Tag Archives: Tesla

Friday Linkage 4/10/2020

What day is it anymore?  Weekdays, weekends, holidays, mornings, afternoons, evenings…it all seems the same anymore.

It’s like Groundhog Day where we wake up, get ready for the day, and spend a day in front of the computer trying to be productive.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Big Oil is Using the Coronavirus Pandemic to Push Through the Keystone XL Pipeline—Fossil fuel interest were never going to let a pandemic get in their way of pushing through every project on their wish list.  Here’s the thing, fossil fuel companies know a change is coming so they are trying to bake in as much capacity know before the political winds permanently shift against their interests.

An Environmental Stimulus Bill Could Help Us Bounce Back from COVID-19—I really wish that this had been a serious part of the discussions around stimulus.  Maybe in January 2021 we can have the U.S. government begin a serious discussion about a long term recovery plan that is also a path toward a “greener” future.  You know, after the Trumplicans are out of office.

The Pandemic Is Turning the Natural World Upside Down—If there is a silver lining to this whole crisis it is that we are realizing just how much of an impact we have on the natural world and just how much change we can create with our behaviors.

UK Road Travel Falls to 1955 Levels as COVID-19 Lockdown Takes Hold—Wouldn’t it be something if road travel did not bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels soon after the crisis passes?

America is Drinking its Way through the Coronavirus Crisis – that Means More Health Woes Ahead—All right, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  If we cannot enjoy a few drinks at home to dull the pain of this shitshow what is there left?

Coronavirus is Accelerating the Demise of Coal Power in the US—What trend does not accelerate the demise of coal?

U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants Stumbled Into 2020—And that was before people went into lockdown.  Let’s send Trump packing in November to make 2020 a year to remember for the planet and one that the coal industry would love to forget.

Tesla Virtual Power Plant In Australia Outperforms Expectations—This is so cool.  Instead of having a single physical bank of huge batteries Tesla has networked a whole bunch of Powerwalls to create a virtual battery bank for a larger region. Due to everything being networked it can act as if it were a single battery bank to help regulate the grid.

Rain May Soon be an Effective Source of Renewable Energy—Some concepts seem like they are born from science fiction.

Plastic Wars: Industry Spent Millions Selling Recycling — To Sell More Plastic—You better believe we are going to be hearing a lot from the plastic lobby about how its products made the world safer during the time of coronavirus.  Never mind the environmental destruction.

Scientists Create Mutant Enzyme that Recycles Plastic Bottles in Hours—If I am Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos I would call these guys ASAP and offer a lot of money to commercialize the process.  Even if it costs more than using virgin plastic the elimination of plastic waste has a net benefit that is hard to overstate.

Humankind’s Legacy is Basically Garbage—What would alien archaeologists think of what we leave behind?

In Semi-Arid Africa, Farmers are Transforming the ‘Underground Forest’ into Life-Giving Trees—Regenerating the land is the missed opportunity of the environmental movement.  It is one thing to preserve landscapes, but there is so much land that is degraded that we can bring back to life.  According to this article there is an area larger than Russia that is considered degraded.  That is a lot of opportunity.

Born to Rewild: Why Now is the Perfect Time to Make Your Lawn an Eco-Paradise—This is the summer to “kill your lawn.”

Layoffs Hit the NRA, Even as Gun Sales Soar—My thoughts and prayers are with the NRA.

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The Financial Math Behind Decarbonization

What if I told you that for the price of a base model Tesla Model 3—good luck actually finding one—you could decarbonize your household?

What if I told you that this is not a thought exercise but an examination of steps already taken?

Are you ready?

The price for base Tesla Model 3 is ~$35,000.  That is the price assuming that you can actually purchase the so-called “standard range” model and before any applicable tax credits.  For the purposes of this discussion I am going to leave tax credits aside for the time being.  So, we are working with a starting price of $35,000.

For that price you get an electric vehicle that has to draw power from the grid, which depending upon your locale and power company may support coal fired electricity.  It may also support fracking for natural gas or the nuclear power energy, assuming any of that industry remains in your region.

What else could you do with that $35,000?

Over the course of the past two and half years I have installed solar photovoltaic panels on my roof in two phases.  Why two phases?  Initially, my power company would only allow my roof mounted solar photovoltaic array to exceed my annual consumption—based on average expected production—by ~10% or so.  Considering how little electricity my household used in comparison to the average this worked out to a system of 4.64 kWh.  This initial phase cost me ~$11,000 before tax credits at the state and federal level.

In the past month I added ~62% more capacity to my existing solar photovoltaic array at a cost of ~$7,500.  In the past year I added an electric vehicle to the mix, which has upped my household consumption, in addition to a few winter months in 2019 where my prior panels were covered under deep snow curtailing production.  We also forgot to turn off a garage heater, which ran up the electric bill in February.  All told these changes goosed our consumption just enough to allow me to install an additional eight panels on my roof.

As it stands right now the photovoltaic array on my roof has a nameplate capacity of 7.52 kWh.  This was complete at a total cost of ~$18,500 before any tax credits.  Remember, we are leaving tax credits aside for the moment.  Assuming my household usage patterns hold—including one electric vehicle—this system will produce more than 100% of my household’s electricity requirements for the year.  The estimated excess production should allow me to replace my natural gas water heater with an electric air source heat pump model further reducing my household requirements for fossil fuels.  With the water heater replaced in the next year my household will only use natural gas for the forced air furnace in the colder months.  Trust me, I am looking at options to replace that as well.

What about the electric vehicle?  This is where the power of the market and a realistic assessment of one’s needs come into play.

A Tesla Model 3 is a fine automobile.  Dollar for dollar, it may be the best vehicle on the market right now when one considers its relative performance and environmental bona fides.  However, it still costs $35,000.

In January of this year I purchased a used Nissan Leaf for ~$11,500.  The Leaf had ~33K miles on the odometer, but the battery was in great condition being that the 2015 and later model years utilized an updated architecture that corrected some of the prior model years’ most glaring problems.  A purchase price of more than eleven thousand dollars might sound like a lot, but this was a car that retailed for more than $30,000 when new.  Losing two thirds of car’s value without high mileage is crazy town.  Or, good for the person who can take advantage.

If one can live with a lesser range, one can take advantage of the market punishing these older EVs for not being up to Tesla’s newer standards.  If one drives in town, for the most part, there is no disadvantage.  In almost a year of daily driving I have had just one instance of the range “guess-o-meter” dropping below ten miles remaining and I have never experienced the indignity of “turtle mode.”

How does this all add up?  Total cost for me to purchase an EV to replace all of my daily driver miles and enough solar photovoltaic capacity to power me entire household, including EV electricity requirements, was less than $30,000 before any tax incentives.  Compared to a $35K Tesla Model 3 I would say that I ended up in a better place.  Five thousand or so dollars better, mind you.

This is not to diminish the decision of someone purchasing a Tesla or any other EV.  Rather, it is to illustrate that there is an alternative path to decarbonization that is neither as expensive as portrayed by many and without any appreciable downsides.

The future is now.

Friday Linkage 11/29/2019

It’s Black Friday.  I hope that you are doing something today that is not shopping related.  Please.

On to the links…

Keystone XL: Police Discussed Stopping Anti-Pipeline Activists ‘by any means’–That is right, your freedoms as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States mean nothing when an oil company wants to build a pipeline on your land.  The government is in bed with the oil companies.

Global Use of Coal-Fired Electricity Set for Biggest Fall this Year–We keep fighting and we keep pushing for a coal free future.  Our literal lives depend on it, literally.

Coal Knew, Too–Surprise, surprise.  The coal industry is almost universally a bad actor.  The coal industry treats communities, individuals, and the environment horribly in pursuit of a few extra dollars.

What A $108/kWh Battery Pack Would Mean For Tesla–I do not remember what the magic number in terms of cost was supposed to be for battery packs in EVs to speed mass adoption.  Maybe it was $100 per kWh. Maybe. Regardless, Tesla appears to be getting close on a decent level of scale. Now imagine millions of battery packs being manufactured by lots of players.  Scale brings cost down.

BMW Spends Billions to Secure Batteries and Drivetrains for its EVs–This is a sign that EVs are mainstream.  It is important to remember that many automobile manufacturers plan along 5-10 year time horizons given the lead times for things like stampings, etc.

Strike for Sunshine–Everyone on the left keeps waiting for a revival of organized labor in America.  Maybe the ideas behind the Green New Deal can spark a revival, but I am skeptical.  I do believe, however, that old school shoe leather organizing of workers across the industrial spectrum is what is needed.  Imagine a better world where Amazon warehouse workers, WalMart employees, and whoever else are unionized.

Clean Energy Technology was Thought to be Uninvestable. One Fund Thinks Otherwise–I am very leery of the “smart money” of Wall Street.  However, access to lots of capital may help speed development of clean energy.  I just hope that this is not a Faustian bargain.

How Bamboo Building Can Cool the Climate–Bamboo is just cool.

Kids In Finland Ride Their Bicycles To School In -17°C Weather–People at work look at me strangely when I go on a walk outside in weather that just hovers around freezing.  Imagine what they would say if I let my kids bike to school in even colder weather. Oh wait, my son walks to school year round.

Coca-Cola Sweden First Market To Adopt Fully Recycled Plastic–This is the absolute bare minimum that we should accept from packaged food makers.  If you cannot package your product in 100% recycled materials you cannot put your product up for sale.  Simple.

Friday Linkage 3/15/2019

It’s Spring Break week…well, it will be.  This will be the last Friday Linkage until the end of the month so please try and make do without.  I promise I will be back.

On to the links…

The First Green Terawatt Was the Hardest—Consider that the first “green” terawatt of power came at the highest average cost.  The next terawatt or more will come at a price orders of magnitude lower because the highest price is today’s.  The prediction is that the next terawatt will be installed by 2023 at half the cost of the first.  So, a little more than a fourth the amount of time at half the cost.  That is change that I can believe in.

Trump’s Monument Review Was A Big Old Sham—Are we surprised that the process was really about allowing oil, gas, and uranium extraction interests get access to sealed off lands? No one else matters in this criminal administration.

Trump’s Climate Policies Face 6 Big Legal Battles this Year—Here is the thing I wonder about.  If Trump loses his bid for reelection in 2020, what happens to all of this stuff in January 2017 when a Democrat walks into the White House and reverses every executive action that the man took over four years?

Five Things a Democratic President Could Do By Declaring a National Emergency Over Climate Change—I would just love to watch Mitch McConnell clutch his pearls and cry about how decorum is gone from U.S. politics even though no one is more to blame for the degradation of politics in this country than he.

Republicans are the Real Threat to Hamburgers, not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—Are Republicans really this stupid?  No matter how genuine the policy proposal, Republicans—goaded by Fox News—will turn the discussion into an argument about something that is not even germane to the discussion.  It is the ultimate “hey, look, a squirrel” kind of distraction to keep people from talking about real change.

Trump said to Again Seek Deep Cuts in Renewable Energy Funding—Trump’s 2020 budget is dead on arrival in Congress.  It is now about the negotiations between the House and Senate as to what the budget will look like.

Cost of Adding New Wind, Solar Energy Continues to Fall in Minnesota—It’s not just cheap, but it is getting cheaper to build out renewables versus continue to operate coal plants.

Harnessing the Sun in Coal Country—Naming the two solar farms Hatfield and McCoy is a little hokey, but I love the juxtaposition of old mountain top removal coal mines being transitioned to solar photovoltaic farms.

Norway’s $1tn Wealth Fund to Divest from Oil and Gas Exploration—This is a little “pot calling the kettle black” as the wealth fund is driven by profits from North Sea oil and gas.  However, it is a positive step forward.

Renewables Generated a Record 65 Percent of Germany’s Electricity Last Week—Say what you will, but that is an impressive number.

Tiny Costa Rica Has a Green New Deal, Too. It Matters for the Whole Planet.—I want to know why the United States is getting beat to the punch by a small country like Costa Rica?  Why can’t we think big when it comes to addressing the problem presented by climate change?

Coal Power Stations Disrupt Rainfall—As if we needed another reason to stop burning coal.

Scientists Capture Bacteria That Eat Pollution and Breathe Electricity—This sounds like something out of a comic book that gets repurposed by a super villain to defeat our intrepid heroes.

America’s Light Bulb Revolution—LEDs are amazing.  How anyone—looking at you Republicans—can be against using less electricity for lighting is beyond me.  Oh wait, Fox and Friends does not like LED lightbulbs because, uh, socialism?

The Backyard Mechanic Who is Taking on Tesla—Trust me, Tesla is painted in a bad light here for refusing to sell this guy repair parts but this is not different from a lot of other car companies.  You might be able to buy parts for more mainstream cars, but the prices are crazy compared to what the replacement parts actually cost.  Just spend some time with Porsche enthusiasts looking at repair parts online.

Why India is a World Leader in Waste Paper—As our trash gets sent around the world, it is important to think about the market forces that drive a country to literally buy something that we consider garbage of little to no value.

Friday Linkage 8/10/2018

I watched the returns from Tuesday’s primaries and special elections with a special glee.  It seems that Republicans under Trump are hoping to keep a coalition stitched together that consists of white nationalists, plain old racists, and older less educated white people.  This seems like a recipe for failure when the head cheese puff is not on the ballot.

It is hard to imagine that the same people who would wear a shirt declaring “I would rather be Russian than a Democrat” are going to go to the polls in the midterms to vote for an establishment Republican if their spirit animal in an ill-fitting suit is not headlining the ballot.

Needless to say, Democrats and their allies on the left need to remain energized, get allies to the polls, and pull across the finish line strong.  America may literally depend on it.

On to the links…

The Whole Republican Party Seems to Be Going to Jail Now—The Republican Party under Donald Trump is nothing more than a country club for corruption that happens to be located in Washington D.C.  If these guys were all based in Hoboken, N.J. there would be a major racketeering investigation happening.

Bribery Trial Reveals Jeff Sessions’ Role in Blocking EPA Action Targeting One of His Biggest Donors—It is going to take years to unpack all of the corruption done by these people in the name of making America “great” again.

Coal Industry on Steady Decline under Trump’s Leadership—This is what you get with Donald Trump.  A few guys will make a lot of money—probably people like Robert Murray—while everyone else gets screwed—usually the employees who actually need the jobs.  Coal will be no different.

We’ve Been Talking About a National Grid for Years. It Might be Time to Do It.—All this talk of energy storage like batteries or pumped hydro misses the biggest “storage” opportunity of all—the gird.  Think of the grid as a battery and a national grid as the biggest battery of all.  Instead of balancing loads across a region you would have the benefit of balancing loads across the country and maybe even parts of Canada or Mexico.

Negative Electricity Pricing Abounds As Wind, Solar Flood the Grid—This is power so cheap that companies are paying people to take it.  This is why we need a national power grid.  When California is over producing that power could be “sent” to states where the wind is not blowing or vice versa.

Analysis Reveals That World’s Largest Battery Saved South Australia $8.9 Million In 6 Months—Now, imagine scaling this type of solution.  Saving money and greenhouse gas emissions.  Win, win.

Permian Decline Rate May be Steeper than Thought—There has been a new school of thought in oil markets that the U.S. is the new swing producer able to bring wells online in places like Texas and North Dakota to ameliorate price increases.  It now looks like the modeling behind the production assumptions of the Permian Basin may have been too optimistic.

Lloyd’s Bank to Ditch Financing New Coal Plants—Bankers are a conservative lot and if their peers stop doing something most of the mainline, reputable banks—e.g. the ones not involved with people like Paul Manafort—will generally cease those activities as well.  Coal projects may have to start looking at the loan sharks of the finance world.

1st Big US Offshore Wind Farm Scores Record-Low Price—Remember, offshore wind in the U.S. is not a mature industry with established cost estimates, employee knowledge, etc.  These costs are likely to come down in the coming years.

Surprise! Electric Buses are Significantly Greener Across the US—I do not know if I would say “surprise” but it is a good outcome nonetheless.  Instead of focusing on personal automobiles we should be putting our resources into electrifying public transit and commercial vehicles.

Explore the Largest Coastal Restoration Project Completed In Louisiana’s History—On an Earth where we, humans, have changed every landscape to some degree the conversation needs to pivot from preservation to restoration.  How do we restore natural ecosystems that have been damaged by humans?

Postcards from the Edge—The Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is what the current administration would like most of America to look like save for the views from Trump’s own golf courses.  Remember, solar panels and wind turbines are a blight but toxic open pit mines are tremendous.

Nuclear Wasteland: The Explosive Boom and Long, Painful Bust of American Uranium Mining—If you want to wonder what will become of places like Bear Ears and Grand Escalante Staircase under a Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump regime just look at the history of uranium mining in the western U.S.  Many of these landscapes and communities have not recovered from the damage done over thirty years ago.

Meet America’s Elite Farm Subsidy Club—It’s Farm Bill time which means that Republicans are going to whine about cutting SNAP benefits for poor people because we all “know” that food stamps is what is bankrupting the United States.  It could not possibly be that we allow rich people to loot America.  Not at all.

Fascinating Look at How America Uses its Land—Just take a moment to see how we use land in aggregate in the United States and think about how your personal choices play into this land use.  Think of all the opportunities for restoration:

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Friday Linkage 3/2/2018

This is going to be the last post for a while since I am going to spend the middle part of March chasing powder across the Colorado Rockies.  You cannot buy happiness, but you can buy a lift ticket.

On to the links…

Florida Residents Could Soon Get the Power to Alter Science Classes—We live in a world where people are quick to say “I am not a scientist” right before making comments about science.  I can see this going very badly, but I can also see it backfiring right into the face of the fundamentalist clowns who want to take us back to a time when we got our scientific knowledge from the pulpit.

Koch Document Reveals Laundry List of Policy Victories Extracted from the Trump Administration—Trump did not drain the swamp, he just redecorated.

Ben Carson’s HUD, Planning Cuts, Spends $31,000 on Dining Set for his Office—Helping poor people get housing is just too much, but this no talent ass clown sees fit to spend over $30k on a dining set for his freaking office.  What kind of people have a dining set in their office anyway?

Wind and Solar Power Could Meet Four-Fifths of US Electricity Demand, Study Finds—80% sounds good to me.  Remember, just a few short years ago every expert was saying that we could not get past 20% or 30% renewables before problems started making a higher percentage impossible.  The future is what we choose to make it and I want mine powered by the sun.

Cost, Not Climate, is Driving Transition to Renewables: BlackRock’s Jim Barry—Look who is making that statement.  It is not Ed Begley Jr. or even Bill Nye.  It is the freaking manager of a hedge fund.

After Rising for 100 Years, Electricity Demand is Flat. Utilities are Freaking Out.—The key word here is decoupled.  It is no longer necessary for electricity demand to march in lockstep with a growing economy.  This correlation was at the core of the utilities’ business model for the past one hundred years and now it is garbage.

Tesla Battery ‘Taking Straw Off Camel’s Back’ for South Australia Energy Demand—Energy storage does not need to be able to meet 100% of demand at any particular time to be successful.  It needs to moderate the peaks in demand that correspond with the valleys in production.  Tesla is showing that energy storage can do this job in the real world.

Tesla Installs 300 Powerwalls to Give Hawaiian School Kids AC—Say what you will about Tesla and Elon Musk, but this company is out there trying to actually do things rather than just running demonstrations all the time and making videos for TED talks.

Solar-plus-Storage Helps Kauai Beat Diesel Power Prices—Hawaii’s high electricity prices, reliance on imported fuel, and abundant sunshine make it the perfect laboratory for next generation renewable energy solutions.  My favorite part of the article is the offhand mention of 60% of the island’s electricity coming from renewable sources.

Utilities, Customers in US Southeast Embrace Community Solar—The southeastern United States is the last bastion of the utility companies.  The dam is finally starting to be breached and the future is now.

Brown Is the New Green: UPS’ Electric Truck Order Heralds a Larger, Cheaper EV Fleet—If just the operators of commercial vehicles made the transition to EVs—where the payback is quicker because of the fuel and maintenance savings—we would be a long way toward reducing our transportation related emissions.  Focus on the big hitters first and move down the line later.

It’s Been 51 Days Since a Massive Oil Spill Off China’s Coast. There’s Still So Much We Don’t Know.—Have you seen much news about this?  I have not and it kind of frightens me.

Amazon Made $5.6 Billion in Profits Last Year and Reportedly Paid Zero American Dollars in Federal Taxes—Are you sure you want your city in the running for this company’s second headquarters?  Remember this every time your Republican legislator says that we need a lower corporate tax rate in the United States.  You cannot get any lower than zero.  Oh wait, here come the tax credits and subsidies…

Friday Linkage 2/9/2018

So Herr Trump wants a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue now.  Why?  Probably because he got to go to a parade in France and he cannot be upstaged by the French.

Can we just allow this doofus to get a few parades, drive a few tanks, make a few speeches, and let him believe he is the President of the United States while some adults actually do the governing?  I do not think that I can take three more years of this clown.

On to the links…

The Dark Reason so Many Millennials are Miserable and Broke—This is a lot more important than I think even the authors believe.  People are literally living in a way that is trying to compete with complete strangers on social media platforms and it’s killing them.  Not literally, which has to be the millennials favorite word, but spiritually.  Just stop.

Why Trump Wants to Repeal an Obama-Era Clean Water Rule—The reason why he wants to repeal this rule has to do with him hating anything to do with Obama and Scott Pruitt being a toady for industry.  The real question will be what these stooges come up with to replace the current rules.

Every Climate Denier in Trump’s Cabinet—It is always good to see what kind of no talent ass clowns Trumps has surrounded himself with these days.  Now, it is likely that by the end of the month several of these people will have angered the head cheese puff so take it with a grain of salt.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Debate over 100% Renewable Energy—No one knows what is possible or probable because the assumptions we make today will not be in valid in three to five years anyway.  The one thing I think we all can agree on is that clean energy is better than fossil fuel energy.  Anything after that is just a discussion about degrees of development.

Regulatory Relief Didn’t Help Coal Industry in 2017 and Can’t Save it in 2018—Trump can hold a hundred rallies and talk about “beautiful clean coal” all he wants because the market does not want it anymore.  It’s called a death spiral for a reason.

Coal’s Foes and Friends get Fired up in Hearing Over Future of Xcel Plants in Colorado—This is like trench warfare.  Each coal plant that gets retired is not going to be replaced with other coal fired power, so it is gone forever.  However, you have to fight every battle anew and each fight is entered with renewed vigor by all sides.

5 Graphs Explain Coal in Trump’s First Year—It’s not a pretty picture if you like “beautiful clean coal.”

Squaw Valley to Be First Ski Resort in U.S. to Run Just on Renewables—If you ski then you understand how at risk our pastime is to the impacts of climate change.  The powers that be running these ski resorts are woke to the reality.

Australian Solar Installs Are Going Through The Roof—Australia can feel like the future and a vision of the past all at the same time.

Tesla To Construct Virtual Solar Power Plant Using 50,000 Homes In South Australia—Let’s consider Australia to be the laboratory for what large scale solar power integrating into a larger grid looks like for the future of every sunny place in the world.  If they get it figured out we just scale it worldwide.

Nebraska Republican Seeks to Hobble Wind Power by Redefining it as Not ‘Renewable’—This is why Nebraska should not be allowed to have nice things.

What Bison in South Dakota can Teach us About Fighting Climate Change—Land use and agriculture are two areas where we can make dramatic gains in the fight against catastrophic climate change without having to confront the same demons of the fossil fuel industrial complex.

Being A Homebody Has A Surprising Environmental Upside—Anyone who spends a bunch of time at home—like me—understands this almost implicitly.  Once you get away from the temptation of online shopping—buying stuff is not good no matter how green the product—it becomes almost like a passion project.

Climate Strange—Maybe we should all just embrace a little bit of our weird side.  I got looked at a little bit strange when I put solar panels on my roof, but now at least a half dozen homes have panels on the roof in my neighborhood.  Who’s strange now?  Hopefully my bike commuting catches on in a similar way.

H&M is Closing Stores as Sales Shrink—Could we finally be reaching a point when we are past peak fast fashion crap?

Friday Linkage 12/22/2017

It is time to decompress and enjoy the holidays.  I know that the holidays are actually stressful for a lot of people—dinner arguments with drunk Uncle Carl who want stop saying “MAGA!” and “You’re all a bunch of snowflakes!” would take it out of any of us—but it is important to just stop for a moment.

Yes, the world seems like an unmitigated clusterfuck right now.  For all intents and purposes the world is an unmitigated clusterfuck.  However, it is important to remember that at almost any point in the history of the world things seemed like an unmitigated clusterfuck.  Except the period from 1997 to 1999.  That period of time was freaking awesome.

I digress.

On to the links…

We’re Witnessing the Wholesale Looting of America—Washington D.C. is run by a bunch of sociopaths who want to take from the many and give to the few.  The whole reverse Robin Hood thing is getting old real quick.

The EPA Spent $120,000 in Taxpayer Funds to Hire a GOP Public Relations Firm—Scott Pruitt may actually be the worst person in Trump’s administration.  He is a paranoid party hack who scans his office for bugs, built a secret phone booth like something out of a 1960s spy movie, and he now is hiring partisan opposition research firms to message his mess of a policy platform.

E.P.A. Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email.—If you do not think we are living in an increasingly Orwellian state than Scott Pruitt’s EPA is here to make you nervous all over again.  Remember, the president and all of his men like free speech as long as it is promoting their agenda of coal, tax cuts, foul air, dirty water, and MAGA.

Rick Perry’s Fake Grid Crisis just got Undermined by More Grid Experts—Rick Perry is the gift that keeps on giving.  No matter how much he tries—the “smart guy” glasses are a good disguise—he is just a partisan hack from Texas who has no idea what he is doing when it comes to leading the department of Energy.  His marching orders from the head Cheeto is to find out a way to pay back the coal barons who love America so much they want to blanket it in fly ash.

Global Coal Consumption Forecast to Slow—Other than India the world is trying to get off coal.

The World’s Biggest Coal Port is Now Preparing for the End of Coal—What happens when the market for coal dries up?  It does not matter how much people like Donald Trump want to mine coal if there is no one to burn coal and no place to transport coal.

Burning Wood instead of Coal in Power Stations makes Sense if it’s Waste Wood—When the forests are managed for timber products, like in the southern United States, there is a lot of waste wood that does not get turned into lumber or pulp.

Tesla Responsible for Slide in U.S. Home Solar Sales—Have we entered the slow growth phase of residential solar installations?  Or, is the business model used by companies like the former Solar City not up to long term stability?

Iowa Utilities Adding to State’s Wind Power Portfolio—Announcements like these are pretty routine in Iowa right now as Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy are putting the finishing touches on some serious wind energy expansion.  Iowa is driving toward more than 50% wind produced electricity in the near term when you look at the aggregate numbers.

Germany Predicted To Set Renewable Energy Record In 2017—Take a moment to check out the chart:

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Over 33% is coming from renewables and counting nuclear over 44% is carbon free.  This is progress.

Meet the Microgrid, the Technology Poised to Transform Electricity—As our grid becomes increasingly brittle the solution to future resiliency may be a solution that looks a lot like the early days of electrification when small scale grids dominated.

Solar Power and Battery Storage could Topple 10GW of US Natural Gas Peaker Plants—Peaker plants are the necessary evils of the energy marketplace.  When demand starts to spike in excess of baseload power these plants come on line fast to make up for the deficit.  The downside to this rapid action is a severe lack of efficiency compared to traditional combined cycle generation plants.  Replacing these plants with a renewable solution would be a very green thing kilowatt hour for kilowatt hour.

Unconventional Solar Panel Siting Saves Agricultural Land While Providing Plenty Of Power—Basically, there is a lot of potential space for solar panels that would not in any way imperil our ability to produce food.  Just sock this away for that moment this holiday season when drunk Uncle Carl starts talking about how solar panels are taking away land from the farmers.

Food Waste is 20 Percent of Iowa Trash—Waste is bad.  Twenty percent is crazy because it is just money in the dump.

One-Third of Forests aren’t Growing Back after Wildfires—Well, that sucks.

Wine Glasses are Seven Times as Big as they Used to Be—Given how messed up things seem lately I am surprised that the glasses are just seven times bigger than before.

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Friday Linkage 12/1/2017

Has America gone mad?  I am starting to wonder if this is the moment when this country turns toward ruin because its leadership is so disconnected from anything resembling coherence.  The current tax “reform” legislation winding its way through Congress is a thee day old salad bar of bad ideas cribbed from the plethora of failed Republican economic experiments going back to the 1980s.  The only hope that I have if this passes in anything near its current form is that it finally puts the dagger in the heart of any right winger being able to stand on anything that looks like economic principle.

Of course, I said the same thing when Donald Trump got elected about evangelicals and those clowns are falling in line to support Roy Moore because…’Merica!

On to the links…

Sam Brownback Trolls America: The Guy Who Wrecked Kansas is the GOP’s Role Model—Kansas is an abject failure of a state right now because Sam Brownback decided to remake the state in the image of Paul Ryan’s utopia of low tax, low quality life that he dreamed up while short pouring beers from kegs at fraternity parties.  No seriously bro, Ayn Rand was right about everything!

This Map Shows Exactly How Many Republicans in Your District Don’t Believe in Global Warming—These are the same people selling the lie that trickle down economics works.

How Could the Agung Volcano in Bali Affect Global Temperatures?—James Inhofe just got all excited because he might get to talk about snow in the winter again as some kind of perverted proof that climate change is not real.  No talent ass clown.  Notice the trend in temperatures from the chart?  Short term perturbations do not change the long term trend of warming.

Interior Department Mired in Investigations—In a few years the accounting will hold this current presidential administration as the most inept and corrupt in the history of the United States.  No amount of Twitter insults or Fox & Friends call ins will change the reality.

U.S. Energy Sources and Uses: Everything You Need to Know in One Lovely Chart—This is one of those charts to keep around and reference frequently:

estimated-u-s-energy-consumption-in-2016-graphic-lawrence-livermore-national-laboratory_100634001_l.jpg

Just look at the rejected energy total.  That essentially equals wasted energy.  Efficiency is the holy grail kids.

Solar Panel Prices Plunge by a Shocking 26 Percent in One Year—I thought that the downward trend in solar panel prices would level out, but at this rate we will just be able to put panels on whatever surface is available.  Oh, and wind is getting cheaper too.

U.S. Coal Industry Shows No Sign of Comeback—No matter what Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Scott Pruitt, or any other coal obsessed right wing stooge says coal is not coming back.  It’s fake news to say anything other than coal is in a long downward trend that will be almost impossible to come out of unless the fundamentals of economics change.

Oil and Gas Industry is Causing Texas Earthquakes, a “Landmark” Study Suggests—All that natural gas being pulled from the ground in places like Texas might also have been the cause of the ground literally breaking apart.  Awesome.

A Map of $1.1 Billion in Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks—Just remember, these are the same people who want to build the Keystone XL pipeline and others.

Solar Grid Parity For Australia By 2020 As Renewables Surge—That is just a little over two years away.  This means that in all of Australia solar will cost the same as coal or natural gas regardless of condition.  Now, imagine a scenario where natural gas prices spike.  Are Australians going to go back to coal or put up some more solar panels?

Australia Can Meet CO2 Emissions Target By 2030 With Renewables At Zero Net Cost—Net zero cost is the key term here.  When you replace fossil fuels with renewables you are trading a higher upfront cost for a lower long term cost because you no longer need to buy fuel, which tends to increase in cost as time goes on.  The long term tail costs are often excluded from a lot of comparison models because doing so favors fossil fuels.

Elon Musk bet that Tesla could Build the World’s Biggest Battery in 100 days. He Won.—Say what you will about Elon Musk and his affiliated companies, but the guy does bold in business in an era when bland is the rule of the day.

Iowa Airports Going Green, Saving on Energy Costs—Nearly $650K for a solar photovoltaic system is great.  That puts 240kWh system to make power to be consumed on site.  I think the real story if that just over $200K is being spent to reduce energy consumption by up to 80%.  Granted that project happened over six years ago it shows you the relative power of putting money into energy efficiency.

Look-alike Apartment Buildings in Northeast Minneapolis Showcase New Ideas in Energy Efficiency—Do we really need a demonstration like this to prove the benefits of building a well-designed energy efficient building?

These ‘Chilling’ Soviet Maps of San Francisco, Bay Area Likely Intended for the Communist Takeover—The world seems like a scary place right now, but this is a reminder of just how scary things were during the Cold War.

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.