Friday Linkage 9/23/2016

For everyone who does not think elections matter or who think that a protest vote for one of the fringe third party candidates is a political expression worth something more than the smug feeling it give than I raise you one Donald J. Trump.  His negatives are outstanding and his positives are…well…non-existent.

Here is a thought exercise for a Friday morning.  Imagine all of the progress that has been made over the past eight years in terms of renewable energy.  Now, imagine four years of Donald J. Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan.  How much of that progress will get rolled back?  All of it and more.

On to the links…

Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions is Outdated—If there is one thing you do today watch Joe Romm speak about the clean energy revolution.  In a nutshell, science did its job and made cheap renewable power possible along with some other compelling solutions.  Political will is what stands in the way of further progress.

How Energy and Conservation Became Partisan Issues—It all comes back to electoral politics and optics.  Conservative pundits and advisors saw an issue they could use to create a schism among voters.  They exploited this schism over and over again to gain electoral advantage.  Thus, the battle lines for today have been drawn.

Most States on Track to Meet Emissions Targets They Call Burden—So, the Clean Power Plan set targets for states to meet in order to improve air quality, etc.  A lot of “red” states cried that these rules were burdensome, job killing, anti-business, and the whole host of usual right wing screeds.  However, it looks like most states are on a path to meet the goals.  Huh?

Graphic Shows Surface Area Required to Power California with 100% Renewables—Remember, some of this area may already be covered with a building or a parking lot so there would not be an additional loss of land for power product but rather a second use:


Solar Rooftop Revolution Fizzles in U.S. on Utility Pushback—Nobody said the revolution was going to be easy.  If I told you that an entrenched business with guaranteed revenue streams was going to face disruption it would be natural to assume that said business would fight hard to maintain its status.  Guess what?  Utilities are doing exactly that.

Aging Coal Fleet a Factor in Record Plant Retirements—This is what the end looks like.  Companies stop making investments in infrastructure and when it comes time to assess the cost-benefit analysis there is no way that an aging coal plant can be made to look viable in an era of cheap renewable energy.

Coal’s Last Gamble: A Choking Industry Bets on One More Big Score—Does this remind you of a heist movie where a group of criminals get together for one last job to set them up for retirement?  That always goes well, doesn’t it?

Solar Just Hit its Lowest Price Ever—2.42 cents per kilowatt hour is cheap power.  Literally pennies.

First Wave-Produced Electricity in U.S. goes Online in Hawaii—The U.S. is behind a lot of other nations when it comes to developing and deploying waver power—surprise, surprise—but Hawaii is getting in on the act.  The thing is that wave power, like offshore wind, can bring a lot of reliable renewable energy close to where people live.

World’s Largest Airport-Based Solar Farm makes Creative use of Land to Generate Clean Energy—Why isn’t every airport using the land surrounding their runways in such a way?  We need to be asking these questions.

Can Reusing Spent Nuclear Fuel Solve Our Energy Problems?—I do not know what to do with nuclear power.  It produces carbon free electricity, but it also happens to produce nuclear waste.  What if someone figured out a way to reuse the nuclear waste we had already made in a way that produced carbon free power?  Now there is something I think people can get behind.

France Leads the Charge Against Single-Use Plastics—France is a challenging place to love, but I love their approach to eliminating the use of single use plastics.

California Governor Backs Rules on Cow, Landfill Emissions—It is going to be called the “cow fart” bill, but tackling emissions from sources other than power plants and cars is critical to gaining the upper hand in the fight against climate change.

Toyota Prius Chief Designer Admits Some EVs Already Cheaper To Manufacture Than Hybrids—Really?  I cannot imagine why a car with a single drivetrain would be cheaper to produce than a car with a dual mode drivetrain.  Oh yeah, it’s the batteries but those are now cheap enough to make a car for $37,500 that can travel more than 200 miles on a single charge.

California Seed Sharing Bill Signed into Law—Seed sharing may not seem like a big deal, but with consolidation happening at a pretty frightening pace in the agricultural services industry it is likely that grassroots initiatives like seed sharing will be important in the future.

Drugs Kill More People Than Cars or Guns—If you do not think there is an opioid problem in the United States then you need to read this article.


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