Tag Archives: Cape Wind

Friday Linkage 3/6/2015

I do not know if is a function of human derived climate change or the fact that weather in the Midwest can be schizophrenic, but we have seen the temperature go from 35 on Monday down to negative 5 on Thursday and back up to 35 by Friday afternoon. Whiplash anyone?

On to the links…

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts—After much public pressure and bad behavior on Ringling Bros. part the misuse of elephants as entertainment appears to be coming to an end. It is too bad that these animals are still going to live in a facility run by Ringling Bros. More pressure is needed to get these animals to a real sanctuary.

How Global Warming Helped Cause the Syrian War—If you do not believe that global warming and climate change are a threat to national security you are probably a stooge getting payments from the Koch Brothers or Exxon.

The U.S. Just Got One Step Closer To Regulating Airplane Carbon Emissions—Air travel is a huge source of carbon emissions. Regulating these emissions is a big deal. There is progress being made. If you ever doubt the importance of the election in 2016 remember that a Republican president would roll back any of the progress that has been made on issues like these. Those are the stakes.

Solar Energy’s Unexpected Conservative Backers—The price is right and the technology is available. It finally looks like the political roadblocks to widespread solar adoption are falling as conservative—just not the right wing of the right wing—politicians and pundits are jumping on the bandwagon.

Google Invests $300 Million in SolarCity Rooftop Solar Installations—So, $300M supports at least 25,000 solar installations. Imagine if we just stopped subsidizing oil and gas to the tune of billions of dollars and funneled that same amount of money into funds deploying solar? I know, it’s crazy talk.

Solyndra’s Fall was Great for Solar, Just Ask Henry Ford—The shakeout in the solar industry was good for the industry as a whole and consumers because it got rid of the weaker players or non-competitive technologies. It is the sign of a maturing market.

Why Utility-Scale Solar is Booming on the East Coast—Solar is not just about the sunny climes west of the Mississippi.

“Countertop” Flow Battery Is Coal-Crushing Energy Storage On Steroids—Cheap and abundant energy storage is the killer technology for distributed renewables. With this technology the peaks and valleys of energy production and demand can be leveled out without the need for fossil fuel base load power.

Deepwater Gets Financing for First US Offshore Wind Farm—Cape Wind’s financing appears to be in trouble, but this wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island might go forward. It’s a small project—only five 6 megawatt turbines—but think of it as a proof of concept that could lead to a lot more deployment.

Electricity Cost Decreases By 30% In Kenya Due To Geothermal—Where available and appropriate, geothermal is a wicked good renewable energy choice.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Really Better for You, the Animal and the Planet?—The moral of the story is that we should eat a lot less meat, especially a lot less beef.

Minneapolis Compost Rules Scrutinized with Pets in Mind—Someone’s pet gets into a compost bin that is not their own and it is the fault of the compost program that the dog got sick. How come no one asks the question about the dog owner’s responsibility to keep their pet from ingesting scraps bound for a compost facility?

Amsterdam is Out of Bicycle Parking Spaces, so it’s Building 40,000 More—If I ever had to pick someone other than the U.S. to live it would be the Netherlands. It’s the only place I have seen with high tech bike parking right next to a train station and a giant parking ramp for bicycles in the city center.

10,000 Elephants in the Room: I Made It Through CPAC Without Puking—Granted, every major political conference brings out the crazies. However, CPAC seems to have more than its fair share of whack jobs in Duck Dynasty garb, gun nuts, John Birch types, and whatever is left of the Tea Party.

3 Vile Myths too Many Food Companies are Shoving Down our Throats—Like urban legends, these food myths refuse to die.

Starve a Landfill: Efficiency in the Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste—Everything but the oink became a sign of the lengths the industrial food machine would go to extract profit from the slaughter of animals, but the same principle needs to be applied in our homefront war on global warming. With so much food waste in the U.S. it is imperative that we waste less in order to live better.

11 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste Today—Sometimes we forget about the little things that we should be doing to make this planet a better place. Just a friendly link reminder.

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Friday Linkage 2/28/2014

It’s the final day of February and it is cold.  Like polar vortex cold.  I know that global warming is actually global climate change and weather extremes are only going to get worse, but I am really looking forward to some warmer weather.  I’ll probably be complaining about the heat and drought in a few months.

On to the links…

Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade—It’s not all bad news all the time.  Maybe all the attention that is being given to children’s activity levels and food consumption is paying off in healthier children.

99 Percent of U.S. New Power Generation Added in January Came from Renewable Energy—The future is renewables and every month new numbers come out proving the point.  Sure, coal and other fossil fuels will play a role in our future energy plans but that role is increasingly marginalized.   Dig it.

Cape Wind Could be First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Operating by 2016—It looks like Cape Wind has secured the necessary financing and could become the first U.S. offshore wind farm in operation by 2016.  I will believe it when I see it because I do not think the legal wrangling and monkey wrenching by moneyed interests is done quite yet.

Colorado Becomes First State to Regulate Methane Emissions from Fracking—Colorado is the first, but it will not be the last.  The willy nilly expansion of fracking in the U.S. has caused a lot of people to reexamine their support of oil and gas drilling.

Oil Spill Shuts down 65 Miles of Mississippi River—I have lived all my life in states bordering the Mississippi River and for almost two decades I lived in a river town along the Mississippi River.  It’s a commercial waterway in every sense of the word, but the way that we treat the river is a tragedy.

How Ultra-Conservative Utah Became a Bastion of Environmental Activism—It’s a disservice to conservatives to lump them into a single bloc.  As if a religious or social conservative is also a fiscal conservative.  We tend to view the right as a monolithic bloc and the left as a patchwork coalition of interests.  As demographics shift and politics shatter, the right is looking more like the left every day.

Colorado Expects to Reap Tax Bonanza From Legal Marijuana Sales—Here’s something everyone can get behind.  The real story is not just about the new revenue being brought in, but the funds not being spent on enforcement of petty marijuana crimes.  If there was ever a win-win for states it is a legalization regimen like Colorado.

Giant Slaughterhouse Recalls Fancy Grass-Fed Beef After Processing “Diseased and Unsound Animals”—It’s not just the mystery meat in your Hot Pocket that got recalled, but high end grass fed beef as well.  If all slaughtering operations are centralized in massive facilities then we lose some resiliency in the system.  On a separate note, what is the nastiest Hot Pocket flavor?  Gotta’ be Spicy Beef Nacho.

Just How Much does it Cost Growers to Give us Cheap Bananas?—The high price of “cheap” food is something we should all be concerned about because it is not sustainable and it is not justifiable given the long term consequents to people or the environment.

Colorado Tumbleweed Explosion Creating Hazards and Headaches for Many—The stories about roadways being entirely covered and buildings getting lost in massive waves of tumbleweeds are amazing.  It’s like something out of stories from the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

California Endangered Species: Plastic Bags—There is the old school tumbleweeds clogging Colorado roadways and there is the modern tumbleweed—the t-shirt plastic bag.  When are we going to finally just give up on these wholesale?

Why the Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua Could Be a Very Bad Idea—The reemergence of a plan to build a canal across Nicaragua to supplant the Panama Canal is like some b-movie bad guy.  It’s a plan that will never completely die no matter how many dreams, reputations, careers, and lives are shattered by it.

Are Elevated Bicycle Highways the Future of Transportation?—I do not think that widespread adoption of elevated bicycle highways is going to be the future of transportation, but used in ways to make bicycling safer and more convenient in areas where cars rule it is a genuine solution.

Friday Linkage 10/25/2013

I survived Florida.  Trust me, it is usually an ordeal in some way or another when I venture into Rick Scott’s land of strange.  Thankfully I did not run across any monitor lizards or pythons.  Nor did I fall victim to any sinkholes.  Just an uneventful trip to see the mouse.

On to the links…

America’s CO2 Emissions Hit 18-Year Low—The U.S. Energy Information Administration, a wealth of information on energy issues, estimates that U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012 were actually at levels not seen since 1994.  A lot of this is due to the emergence of natural gas replacing coal in electrical generation and a reduction in the demand for heat due to warmer winters.  It’s still some decent news.

Exploring Solar, Efficiency, Gas and More with Amory Lovins and Joel Makower—If you get a chance to see either of these men speak, it’s a treat.  To get both of them on the stage talking about energy issues is just like Christmas in October.  Take a break and enjoy the talk.

Clean-Water Laws: The Second Front in the War on Greenhouse Gases—It’s not just about regulating emissions explicitly.  There are solutions to the issue of regulating greenhouse gas emissions that are much more covert.

The World Isn’t Keeping Up With The Need To Invest In Sustainable Energy—  To address the coming threat of climate change and keep warming to a “manageable” 2 degrees Celsius, the world needs to invest ~$625 billion per year through 2020.  Currently, the investment is at ~$359 billion.  It’s a pretty big shortfall, but what amazes me is that the total figure ($625 billion) is about what the U.S. spends on its military when you account for operations in Afghanistan and other ancillary defense agencies.

0.3% of GPD Would Protect East Asia from Climate Change—So, we can spend a large but manageable amount now to mitigate the impacts of climate change.  Or, we can ignore the signs and deal with apocalyptic conditions later on.  Guess which one the world will choose?

Koch Brother Wages 12-Year Fight Over Wind Farm—William Koch rarely hits the news like his more politically active brothers.  Usually, he is in the press for the strange western frontier town that he has built in Colorado.  Well, it looks like he hates renewable energy as much as his brothers.

To Expand Offshore Power, Japan Builds Floating Windmills—Thankfully the Kochs are not Japanese because it looks like Japan is going to go all in on offshore wind to replace nuclear power as the backbone of the countries electrical generation.  It will be interesting to see if a large investment can push the industry forward.

First Auction of Solar Rights on Public Lands in Colorado Draws No Bids—I was surprised to read that no one bid on the rights to build solar projects in southern Colorado.  Then I read the end of the article and was amazed at the amount of solar power already on-line in the region.

Residential Solar is a Middle Class Phenomenon—It looks like the Koch brothers, all three of those clowns, are not the only rich people who do not like renewables.  Apparently, its relatively well-to-do middle class households that like renewables.  At least when it comes to residential solar.

Independence Through Microgrids: When The Power Goes Out, Some Are Just Going Off The Grid—Every time a disaster hits where the grid is knocked out, stories flow about how a few islands—powered by renewables—kept the lights on and served as community hubs.

How The Department Of Energy Is Working To Reduce The Cost Of Solar By 75 Percent—The balance of system costs—those costs associated with a solar system that are not panel related—continue to bedevil systems as the costs prove sticky.  However, more effort is being focused on bringing those costs down.

Eating Raw Whale Meat While Dishing up Baloney — How Industry is Imperiling the Oceans While We Aren’t Looking—Man, it’s frightening just how fudged up large companies are making the world’s oceans.

Now this is Natural Food—I do not know why I have never read about the idea of perennial food systems.  Sure, permaculture has a place in the reading list and I try to incorporate some of those principles into my landscape but this seems different.

Fifteen Tons of Groceries, Sailing Down the Hudson—I have linked to articles about the Vermont Sail Freight Project before.  It is cool to see pictures of the initial voyage to New York City.

Where Do Baby Carrots Come From?—If your house is anything like mine, baby carrots are consumed in large quantities.  My children will eat bowlfuls after school or at dinner without any encouragement.  It’s interesting to see the journey to the grocery store for this staple of snacks.

Friday Linkage 4/5/2013

Damn, it’s April.  Where does the time go?

On to the links…

IMF’s ENERGY SUBSIDY REFORM: LESSONS AND IMPLICATIONS Report— This is one of those boring reads that is just loaded with information.  If you think for a moment that the fossil fuel industry in any way is self-sustaining you are either a moron or a Republican.

To Power Cars Solar is Orders of Magnitude More Efficient than Biofuel—When is solar not the best choice for generating electricity that is clean and renewable?  With the cost for panels coming down all the time the answer is getting to be never.

Online Solar Marketplace is Like eBay for Solar—Tapping the power of the investment community, even at a small scale retail investor, has the potential to pump billions into the solar market in terms of financing.  I think the tipping point for solar has been passed and we are in the off to the races stage of development now.

We’re Number One—The U.S. installed the most windpower in 2012, largely a function of projects racing to be completed before the expected expiration of the production tax credit, and GE was the number one supplier.  USA!  USA!

After Record 2012, World Wind Power Set to Top 300,000 Megawatts in 2013—Now, if we could just stop people from believing that renewables like wind and solar are incompatible with the grid we might get somewhere.  In the U.S. there is now enough installed capacity to power the equivalent of 14 million homes.  Damn.

Cape Wind Wins Financial Backing to the Tune of a Billion Dollars—Cape Wind has finally started to make real progress toward the goal of being the first U.S. offshore wind farm.  Too bad it is only going to be the 55th or 56th offshore wind farm in the world.  Although, the late mover advantage in play here may allow for Cape Wind to really benefit from the learning curve of European efforts.

How The Meat Industry Is Fueling The Rise Of Drug-Resistant Diseases—This is not a story that gets enough press.  We are creating deadly antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria because the current industrial system of animal husbandry is so awful.  It’s a completely synthetic problem in that we are raising so much meat in such horrible ways to feed people who do not need to eat so much meat.

Cost of Environmental Degradation in China is Growing—Someone may have claimed to find the fabled “portal to hell” in Turkey, but I believe that modern day China is about as close to hell as I can imagine.  It just seethes with pollution in a way that even the most dystopian visions fail to comprehend.

Throw Seeds at Your Garden—I am not about to take on this “low effort, high return” gardening method because I am a convert to the straw bale method, but it is enticing.

Maple Syrup Takes a Turn Toward Technology—I do possess a pretty romantic notion of sappers heading out into the woods to tap maple trees and cook down that gooey goodness.  Granted, I grew up with sappers in southeast Minnesota who looked forward to that magical time of year when the sap was running.

Tracking Graphene’s Move from Science Project to Money Maker—There is something about “wonder” materials that is inherently fascinating.  These simple materials seem to answer so many questions that it seems like modern day magic.  Too bad the promise never seems realized.

One in Four Americans Thinks President Obama might be the AntiChrist—How can anyone take an electorate seriously that imagines the president of the United States might be the antichrist.  Really?  Of course, 37% of the same electorate believes global warming is a hoax.  The part that really gets me is that only 14% believed in Bigfoot.  Huh?  I saw Harry and the Hendersons.  Sasquatch is rolling in the suburbs baby!

The Dark Side of Florida Gulf Coast University, March Madness Sweetheart— When you hear a story about corruption, bribery, and unbridled hubris in the face of nature what comes to mind?  For me it is always Florida.  There has never been a state so good at weaving the self-interests of corrupt government and corrupt business quite like Florida.  Remember, this is the state that elected Rock Scott as governor.  ‘Nuff said.

A Building Not Just Green, but Practically Self-Sustaining—I have been reading about the Bullitt Center in Seattle for a while now.  It is an amazing building and an amazing project.  I really wonder how much of a trailblazer that this building will be in a few years.

Friday Linkage 3/30/2012

It’s almost April, so the spring weather we have had for the past couple of weeks is about to take up permanent residence rather than threatening to turn into the March houseguest from hell by delivering a nice late winter storm.  Whew!  Nothing blows a person right back into a winter funk like waking up on a March morning to a foot of wet snow on the driveway.

Soon, the nurseries will be stocked with trees and I can get to work on my master plan for the yard this season.  Lots of shrubs, trees, and perennials will be going into the ground in my never ending quest to eliminate most of my lawn and, thus, eliminate my need to mow.  It’s really all a plot to relieve me of tedium.

On to the links…

6 Things You Should Know About the Value of Renewable Energy—This article really breaks down the key ideas that proponents of clean, renewable energy need to have in their quiver when debating anyone about the merits of renewables.  It’s pretty simple.

Fox News Explains Why President’s Cannot Control Gas Prices—Well, it was from 2008, which means that Fox News pin-up boys George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were in the White House.  Naturally, Barack Obama is to blame now.  He’s also to blame for anything else you can think of when you are on Fox News.

Debunking the Prius Rebound Effect—So, renewable energy is cost effective and president’s cannot control gas prices.  What is next?  The Prius Rebound…that fallacy where a person who gets higher mileage in a car ends up driving more because the marginal cost per mile is lower.  It’s bunk.  Moving on…

Can Pond Scum Save You from $5 Gas—If the president cannot save me from $5 gas, maybe pond scum can.  Okay, maybe not right now.  Then again, if someone offered a direct replacement for gasoline derived from a renewable source at $5 a gallon I would buy that product.  Think about it for a moment.  If algae has this kind of potential, which a lot of very good scientists believe it does, why are we not rushing this technology forward to scale?

Texas Drought is on a Scale No One Alive has Ever Seen—Maybe now that man-made climate change is affecting the favorite state of conservative climate deniers and big oil people will sit up and notice the bad stuff.  More likely is that the air conditioning will get turned up a notch in the Escalade on the way to Sunday service.  Denial is the currency of the ignorant.

One Wind Turbine Produces Enough Electricity for 6,000 People—The statistics on the wind turbines being used in European offshore wind projects are amazing.  The latest project off the cost of Belgium is using turbines rated at 6.15 megawatts or the equivalent of 6,000 people’s electricity usage.  Vestas is developing a 7 megawatt turbine.  Too bad the U.S. cannot get off its ass and start construction on offshore projects like Cape Wind.

Denmark Aims to Get 50% of its Power from Wind—Denmark has goals of 35% of power from renewables by 2020 and 100% by 2050.  The plan is comprehensive and includes that bugaboo of Republicans called efficiency.  Wouldn’t want to tell people they might have to use less unless it’s food stamps or Medicaid or Social Security or whatever Rush thinks is bad today.

The Aquatic Jane Goodall—An interesting profile on conservation biologist Rachel Graham who has worked tirelessly to preserve aquatic species like the whale shark.  Every time I hear about a whale shark I think of my four year old daughter, “It’s a funny name.  It’s not a whale or a shark.  It’s a fish!”  It’s so great having a budding marine biologist in the house.

Popcorn is a Suprerfood—I already liked popcorn because it was a whole grain snack.  Plus, it is minimally processed.  Just heat up some oil in the Whirly Pop and a few minutes later I am in snack heaven.  Now research suggests it is a superfood?  Put away the acai and goji berries.  I am reaching for another handful of perfectly popped superfood baby!

And just because one can never have too many links about Rick Santorum.