Friday Linkage 9/9/2016

The long national nightmare has entered the stretch run.  It is finally after Labor Day, so the interminable presidential election is within the boundaries of what is considered the “traditional” campaign season. The only downside is now that I am watching football with an over-the-air antenna I will probably get to see a lot of political ads here in battleground Iowa.  Wasn’t the caucus enough for you people?

On to the links…

The Most Impressive State for Clean Energy—I will let out a spoiler, it’s Iowa.  That is right folks.  Our governor may be an imperial bonehead and residents in the western part of the state love them some Steve King, but we have got it going on when it comes to renewable energy.  By the way, there are some serious projects in the works across the state that are only going to drive the numbers up.

The Renewable Energy Future is Here – it’s Just Unevenly Distributed—As someone who lives in a renewable energy superstar state—see above—it is hard to understand why certain places are not taking advantage of their natural resources in the same way.  I have never understood why Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas are not neck and neck with Iowa in terms of wind deployment.  Okay, Kansas is a nut job state so I will ask the question about the other three.

The Number of Coal-Fired Power Plants Under Development Saw a Big Hit in the First Half of 2016—From January 2016 to June 2016 the amount of planned coal fired electrical generation declined by almost 130 GW.  If you do the math that represents the total coal generating capacity of the European Union.  What is even better is that some of the remaining 930 or so GWs of coal generating capacity may be “zombie” projects that are practically, but not officially, dead yet.

3 Big Trends Shaking Up the Energy Industry—Energy is not a sector known for disruptive innovation over short periods of time.  For the bulk of the Twentieth Century and into the Twenty First it was a story about coal, oil, and gas.  Recently, cheap solar and wind along with electric vehicles threaten to upend the dominance of fossil fuels.

Here Comes the Sun: Solar Power Is Offically Reshaping Our Energy Production—I remember a time—okay, it was the 1990s—when solar power was the province of hippies and back-to-land types who bought land where no power company would run a high voltage line.  Now, it is getting so cheap as to become ubiquitous.

Solar + Storage In Australia Could Be Cheaper Than The Grid By Next Year—What if it was cheaper to generate your own power and store it on site rather than be connected to the grid.  Is this the ultimate in demand destruction.

100% Solar?—The fact that we are even asking this question has to be a paradigm shift.

How Climate Change Could Jam The World’s Ocean Circulation—Granted, this was part of the plot to the ridiculous disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, but there are legitimate scientists not played by Dennis Quaid who are worried about the so-called “conveyer belt” in the oceans that keeps places like England somewhat livable.

Hawaii and Other Big Marine Protected Areas ‘Could Work Against Conservation’—There is an argument to be made that by saving remote oceanscapes we are forgetting about the threat to the waters close to shore.  I tend to believe that all oceans are deserving of our protection regardless of location.

Most Humpback Whales Removed from Endangered List, but Threats Remain—We sure do love our apex species when it comes to conservation.  This is a good story, overall, and it shows that we can do something about our horrible impact on this planet’s natural systems.

How New York Grocery Stores Plan to Use Ice Batteries—I remember when people started talking about the smart grid and how ice batteries could be used to level cooling demand.  The smart grid as envisioned never really panned out, but some people kept at the technologies.  While ice batteries are cool, I will never understand why we do not ask that grocery stores stop displaying goods in open coolers.

Why Three-Day Weekends Could Help to Save the World—I do not know about saving the world, but it might do a lot for our frazzled psyches.  I know that Utah tried something similar post-2008 financial crisis and did not see the savings materialized, but that may have had more to do with no enough non-government employers signing on to reach a critical mass.

Barcelona Unveils “Superblocks”—Barcelona is already an amazing city.  Despite its abundant street infrastructure it is an amazing city for pedestrians in the opinion of this American, but residents are asking if there is more that can be done to make it a city for people as opposed to cars.


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