Tag Archives: EV

Friday Linkage 2/10/2017

The abnormal has become the normal.  The surrogates of the president lie—massacres in Bowling Green, terrorist attacks in Atlanta, who knows that else—with a zeal that makes me wonder if it is overtly encouraged by the current president.  Alternative facts—known as lies to anyone with the sense of a first grader—have become the new currency of cable news.  Have we actually entered the Twilight Zone?

Wake me up in a few years.

On to the links…

U.S. Wind, Solar Power Tout Rural Jobs as Trump Pushes Coal—Trump has a narrative in his simple mind that coal is power and solar is for hippies.  Too bad the reality on the ground—like so many things—does not actually match this narrative.  Maybe it is an alternative fact?

Americans are Now Twice as Likely to Work in Solar as in Coal—If you were going to ask for a group’s support which would you pick: the group with more jobs that is growing or the group with fewer jobs that is declining?  Which one do you think the sitting president chose?

6 Reasons the Clean Energy Revolution Doesn’t need Trump’s Blessing—Trump may think that his perch atop his imperial presidency makes him capable of doing whatever he wants and making it happen via proclamation, but the reality on the ground is very different.

Reasons to be Cheerful: A Full Switch to Low-Carbon Energy is in Sight—I like the positive spin on this.

Cheaper Renewables to Halt Coal and Oil Demand Growth from 2020—This is what the death spiral looks like.  As the technology doing the replacing gets cheaper and easier to deploy there is no way that the displaced technology can compete on either cost or performance, so it’s displacement becomes self-fulfilling.  Once the coal mines shutter who is going to invest in coal?

Electric Vehicles Will Be A Major Oil Price Driver In The Future—The question is how much a disruption in oil demand will be needed to make a major difference in price.  Recently, we have seen swing production of less than 10% cause major price disruptions.

We’re Probably Underestimating How Quickly Electric Vehicles will Disrupt the Oil Market—Disruption can happen fast.  I cannot wait to see what the EV market looks like when both Chevrolet and Tesla are selling EVs at volume for an attainable price.

Californians are Paying Billions for Power they Don’t Need—This story kind of blew my mind.

Rachel Carson, ‘Mass Murderer’? A Right-Wing Myth about ‘Silent Spring’ is Poised for a Revival—With people like Scott Pruitt installed at the EPA and right wing whack jobs in Congress I am expecting this old trope to get a lot of play on the cable news cycle.

L.A.’s Mayor Wants to Lower the City’s Temperature, and these Scientists are Figuring out How to do it—The L.A. Times came strong with some stories this week that I think are of relevance to our understanding of the world.

Invading Pythons and the Weird, Uncertain Future of the Florida Everglades—Florida is a petri dish for everything we have screwed up over the past few decades.  Now it is also a living laboratory for what happens when invasive species change the dynamic.  After reading The New Wild [https://www.amazon.com/New-Wild-Invasive-Species-Salvation/dp/0807039551] I am left to wonder if anything can be considered invasive in Florida anymore given how dramatically that landscape has been changed over the last few centuries.

Friday Linkage 2/3/2017

Well, this week happened.  It was a week in which I found myself agreeing with Dick freaking Cheney.  The man better known as W’s Darth Vader actually came out against Trump’s horrible ban on refugees as “against everything we stand for and believe in.

Never mind the failure to actually limit immigration or entry into the United States from countries that have exported terror to the United States—yes, I am wondering why Saudi Arabia was left off the list and it could not have anything to do with Trump’s sons business dealings.  You remember that Eric and Don Jr. are running the empire now, right?

On to the links…

This Map Might Make You Think Twice About Trump’s Immigration Ban—I wonder why Donald Trump and Steve Bannon did not include Saudi Arabia—home to almost all of the 9/11 terrorists—on their list of countries?  Oh right, conflicts of interest:

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Republican Bill to Privatize Public Lands is Yanked after Outcry—Your voices matter.  When a snake oil salesman like Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is forced to back down amid public outcry, you know something is working in this messed up world.  Keep up the heat and make sure that every member of Congress knows that we are watching.

‘It’s A Big One’: Iowa Pipeline Leaks—The number of gallons of diesel fuel leaked is being debated.  Of course the oil company says it is fewer than reported, but who really believes them?  Remember this every time someone says that oil pipelines are so safe.

US Coal Industry Will Continue Historic Decline Through 2017—In spite of Donald Trump’s rhetoric coal will continue to fall out of favor in the U.S.  It is called a death spiral for a reason.

The Great Energy Disruption—When you go back and look at these projections, as the author points out, many of the assumptions driving the models are wrong…to the better.  Renewable energy generation has gotten cheaper, faster.  Energy storage has gotten cheaper, faster.  The beat goes on.

Who Installs More Solar Power? Republicans and Democrats are Pretty Much Tied.—Must not be any of the Republicans elected to Congress.  Those guys hate solar.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt May Be The Start Of The Everyday Electric Revolution—This is why the Chevy Bolt may be the true winner of the electric vehicle war to come…it’s kind of boring, in an everyday get my stuff done kind of way.

The Next EV Revolution: Think Trucks and Buses—If you are looking to get some serious savings in terms of oil consumed in the transportation sector look to heavy duty commercial vehicles.  This quote from the article encapsulates the opportunity perfectly: While medium and heavy trucks account for only 4% of America’s 250+ million vehicles, they represent 26% of American fuel use and 29% of vehicle CO2 emissions.

Chart of the Month: Driven by Tesla, Battery Prices Cut in Half since 2014—Think about that for a moment—battery costs have been cut in half in approximately three years.  This is before the Gigafactory and mainstream EVs really hit the market bringing some true economies of scale to bear:

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Going Local: The Solution-Multiplier—In the age of Trump local matter more than ever.

Diageo Opening Guinness Brewery in US—With all the great craft beer in America, do we really need Guinness to open up a destination brewery?  I have had their rye pale ale and it does not belong on the shelf with a hundred other great American beers.

Nation’s Bacon Reserves hit 50-year Low as Prices Rise—In case your week was not crappy enough there may not be enough sweet, savory, delicious bacon to salve our wounded souls in the era of Trump.  WTF?

Friday Linkage 1/20/2017

It will be official in a little bit, but Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States.  If the recent confirmation hearings are any indication we are in for many years of incompetent officials, corrupt hangers on, and a Republican led Congress that cares more about scoring long sought after political points rather than actually helping people.

Get used to it because according to experts the spate of gerrymandering in 2010 will continue in 2020.  To actually flip control of Congress to Democrats would take an estimated Presidential election vote share of approximately 60%.  The best that we can hope for is a prevention of the most extreme Republican agenda via the filibuster and that the Trump administration is so horrible that people actually wake up.  I am not holding my breath.

On to the links…

Iowa to See Fewer ‘Nice’ Days—Freaking climate change.  Yuck it up all you want about global warming making winter milder—which sucks for people who actually like winter—but a world where Iowa is more humid in the summer is the definition of hell.

People Still Don’t Know Obamacare is Just a Nickname for the ACA—Jimmy Kimmel may be doing it on late night television, but there are a lot of voters looking around wondering when Trump is going to repeal Obamacare and what that means for their state exchange or Medicare expansion. Guess what morons?  It’s going to suck.

Lessons for Navigating the Trump Economy — Drawn from the Developing World—Get ready for corruption on a yuge scale.  Imagine if any of Hilary Clinton’s potential cabinet secretaries had been accused of making stock purchases and writing favorable legislation?  Republicans would be livid. Now that it is their guy all we hear are crickets.  What a joke.

Trump’s Tax Trumpery—Get ready for the tax cut idol to make its appearance and for Republicans to prostrate themselves before its purity.  However, as this article lays out, tax cuts do not produce widespread economic growth because the benefits are concentrated on a few individuals.  You know, like the 8 people who have assets worth as much as half of the world’s population.

China Halts Over 100 Coal Power Projects—China is trying to kick its dirty coal habit.  It will be hard.  It will probably be expensive.  It might just be the last hope we have for the climate.

The Year Coal Collapsed: 2016 was a Turning Point for Britain’s Electricity—Few countries are as tied historically to the industrial revolution and the concurrent rise of coal power as the United Kingdom.  That same United Kingdom now gets less than 10% of its electricity from coal.  It can be done.

World Needs to Invest $25 trillion in New Oil Capacity over Next 25 years—That number is crazy.  Why not invest $1 trillion per year in renewables?  Oh right, this is coming from the guy running Saudi Arabia’s state owned oil company.

The Sleeping Giant Stirs: Russia Revs Up Renewable Tech—I suppose with the incoming administration that Russia is our new bae.  At least the news is not all bad in Putin-land.

When Will the Chevrolet Bolt Glide Into Your State? Find Out Here—Do you want a Chevy Bolt?  Get ready to wait unless you live in a state that did not vote for Donald Trump:

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Go Ahead, Wander Your Way—I spend a lot of time outdoors and there is a lot of judgment by people enjoying the outdoors.  Does it really matter why you are getting outside if you are still getting outside? I say that it does not.

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science—I wonder if true eccentrics are gone from our lives forever in a world where everything is documented on Facebook or Instagram.  Long live the freaks.

Friday Linkage 9/25/2015

The rides the past couple of weeks have been perfect. Just perfect. The temps are in the 70s to low 80s, the winds have not been too bad, and the crowds are gone. Especially on Saturdays when people are busy tailgating and watching college football, I have the trails and gravel all to myself. Unheard of in July.

On to the links…

Ban on Microbeads Offers Best Chance to Protect Oceans, Aquatic Species—The U.S. needs to enact a nationwide ban on plastic microbeads. Exfoliation is not worth the health of the oceans.

How Strict California Rules on Emissions led to Lower Cancer Risk—Regulation works. Plain and simple. Without emissions reductions California would still be blanketed in a horrible stew of smog and death.

Taxpayers Lose Billions to Coal Subsidies—Stories like this cannot get enough press. As taxpayers we pay billions to coal companies in order for them foul our air, dirty the water, and generally behave badly.

Balls of DNA Could Fix Geothermal Energy’s Biggest Problem—Geothermal is a great renewable energy resource because it is dependable enough to be considered “base load” like coal, natural gas, or nuclear. Unlike hydropower, the other base load renewable, large dams are not required and drought will not impact production. It looks like one of the thorniest problems may now be solved as well.

Obama Sets Up Cost Of US Solar Energy For Another Freefall—Fundamental research is being paid for that will drive down the entire system cost for solar. Remember when solar panels were only something you saw in Mother Earth News or on the lot of some burnt out hippie? Yeah, it’s mainstream now and will be more so in a few years.

Beyond Sprawl: A New Vision of The Solar Suburbs of the Future—We have a lot of development tied up in suburbs. This infrastructure is not going to go away and be replaced by dense, urban communities. How can we reform the suburb to make sense in a new era?

Tesla Gigafactory & Battery Improvements Could Cut Battery Costs 50%–A reduction of this magnitude would make some serious waves.

UK To Remain Offshore Wind Giant With Forecasted 23.2 GW By 2025, GlobalData—I keep wondering when offshore wind is going to explode. Maybe that time is now.

China’s Wind Energy Capacity To Triple By 2020, Says GlobalData—For all of the bad things China does—pollution out of control, corruption, political repression—they sure are going after this whole renewable energy thing with gusto.

Your Body Immediately After Drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte—It’s that time of year when the pumpkin spice comes out and everyone wearing Ugg boots seems to have one in their hands. Here is what that concoction from satan’s belly does to your body.

I Ate a Bunch of Vegan Cheese, and It Was Actually Quite Tasty—As someone who has a child who is lactose intolerant and loves cheese all of these products are going to be on my next shopping list.

If You Never Knew You Needed It, Don’t Buy It—This is a rule we all should live by when shopping. How do you think Costco works? How many times have you ended up with something that was not on your list because it seemed so cool and useful?

Imagine a World without Waste: It’s Possible with a Circular Economy—Would this even fly in the west anymore? The minute someone would talk about these concepts in a political space the cries of “socialist!” and “communist!” would ring out.

Friday Linkage 6/12/2015

Miles consume my thoughts. I have set some ambitious personal targets for miles ridden on my bike this season and I have already started viewing each ride as a percentage of that goal. It’s kind of sick and awesome at the same time.

On to the links…

No More Beer, Chocolate or Coffee: How Climate Change Could Ruin Your Weekend—Ruin my weekend? This will ruin my everyday ritual. People need to understand the broad implications of climate change.

Renewables Reach Highest Share Of U.S. Energy Consumption Since 1930s—From 2001 through 2014 renewable energy—driven by wind, solar, and biofuels—grew by 5% per year compounded annually. Every step is a step forward to a fossil fuel free future.

As Arguing Against Climate Change Action Gets Harder, the Naysayers get Louder—Here is when you know something is in its death throes. When the most ardent supporters of a contrarian opinion are forced to get louder in order for their views to be heard then the tide has turned decisively against their beliefs. No one will lament the death of the climate changer deniers.

10 years post Katrina – Where have you gone, Mr. Go?—Hurricane Katrina was a natural and national disaster. The impacts were made worse by poor leadership and inept bureaucracy. In the aftermath some good has come out of the storm. The destruction of the Mississippi River delta is now viewed as a catastrophe that made the storm’s impact worse. Efforts are underway to correct some of the misdeeds of our past.

The U.S.’s Biggest Coal Company Can’t Pay To Clean Up Its Own Mines—Who do you think will get stuck with the bill? The American taxpayer. Free market my ass.

Coal: Black Moods—Do you want to know why coal is dead? As the article states the market cap for the four largest American coal companies was $22B in 2010. Today it stands at $1.2B. Chew on that decline for a moment. SolarCity alone has a market cap of over $5B.

Why Haven’t Cities Covered Their Buildings in Solar?—I wonder this every time I see large municipal buildings in sunny locales. I also have this same thought when flying over acres of distribution centers around airports that have roofs just primed for massive solar projects. Between parking lots, warehouses, and city buildings there is more than enough square footage to keep installers working steady for years.

Fueled by Growth in the Residential Segment, U.S. Installs 1.3 GW of PV in Q1 2015—Take a look at this graph for a moment:

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Now, remember that these are discrete quarter numbers, not cumulative, so each quarter adds to the prior quarters to create total installed capacity. Once installed these panels are generating clean power for the next twenty five years or so.

State-By-State Plan To Bring US To 100% Renewables By 2050—100% renewable energy seems unattainable because someone in one state does not understand how solutions from another state are not relevant, but that another technology fills the gap. It also does not help that states are hamstrung by rules written by power companies and powerful lobbying interests to keep old generating schemes in place. There is, however, a path forward.

Minnesota 1st To Require EV-Specific Electricity Rates Statewide—EV adoption will only occur faster if programs like this can be rolled out to more customers across the U.S. As second and third generation EVs become available in the market it will be the ancillary impacts of owning an EV—charging, maintenance, etc.—that will go a long way to determining success or failure.

The Future of Construction Techniques—How we build things, both in terms of the methods and materials used, have a major impact on the embedded energy of a building and the total energy costs over the lifetime of the building. The future of building is coming:

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The Amazing Truth about Costco’s Organic Food—Costco is the nation’s largest retailer of organic food. Not Whole Foods. Not WalMart. People may complain that it is dirty capitalism sullying the organic name, but we are talking about billions of dollars of sales going to a sector that was niche not much more than a decade ago.

Friday Linkage 11/7/2014

A few days after the mid-term election is a good time to sit back and reflect on what really happened. Mediocre candidates, running away from the president’s signature law, and a lot of money equaled a bad day for Democrats. Remember, however, that Republicans are now in the tricky spot of getting what they wanted. Now they have to govern with a presidential election looming and a seemingly strong opposition candidate already anointed in Hillary Clinton. Sometimes, I just love politics.

On to the links…

The Koch 130—Do you want to know how the Koch Brothers are influencing parts of your life? Run down this list and see what groups they fund interact with your interests. My guess is that there are several.

What It’s Like To Be Detained And Prosecuted Under Ag-Gag Law—With Republican victories across the U.S. in statehouses and governor’s mansions expect ag-gag laws to pop up in other states. Chilling speech, while unconstitutional, is a great way to stop dissent.

Peak Water: United States Water Use Drops to Lowest Level in 40 Years—I read through these charts and was just amazed at what it was telling me.

Public Opposition has Cost Tar Sands Industry $17 Billion—If you do not think that the public opposition to tar sands and other dirty fuels has had any effect than you have not been watching. This is costing those companies billions of dollars. Now is the time to turn up the heat.

Ethiopia “Regreens” Degraded Land; Plans to Restore 15m More Hectares by 2030—If we want to reverse the worst effects of climate change we need to restore degraded land to a more hospitable state. If Ethiopia can do it—a country whose very name is evocative for anyone who grew up in the 1980s—than other countries can make it work as well.

Brazil Solar Power Auction May Spur $1 Billion in Investment—Every day seems to bring another story of a developing or emerging economy having a huge auction for solar or wind power development. This time it is Brazil.

Wiki-Solar Claims Global Utility-Scale PV Capacity Passed 30 GW—This is just about the march of progress of solar.

Denmark Announces Plan to Wean Itself Off Coal Within 10 Years—Granted, Denmark is small but its progressive policies are sort of like a laboratory for the rest of Europe and eventually those ideas seep across the Atlantic Ocean into America.

A Look inside Sweden’s Recycling-Obsessed, Garbage-Powered Cities—I do not know if garbage incineration is the answer to the problem of landfills, but it is an answer and it seems to be working for Sweden. Could you imagine if the U.S. had to import garbage?

Global Wind Energy Market Rebounding, Set For “Unspectacular Growth”—I think unspectacular growth is a good thing for the wind energy business, so it can wean itself from the boom and bust cycles that have defined its business over the past decade or more.

For Cellulosic Ethanol Makers, The Road Ahead Is Still Uphill—I hold out hope for ethanol’s second generation. The first generation uses corn, which can also be used for food, and thus has the potential to drive up global food prices. Second generation biofuels are going to use non-foodstuffs.

Nissan Leaf Sets Another Monthly Sales Record, Chevy Volt Remains Steady—The thing to remember with these cars is that this is the first generation of both models. Sales never really take off until the second generation. Look at the Toyota Prius’ sales figures. In 2000, the first year the model was available in the U.S., it sold 5,600 units. The second generation vehicle sold 54,000 in the first year of its U.S. availability. Just saying.

Rick Berman Caught on Tape: Hear His 10 Tactics to Aid Dirty Energy Corps—If you thought the mid-term election and the period leading up to it were bad, get ready for this guy’s tactics to be on full display for the next two years in the run up to 2016.

Libertarians Sue White House Over Climate Change Video—I love libertarians and other right wingers who decry activist judges yet use the courts at every turn to advance their agenda or slow down someone else’s. Hypocrisy, it’s what makes the world go round.

Remove or Revive? Dakota County aims to Update Old Dams—The U.S. is covered in old dams that are either failing or no longer serving a useful purpose. Municipalities across the U.S. are going to facing the same decision as Dakota County over the next decade: what to do about old dams?

Friday Linkage 5/9/2014

Climate change is apparently here now that an official report has said so.  If you have looked out your window the past few years you knew this to be true, but now at least it is official.  What that means for climate action?  Probably nothing because, you know, Benghazi.

On to the links…

How We Became China’s Grocery Store and Wine Cellar—I always kind of wondered where all the animals raised and slaughtered in the state of Iowa went.  Now I know.

Stanford to Purge $18 Billion Endowment of Coal Stock—In many ways this is just a symbolic gesture that will not have a great deal of impact on either the endowment at Stanford or the coal companies in question.  However, it does not bode well that an increasing number of larger and larger institutional investors are questioning their commitment to coal companies.  Once the market turns…

The Top Ten Global Warming ‘Skeptic’ Arguments Answered—There is nothing more frustrating than trying to talk about global warming and climate change with a “skeptic” who spent the last evening watching Sean Hannity spread more misinformation about whatever the Koch’s have paid him to spew.  At least you can be better prepared for the counter arguments next time.

How Climate Change Is Making America’s Favorite Crop More Vulnerable—Well, if climate change gets much worse we might have trouble feeding ourselves let alone the more than one billion people in China.

A Coffee Crop Withers—In Central and South America a fungus is wiping out coffee crops left and right.  Rust or la roya is spreading, exacerbated by farming practices and climate change.  The good news is that the genetics of the coffee plant are relatively understudied so there might be a wild cultivar that possesses some resistance.

Beyond Honeybees: Now Wild Bees and Butterflies May Be in Trouble—You can see this in Iowa where the population of butterflies is dramatically lower in recent years due to a massive change in the landscape, primarily the systematic destruction of plants that butterflies feed on like milkweed.

This Island Is The First In The World To Be Powered Fully By Wind And Water—Islands, like my favorite Hawaiian islands, make great laboratories for renewable energy because the electrical grids are generally isolated, electricity costs are high, and the potential damage from imported fuel is catastrophic.  The smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands is going to be fully renewable soon.

Hawaii’s Largest Utility Ordered To Help Customers Install More Rooftop Solar—Speaking of Hawaii, HECO—Oahu’s electrical utility and the state’s largest—has been a constant thorn in the side of anyone wanting to deploy residential solar.  Roadblocks are common, excuses are many, and the goal posts for approval seem to move all the time.  The Public Utilities Commission is finally getting some sack and demanding action on HECO’s part.

How Some Simple Changes To Building Codes Could Revolutionize The Electric Car Market—Building codes are not something that many people think about because it is a confusing and arcane world of legalese, but these guidelines have a major impact on how and what gets built in the U.S.

At Chernobyl, Hints of Nature’s Adaptation—Chernobyl and the surrounding area affected by the meltdown of the nuclear reactor is an amazing test site for nature’s ability to adapt to massive change.  I am not saying that this is a test tube for the future under climate change, but it is interesting to think about.

Wolf Found in Iowa—Granted, the wolf was shot and killed but this animal’s recovery is pretty amazing.