penetrating ideas


I must say that the general public is slanted against comedians. First, they think comedy is easy. It is not. It is very hard and mentally challenging. Second, they assume that acomedian could never be a good politician. I think Al Franken proves them wrong on both counts. I think he is an excellent comedian and a politician. About the environment he is spot on.

https://thinkprogress.org/al-franken-strategy-for-trump-climate-deniers-fd9a6502f9cb

Al Franken’s devastating strategy for taking on Trump’s team of climate science deniers

Knowledge of climate science plus mastery of storytelling is a rare combination.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has emerged as one of Congress’ most devastating questioners of the myriad climate science deniers who fill President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

And it’s largely because the comedian turned Senator combines two abilities rarely seen together?—?actual knowledge of climate science and genuine communications chops. Franken knows how to tell a good story, and as the best science communicators will tell you, the best messaging requires storytelling.

Just last week Franken dismantled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in one hearing, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in another. And by dismantled, I mean his doggedness drove Zinke to spout nonsense answers that a top climatologist called “stupid and ignorant,” while it drove Perry to simply lose his cool?—?a take-down that has since gone viral.

Let’s see how Franken does it. Here he is with Zinke on Tuesday:

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Go there and read. Go there and play videos. More next week.

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Pop the corks, light the fireworks and kick up your heels. Yah, but that is not what happened. Maybe they celebrated on the west coast, but here in the midwest, there was a huge yawn. People are just not excited about saving their own lives and the only planet we have. As dolt 45 would say, so SAD.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/State-breaks-another-renewable-energy-record-11156443.php

California grid sets record, with 67% of power from renewables

Updated 5:10 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2017

A stretch of sunny, windy days, combined with brimming reservoirs at hydroelectric plants across the state, helped California reach a renewable energy milestone last weekend.

Early Saturday afternoon, renewable sources produced a record 67.2 percent of the electricity on the portion of the state’s power grid controlled by the California Independent System Operator. That figure does not include large hydropower facilities, which added another 13.5 percent. Based in Folsom, the ISO runs 80 percent of the state’s grid.

More than half of the renewable energy flowing across the grid at that moment on Saturday came from large solar facilities and wind farms. The ISO’s numbers do not even account for electricity from rooftop solar arrays.

Overall, renewables accounted for 42 percent of the California grid’s power on Saturday, not counting the large hydropower plants.

“The fact that the grid can handle 67 percent renewable power from multiple sources — it’s a great moment, and it shows the potential we have,” said Sachu Constantine, the director of policy at the Center for Sustainable Energy, a nonprofit clean energy advisory firm in Berkeley.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Norway has a very different approach to the environment then Donald Trump ( I prefer to call dolt 45). They are plunging headlong into a green energy future and I hope the rest of the world follows.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/norways-government-made-electric-cars-irresistible/

How Norway’s government made electric cars irresistible

May 29, 2017 at 6:35 PM EDT

In Scandinavia, which is a world leader in green technology, politicians and environmentalists want the president to follow their lead, and increase investment in environmentally friendly technologies like electric cars.

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Norway, the world’s fastest growing electric car market.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Norway prides itself on being one of the world’s most pristine countries. Yet, amid the stunning scenery, there are reminders that its vast wealth comes from decades of gas and oil production.

But Norwegians are turning their backs on fossil fuels and embracing electric cars like nowhere else.

Ann Kunish, who moved from Wisconsin 30 years ago, is one of the new converts.

ANN KUNISH, Music Librarian: This car is a no-brainer. There’s no question about it. It’s very, very easy to choose electric cars. The Norwegian government has made it much more financially feasible to buy them. They don’t have the same fees, free parking in municipal spots. More and more charging stations are being built, lower yearly fee to use the roads, no tolls.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I was going to write about Germany making 85 percent of its power with renewables on a particular day. As fun as that is this is better. Egypt is going to invest billions of dollars in solar (and wind?). That is so exciting. I hope the rest of the countries of the Middle East follow suit.

http://www.upi.com/Energy-News/2017/05/15/Egypt-looks-to-the-future-with-renewable-energy-plan/3111494858225/

 

Egypt looks to the future with renewable energy plan

By Ahmed Megahid, The Arab Weekly   |   May 15, 2017 at 10:33 AM

CAIRO, May 15 (UPI) — The vista in the central province of Minya is as empty as far as the eye can see except for rows and rows of solar panels and the blue sky above.

The panels are helping Amr al-Saad’s 8-month-old power sta­tion address the worsening issue of brownouts and blackouts in the area.

“A few years ago, power supply was intermittent, which made the life of the residents of the province very tough,” he said. “That is why I decided to establish my project where it is most needed.”

After generating electricity, Saad’s station feeds it into the na­tional grid where it is used to power houses, farms and workshops in Minya’s villages.

Saad’s project, which cost $100,000 and produces 650 kilo­watts of electricity each month, is part of a national drive to reduce Egypt’s dependence on fossil fuels by shifting to renewable energy. Egypt plans to produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022 and 37 percent by 2035. It is an ambitious plan given that just 3 percent of electricity produced annually in Egypt today is from renewable sources.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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It has taken the last 30 years to get to the point where we can have this conversation. Is it in time? I do not know, but it sure feels good.

Solar Power vs. Wind Power Pros and Cons

Solar Power vs. Wind Power Pros and Cons

After doing some research on renewable energy systems or alternative energy systems as many will call them, I wanted to get the information out there as far as the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 main renewable energy systems, wind turbine generators and photovoltaic solar panels.

Both solar panel and wind generator systems are similar as far as how they are setup. You can have the wind generator grid tied or off grid, same as solar panels. Both the solar panel (photovoltaic panel) and wind generator will need a battery bank if you are using an off grid system. Both of these renewable energy systems will produce clean energy and help the environment as well as save you money in your home!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Generator Systems and Solar Panel Systems

Now onto some of the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative energy system. None of this information is from my own personal experience as I do not have the financial funds to support the research. So the information about these renewable energy systems have came from researching the internet, talking to people that have these alternative energy systems, and of course some calculations of my own (prices, efficiency, etc.).

Wind Turbine Generator System Pros and Cons

The main advantage of wind generator is that they can produce electricity day or night as long as there is wind. Wind generators need less space on your land to produce sufficient electricity. Wind generators are able to produce more electric for the same price. If you spend $1,000.00 on wind generator you can produce 1kW – 2kW, with solar panels you may only produce around .5kW – .75kW with the same $1,000.00. Wind generators have moving parts, so there is always wear and tear on these moving parts. Bearings can go bad, propeller blades can be struck by objects, and heat may be generated. Your wind generator will be installed on a tower or pole of some sort to gain height where there is more wind, allowing lighting to possibly strike your wind generator. As wind hits the propeller blades there will be noise created, think of a fan and how they sound, or even taking a rope and swinging it fast in circles. You will get some of this noise from your wind generator. The propellers of the wind generator can also produce shadows flickering. Birds can get killed from flying into your wind generator’s propellers. There are vertical wind generators which will prevent this. So the quick break down of the wind generator system:

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Let me be clear here, the transition to clean energy sources will be painful because it is unplanned. Consider this: What if the Federal Government had a plan to move away from fossil fuels with clear benchmarks for the shift and training programs to move workers into that market. Well, plants would be closed on a schedule that everyone knows in advance, and there would be no pain. Only growth and prosperity. The way we are going about it now, Nuclear Power gets classified as “green”, plants are shuttered and workers are thrown out of their jobs. Brilliant.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-closures-idUSKBN16R2D4

Two Ohio coal-fired plants to close, deepening industry decline

By Emily Flitter | NEW YORK

Electricity company Dayton Power & Light said on Monday it would shut down two coal-fired power plants in southern Ohio next year for economic reasons, a setback for the ailing coal industry but a victory for environmental activists.

Republican President Donald Trump promised in his election campaign to restore U.S. coal jobs that he said had been destroyed by environmental regulations put into effect by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Dayton Power & Light, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, said in an emailed statement that it planned to close the J.M. Stuart and Killen plants by June 2018 because they would not be “economically viable beyond mid-2018.”

Coal demand has flagged in recent years due to competition from cheap and plentiful natural gas.

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Go there and jump for joy (I mean read). More next week.

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The Unitarian Church in Springfield Il. has invested in itself and its environment. I must add frustration here, as an accumulator type journalist, because I had the article in my hands. It did a great job of describing what they have done. I could not find so I had to use two sources that do it justice, but not as good as the first article. I am sorry.

http://www.aluuc.org/togetherweshare/wp-content/uploads/ALUUC-Newsletter-March-2017-web.pdf

Page
8
Green Sanctuary News
Notes from the ALUUC Prairie
The Green Sanctuary Committee burned the ALUUC prairie the
first Sunday in February. What a blaze! Flames over 5 feet tall
for
maybe 10 minutes. These burns have to be conducted with care using
equipment and training that have been developed over years of experi-
ence with prairie burning.
So why burn? Before Europeans arrived in the U.S., native people
routinely burned the prairies to stimulate growth of new plants for game
and to make hunting easier. Lightning also set prairies ablaze. Over thou-
sands of years, prairie plants adapted to these fires
sending roots deep
into the earth to protect against both drought and fires. Fires can kill less
adapted plants such as cool season grasses and some shrubby plants that
can take over the prairie. So we burn for the same reason
to rid the area of last year’s growth, stimu-
late new growth and rid the prairie of undesirable plants such as cool season grasses.
A common concern is that burning releases carbon
into the air adding to global warming. True, burning
does release carbon into the air
but this carbon is
“new” carbon that has been circulating in the air in the
last few years
not “old” carbon sequestered millions of
years ago in the coal and oil we now burn. Because of
their deep roots, prairie plants sequester more carbon in
their roots than released in a burn, even in prairies
burned every year. So in balance, prairie plants are a
carbon sink. (Chris Helzer, Nature Conservancy’s Direc-
tor of Science in Nebraska).
-trip-part-3-questions-about-frequent-prairie-burning/

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20160925/16-springfield-sites-part-of-saturdays-illinois-solar-tour

Springfield resident Bob Croteau has been involved in local solar projects since 1989 and played a major role in three of the local sites on the tour.

The Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation held fundraisers and used members from the church who are contractors to purchase and install their solar array. It has been operational since early 2015, features a web-based remote monitoring system, and “faces southeast, toward the morning sun, so solar electricity is running the lights and sound during the morning services,” said Croteau, who spearheaded the effort.

The net metering program offered by CWLP means that “if we are producing power when we don’t need it, it allows the meter to spin backward,” he added.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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A friend of mine, Nelson Oller, lives in Mason City Illinois and is in Ameren’s service territory. They have a whole house approach to reducing their residential customers electricity consumption. This program is great. They are helping with insulation and state-of-the-art equipment. He has to spent 2 grand for 10 thousand dollars worth of stuff. One of the thinks he was telling me about was a vent fan for the bathroom that could act as a whole house plan. I had never herd of such a thing, but according to this article it has been around for several years now.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/bathroom-exhaust-fans

 

musingsheader image

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Bath fans help remove odors and moisture — and can be used in some homes to satisfy whole-house ventilation requirements

Posted on Aug 7 2014 by Martin Holladay
Older homes often lack bathroom exhaust fans. In the old days, if the bathroom was smelly or steamy, you were supposed to open a window to air it out.

This isn’t a very logical ventilation method, especially when temperatures are below zero, or when the weather is 90°F and humid. Yet this time-honored method of bathroom ventilation is still enshrined in our building codes. According to the 2009 International Residential Code (sections R303.3 and M1507.3), a bathroom with an operable window does not need to have a bath exhaust fan.

Why do we need exhaust fans?

In spite of the code’s archaic loophole, builders should install an exhaust fan in every bathroom or toilet room — even when the bathroom has a window.

A bath exhaust fan can perform several functions:

  • It can exhaust smelly air, allowing fresher air to enter the bathroom.
  • It can exhaust humid air, allowing dryer air to enter the bathroom.
  • When operated for 24 hours per day or when controlled by a timer, it can act (in some cases) as the most important component of a whole-house ventilation system.
Designing an exhaust-only ventilation system is a topic unto itself, and is beyond the scope of this article. For more information on exhaust-only ventilation systems, see Designing a Good Ventilation System.

Where does the makeup air come from?

When the bathroom door is closed and the fan is operating, where is the makeup air coming from?

If the bathroom has an exterior wall, some of the makeup air is coming from the exterior — for example, through leaks around the window or baseboard.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The news only gets better for renewables. Wind did not keep pace with Solar but wind had a huge head start. Coal is fading in the rear view mirror and natural gas is neck and neck. I think the US is finally catching on, but you can bet the first things Trump will go after will be subsidies and the EPA.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1108084_more-solar-energy-was-added-in-2016-than-natural-gas-or-wind

More solar energy was added in 2016 than natural gas or wind

Renewable-energy growth has accelerated in 2016, but this may go down as a milestone year for one renewable-energy source in particular.

Together, all renewable-energy sources are expected to account for 8 percent of U.S. electricity-generation capacity in 2017, according to the Department of Energy, and solar energy is responsible for most of that growth.

For the first time ever, new solar-generating capacity is expected to exceed new generating capacity for wind and natural gas.

DON’T MISS: We’re there! Renewables now cheapest unsubsidized electricity in U.S.

The final tally won’t be available until March, but enough new solar installations were expected to be completed in 2016 to outpace wind and natural gas, according to Scientific American.

A total of 9.5 gigawatts of solar-generating capacity were expected to be built in 2016, tripling the amount installed in 2015, the magazine said, citing Energy Department data.

That amount would exceed the anticipated 8.0 GW of natural gas capacity, and 6.8 GW of wind capacity.

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Go there and cheer. More next week.

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Let me say, right off the bat, there are other better storage mechanisms then batteries. But if this becomes a market trend, well then whatever.

Installation of New England’s Largest Battery Energy Storage System is Underway

Installation of New England’s Largest Battery Energy Storage System is Underway

NEC Energy Solutions has begun the installation and commissioning of a 2 MW, 3.9MWh GSS® grid energy storage solution for the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Sterling, Massachusetts. Once complete in December 2016, it will be the largest system of its kind installed in New England and the first utility scale project in the State. In the event of an extended grid outage due to a natural disaster, this utility scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) can be used to power local emergency response facilities using power generated from two nearby solar plants. The system will also provide enhanced clean energy usage and cost savings to the town of Sterling.

Sandia provided SMLD with analysis to identify the optimal deployment site, amount, and installation type of energy storage within budgetary limits. Sandia also assisted with crafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the BESS system, vetting bids, and installing and dispatching the system. “Sandia was instrumental in helping us pull that together. We had developed a minor RFP and they brought in the technical support that we needed to get this done right. Working with Dan Borneo and Ray Byrne on this project has been very valuable to us,” said Sean Hamilton, General Manager of SMLD.

Going forward, Sandia will help SMLD oversee the operation of the BESS to optimally maximize economic returns while safeguarding SMLD’s ability to provide resilient power; monitor BESS operations; and collect operational data for one-year post-commissioning. The data will be used to further the U.S. Department of Energy’s/Sandia’s understanding of the benefits and applications of battery storage in the utility context and provide a number of important battery use cases in resiliency, cost savings, and revenues that can be adopted by numerous municipal utilities and vertically integrated utilities.

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Go there and read. But there ain’t much more. More next week.

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