Tag Archives: batteries

Friday Linkage 5/3/2019

A while ago I permanently deleted my Facebook account because I felt that the company was a blight on this planet.  Now, Facebook is trying to improve its image by partnering with fact checking organizations to conduct reviews of the news that it features.  Too bad Facebook chose to work with a partisan hack factory funded by the Koch Brothers.

Seriously, this is how Facebook thinks it is going to repair its image.  Good luck with that Zuck.

On to the links…

Iowa State Board Allows Sale of Electric Vehicle Energy by the Kilowatt-Hour—One of the impediments to more publicly available chargers and a reasonable scheme to charge for power is going to be removed in the state of Iowa.  Granted, our retrograde legislature that is a Fox News wet dream right now is going to charge fees on solar power and EVs because…reasons.

Renewables Set To Top Coal Power In The U.S.—The worm has turned.  It is now cheaper to build new solar and wind than it is to operate coal and some natural gas.  Imagine a world where the price of energy increases because of a global shock.  If people are already flocking to renewables what will that future look like?

Solar Power Doubled In Most American Cities In Last 6 Years—I believe it.  In my little slice of the world there were no visible solar systems on anyone’s roof a few years ago.  Now there are several within view of my driveway.  Every time I drive somewhere in town I notice a new system.  Bring it on.

$13.6B Record-Breaking Solar Park Rises from Dubai Desert—This project is just massive.

Japanese Utilities Turn Away from Coal Plans Amid Green Energy Boom—Where is all the coal going to go that Trump wants to dig?

RWE Abandons All Present & Future Coal Plans—It is not going to Germany.

‘Wonder Material’ Phosphorene Could Revolutionize Batteries—I have read about more so called wonder materials than I want to remember.  I am holding out hope that one of these pans out and we get lower cost batteries with excellent range.

New Type of Plastic is a Recycling Dream—Maybe the answer is less plastic as opposed to a better kind of plastic.  Sure, we need to use plastic in some use cases.

Want a Happy Commute? Researchers Point to Travel by Bicycle—It’s better than going by car, but I would not say that all of my days commuting via bicycle are happy.

‘It’s a groundswell’: The Farmers Fighting to Save the Earth’s Soil—We have the solutions.  We just need the will to implement the solutions on a broad scale.

The Case for Carbon Farming in California—What if we looked at the land we use for agriculture as a giant opportunity to capture carbon?  It is my contention that this would be a better paradigm for rural communities than the current economic model of industrial agriculture.

Why You Should Turn Your Lawn into a Meadow—Lawns are the worst.  This is why I have decided to just mow a lot less this summer.

The Surprising Science of Fighting Crime With…Trees—You mean to tell me that if people are not living in a brutalist landscape dominated by concrete and steel that people might actually act more civilized?  Wow, mind blown.  Or not.

Burger King Plans to Roll Out Impossible Whopper across the United States—Well that was quick.  It seems like only yesterday that this was just a test in the St. Louis metro.  Now it is going to be nationwide.

Mission Actually Impossible—People really like the Impossible Burger.  Now, the company just needs to be able to dramatically increase production without sacrificing quality or alienating customers.  I am scared that this is the moment when Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which is going public, are going to run into a lot of trouble.  Fingers crossed.

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Friday Linkage 8/31/2018

It is almost September and I do not know if the United States can get any crazier.  The President of the United States surrounded himself with convicted and admitted felons.  Imagine Barack Obama having a member of his inner circle convicted of or admitting to a felony.  Sean Hannity’s false outrage would still be spewing from the Fox News caldera atop Mount Murdoch.  Right now?  Not so much.

Now the Trump administration is systematically denying American citizens the right to return to the country of their birth.  Why?  Mostly because they are brown people who have no powerful allies in Washington D.C. and with the midterm elections a little more than two months away someone needs to gin up the racists that comprise the Republican party’s base these days.

These are scary times, but do not despair.  We possess the tools to end this budding dystopia.

On to the links…

Here’s House Republicans’ List of All the Trump Scandals They’re Covering Up—If your member of Congress is not demanding hearings and investigations then they are part of the cover up of the Trump administration’s misdeeds.  If the House of Representatives can spend days on emails they can spare a little time to spend on actual corruption.

Environmental Law Experts find Major Legal Flaws in Trump’s Replacement for Clean Power Plan—Surprise, surprise.  When you major objections to something are “coal is good” and “it was created by the black guy” there is bound to be a lack of sound legal reasoning behind the replacement.

Coal Country: EPA Plan Is Short Term Boost, No Solution For Industry Decline—Remember, when Donald Trump leaves office in 2019 or sooner if the federales finally figure out a way to indict a sitting president all of the coal barons who buddied up with the corrupt administration will have no friends.

Research Shows That A Low-Carbon Future Will Be A Renewable Future—That is unless nuclear fusion comes to fruition.  It’s a decade away and it always will be…

Affordable Clean Energy Rules Or Not, Coal Stabbed In The Back Again—At the same time that the Trump administration is trying to prop up coal it is also promoting natural gas, which is one of the primary drivers behind the collapse of the coal industry in America.

Western States Could Save $600 Million By Using More Renewable Energy—Colorado is leading on this front, but the other three states on this list are really lagging behind their true potential.  Ironically, Wyoming seems to be making some progress because it sees the development of wind power as something it can export to the Front Range in Colorado.  It’s not coal, but it’s an extractive mindset.

US Army Installs Largest Battery Storage System—The military has great need to be able to operate independent from the grid in times of natural disaster or conflict.  Combined with renewable energy generated on site a military base could become a self-sufficient island in terms of electricity.

Minnesota Could Reap $30 Billion Driving on Electricity—The dollar savings are one thing, but for a state like Minnesota that produces no oil for gasoline or diesel but does produce a lot of electricity from wind turbines the dollars that are spent can be kept in the state.

Planting a Mix of Tree Species ‘Could Double’ Forest Carbon Storage—One area where we do not focus enough energy and resources on is reforestation.  Degraded and denuded lands need help to regain vegetation coverage, especially in a climate change paradigm.  Effectively locking up more carbon is icing on the cake.

Photos: Scenes from the Yellowstone Fires — Then and Now—As the west burns and the fires become more common, it is important to remember that fire is part of this landscape and that the land can be restored.  Perhaps with a little help from humans we can accelerate the progress just like we accelerated the destruction.

Here’s How Climate Change is Affecting Your Cup of Coffee—It might be time for pumpkin spice lattes, but climate change is a real threat to actual coffee.

Republicans Tout Hemp’s Potential—Just like marijuana legalization made strange bedfellows of libertarians and hippies, hemp is finding advocates in staunch right wingers looking to toss a life line to struggling agricultural communities.

How to Identify Truly Green Products—Most of the stuff out there is just dreck.

No Helmets, No Problem: How the Dutch Created a Casual Biking Culture—I see lots of people in lycra riding bikes where I live, but a casual bike culture has been slow to develop.  On the weekends people will cycle between bars in downtown Cedar Rapids, but it is not an everyday part of a person’s life.  We need to develop a casual bike culture.

‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans—I may rag on baby boomers a lot, but I believe it is because that particular generation is due some serious scorn after decades of general misbehavior.  I wonder what the correlation is between the rise in older Americans declaring bankruptcy and the general ageing of the baby boomers into that cohort.

Friday Linkage 7/6/2018

I absolutely love the discussion about civility in national politics right now.  I love how people like Donald Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or anyone else associated with the right wing can claim to hold any shred of credibility with regard to being civil when these are the same people who have given us the likes of Steve King, Louie Gohmert, and others.  Heck, they gave us Donald Trump who is literally the most vulgar person to hold the office of President of the United States in the history of the country.  Come at me with a different person, please.

We have truly entered the straight up Orwellian dystopia phase of the current political cycle.  Up is down, black is white, and Trump is right.  If you are not with the dear leader, regardless of where his policy position is that day, you are against the dear leader even if you have done nothing but maintain long held beliefs.  Just wait until they start burning books that do not have more space dedicated to pictures than words.

On to the links…

Scott Pruitt Asked Aides To Find His Wife A $200,000 Job—Scott Pruitt may be the most corrupt person in Washington D.C. since the administration of Warren G. Harding.

It’s Time for the Republican Congress to Impeach the EPA’s Scott Pruitt—This is not the opinion of a liberal mouthpiece.  It is coming from a business publication.  Here is the thing I wonder about.  When the administration changes how will Republicans react to the smallest of infractions by a Democratic administration?  What sort of faux outrage will people like Chuck Grassley manufacture after spending the prior four years closing their eyes, plugging their ears, and screaming “La, la, la!” while Trump and his cronies looted America?

This is how People Tried to Teach Scott Pruitt about Climate Science—Remember, this is the man in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.  You can’t teach Scott Pruitt because Scott Pruitt is bought and paid for by the oil and gas lobby.

Path to Zero Emissions Starts Out Easy, but Gets Steep—Does anyone really doubt that this is true?  However, we will not get to the innovation part unless we start on the easy stuff first.  If history is any guide to the future, however, advances in energy production will come along that moderate the steepness of the deployment curve.

Coal Power Plants Retiring Quickly During Trump Administration—It looks like we are already trying to get coal out of the picture.  Despite Trump’s best efforts—which have probably slowed down retirements but not stopped the trend—coal is not the way we will generate electricity in the future.  Maybe he really should try and bring back Blockbuster?  Or ToyRUs?

Solar Power Employs Twice As Many As Coal In US—For every coal mining job Trump claims he is trying to save, which is really code for him just trying to save coal barons’ paychecks at the expense of everyone else on the planet, he is endangering more solar jobs on the other side of the ledger.  This is a losing hand that he is playing to the bitter end.  Good luck with that Donny two scoops.

Electric Vehicles Alone Could Cause Peak Oil Demand within Decade—Peak oil used to be about Hubbert’s Peak and the decline of production based on economically producible reserves, but maybe the worm has turned and we will just demand to use less oil.  I like to think that I am contributing ever so slightly by biking into work several days a week.  Demand destruction is real.

Climate Change is Making it Harder to Revive Damaged Land—Just add this to the list of things that climate change is going to make harder for future generations.

Call to Turn Oil Rigs into Nature Reserves—Why don’t we just take every offshore rig at the end of its life and turn it into a combination artificial reef and offshore wind turbine?

UK Renewable Electricity Generation Tops 30%, Scotland Increases By 11%—The U.K. generated over 30% of its electricity in the third quarter via renewables.  Not for a day or a month, but an entire quarter.  In the same report it was noted that for the entirety of 2017 Scotland generated almost 70% of its electricity from renewable sources.  The future is now folks.

Battery-Backed Solar Power to Undercut Coal in China by 2028—So, once China figures out how to cut the price of solar with storage what is the market for energy going to look like?

Solar Power Fuels Savings, Consumer Loyalty and Competition Among Craft Brewers—You mean to tell me that people like it when their favorite beer makers also believe that the world is a better place with more solar power?  I would have never thought such a thing were possible.

The Dirty Little Secret Behind “Clean Energy” Wood Pellets—Do any biomass energy schemes ever work out as intended?  It always seems like the promise is predicated on a bunch of ifs.  If the forest is replanted or if the forest is not clear cut and so on.

The US has a 1.39 billion-pound surplus of cheese. Let’s try to visualize that.—I am stuck here thinking about what a 1.39 billion pound round of cheese would be like sitting on the mall in Washington D.C.:

Cheese_Stock__1_

Friday Linkage 2/16/2018

There are no words.  There are no prayers.  Nothing matters except action.  The United States is the only developed country that accepts routine mass gun violence.  Every other developed country in the world has acted in some way to address this problem, but the United States has failed to act because a large percentage of its politicians are in the pocket of an industrial gun lobby that masquerades as a defender of constitutional liberties.

On to the links…

The Outdoor Recreation Industry Generated $374 Billion in 2016. It’s Ready to Wield that Influence in Washington and on Wall Street.—The debate over public lands and the giveaways by the Trump administration should highlight the power and clout that outdoor recreation can wield.  Politicians need to realize that when the fossil fuel industry comes knocking its interests are in direct opposition to a large outdoor recreation industry that can generate economic activity without the environmental degradation.

Survey Says: The American Public is Souring on Coal—No one wants these plants in their communities,  no one wants to deal with the waste in their environment, and no one wants to hear Trump talk about beautiful, clean coal.

MidAmerican Energy Completes Two New Wind Farms in Iowa—The amazing thing is that there is a lot more wind power in the plan for the state and older turbines are being replaced with newer, more powerful turbines generating more clean power from the wind.

2018 Solar Power Rocks Report Grades Every State On Solar Friendliness—How does your state compare:

Solar-Power-Rocks-Chart.jpg

Major Utility Fails to get West Virginia Customers to Bail out its Aging Coal Plant—Right wing coal barons love the free market except when it is crushing their pet fuel.  The plan here was just ridiculous.  FirstEnergy wanted to take a non-competitive coal plant supplying a deregulated energy market and transfer it to a regulated markets thus burdening the regulated market with a costly energy source that no one wanted.

Mix of Solar and Batteries Is Beating Natural Gas—This is where the future begins.  Having the ability to store and dispatch renewable energy allows for the leveling of demand across the day to match production which moderates the variability of renewable production.

Australia’s Solar Energy Capacity Could Almost Double in One Year—These are monster numbers.  Imagine if the western United States deployed solar at these kind of rates?

Total Wind Capacity Surges While Total Number Of Turbines May Soon Plummet: Indulging In 4 Decades Of Danish Wind Energy Data—This is a treasure trove of data.  The opportunity to replace existing sited turbines with infrastructure in place with more powerful turbines represents a mind boggling opportunity to deploy more power in a quick manner.

Where Does The IOC’s Money Go?—Let me give you a hint: the billions do not go to the local communities or the cities or the athletes.  The money goes into the pockets of the IOC which is a corrupt cabal extorting money from countries with the promise of global goodwill.  Remember this as your city might consider bidding for the games.

Friday Linkage 10/2/2015

The Tesla Model X came out this week and I want one. But, at a starting price of $80K I might be better off looking at used Nissan Leafs costing under $10K. When will the Model 3 come out?

Note, there will be no Friday Linkage next week since I will be spending the week in Los Angeles evaluating suppliers for my job.

On to the links…

Coal Mine Starts Continue To Decline—This is the second step on the journey to the death of coal. If fewer mines are opening than fewer mines will be operating further eroding the ability of the fuel to be effectively and efficiently pulled from the ground. Let’s kick coal while it is down.

Is Cargill Backsliding on its Promise to End Deforestation?—Few large corporations are as hard to pin down on issues than Cargill. As a privately-held firm it is not beholden to the same reporting rules that allow shareholders to extract information from publicly-held firms. Perhaps public pressure can take some of the slack and get Cargill to be a good corporate citizen. I am not holding my breath.

Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Is Wasted Annually, New Study Shows—Food waste is the single biggest environmental issue that we have control of in our own homes and through our consumption patterns. Every piece of food that we throw away is a wasted opportunity to reduce our impact on the world.

Batteries May Curb Sales by Power Companies, Moody’s Says—If the large scale deployment of energy storage technology is truly able to reduce peak demand power companies may lose a major source of profit. Power becomes very expensive and profitable for power companies when it comes at peak times.

Solar Hit ~7% Of Spain’s Electricity This Summer—Damn, 7% from solar is impressive any way you slice it.

Brazil Doubles Its Solar PV Target To 7 GW By 2024—What is the target in the good ol’ U.S.A.? Right, we do not have a national target for solar.

North Carolina Passes 1 GW Of Installed Solar—That seems like a lot of solar for one state that is not known as a particularly sunny locale.

Fracking has a Big Water Footprint, but That’s Not the Whole Story—The extraction of fossil fuels is a story about water. Without a lot of water it would not be possible.

Electric Buses Could Lead to Significant Savings Even for Smaller Cities—Why the government is not pushing electric buses and garbage trucks I will never understand. These vehicles seem like perfect candidates for conversion.

Saving Electricity—Spend a few minutes going through the various categories to see where you could be saving a lot of watts. Since I cannot get solar panels in the near term—thanks homeowner’s insurance—I am going to try and reduce my rolling twelve month usage below 300 kWh.

‘Thirsty’ Concrete Absorbs 880 Gallons of Water a Minute to Minimize Urban Floods—Why is this stuff not replacing hard concrete and asphalt in southern climes affected by heavy seasonal rains?

Friday Linkage 3/27/2015

Congressional Republicans are the best. In both the versions of the federal budget released by the House and Senate the signature achievement of the Obama administration—Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act—is repealed. However, taxes enacted by that law are used to help close budget holes even though the entire law is supposedly repealed. Gotta’ love the voodoo economics of Boehner and McConnell’s caucuses.

On to the links…

Industry Experts Believe In 70% Renewable Electricity By 2050—The climate might be out of time by then, but a growing consensus is pointing to a future where we no longer need to burn fossil fuels to meet our energy needs. Let’s accelerate this transition.

Costa Rica Has Gotten All Of Its Electricity From Renewables For 75 Days Straight—Heck, Costa Rica was 100% renewable for more than 2 months. Imagine that kind of power mix on a global scale. A lot of this success is based on hydropower being available—just ask drought stricken California how much hydropower can disappear—but it is amazing nonetheless.

North Carolina Solar Boosting North Carolina Economy—Renewable energy is good for local jobs. Period.

SunPower’s 379 MW Solar Power Plant (“Largest In The World”) Mostly Done, 6 Months Ahead Of Schedule—It feels like solar is really a snowball rolling downhill picking up size and speed. You can either be for the change or get run over by the change. Choose wisely.

California Is The First State To Get More Than 5 Percent Of Its Power From Large Solar Projects—Combine utility scale solar with distributed or rooftop solar and you have a winning combination for the renewable energy future.

For Every New Coal Plant Being Built, Two Are Being Cancelled—The story would be a lot more dire for coal if China could kick its addiction to the black rock. In Europe the ratio of halted, shelved, or cancelled to completed coal projects is a healthy 7:1.

Utility Company To Buy Coal Plant Just To Shut It Down—Coal is dying and when private companies are taking these kind of actions you know that no matter how much Mitch McConnell babbles about a “war on coal” the time of King Coal has passed.. Good riddance.

Energy Giant Enel Plans Coal Phaseout—Let the floodgates open and begin the epic decline of coal.

The Biggest Source Of U.S. Carbon Emissions Is Coal Extracted From Public Lands—Maybe now is the time to really declare a “war on coal” and stop the extraction of coal on public lands in the U.S. If you want to dig up coal and fry the climate…fine, do it on private land. See how well that plan works out.

Climate Change: China Official Warns of ‘Huge Impact’—China is in trouble in a changing climate. A country with a long history of famines this is a huge admission.

Back from the Brink: Success Stories of the U.S. Endangered Species Act—The Endangered Species Act is a punching bag for right wing blowhards to criticize decisions made in the defense of spotted owls or snail darters. Rarely, if ever, do these same blowhards take a moment to consider the success of the legislation.

Sea Turtles Test Urban Waters In Southern California ‘Jacuzzi’—Just an interesting little story that reminds me of Electric Beach on Oahu.

New Report Shows That The Most Popular Weed-Killer In The U.S. Probably Causes Cancer—It just makes me seethe when I see people buying jugs of RoundUp to kill weeds in their yards. Nothing like putting a nasty chemical in your yard just to kill a plant you have deemed undesirable. Never mind the whole might cause cancer thing.

Road Salt is Polluting our Rivers—Every winter I wonder about the salt and crud laden runoff from snow covered roads polluting waterways. It looks like my hunch was correct. Maybe everyone should just give crews time to clear the roads before jumping out to drive on the white stuff.

Depaving Cities, Undamming Rivers—Here’s How We’re Undoing the Damage—If we are going to have a livable planet we are going to have to not just preserve what we can but also rehabilitate what we have damaged.

Maryland Has A Plan To Turn Chicken Poop Into Energy-We should eat less factory farmed chicken and other meat, but what is raised produces a lot of poop. We should use that by-product to do something useful like generate electricity. 200,000 tons per year is a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.

Ten Tips to Save You 25,000 Gallons of Water—World Water Day was this week and here is an infographic to get you thinking about conserving water, our most precious resource:

Ten-Tips-to-reduce-water-Infographic-2

Friday Linkage 6/22/2012

What a difference a couple of overnight storms can make.  This week we had two decent overnight storms that drenched eastern Iowa and tipped the scales away from drought.  Everything was much greener by Thursday afternoon and the air had lost its arid edge.  It was like a return to a normal and pleasant Iowa summer.

On to the links…

Gardener Sues City of Tulsa for Tearing Up Her Garden—Lawns blow me away.  It’s okay to have a landscape that requires constant attention and is frequently doused in nasty chemicals, but if someone dares to do something different the city comes down like Thor’s hammer.  WTF?  Then again, this is Oklahoma.   I guess it’s not just the wind sweeping down the plains but the city’s scythes as well.

What to Buy Organic—This story got a lot of play, but it makes people’s decision easier at the grocery store.  Here is a list of the produce to buy when it is available as organic because the pesticides and other chemicals used are so bad or used in high quantities.

How Climate Change is Fueling Western Wildfires—Unless you are an ass like James Inhofe, it is staring you right in the face that our changing climate is fueling ever nastier western wildfires.  Granted, part of the problem is a hundred year legacy of not allowing any fires to burn so the hillsides are full of tinder and the encroachment of development means these fires now threaten homes where before there was no damage to private property.

Renewable Energy in the EU—The Guardian in the United Kingdom has an excellent look at the state of renewable energy in the European Union.   In 2010 the EU 27 got 12.4% of electricity from renewables with Norway leading the pack at 61.1%, which includes hydropower.  Those crafty Norwegians are always up to something.

U.S. Renewable Energy Future—The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a study showing how the U.S. could greatly increase the share of renewable energy.  Senators from oil and gas states will fight any mention of this report tooth and nail.  Why?  Because they are bought and paid for.  Ass clowns.

German Solar Installation Cost at $2.24 per Watt, the U.S. is at $4.44—Here is why the U.S. is going to have a hard time getting critical mass on solar—the balance of system costs are driving the installed system costs too high.  It used to be the panels were too expensive, but that is no longer the case as the price per watt of a panel has come down immensely.  Now it is all the other equipment and, more importantly, the red tape.  For once I will agree with Republicans—there is too much regulation and red tape surrounding getting solar installed.  Somehow I do not see Mitt Romney taking up that banner anytime soon.  No Koch money in it.

Let’s Add a Little Dirt to Our Diets—I am not advocating a lunch of top soil and compost.  Neither is the author.  Rather, the central thesis is that our increasingly clinical and clean world is depriving our bodies of the bacteria that have evolved to ward off various maladies.  With the recent completion of a census of the bacteria on the human body it will become increasingly clear that we need a little filth.

Battery Costs Down to $250/kWh by 2015—This is one of those boring but important kind of stories.  Due to improving technology and a glut of capacity, industry analysts are predicting that lithium-ion battery packs will cost just $250 per kilowatt hour by 2015.  Currently, a lithium-ion battery pack costs approximately $700 per kilowatt hour.  This is a great reduction in cost that will allow electric vehicles to come down in price and, thus, speed adoption.

Oil Rig Reef—The dormant offshore oil platform High Island 389-A is supposed to be demolished soon.  However, its structure beneath the surface of the water has become a wonderland for aquatic life.  It’s even becoming something of a reef:

Isn’t there a better fate than destruction?

Why Wooden Bikes Ride Better and Look Stunning—Just reading this article made me want to get a wooden bike.  Until I saw the price tag.  The sunk coast of my sixteen year old Bontrager is looking better and better.   I feel like I should apologize to my old bike for even looking at a younger model.