It’s officially spring, but the temperature was in the low teens last night so there was no real euphoria for the arrival. Maybe that damn Easter bunny will bring more spring time feel in a week.
On to the links…
Who Put These Agribiz-Friendly Riders into This Unrelated Bill?—The U.S. Congress really does yeoman’s work when it comes to carrying industrial agriculture’s water. Because the companies behind so much of our food do so many despicable things the solution has become to criminalize the exposure of the bad behavior rather than stopping the bad behavior. That’s logic in the halls of government.
Clean Energy Future is All About Deployment—The technologies exist today to displace traditional carbon based power sources with clean renewables at an even cost basis. Now, to decarbonize our economy we need to deploy those technologies in massive ways.
Xcel hits Upper Midwest Wind Power Record—Talk about deployment. Normally, Xcel gets about 12 percent of its power from wind sources but on a steady, windy night in November it hit one third. And the utility is putting more wind power online. Why aren’t we talking about renewable energy targets closer to 50% now that we can see utilities regularly getting more than 20%?
Los Angeles to be Coal Free—The Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles is moving to end its power purchasing relationship with a massive coal fired plant in Arizona and is moving to convert a plant in Utah to natural gas. The move is expected to be complete by 2025. It’s two years sooner than the mandated 2027.
China’s Wind Power Production Increased More than Coal for the First Time Ever in 2012—Even China is beginning to deploy renewables on a scale that is measurable against its traditional power sources. “Big thinkers” always talk about the China or India price being the tipping point for new technologies. Guess what? For renewables that tipping point is passed.
Algae Blooms Threaten Lake Erie—I will never forget reading stories about the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland catching fire in the 1970s. It is one of those things as a kid that you just cannot believe. The water was on fire? Algae blooms seem so benign by comparison, but pose a clear and present danger to the health of our waters.
Bacteria may Provide More Sustainable Biofuel Production—Every day seems to bring a story about incremental improvements in the fundamental technologies behind turning woody biomass into biofuel. This could be a game changer.
Ethanol’s Days of Promise and Prosperity are Fading—It seems like a bad dream for the Midwest, but ethanol is proving to be a devil’s bargain yet again. Following the first oil crisis in the 1970s, the industry boomed and then faded. Again we are looking at it fading because the economics just do not make sense. And the environmental case is specious at best for first generation biofuels. Now, give me switchgrass ethanol and I will change my tune.
EPA Fuel Economy Report: Americans Vehicles Saw 1.4 MPG Jump Last Year— Here’s another nail in first generation ethanol’s coffin. We are using less fuel to transport ourselves in automobiles.
Old Monitors and TVs Proving to Be Recycling Nightmare—It looks like our conversion to flat screens of various sorts has not only destroyed the market for traditional CRT displays but also the market for the recycled glass from CRT displays. So now millions of monitors are piling up in warehouses for want of demand. The number that got me was the high side estimate of $360 million to recycle all of the glass responsibly. For the cost of three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters we could erase this environmental problem? Sounds like a deal to me.
The Ins and Outs of Recycling—Did you think I would not include at least one infographic this week? This one lays out the numbers behind recycling:
10 Food Related Infogrpahics, Charts, and Flowcharts—If one infographic is good, then 10 must be even better. Right?