Tag Archives: Siemens

Friday Linkage 9/18/2015

Tom Brady supports Donald Trump. Peyton Manning is starring on the field as a weaker armed version of the Hall of Fame quarterback. Jay Cutler is doing Jay Cutler things again in Chicago. You could say that I spent some time this last week watching football and just plain zoning out. Go Hawks!

On to the links…

How Much Of Your Retirement Fund Is Tied Up In Fossil Fuels? Now, You Can Find Out.—A person’s 401k will be one of the two largest investments in a portfolio, with a home being the only competitor. How much of that money is going to support fossil fuel interests?

Half Of California’s Electricity Will Come From Renewable Energy In 15 Years—California passed a major climate change related bill recently. Although it was watered down by fossil fuel interests at the last minute there is still a lot of good things in the legislation.

A Third American City Is Now Running Entirely On Renewable Energy—It is still one the most pretentious ski towns in the world—go Steamboat Springs!—but it is now 100% fueled by renewables. There is a lot of marketing involved in the effort, but it is commendable nonetheless.

Meet the New National Geographic and Weep—The same people who bring you the sheer horror that is Fox & Friends will be the same people who publish one of the most amazing magazines in world history. Rupert Murdoch ruins everything that he touches and National Geographic will be no different.

AB InBev plans takeover bid for SABMiller—You want to talk about mega-merger. This is it. Nine of the world’s twenty largest breweries would be controlled by a single entity. Now, a lot of that volume would be made up of junk macro beer that has seen flat to declining sales for the past decade. So, maybe this is a doubling down on a losing bet hoping for a nag to come through.

National Grid CEO: Large Power Stations For Baseload Power Is Outdated—The distributed model—think the internet—has supplanted the traditional centralized model of most industries save for electrical power generation.

Siemens Looks Toward Next-Generation 10–20 MW Wind Turbines—Think about a 10 to 20 MW wind turbine for a moment. At the mid-range it could be the equivalent of 10 GE 1.5 MW turbines that dot the American landscape. Wow!

The Palm Oil Plantations Powering Communities and Tackling Climate Change—Why aren’t all large scale agricultural operations taking such a holistic approach to their energy use and lifecycle? The number that got me was reducing the diesel use from 2.8 million liters per year to under 500,000 liters per year.

10 Ways to Get Rid of That Awful Smell in Your Kitchen Sink—If you cook a lot in your home you are quite familiar with the strange odors that can come from the disposal drain in the kitchen sink. I use a combination of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint liquid soap and hot water. It takes care of any funk lickety split.

8 Things to Never Bring into Your Home—We are always looking for those quick hit things to make our homes a little bit greener. Here are eight easy things to avoid.

25 Things you Should Start Adding to your Compost Pile—How many of these things do you throw away that could be put into the compost?

This Southern State Made A Big Commitment To Start Teaching About Climate Change—Welcome to the modern age Alabama. Roll tide!

These Two Genius Tricks to Improve School Food Have Nothing to Do With What’s for Lunch—Simple and cost effective. These are the changes that we can make on the local level that will really impact our children’s lives.

Big Wind Announcement

Yesterday, the state of Iowa and MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest almost $2 billion—yes, billion with a b—in wind power.

The investment represents 1,050 megawatts of generating capacity across 656 wind turbines.  This will be a 50% increase in the number of wind turbines that the company has deployed in the state of Iowa.

Furthermore, it will represent a nearly 20% increase in the rated generating capacity of wind power in the state.  At the end of 2012, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association, the state had 5,137 megawatts of installed generating capacity.  In practice, this has worked out to about 25% of the state’s total power need.  With the new investment by MidAmerican, the share of wind power will grow to approximately 30% of the state’s total power need.  Hell yeah!

If my simple “back of a napkin” math is correct, the state of Iowa would need approximately 20,000 megawatts of wind power to be completely renewable.  With one quarter of that already deployed and MidAmerican’s plans in the pipe, the state would need to deploy approximately 14,000 megawatts of wind power to reach a goal of “100% wind powered.”  At approximately $2 billion per 1,000 megawatts—using the recently announced plans by MidAmerican—it would require an investment of $28 billion dollars.  While that sounds like a lot of money—and it is—think of what it represents: an entire U.S. state would be powered by the wind.  Ecotopia here I come!

But wait, according to the American Wind Energy Association fact sheet for the state of Iowa there were over 10,000 megawatts of projects “in cue” at the end of the third quarter of 2012.  I do not know what “in cue” really means, but totaling up installed capacity with that under construction and “in cue” gets to a total of more than 15,000 megawatts of installed capacity in the future.  This would represent approximately 75% of the state’s total power need.

I recognize that there is a heavy element of boosterism in these fact sheets and announcements, but nothing seems out of the realm of the possible.  This is an industry that is using mature technology and exploiting an existing industrial base to deploy a product into a market with a stable demand.

Beyond the direct economic impact of siting turbines, many of the components for wind turbines are built in the state of Iowa.  If MidAmerican’s trends hold true the turbines are likely to come from either GE or Siemens.  Both of these companies have tower manufacturing in state and Siemens has a plant that produces blades in state.  I look forward to seeing these components rolling down I-80 on flatbeds!

The surprising thing from the announcement yesterday was that the deployment of wind power will actually stabilize long term rates for MidAmerican customers.  Generally, these statements have spoken about the green aspects of deploying wind power and not the ability of renewables to create a more resilient future.  So, wind power creates a more stable future and is cost competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources?  Can I find a few more billion?

Most of the news that we read about the environment seems pretty negative lately, but this is good news.