Tag Archives: solar power

Friday Linkage 11/24/2017

I hope that you are catching up on this post on Monday after a long weekend with family and, hopefully, little to no shopping.  When did Thanksgiving become all about the shopping and not about the actual holiday?  I find it ironic or, perhaps, unsettling that a holiday associated with being thankful has been co-opted by the forces of consumerism.  Nothing is sacred.

Things are going to be a little light this week since I hope to spend Friday through Sunday outdoors with my kids getting ready for the upcoming ski season.  This is the time of year when we start layering up and spending hours outside to “prepare our bones” as my son says.  Hopefully you #OptOutside.

On to the links…

Colorado Springs still Rolls Coal in Heart of City, but may Shut Drake Plant by 2025—I have eaten at a quirky little restaurant beneath the shadow of the Drake’s smokestacks.  It is just odd that a huge coal power plant still operates in the midst of a growing city.  Apparently the people of Colorado Springs are starting to feel the same way.

New Global Survey Reveals that Everyone Loves Green Energy — Especially the Chinese—It looks like that we can agree that we all like clean energy and we all pretty much hate coal.  Sure there are some segments of the population who still like the genuflect before coal—ahem, Scott Pruitt—but, by and large, the world has moved on to clean energy.

Here’s a Road Map for Solving 3 of the World’s Biggest Problems—Here’s the punch line: decarbonize the energy sector in developing countries by skipping centralized grid paradigms in favor of distributed clean energy generation.

World’s Cheapest Solar Power to be Generated in Mexico—If Mexico can pull this off, why can’t Arizona and New Mexico do the same thing?

Cycling Downhill: Has Copenhagen hit Peak Bike?—Maybe you can actually have too many bicycles?

Tesla has Takers for Electric Semi: J.B. Hunt, Walmart, Grocery Chains—You can spend a lot of time getting individuals to buy electric vehicles or you could spend that same amount of time on a few commercial accounts.  Which do you think will have more impact?  According to the EPA heavy and medium duty commercial trucks account for 23% of all transportation emissions.

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Friday Linkage 10/13/2017

Every day I think that we have reached a new low with the Trump administration.  If it is not family corruption, it is cabinet members using the taxpayer as a personal travel expense account.  If it is not crude behavior, it is stoking the fires of racial unrest.

Now it looks like Trump has set his dim sights on war with North Korea and threatening the 1st Amendment.  I know that the right wing only really loves the 2nd Amendment, but a threat to the Constitution cannot go unchallenged.  However, nothing else matters save for tax cuts for billionaires so the Republican members of Congress may grumble but they will kiss the ring of their dear leader.

On to the links…

Trump’s Plans To Demolish Clean Power Plan Revealed—Scott Pruitt has one goal in this world: make the world a better place for fossil fuel interests at the expense of everything else.  Once you understand this motivation every action makes sense.  Furthermore, Trump and his cabal are wedded to coal because they need to keep the narrative alive that Trump is saving rural jobs.

The GOP wants to repeal Obama’s Climate Plan. Like Health Care, it’s Going to be a Fiasco.—Can we all just agree that any day Trump and his cronies are in the White House has the potential to be a fiasco.  Actually trying to govern is a freaking dumpster fire.

Vintage Photos Taken by the EPA Reveal what America Looked like before Pollution was Regulated—Even Scott Pruitt’s EPA has documentation to show just how much better our country is now that pollution is regulated.  I realize that people like Trump do not like to read because it is hard, so pictures can supply the necessary knowledge.

The Two Clean Energy Bills that Could take California’s Climate Action to the Next Level—California may be burning right now, but the state is pushing ahead with aggressive climate change related legislation.  Leadership at the national level may be lacking.  States can create a critical mass to generate meaningful change.

Will Iowa Continue Adopting Wind, Solar without Federal Mandate?—This is a little closer to home.  Here is the thing, Iowa was deploying large amounts of wind before the Clean Power Plan.  The economics for that development have not changed in any measurable way that would favor a change.  Furthermore, the state already gets almost 40% of its electricity from the wind and has projects in the pipeline that will take that number north of 50% in the coming few years.  This all comes at the expense of coal because no one is retiring cheap to run wind turbines or cleaner natural gas facilities to keep an old coal boiler running.  Solar  is the icing on the cake.

Friendly Policies Keep US Oil and Coal Afloat Far More than We Thought—What is Scott Pruitt’s answer to the question of oil and gas subsidies?  He has come out vociferously against the small amount of subsidies for wind and solar, but he is silent on the taxpayer money going to prop up his friends in oil, gas, and coal.  We already knew who lined his pockets, but these questions need to be asked loudly, often, and on the record.

This Coal Baron has Trump’s Ear. What he says is Utter Nonsense.—This is Robert Murray.  He likes coal because coal made him rich.  He likes Trump because Trump likes his money, so Trump likes coal.  Too bad everything that comes out of his mouth is just garbage.

Rooftop Solar & Storage – Cheaper Than Subsidizing Old Coal—Facts will not get in the way of people like Scott Pruitt and Rick Perry pushing a dirty fuels agenda.  This is the administration built on falsity and outright lies that answers facts with “We will agree to disagree.”  The future is now and we need to keep pushing.

Solar Competitors Band Together to Help Bring Electricity to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico—The federal government will not help Puerto Rico in a sensible way because the sitting president does not like people who happen to be brown, don’t play golf, and don’t want to join his shitty club in Florida.  Socially conscious private industry is rising to the occasion to provide solutions in the wake of a dearth of actual leadership in Washington D.C.

Rooftop Solar Provides 48% Of South Australia Power, Pushing Grid Demand To Record Low—This graph is full of amazing insights:

RenewEconomy-8.jpg

We are just beginning to realize the potential of distributed renewables.

Australia Adds 97 MW Rooftop Solar In September, Set For Record 1 GW In 2017—Those will not be the last charts of that type you see from Australia either.

Let’s Take A Moment To Remember How Shitty Electric Cars Once Were—The most amazing thing, in my opinion, about the current electric vehicles on the market is that they are true vehicles.  These are not souped up golf carts or hacked conversions.  These are vehicles that can easily replace all but the longest road trips.

GM’s SURUS Fuel-Cell Truck Platform Could be a Disaster-Relief Hero—In general, I find fuel cell concepts to be half-baked.  However, this idea has real merit for a number of reasons.  The most pressing of which is made clear in places like Puerto Rico or New York after Superstorm Sandy.  People need electricity and liquid fuel runs out quickly.  Imagine a fleet of these disembarking from a Joint High Speed Vessel to a damaged seaside location.

The Empty Countryside—This story may be about rural England, but it could easily have been used to describe northwest Iowa or southeastern Colorado.  It is a long term demographic and development trend that I see no chance of abating in the near future.

Why Forest Kindergartens are the Best Schools for Our Young Kids—Maybe it is not just the forest, but the opportunity to freely apply lessons to an environment of your own choosing.

McDonald’s is Now Selling a “McVegan”—It is meatless and dairy free.  It is only available in Finland for some reason.

The Chicken Experiment That Shook the World—If there is going to be a global health crisis we are completely unprepared to deal with it will be antibiotic resistance.  It is amazing to think that so many of our problems can be traced back to a single experiment in the 1940s.  That is history for you.

Friday Linkage 8/11/2017

Heading out on vacation in a few hours because nothing says relaxing like Orlando in August with your extended family.  There is absolutely nothing quite like late summer Florida heat and humidity to really bring people together.  At least there will be Dole Whip.

On to the links…

Utah Commission: Keep “Negro Bill Canyon” the Same—Between the zealots who cannot stop fighting the Civil War by idiotically flying what they assume is the flag of the Confederacy—when in truth it is bastardization of a battle flag flown by either the Army of Northern Virginia or the Army of Tennessee—to maintaining symbols of hate like this we will never grow as a nation.

How Midwestern Farmers Could Help Save the Gulf of Mexico—It will never happen with the current White House and most of the governors being Republicans, but there should be a national program to pay farmers to deploy cover crops.  No single action would be better for the health of the Gulf of Mexico and our nation’s water quality.  It is a proven solution.

How Fossil Fuel Money Made Climate Change Denial the Word of God—Be wary of the man who claims to be godly, but spends his time talking about earthly matters.  It usually means that he is hiding an agenda and using a veneer of piety as a shield against criticism.  As I tell people all the time, “I do not remember a single passage in the bible where Jesus talks about the rights of oil companies to drill on public lands.”

Americans Are Using Less Electricity Today Than A Decade Ago—The key caveat here is per capita.  There are more people, but we are using less electricity per each person.

Thanks To Co-op, Small Iowa Town Goes Big On Solar—I went to a wedding this summer just outside of Kalona and the solar panels were all over the place.  Ground mount arrays were at almost every farm that was not owned by an older order Amish or Mennonite family.  If everyone could embrace solar like the customers of Farmers Electric Cooperative the world would be a better place.

Dirty Energy’s Quiet War on Solar Panels—They can try and stem the tide but solar panels will win in the end.  The guys who put the panels on my house this week were booked solid with jobs for the rest of the summer and fall.  Solar power is real and it is here.

To Solve ‘Duck Curve,’ Missouri Utility to Pay Bonus for West-Facing Solar Panels—It’s not just about south facing roofs anymore.  As someone who has installed a west facing array—270 degree azimuth baby—I cannot wait to see how my peak production lines up with the duck curve.

Shell Oil CEO Stunner: ‘My Next Car will be Electric’—The worm has turned.

More New Yorkers Opting for Life in the Bike Lane—Bikes are amazing and can be a major component of the mobility solutions puzzle we, as a nation and species, are trying to solve.  Seriously, if people are willing to bike in New York City you should be willing to bike in Cedar Rapids.

A Perfect Illustration of the Spatial Inefficiency of the Automobile—Remember, if you work in a cubicle your parking space is bigger than your office.  What do we truly value?

Pedal Power: How Denver Bike Crews are Rescuing Food from Landfills One Ride at a Time—I love this business model.  Collect scraps—for a fee—with a no-emissions bicycle and create wonderful compost to nourish the soil.

Here’s Proof the Average U.S. Household Isn’t the ‘Dumb Money’—I spent twenty one months in business school listening to the icons of “smart money” tell aspiring investment bankers how they were the masters of the universe and what not.  The financial crisis in 2008 was a total nut punch to these guys, but it obviously did not make them humble.

Papa John’s has Made a Gluten-Free Pizza that Gluten-Intolerant Diners can’t Eat—Here is proof that the gluten free trend is not about people with celiac disease and more about marketing.

Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech—Soy leghemoglobin may be an allergen, but I love the government’s concern.  I also find it stunning that the FDA has acted so quickly when other problems in our food system are persistent and pernicious going on for years and decades without any government intervention.  Do you think big meat is behind this?  Oh yeah…

Friday Linkage 1/13/2017

Did that circus sideshow…er, press conference actually occur on Wednesday morning?  Is this the beginning of the end for the American experiment?  Or is it the beginning of the end of the Republican Party?  We can always hope.

Furthermore, can someone please tell right wingers to stop making comparisons to Nazi Germany.  One, it is factually wrong on so many levels and right wingers have been getting it wrong for the better part of a decade.  Just because the official party name included the word “socialist” does not mean that the Nazis had anything to do with socialism.  Two, it cheapens the horrors committed by the Nazis and their allies.

On to the links…

All the Risks of Climate Change, in a Single Graph—Try and think some happy thoughts:

nature_cc_reasons_for_concern_graph.png

States, Power Companies Lead in Cutting Carbon; Election Not Slowing Expected 2017 Progress—The Federal government may be screwed for the next several years, but paralysis at the national level will not stop progress by states and utilities.

US Energy Analysis Sees Renewable Electricity Passing Coal by 2030—Granted, natural gas is still going to be getting burnt.  A lot, but there is hope that we can kill the coal beast.

Arab Gulf Firms Set their Sights on the Region’s Growing Appetite for Solar Power—Lots of sunshine…check.  Available land…check.  Urban populations…check.  When oil rich gulf states are realizing the potential you know the jig is up.

Costa Rica got 98 Percent of its Electricity from Renewables in 2016—Costa Rica uses a lot less electricity per capita than other nations, but 98% is a totally rad figure.  Yes, I used the adjective rad.

China Is Pumping Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Into New Renewable Energy Projects by 2020—While the U.S. led by an orangutan dithers on what to do about the next generation of energy, China is blowing everyone’s doors off by investing billions on top of billions into renewables.

Clean-Energy Jobs Boosting Colorado’s Economy—The key element of this report is not the jobs related to energy production like wind turbine mechanics or solar installers, but the jobs around things like energy efficiency.  There is hay to make in driving efficiency into all corners of our economy.

Arizona still a Force in Solar Power, despite Other States’ Gains—The economics must be good because Arizona politicians have definitely tried to kill solar power on a number of occasions.

Infinite Solar Power Technology Could Completely Change Our Future—Headlines like this remind me of old newsreels that proclaimed nuclear power was going to be so cheap that it would be “too inexpensive to meter.”  How did that work out?

The Bizarre and Inspiring Story of Iowa’s Fish Farmers—What if our fish came from aquaculture in the middle of the U.S. instead of dirty farms in South America or Southeast Asia?  What is that fish was raised on plant based meal instead of ground of fish meal?  What if…

Nine Easy Things You Can Do To Save the Ocean—Some of this is obvious, but repetition is not always a bad thing when you are trying to change people’s behavior.

Friday Linkage 4/10/2015

Do you ever have those weeks at work where you look up and it’s Friday morning? The problem with those weeks is a lot of time is spent not actually doing you “day” job, but instead focused on some parallel project. Whoever told me that mergers and acquisitions was an exciting field of work during b-school was not telling the whole truth.

On to the links…

California’s Worst Drought in 1,200 Years in Pictures—I have not been to California since the current drought cycle began, so it is shocking to see these pictures. Remember, this is a mega-drought cycle that could last decades.

Barclays Ends Financing of Controversial Mountaintop Removal Mining—In 2013, Barclays was the biggest financier of mountaintop removal mining in the world. Imagine you worked in an industry where the single biggest source of private capital ceased operation. Ouch.

U.S. Power Sector In 2015: More Renewable Energy, Less Carbon Emissions—The price of a portfolio of renewables is low enough that it competes on its merits against fossil fuels. One of those merits is that once installed renewables do not require constant refueling. Sure, oil is at a low price right now but who believes that will be true in five years?

How to Maximize Renewable Energy Options for New Mexico—Renewables is all about location. In Iowa, it makes more sense to deploy wind power because of our wind energy infrastructure and constant wind speeds. In the American southwest the portfolio looks quite different. Even between Arizona and New Mexico the portfolio may look different.

Rethinking the Grid: Personal Power Stations in Your Garage—In some ways, traditional utilities are pushing this model to the forefront by adjusting their pricing schemes to harm solar power producers at a rooftop scale. What happens when more and more customers disembark from the grid?

Spain Got 47 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewables In March—Granted, Spain’s economy is still in the proverbial toilet but including nuclear the country got approximately 70% of its power from non-carbon sources. Amazing.

Indian State Plans 25 GW of Solar, Gets 40GW—Rajasthan blew past its solar target of 25GW in the next few weeks as businesses have signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) for over 40GW of solar. Imagine exceeding your targets by 60%. Wow.

Detailed Projections of Coral Bleaching—Coral bleaching, which is equivalent to a coral reef dying, will impact different reef ecosystems at different rates and spreads. It is still a damn shame that it is happening at all.

Scientists Have Found A New Way To Save The World’s Coral Reefs, And It’s Pretty Fishy—Coral reefs are an ecosystem. We have forgotten the impact that fish have on this ecosystem as fishing and aquarium collection have devastated fish populations.

Microbeads: Solving a Big Problem of Little Bits—Plastic microbeads should be outlawed. It’s pollution that we can only control at the source.

Friday Linkage 5/31/2013

Few things could make my week turn out much better, but noted conservative wing nut and all around bat shit crazy wingbat Michele Bachmann is not going to seek re-election to Congress in 2014.  Granted, the current scandal surrounding her failed Presidential campaign—who for a minute thought that someone so far out of the mainstream would have a prayer of winning?  Oh right, the Republicans—might have played a role, but she did not elaborate on her decision.  Still, it’s a good week.

If you want to remember some of her greatest hits, check out this list.

On to the links…

Solar Power’s Epic Price Drop Visualized—Dig it man, solar power is getting cheaper and cheaper every day.  There may be hope for a clean energy future.

Solar Industry Anxious over Defective Panels—It looks like the boom and bust in solar panel manufacturing is coming with a dark side.  Namely, cost cutting in the name of survival may be leading to sub-standard products being shipped out the door.

The Three Best Things Minnesota did for Solar—Who would have thought that Minnesota would be a leader in solar right now at the government level?  It’s not like people think of sunny Minnesota.  Maybe the state will be our Germany?

Kansas City to Install Solar Panels on 80 Municipal Buildings—The move is expected to save upwards of $40K per year for the city.  Such a move would not have made since with higher panel prices, but as the cost curve has bent downward it looks increasingly attractive.

Coal Making a Comeback in 2013—Ugh, I thought the coal demon was slinking back into the dark forever.  It looks like I was wrong.  Maybe some of the predictions over at WonkBlog will come true with regard to coal’s struggles continuing.

The CBO says We Need a Price on Carbon Emissions—If we cannot put a price on something, no one will put the cost in their models and it is models that rule the world now.  Trust me, if you can put it into an Excel spreadsheet it instantly becomes more believable to the MBAs of the world.

5 Reasons Why I Became a 1 Gallon Brewer—The idea of brewing batches of beer in smaller than 5 gallon increments is enticing, I would be one bummed out dude when I made something that I loved and had only a dozen or so bottles.  Bogus!

Dean Foods Completes Spin-off of WhiteWave Foods—I remember when Dean Foods’ purchase of WhiteWave was viewed as the death knell of organic because now the term was going to be abused by the big industrial food machine.  I do not know if the spin-off is a good thing because it means that organic is now big enough to be its own industrial machine.

Shuanghui Buying Smithfield Foods for About $4.72 Billion—You want to talk about a disaster waiting to happen.  China’s food system is a mess and now a Chinese company is buying a U.S. pork producer not known for its sterling food safety record.  The answer is to opt out of industrial meat completely.

16 Not-Quite Meatless Recipes—This is the way to do things if you want to opt out of the industrial meat game.  Use a little bit of meat to enhance a dish, but make vegetables and grains the center piece of the meal.  Mark Bittman’s approach to food is quickly becoming my favorite perspective.

Breeding Nutrition out of Our Food—Great, our food system is not only designed to produce crap but it looks like even the unprocessed foods have been bred to be less healthful than nature intended.  Is there any good news?

How I got Hooked on Weeds—and Why You Should Too—One answer to finding more nutritious food is to eat the things that have not been or cannot be bred for industrial farming.  Who is going to spend the time to genetically sequence dandelions or lamb’s quarter?

How to Find out Where Your Food Comes From without Waiting for Label Laws—The informed consumer is the powerful consumer.  Companies want you to be as ignorant of their practices as possible so that you make decisions based purely on information that they themselves provide.  Kind of sounds like the Catholic Church prior to the Reformation.  Trust us…

Illegal Monsanto GMO Wheat found in Oregon Field—Do these people have any control of what they are doing?  And to think they want less regulation and oversight.  Ok.

California Plan to Overhaul Water System to Cost $25B—Whenever I read about California’s water system and its problem I think about Cadillac Desert and Chinatown.  The history of that state is just interwoven with the story of water.  It’s still going on.

Microplastic Pollution Prevalent in Lakes, Too—It feels like we are quickly approaching a time when the prevalence of plastic in every step of our food chain will be a reality.  Great.