Tag Archives: hydropower

Friday Linkage 4/14/2017

Presidents, by the very nature of being one who seeks the presidency, are creatures with massive egos.  However, the current president—who was the loser in terms of the popular vote lest we forget our recent history—has to be one of the most egocentric human beings to ever inhabit the office.  If you take a moment to listen to his interviews or read his tweets, which may lead to a little bit of vomit coming into your mouth, you see someone driven by the need to be the center of everything.  Humility is not something that this man brings to the office.  Ugh…how many more days of this do we have?

Oh right, it’s only 3 years 9 months and 7 days until the next president takes office.  But who is counting?

On to the links…

The Latest Test for the White House? Pulling off its Easter Egg Roll—Not even capable of pulling off the annual Easter Egg Roll.  Sad.

Land Transfer Advocates Steer their Focus to Monuments—This issue demands constant vigilance by advocates of public lands, which thankfully has allied some strange bedfellows in hunters, watermen, skiers, hikers, etc. over the past few months.  Nonetheless, clowns like Orrin Hatch and Jason Chaffetz—seriously, is there something in Utah’s water—are going to push the boundaries until they appease their masters.

EPA Ending Program to Prepare for Climate Change—Scott Pruitt will go down in history as one of the villains of the Anthropocene.  When the history is written by our children and grandchildren he will be remembered as a corporate shill more interested in lining the pockets of his Koch-backed overlords than preserving the environment for the people of the United States.

The De-Electrification of the U.S. Economy—I would not go quite as far as the author suggests, but there are promising trends in the decoupling of electricity consumption and economic activity.

More Subsidies than You Think Influence the Cost of Electricity—Our electricity generation and distribution system is a mess.  Subsidies are one reason why because the price we pay—assuming we even know what the price is per kilowatt hour—is distorted by a plethora of subsidies.

California’s Rising Solar Generation Coincides With Negative Wholesale Electricity Prices—Check out these two charts:

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Distributed solar is huge—or is it yuge?—in California.

Washington State’s New 8 Megawatt-Hour Flow Battery is the Largest of its Kind—A big problem with renewables is variability and alignment with demand.  Take solar.  It’s production peaks right before the big demand peak from people coming home from work.  It’s the so-called duck curve.  Flow batteries are promising as a technology to deploy grid level energy storage for managing this mismatch.

Kentucky Coal Mining Museum Installs Solar—It’s not April Fool’s Day.  It’s just reality.

Appalachia’s New Trail: Finding Life after Coal—Appalachia, which is an odd way to define a fairly diverse region, has struggled economically since its settlement.  It is not conducive to industry and it has been used a pawn in politics for almost as long as there have been political parties in the U.S.  It’s residents have been abused by corporations claiming to act in their interests and governments forget about the region except every four years.

When Solar Panels Became Job Killers—China’s policies have created an economic situation where the price of solar panels has been driven artificially low.  This has led to a lot of non-Chinese companies being unable to compete with cheap Chinese solar panels.

SolarCity Will Begin Accepting SolarRoof Orders This Month—I really want some of these on my roof.

Making American Hydropower Great Again—Nobody is suggesting building new dams, but retrofitting older dams with new technology could lead to an increase in the available hydropower in the United States.  Hydro is clean, base load power that we need to help even out the differences between peak production and peak demand.

The Best Way to Restore Environments in the Face of Climate Change—Restoration ecology is going to be a major theme of the next few decades as we look to repair the damage that we have caused.  Best practices need to be figured out and shared as broadly as possible.

Rising Salt Levels Threaten Twin Cities Lakes by 2050—There is so much salt runoff from winter road salt that urban lakes will likely by devoid of fish because of rising salinity within our lifetimes.  As if we have not screwed up the planet enough.

New Sharing Depot Opening Reflects Success of Toronto’s Library of Things Movement—I want this to be the future.  Do I really need to own half or more of the tools I use once or twice year?  No.  Why does every house in a suburban neighborhood own their own lawn mower that gets used for an hour or so each weekend?  What a waste.  Sharing is caring, folks.

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Friday Linkage 4/19/2013

I find it shameful that the Senate could not pass an expansion of background checks.  I did not have faith in the House passing such a bill because it is full of partisan ingrates who could not find the bathroom without the help of a paid lobbyist.  If you are a Republican member of the House there is probably a long line of lobbyists from Big Oil and the NRA waiting to show you the way every day.

How does an expansion of background checks to include gun show and online sales of firearms infringe on the rights of citizens to bear arms?  It is merely saying that people who cannot own firearms are prevented from doing so at more market channels.  Of course, this bill did not even address the private party sales loophole but that is another story.

This is not just a story about the failure to pass common sense and necessary gun control legislation.  It is about the complete ownership of our political process by special interests who only concern is making more money.

On to the links…

Is 70% Renewable Power Possible?  Portugal Just did it for 3 Months—Sure, hydropower was a part of the equation.  Why can’t it be part of the solution?  The key to this story is that it was a portfolio of solutions that provided the power, not one silver bullet, and it included conservation.  Could you imagine if the U.S. grid were 70% renewable?  No, I cannot imagine that scenario.

Solar Grows Up, Now What?—When utility companies are worried about a technology being disruptive and harming profit margins you know that technology’s time has arrived.  As the costs of a total solar PV system continue to fall the economics are only going to favor the technology more.  Get on the bus or get left behind.

Colorado Looks To Raise Renewable Energy Standard To 25 Percent For Rural Electric Co-Ops—States have really become the leaders in pushing for things like renewable standards and gun control and other progressive issues because the politics in Washington D.C. are so broken.

EPA Says US Air is Getting Cleaner—Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are dropping.  Yippee! Some people attribute the drop to the recession that began in 2008, but long term trends make it appear that this is something slightly more sustainable than a reaction to recession.

Messy US Climate Policy Somehow Working—To say that the US has a climate policy is something of an overstatement, even if you couch it in the terms of being messy or incoherent.  However, while CO2 emissions are expected to rise for the next few decades the peak will not exceed that of 2007.  This tells me that there is room to improve.

How Does Your Utility Rank on Solar Power—Solar is real and it is a growing piece of our energy choice quiver.  The thing that really got me about this article was the chart that shows the top 10 utilities by the amount of solar per customer.  What was good enough to be number 1 in 2011 only gets a utility to number 10 in 2012.  Damn!

Starving Sea Lion Pups Fill California Rescue Centers—No one can figure out why, but starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in vast numbers.  Some estimate that the rate is five times higher than what would be considered normal.  Climate change perhaps?

Lionfish Attack the Gulf of Mexico like a Living Oil Spill-Lionfish are just bad news.  This fish reminds me of Asian carp in freshwater rivers and lakes in the Midwest because it just seems like the ultimate scourge that eradicates all the native fish.  Can we eat these things fast enough?

Quaker Apple Walnut Oatmeal Has More Sugar Than a S’mores Pop Tart—And people wonder why I make oatmeal from scratch for my kids.

Food Fraud: 10 Commonly Counterfeited Foods we Consume—Basically, big food has created a system where counterfeit or ersatz foodstuffs are the norm, not the exception.  Trust no one.

As Communities Cheer New National Monuments, House GOP Attempts To Undercut Law Enabling Their Protection—Republicans are a sad, shameful bunch.  Is there anything that they will not oppose anymore?  The answer is no because they are grasping at straws in a vain attempt to maintain relevance in the face of demographic and societal change.  My guess is that the House voted on yet another repeal of Obamacare after these hearings.  Clowns.

Surly Brewing Buys Site for Destination Brewery—I am so stoked for Surly to build their new destination brewery so that I can enjoy Coffee Bender even more.  My hope is that production expands so that distribution can expand.  The only thing that makes me sad is that the location is on a site that I used to bike past every day when I lived in Minneapolis 15 years ago.  Sad…

Friday Linkage 3/8/2013

It’s always hard to come back from vacation, but it is hard to get back into the swing of things when you leave weather that is mid-70s and sunny for weather that is mid-teens and snowy.  Oh well, it’s the price that I pay for living in Iowa.

On to the links…

AirBot and WaterBot to Democratize Pollution Monitoring—I want both of these!  Now!  Can you imagine the power in unleashing distributed monitoring of pollution in our air and water?  Bring it on.

New York Times Green Blog Bids Adieu—I am going to miss the Green blog on the New York Times, which was unceremoniously killed March 1st.  As other  major outlets cease providing journalistic coverage of environmental news I can only shudder in fear for the hackery that will follow.

A Snapshot of Drilling on a Park’s Edges—On the edges of Glacier National Park there is a boom in fracking and drilling for natural gas.  Tony Bynum, a photographer who is known for his work in Big Sky Country, has created an interactive map to show what is going on.  It’s a fitting goodbye post for Green.

China Must Send a Clear Message to Consumers on Ivory Trade—I am going to get this out there right away, China is essentially the bane of wildlife’s existence right now.  If there is an endangered species out there right now, it’s threat is usually a result of demand for body parts in China for some bizarre cultural tradition, invented or otherwise.  Granted, other countries are doing the same thing—I am looking at you Japan when it comes to whales and dolphins—but China is a common enemy of wildlife.

Images of Japan’s Barren Tsunami Coast Two Years Later—It’s amazing how little progress has been made in repairing the damage to the coast of Japan following the devastating tsunami.  I understand that the process is long—trust me, Cedar Rapids just now feels like it is getting back to normal after a brutal flood in the summer of 2008—but it seems like Japan is just caught in stasis.

Solar PV has Reached Unsubsidized Grid Parity in India and Italy—You want your mind blown?  Solar PV is now at a price level where it is competing “even Stevens” with fossil fuels.  It’s an inflection point that may accelerate the decarbonisation of our energy system.

Coal Use Declining in U.S., Going Up Everywhere Else—The U.S. is reaping the fruit of its boom in natural gas by supplanting coal generation, but a lot of the rest of the world is not so “lucky.”

BP Bows Out of Solar—Does anyone remember when British Petroleum was going “beyond petroleum?”  Yep, it’s pretty much a dead campaign now.  At least the outlook for solar as an industry, on the whole, is looking good.

Lancaster, California Requires all New Homes to Have Solar Roofs—Talk about a bright spot.  If you build a new house in Lancaster, California it will have, at a minimum, a 1kw solar array on its roof.  Homes on larger lots will be required to have larger systems.  Dig it.

The Loophole That’s Letting Conservatives Manipulate Renewable Energy Standards—Why do conservatives, in general, hate renewable energy?  It seems like a “win-win” for the U.S. to produce as much of its power from domestic sources that can never run out.  However, nothing lines the pockets like manna from Exxon-Mobil.

CREE LED Light Bulb Hits Price Point—Is $10 per bulb the price point at which LED bulbs fly off the shelves?  I have purchased “off brand” LEDS for about $10 and found their performance to be acceptable, but nothing like the $40 or so bulbs I bought for a pair of high use lamps.  Maybe CREE has cracked the ceiling or floor, as it were.

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods—I have a problem coming to grips with the role of genetically modified organisms.  On one hand, it seems ridiculous to engineer an organisms genetic structure to make it resistant to herbicides to further a chemical farming regime that is unsustainable.  On the other hand, if something could be done to reduce the incidence of critical malnutrition there may be value.  I hate nuance.

A Cheat Sheet to Win Climate Arguments—Keep this handy infographic ready to joust with climate deniers:

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