economics


Once renewables get a bite of the apple eating it down to the core does not take long. I know that is a really bad metaphor, but right now besides doing my happy dance it is the best I can come up with.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/renewables-conservation-start-pushing-fossil-fuels-off-the-us-grid/?comments=1&post=35009197

US electricity use drops, renewables push fossil fuels out of the mix

2017 saw both coal and natural gas use decline.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney once said that “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” But in the US, increased energy efficiency has helped drive a drop in total electricity use. That, combined with the rise of renewable power, caused the use of both coal and natural gas to decline last year.

The changes, according to the Energy Information Agency, are relatively small. Total electric generation last year was down 1.5 percent compared to the year before, a drop of 105,000 GigaWatt-hours. But both coal and natural gas saw declines that were even larger. Coal use was down by 2.5 percent, a smaller decline than it has seen in many recent years. But the numbers for its future aren’t promising; no new coal plants were opened, and 6.3 Gigawatts of coal capacity were retired in 2017.

Continuing recent trends, 9.3GW of natural gas capacity were brought online, although that was partly offset by the retirement of 4.0GW of older gas plants. Despite the additional capacity, however, natural gas use was also down, dropping by nearly 8 percent.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have said for 30 years, storing nuclear waste onsite is dumb and dangerous. Especially at nuclear power plants. Yes the waste is dangerous and proper precautions must be taken. YES accidents will happen. But how many Fukushimas do you want to see. Melt downs and other disasters are really really bad, but how much worse are they with 1000s of tons of radioactive waste present. Yes, I think they should open Yucca Mountain as well.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/03/06/will-we-actually-get-a-place-to-store-our-nuclear-waste/#283213a023a0

 

Will We Actually Get A Place To Store Our Nuclear Waste?

, I write about nuclear, energy and the environment

It certainly looks like it. At the end of February, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted Holtec International’s license application for its proposed consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, called HI-STORE CIS.

To be located in southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad, the facility would store spent nuclear fuel, which is better referred to as slightly used nuclear fuel, until a final disposal facility is built or until we build our new fast reactors that will burn it, or we recycle it into new fuel.

Reactor fuel usually spends five years in the reactor, after which about 5% of the energy in the fuel is used, but fission products of the reactions have built-up to the point where the fuel must be replaced. After leaving the reactor, the spent fuel usually spends about 5 years in spent fuel pools of water, until heat and radiation have decreased sufficiently to allow the fuel to be passively cooled in a dry cask (see 1,2,3).

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The real important point from this article for me is that, ‘The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”’. In other words, for the last 2o years the utilities should have been investing in renewables and they did not. The point being that renewables are easier to turn “off” when you do not need them. If the utilities start investing heavily now in renewables they may survive. It is a horse race at this point.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities

The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current administration, is headed down the tubes.

In all that bedlam, it’s easy to lose sight of an equally important (if less sexy) trend: Demand for electricity is stagnant.

Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”:

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Go there and read gleefully. More next week.

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I am so amazed by this, that I do not know what to say. I wish these type projects had started 30 years ago. You would say, impossible. I would say the technology would have been different and the work harder, but it could have been done. Still I am so proud of Renault and I hope more companies try this out. GO Renault!

https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/21/renault-ev-second-life-batteries-smart-island/

Renault’s ‘smart island’ runs on wind power and recycled batteries

The experiment in Portugal aims to prove you can live without fossil fuels.

Renault has launched a “smart island” in Portugal that uses its Zoe electric vehicle, home batteries, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2E) energy storage to run without fossil fuels. The idea is to make the Madeira island of Porto Santo energy independent and stimulate renewable energy production. “[We want] to build a model that can be carried over to other islands and cities,” Renault Electric Vehicle Director Eric Feunteun told Engadget.

Unlike Tesla’s massive Powerpack installation, the Renault project is more of a community endeavor on the small (16 square mile) and sparsely populated (5,483 inhabitants), tourism-oriented island. It will unroll in three phases: In the first, 20 fortunate Porto Santo volunteers will get 14 Zoes and six Kango Z.E. utility vans to use every day. They’ll benefit from 40 new connected public and private charging stations set up by Renault and local utility Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira (EEM).

“Let’s say you come home from work at 7 PM with a decent charge left, and only need two to three hours of charging,” said Feunteun. “The smart charging system we’re testing will decide when the best time to do that is, based on usage, energy availability and other factors. Then, it can charge up to eight times a day in chunks as small as 15 minutes.”

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Go there and read every glorious word. More next week.

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Sorry this is so late but the Christmas Season collided with my volunteering at Dana Thomas House which collided with the death of my dear friend Bob Paddack. Plus my car developed a penchant for flat tires. So I have been breathless. I could have ended on a downer note by posting about dumbass 45’s attempts to repeal regulations put in place after the Deep Water Horizon’s humongous oil spill, but that is insane so without further ado.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/switzerland-giant-new-machine-sucking-carbon-directly-air

In Switzerland, a giant new machine is sucking carbon directly from the air

Originally published by E&E News

The world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air opened yesterday, refueling a debate about whether the technology can truly play a significant role in removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

The Climeworks AG facility near Zurich becomes the first ever to capture CO2 at industrial scale from air and sell it directly to a buyer

Developers say the plant will capture about 900 tons of CO2 annually — or the approximate level released from 200 cars — and pipe the gas to help grow vegetables.

While the amount of CO2 is a small fraction of what firms and climate advocates hope to trap at large fossil fuel plants, Climeworks says its venture is a first step in their goal to capture 1 percent of the world’s global CO2 emissions with similar technology. To do so, there would need to be about 250,000 similar plants, the company says.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climework

 

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Happy New Year everyone. Go there and read. More next week.

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Disclaimer: I know no student involved in this endeavor nor do I know anybody at their High School. These have got to be brave and hard working students. They deserve all the support we can give. According to the article they need at least $9,000 to complete the project so please give all you can.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20171211/pana-students-take-on-solar-car-challenge

Pana students take on solar car challenge

PANA – Apparently building a moonbuggy wasn’t hard enough.

Pana High School students this year are setting out to build a solar-powered car from scratch and race it across Texas to California as part of the 2018 Solar Car Challenge.

Building the battery-powered four-wheeled rovers that Apollo astronauts used on the moon in the early 1970s is a tradition at Pana.

But industrial arts teacher Steve Bonser said students learned about the solar car challenge this summer and decided to give it a shot — despite being warned it wouldn’t be easy.

“The kids voted unanimously to up the game and take on a lot more work and build this solar car,” he said.

Starting to take shape

The framework of what will hopefully become a solar-powered car is beginning to take shape in the shop at the junior high school.

Bonser said the students have finished most of the design work and constructed the frame for the 8-foot long car. The goal is to have the entire vehicle, which will be street legal, finished in March.

Still early on in the process, Bonser said, the school was fortunate Battery Specialists in Taylorville donated a golf cart, which will provide some parts.

 The school also acquired solar panels that will power the battery. But much of how it will all come together is still an unknown.

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Go there and read. Please donate to this project. More next week.

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On this cold early winter day, I would like to return to our residential roots with a discussion of water heaters. After your furnace and air conditioner , the largest user of energy in your house. Yes this is a guest post. No I can not swear by everything she says or thinks. But she does a pretty good job.

https://www.jenreviews.com/water-heater/

Jen Reviews – only the best reviews

How to Choose a Water Heater, According to Science

There are many who want to buy an efficient and stable water heater for their homes. But do they? Water heaters do the difficult job of heating the water supply of your home. Providing you with immediate hot water when needed through various fixtures and knobs.

Like many other appliances, a water heater is more convenient than manually heating up the water whenever needed. It cuts back time and effort, for most homeowners, while making life simpler. So why do most people hurry when choosing the right water heater? Something this important needs careful consideration of features and functions.

The best part about using the best water heater is that it lasts for years. It requires minimal maintenance and even if you hire a professional to maintain one, it doesn’t cost you big bucks. That said, finding a dependable water heater isn’t easy.

Because water is being constantly heated inside the tank, it needs to be energy efficient and spacious enough to accommodate the entire house. Anything that takes up more energy is a waste, costing you a hefty power bill.

So how do water heaters work?

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Go there and read pages. More next week.

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Jennifer works at someplace called the Public Health Library, which I suppose is a great place to work.They apparently push plant based diets. I am not aq vegetarian because i do not have the discipline…plus I love pork and fish so it ain’t happening BUT it is important for as many of  as can to switch. Just think of me as your lovable hypocrite. She sent along a bunch of resources and I don’t normally post those, but she is so nice :+}

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People

As cities grow and incomes rise around the world, more and more people are leaving gardens and traditional diets behind and eating refined sugars, refined fats, oils and resource- and land-intense agricultural products like beef. This global dietary transition is harming the health of both people and the planet, says new research.

But the study also shows that shifting away from this trajectory and choosing healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespans and quality of life, but also slash emissions and save habitat for endangered species.

And we better hurry; the scientists project that if the trend continues, the situation will be worse yet with greenhouse gas emissions up by 80 percent by 2050.

Examining almost 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, University of Minnesota Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark illustrate how current diet trends are contributing to ever-rising agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and habitat degradation.

On top of that, they write: “These dietary shifts are greatly increasing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic non-communicable diseases that lower global life expectancies.”

Culinary Resources for Vegetarianism

11 Facts About Meatless Monday That Will Inspire You To Reach For The Veggies

How To Transition To A Plant-Based Diet

Nutrition And The Vegan Diet

10 Helpful Tips for Beginning Gardeners

Grow Food At Home: 7 Tips For Growing Food In Small Spaces

Garden Better With Biodiversity & Wild Pollinators

The Buzz on Beekeeping: A Guide to Bringing Up Bees in Your Own Backyard

http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/blog/author/jennifermcgregor/

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Go there and read one hell of a lot. More next week.

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I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

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Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
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More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
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There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
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What are Buyers Looking For?
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When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
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More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
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The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
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Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
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Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

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Go to the web links and read. More next week.

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This is a really really long good article. So I am going to shut up and let you read. I have not felt this good in a long time.

https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/feature-china-and-the-new-energy-economy-26831057

Feature: China and the New Energy Economy

London (Platts)–31 Oct 2017 1239 pm EDT/1639 GMT

There is an increasingly inescapable sense that an energy transition of enormous proportions is taking place. The number of ‘bans’ announced on Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is growing, even if governments are placing them relatively far out on the political horizon.

More and more car manufacturers are taking note and shifting R&D spending into Electric Vehicles (EVs), a move which has profound implications for the development curves, and thus future cost, of EVs versus ICE vehicles.

In October, US automaker General Motors said that it would launch two new pure electric models in 2018 and a further 18 by 2023.

Its competitor Ford announced the creation of a new internal team to “think big and move fast” in order to accelerate the electrification of its auto production. Both are some way behind their European counterparts.

It is not hard to see why such decisions are being made now. While the number of EVs on the road remains just a fraction of the total parc, global sales are growing by about 40% year-on-year, making EVs the biggest growth story in the auto market in decades.

And, if governments are going to regulate against ICE vehicles and subsidize EVs, thereby changing the consumer choices which otherwise might be made, then what other path is there to tread?

CHINESE WHISPERS

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Go there and read. Rejoice. More next week.

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