable news.

Rhode Island Passes Soonest 100% Renewable Electricity Commitment In USA—Little Rhode Island wants to be first to the post.

Electricity Grids Aren’t Making the Most of Wind Power—You have to love a “free market” that allows the producer to tell the consumer what they are going to get and the consumer just has to eat it.

A Hawaii Bill Would Limit Solar Power. Gov Ige Plans to Veto It—Calling a power source “firm” is going to be the new way that coal and natural gas try to shore up their position vis a vis renewables.

Power Line Congestion Leads to Wind Turbine Shutdowns, Denting County Budgets—This is why I am big fan of rooftop solar.  It generates power at the location of consumption.

This ‘Sand’ Battery Stores Renewable Energy as Heat—Thermal batteries are an old school idea.  Regardless, this solution has a part to play in the transition to 100% renewable energy.

Joe Biden’s Bold Bet On Vehicle Charging—Just overbuild the charging infrastructure.

Single-Use Plastic is on its Way Out of National Parks. But Why is the Pace so Glacial?—I wonder if the bottled water lobby is trying to figure out if eliminating single use plastics is a “major question” that can’t be delegated to a regulatory agency?

Otters are Thriving in … Iowa?—I have seen what I assume is a pair of these little guys near the Cedar Valley Nature Trail where there is a creek and some wetlands.

Minneapolis Carbon Offset Program Could be One of the Largest Urban Tree Projects in the Nation—Every city in America needs to be signing up to do this like yesterday.

Public Lands are Americans’ Birthright. It’s Our Duty to Defend Them Against New Landgrabs—Every time I see one of those “Respect Private Property” signs in Iowa on a fence row I want to put up a similar sign that says “Respect Public Property.”

Agriculture Accounts for Most of Colorado’s Water Use. How Much Water Savings is Possible on High-Country Hay Meadows?—When the topic of water shortages in the western U.S. comes up it always leads with images of swimming pools, golf courses, and lawns.  However, agriculture is the primary user of most water in the west.

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Disgraced Former EPA Chief, Gets Crushed In Senate Primary—Please, thoughts and prayers to Scott Pruitt for being a loser.

June 2022 Solar PV Production and EV Efficiency

Biggest month ever!  Check it out:

A total of ~1.2 mWh produced for the month.  Yep, that is more than a megawatt of clean energy from the sun.  For some reason the sun felt really intense this month.  There were days when it just felt brutal.

In terms of electricity production versus consumption my household ended up “in the black” ~424 kWh..  For the year so far we are “in the red” ~118 kWh.  We should go net positive by the end of July.

Our natural gas usage always drops in the summer since we are not running any heating equipment save for our water heater.  Still, we managed to use one less therm than the same month a year prior.  So far in 2022 we have used 64 fewer therms of natural gas or about a 14% reduction over 2021.  I have been trying to find a plumber to install a hybrid air source heat pump electric water heater, which would zero out our summer natural gas usage and reduce our total usage by about 150 therms, but so far no dice.  The supply chain problems are really persistent.

For the month of June we drove the Nissan Leaf 1,045.5 miles at an average efficiency of 5.9 miles per kWh.  This was also the biggest month ever.  Why?  Well, with gas prices so high we really prioritized driving the Leaf and took on some carpooling to kids’ summer activities to help out.  It’s pretty awesome driving past gas stations with a gallon of unleaded near $5 knowing that you are driving on sunshine that cost nothing.

This works out to a CO2 avoidance of ~1,217 pounds versus my truck assuming we pulled every watt for the Nissan Leaf from the grid at an average carbon intensity for my region. For the year so far we have avoided ~4,134 pounds of CO2.