Tag Archives: infographic

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:

Infographic-future-of-construction-2

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 4/3/2015

Are the recent pieces of legislation that codify discrimination based on supposed religious grounds the death rattle of the right wing? Yes, the bills passed in Indiana and Arkansas. Heck, the governor of Indiana signed the crap legislation and now has backpedaled like an all-pro defensive back. However, the national backlash is inspiring. The majority of Americans think that this type of legislation is wrong—moral, legal, or otherwise. Once your party is stuck supporting such a lunatic fringe what hope do you have of being nationally relevant over the long term?

On to the links…

EPA To Place Restrictions On The World’s Most Widely Used Herbicide—Glyphosate is nasty shit, but it is available almost without restriction. It probably causes cancer and it is over applied throughout the U.S. The EPA is finally starting to act.

New Cars Are More Efficient Than Ever, Beating Standards By A ‘Wide Margin’—The most recent targets for fuel efficiency are working as cars rolling off the assembly line are increasingly fuel efficient. In 2013, cars were getting 1.3 miles per gallon more than was required by law. Damn.

Has motorization in the US peaked?—Peak car or peak motorization is a concept that draws out some pretty partisan bickering. The auto culture is a big part of the identity of the U.S. yet there is an undercurrent developing that is rejecting that component.

Banks Losing Millions On Bad Energy Industry Loans—Energy project financing rarely makes the headlines because people’s heads hurt when talking about debt. However, this is a big deal because it will make it increasingly difficult for fossil fuel energy projects to receive bank backed funding.

SolarCity Reaches 5 GWh In One Day, Two Weeks After Smashing Past 4 GW–Progress. Plain and simple.

$100 Million For Solar PV Systems In Hawaii—I am waiting for the day when Hawaii is 100% clean energy. With an expensive electricity market and ideal conditions the worm may be turning for this to become a reality.

600 MW Perovskite Solar Cell Facility Slated For Turkey—Every day other countries are getting in on the solar bandwagon. Remember, each year this plant will be pumping out 600 MW of solar cells that will destroy demand for fossil fuels. Each and every year.

Beijing Puts Brakes on New Solar Panel Capacity—It was a low-key announcement but the overcapacity of solar cell manufacturing that has led to a supply gut and drastic price cuts has compelled the Chinese government to put a halt to further manufacturing capacity additions.

Clean Energy Makes Up Record Share of UK Power with Coal-to-Biomass Conversions—The moral of the story is that coal is screwed. Renewables and cheap gas are pushing the dirtiest of fuels to the backburner. For good, hopefully.

Wind Replaces Coal, Geothermal Overtakes Gas As Major Sources Of Power Generation In New Zealand—Almost 80% of the energy produced in New Zealand is from clean sources. Coal and gas are both declining as renewables come on line that are cheap and clean.

Beijing’s Four Major Coal-Fired Power Plants Will Completely Shut Down—I do not know if it will make a difference in China’s notorious air quality, but the people of Beijing have agitated enough that officials have made the decision to close the four closest plants burning coal. It’s baby steps.

How Long Can Oceans Continue To Absorb Earth’s Excess Heat?—There is a growing scientific consensus that climate change’s impacts have been mitigated by the world’s oceans being able to absorb excess heat. Now there is a concern that this mitigation is reaching the end of the line. Uh oh.

Bayou Bonjour: Caernarvon Diversion Builds Land and Gives Birth to New Bayou—This an amazing story about the restorative power of letting nature do its thing. River deltas are some of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, yet these same ecosystems have the ability to be restored in short order if left alone.

Warming Winters Not Main Cause of Pine Beetle Outbreaks—This is interesting because for years the narrative in the American west has been that global warming has allowed the pine bark beetle to survive previously harsh winters and thus decimate forests. However, the real culprit may be forest thick with trees that would have been thinned out via other natural events that man has prevented. Ten o’clock rule anyone?

Florida’s Climate Denial Could Cause Catastrophic Recession-Florida and Rick Scott are the best. Essentially, so much property in Florida is insured by the federal government that if a major loss of value occurs due to a natural disaster—which will be made worse by the very climate change that Rick Scott denies is real—the U.S. economy may be pushed into a deep recession because of the cost.

Tips to Lower Your Carbon Footprint—Sometimes you just need to take a little action by yourself:

Lowering-home-carbon-footprint-infographic-2

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 12/19/2014

It’s amazing how you can wake up one day and someone actually decides to do something resembling leadership. It was silly that for over five decades we have had such an antagonistic policy towards Cuba. If it was really about human rights and democracy…well, we would not trade or have diplomatic relations with countries like China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and so on. It was really about a small cadre of politically connected Cuban exiles pressuring Congress to keep the embargo in place because it gave them a reason to exist.

I want to wish everyone the best over the holiday season. I will be taking a break for a couple of weeks to enjoy time with my family and hit the slopes in Colorado.

On to the links…

Product of Mexico—Take the time and read the entire L.A. Times series on the conditions and economics surrounding the production of food in Mexico that is bound for the U.S. It is shocking and sad, but it is essential.

Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise—Almost since its inception the coal mining industry has been one of scofflaws. Only recently, as coal’s power to influence has waned, is there an effort to actually punish the industry for polluting our environment and killing its workers.

First Solar Jumps Into Community Solar—First Solar, a really big damn solar panel maker, is partnering to help develop community solar gardens. So, for people who cannot afford a full install or have a site that is not conducive to solar a community solar garden provides the opportunity to partake in the clean energy revolution.

17% Of Household Energy Comes From Rooftop Solar In Queensland—Think about that number for a moment. 17% of the power in one Australian state is generated locally. Distributed generation is grid demand destruction.

Australia’s Rooftop Solar PV Surpasses 4 GW—Australia is sunny , so it should not be surprising that so much solar has been installed. The really stunning number is that is estimated that 40% or so of households in Queensland (see above) and South Australia have solar panels installed.

Can Japan Exceed 10 Gigawatts of Solar Capacity Installation in 2014?—Damn, 10GW is a behind-load of solar. If Japan gets to that number approximately 2% of the nation’s power will come from solar photovoltaic. Damn.

Asia Pacific Solar PV Market Set To Reach 10 GW Q4’14—These are some nice numbers in terms of regional solar installations. Led by Japan (see above) and China there is a lot of panel installation being done.

One Texas City Plans To Get Over Half Of Its Power From Renewables By 2025—Okay, it’s Austin. So, it’s not like Houston or Dallas is making this claim. But, it is Texas and that means something when it comes to optics.

Solar Rises in Malaysia During Trade Wars Over Panels—Apparently, the winner in the trade war between the U.S. and China over solar panel dumping and tariffs is Malaysia. Interesting.

IKEA To Start Selling Solar Panels In Switzerland—I just hope that the solar panels come with better instructions and more than a cheap ass Allen wrench for install. Some meatballs would be nice as well.

Losing Weight makes your Lungs a Potent CO2 Emitter—Great, so if I lose a few pounds I am really just a gasbag contributing even more to global warming.

Are Republicans Really Behind Tesla Sales Bans? Data Offers Clues—I doubt if it is conscious conspiracy, but there does appear to be some sort of correlation. Aren’t Republicans supposed to be all free market and what not? Oh right, it’s only a free market when it’s a subsidy or protection they do not like. Just like Obama is only an imperial president when he does stuff they do not like, otherwise he is a do nothing president.

How we can Reduce our Dependency on Plastic—We use too much damn plastic and rarely think about it for a moment:

plastic-infographic

Friday Linkage 12/5/2014

Work travel really sends me for a loop. I leave for Thanksgiving break and before I sit down in the office again it is December. Pretty soon I will be hurtling down I-80 towards Colorado and Christmas vacation in the mountains.

On to the links…

Fracking Boom could go Bust Faster than Obama Thinks—There are a lot of energy experts who believe the recent surge in U.S. fossil fuel production via fracking is going to be a short lived moment. Basically, it might buy us until 2020 when fuel prices will again soar. Time to invest this dividend into solar!

Tar Sands Development Financially Unsustainable, Report Shows—Dirty, dirty tar sands oil is only economically viable if the price for oil stays above $95 a barrel. At current prices the production is a big time money loser and investors might lose out big. If that happens it will be decades before the industry recovers. See what Texas looked like in the mid-1980s.

India’s Installed Solar Power Capacity Crosses 3 GW—The expansion of solar is down this year compared to last—800MW versus 1GW—but India is making some real strides in deploying grid scale solar.

China’s Solar Energy Progress Sputters—Everything seems to be bigger in China these days, but solar power installations seem to be falling short of stated goals. Last year 13 gigawatts of solar came on line and that number falls to 10 gigawatts in 2014, which is a reduction from a goal of 15 gigawatts. Still, it’s a lot of solar power.

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Is Now In Operation—The Topaz project features over 9 million solar panels and has the capacity to generate 550 megawatts of carbon free juice. Damn. I want one.

Animated Guide To The Solar Rooftop Revolution—Rooftop solar is coming to a roof near you. Distributed generation is an amazing trend that could really change the face of the utility market forevermore.

New Solar Cell Efficiency Record Set At 46%–Solar is getting cheaper because of better manufacturing, competition, and the constant drive to extract more energy from every speck of silicon. 46% efficiency is pretty amazing.

How Wind Energy Is Subsidizing Albertan Ratepayers—Yep, wind power was driving down the pool price for Alberta ratepayers.

Wind Industry Is An Economic Shot In The Arm—So, as the argument over the extension of the wind production tax credit wages in Washington maybe every politician who says they are concerned about jobs ought to consider the economic impact of the wind power industry.

Solar Uniquely Positioned to Help States Meet New Regulations—Solar is the way forward in reducing emissions. If we could replace coal megawatts for solar megawatts the impact would be huge. Smokestacks and mines or roofs and panels…your pick.

Florida Fails to Support Solar Energy for Homes and Businesses—Florida is pretty much the worst. If there is a policy that might help people or the environment you can rest assured that it will be dead in the water. It’s a swampy hell hole.

NextEra Buys Hawaii’s Biggest Utility To Study Renewable Energy in the Island State—NextEra is viewing Hawaii and its isolated grid as the perfect laboratory for the transition to clean energy. It also helps that executives will now get to make “business” trips to the islands.

Beyond-the-Grid Is Not Just About Light, It’s About Resiliency—Not being dependent on fragile centralized systems is a good strategy in a world that is going increasingly strange.

Antibacterial Soap Ingredient Triclosan now Linked to Liver Fibrosis—At what point does everyone just stop using triclosan? The stuff is not actually effective and it has a whole host of side effects.

How We Can Make the Food Supply Chain More Eco-Friendly—Marlyhurst University put together a nice little infographic showing the ways in which we can “green” the supply chain for our food:

Green-Food-Supply-Chain-Infographic-2

Friday Linkage 11/28/2014

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday enjoyed with the company of family and friends. I also hope that no one participated in the ridiculous shopping creep that has taken over the former holiday in the interest of more consumerism. This is the time of year when I tend to huddle indoors with my kids, wait for the worst to be over, and emerge on the other side of Christmas with the blank stare of apocalypse survivors.

On to the links…

Lean Times Ahead: Preparing for an Energy-Constrained Future—Look around and imagine what your immediate world would look like if energy were not available at the flick of a switch. What would it be like if you could not just turn up the thermostat a few degrees? It’s a possible future.

Wind Energy Provides More Than Two-Thirds of New US Generating Capacity in October—This is important because as older, dirtier plants go off line the generating capacity is being replaced with green energy. Even more telling is that for the balance of 2014 over 44% of new generation capacity has come from wind.

Biggest Ever Offshore Wind Energy Auction, Up To 5 Gigawatts—Now, let’s imagine some serious offshore wind power being sited near clusters of coastal populations.

Community Solar Prices at All-Time Low—Community solar is awesome because it gives people access to solar power who may not have the capital for an entire system or a site for a system. It also reduces the cost of the system per watt because the amount of solar being installed is so large. An economy of scale, if you will.

America Could Get 10 Percent Of Its Energy From Solar Power By 2030—Why does this need to wait until 2030? It’s not like America does not have enough roofs or parking lots to cover in solar panels. Make it happen.

UK’s First ‘Poo Bus’ Hits the Road—Once you get past the “ick” factor, biogas is a drop in replacement for natural gas. Considering the infrastructure already exists for natural gas it makes no sense why we are not making more biogas.

NRG Energy Committed To Cut Its Emissions In Half—These are commitments without overarching government regulation. Change can happen. I just do not know if it can happen fast enough.

Merchants of Doubt Film Exposes Slick US Industry Behind Climate DenialI’ve suggested you read the book, but now you can sit down with a bellyful of food and soda to get the same message.

Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat?—Can a single retail store change the behavior of an entire neighborhood? I do not know, but Whole Foods in Detroit can only be a good thing. What bad can come of it?

Grade 9 Blogger takes on Big Sugar at a School Presentation—There is nothing like corporations getting owned by adolescents.

A Power Plant in California Goes Quiet, but the Stacks Still Tower—I have relatives in Cayucos, so Morro Bay is a familiar site to me. The three smokestacks, while incongruous to the natural landscape, seem almost inseparable in an odd way.

Friday Linkage 4/4/2014

I want to apologize for being “off the grid” the past few weeks. It’s amazing how many things can get in the way of writing about things you enjoy: vacation (yay!), health (ugh!), kids (yay or ugh depending upon the day), and just the general flotsam and jetsam of life.

I promise to get off the schneid and put some posts out here very soon.

On to the links…

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come—There has been a lot of reporting on the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and it is important. Very important. Moral of this story is that we need to get ready for an angry Earth.

Minnesota’s Largest Ever Solar Project gets Tentative Regulator Approval—Man, if Minnesota can deploy $250M of solar projects through the state’s primary utility than I think that almost any state in the union should be capable of something similar. It’s not like anyone heads up to Minnesota for lots of sunny days.

Ground Broken At First Utility-Scale Solar Project On Tribal Land—The obituary for utility scale solar was being written a few weeks back after the opening of the Ivanpah facility, but there seems to be some life left in the concept.

Wind Reaches Its Highest Generation Level Ever In Texas, Heralding A Challenge To Natural Gas—Texas may suck at a lot of things, but the state does have a lot of wind. Some of which does not come from Rick Perry bloviating. The wind power coming from ERCOT passed the 10,000 megawatt mark recently.

The Artificial Leaf Is Here. Again.—Like nuclear fusion that does not obliterate cities, the artificial leaf is one of those holy grails of next generation power production. Maybe this time we are on the cusp of a revolution.

13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World—If you thought an artificial leaf was out there, just wait until you check out this list. What, no giant hamster wheels? Damn.

EVs, Plug-Ins Already Saving 45 Million Gallons of Fuel per Year in the U.S.—Even with a small fleet currently deployed there is a measurable impact. Think about what the numbers will look like as the technologies mature and proliferate.

Koch Brothers Quietly Seek To Ban New Mass Transit In Tennessee—It would not be a week without an article about the ass clown Kochs getting involved in a local issue. Do these guys like anything other than money and oil? Maybe chemicals and cutting down trees, but that is about it.

Plastic Soup Of Ocean Garbage Obscures Search For Malaysia Plane Debris—Basically, there is so much junk in the ocean that it impedes the ability of sensors to determine what is debris from a missing airplane and what is just crap. Great job human race.

Program Looks to Give Bees a Leg (or Six) Up—We need to do everything that we can to help pollinators because these little guys are so vital to our food production.

10 Edible Spring Weeds—Weeds get a bad rap because we have been conditioned by the chemical industry to view them as interlopers. Sorry, but these little plants can be a nutritious addition to your diet. Foraging anyone?

Selling Out Organic to Protect Five Factory Farms—Is anyone surprised that the USDA has the best interests of factory farms and industrial agriculture in mind when it operates? No one should be since this has been standard operating procedure for decades.

Behind the Scenes at Greens & Gills’ Aquaponic Farm in Chicago—Aquaponics is an interesting concept. I would love to see someone do a lifecycle analysis to determine how sustainable the model really is.

Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods—This may be one of life’s most important questions:

traderjoesfix

Thank you Washington Post.

These Sad Photos Show NYC Gentrification where Chain Stores replace Local Businesses—Really, does the world need another Subway or Verizon store?