Friday Linkage 9/2/2016

It’s September and that means it is time for football, cool weather, and waxing skis.  Oh yeah, I am ready to spend an afternoon in the garage listening to the Hawkeye on AM800 waxing the family’s sticks before the first snowfall.  How many days until the lifts start turning?

On to the links…

California is About to Find Out What a Truly Radical Climate Policy Looks Like—SB 32 is a game changer.  As goes California so goes the United States.  What happens when Washington and Oregon sign on to this concept?  I doubt we will see a repeat of what happened in Ecotopia.

The $8 Trillion Fight Over How to Rid America of Fossil Fuel—Here is where things have changed.  Economists and social scientists no longer debate whether it is possible to be done with fossil fuels.  Now it is a matter of how much it will cost.  That is a massive change.

Floridians Overwhelmingly Support Solar In Tuesday Vote—Put policies favoring renewable energy in front of voters and, generally, the voters overwhelmingly approve the measures.  Florida was not a state known for its solar friendly policies.  Now over 70% of voters in the Sunshine State made it easier and more affordable to go solar.  Progress marches on.

We’re Nearing Peak Energy—On a per capita or per $ of GDP basis we no longer consume more energy.  Granted, as living standards across the globe increase consumption of energy will increase but it does not need to happen in the same way it did for the West during the 20th century.

Renewables = 43% Of New Electricity Capacity In USA In H1 2016—Renewables now account for 19% of U.S. electrical generating capacity and actual generation stands at 17%.  Coal has now fallen to 28% of U.S. electrical generation.

Will Texas Surpass California as King of Solar?—Texas can be accused of a lot of things, but it cannot ever be accused of going small.  Just look at the anticipated solar connections for the coming years:


In 2016 there are almost twice as many anticipated connections with financial backing than what already is connected to the grid.  2017 looks even bigger.

The Eastern US Could Get a Third of its Power from Renewables within 10 Years. Theoretically.—The problem right now is that everything with regard to renewable energy rollout is theoretical.  Smaller electrical grids have employed more intermittent renewable power, but nothing has been done on a grid as large and creaky as what exists in the U.S.

The Price of Solar Is Declining to Unprecedented Lows—Solar, already cheap by historical standards, declined in price anywhere from 5 to 12 percent in 2015.

Solar Sold in Chile at Lowest Ever, Half Price of Coal—It seems like every day that I am reading an article where an energy auction leads to a new renewable energy price record.  It also looks like coal cannot compete anymore.

Burning Trash To Create Energy: The Complicated Journey To Zero Waste—The incineration of trash to generate electricity has been controversial forever.  In a world where landfill space is increasingly hard to come by and regulated to an even greater degree, burning our garbage will become a favored solution in a lot of communities.

Old Construction Tech is New Again at Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver HQ—Cross laminated timber may get all the love, but good old nail laminated timber has a place.  Heck, if you have the inclination you can build using nail laminated timber without all the hassle of dealing with CLT manufacturers.  Let’s see…it’s green and the technology is established.  I say go for it.

We Grow Enough Food. Getting It On To People’s Plates Is The Problem.—A friend of mine who was a specialist in rural development—code for built roads in foreign countries for the military—said that the problem of food in the developing world was efficient storage and transit.  He would tell me stories about storehouses of food spoiling before getting to market for want of transport or of food loads being damaged because roads were shit.

The Stark Difference in How Doctors and the Government View Marijuana—Physician Nathaniel P. Morris is getting a lot of press for his piece on marijuana amongst medical professionals.  His words say it best:

For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought.

We don’t see cannabis overdoses. We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption — something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.


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