environmentalism


Let me say right off the bat that there is a “down side” to this program in that ownership is never transferred to the tenants. In other words, in most leasing arrangements after a number of years the tenants take ownership of the solar panels. Under this program it appears that the “leasing arrangement” lasts forever. Still I would definitely participate if given the opportunity. The Dutch are really smart folks.

Press Release: Foreign investment to help tenants save up to £192M a year in energy bills

2nd September 2017

  • Department for International Trade helps secure £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors
  • Investment will unlock £1 billion solar panel installation programme that will result in annual energy savings of up to £192m for 800,000 households

International Trade Minister Greg Hands today welcomed £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors, the first step in a £1 billion programme to give over 800,000 poorer households access to cheap solar electricity.

The investment from Maas Capital (part of the ABN AMRO Bank), secured thanks to Department for International Trade (DIT) support, will help fund solar panels from UK firm Solarplicity to produce electricity for affordable housing across England and Wales.

The scheme will see Solarplicity partner with social housing providers to install panels on their housing stock, creating a Community Energy Scheme where tenants benefit from long-term guaranteed discounts on their bills. Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, and 800,000 in the next five years.

The panels will be free to social housing tenants, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year, saving up to £192 million in total, with 100% renewable electricity.

The deal will also create over 1,000 new jobs to install and maintain the panels. Many of these jobs will go to veterans from the armed forces, as Solarplicity helps re-train them into new maintenance careers.

Speaking from a social housing development in Ealing, West London, where new solar panels are being installed, Minister Hands said:

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Coal is no longer economical. That says it all.

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Consumers should come out ahead long term, utility says

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Xcel Energy on Tuesday continued its shift away from coal, announcing an agreement to retire two of its three coal-burning units at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo while adding substantially more wind, solar and natural gas generation.

Xcel Energy will request competitive bids before the end of the year for 1,000 megawatts of additional wind, 700 megawatts of solar and 700 megawatts of natural gas power generation under its “Colorado Energy Plan.”

The state’s largest utility also said it will retire 660 megawatts of coal-generated power from Comanche Unit 1, built in 1973, and Comanche Unit 2, built in 1975. It will continue to operate the newer and cleaner coal-fired Unit 3, which came online in 2010 and has a capacity of 750 megawatts.

“It is really about the economics,” David Eves, president for Xcel Energy in Colorado, said of the retirements, which will take place before the end of 2022 and 2025. “From the company’s perspective, this plan is a response to our customers”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Of course Illinois has already gone for wind in a big way so I should not complain. Well I could complain about Sangamon County because of its stupid rules about wind turbines. That is for another time. For now, how glorious it would have been talking offshore wind farms in New Orleans? Over beignets no less.

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

The budding wind power industry is rich in jobs, and the people of south Louisiana are ready for clean energy.

Justin Nobel | Longreads | July 2017 | 16 minutes (4,000 words)

If you’re visiting New Orleans and want to see something truly amazing, take your beer or daiquiri to-go and walk a few blocks past the Superdome—you’ll find a school being constructed on an old waste dump.

“All the toxic chemicals from the landfill are still there,” says toxicologist Wilma Subra. This includes lead, mercury, and arsenic, exposure to which can lead to reproductive damage, and skin and lung cancer. Even more astonishing, Subra says hundreds of schools across Louisiana have been built on waste dumps. Why? Dumps represent cheap land often already owned by a cash-strapped town or city, plus serve as rare high ground in a flood-prone state. And this is just the beginning of Louisiana’s nightmare.

The risk of cancer in Reserve, a community founded by freed slaves, is 800 times the national average, making the community, by one EPA metric, the most carcinogenic census tract in America—the cause is a DuPont/Denka chemical plant adjacent to the town that annually spews 250,000 pounds of the likely carcinogen chloroprene into the air. If you think the situation in Flint is bad, there are approximately 400 public water systems in Louisiana with lead or other hazardous substances leaching into the drinking water. Meanwhile, hundreds of petrochemical plants peppered across the state’s lush swampy interior freely emit carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins into the air and water, as well as inject them deep into the earth.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Louisiana is ranked, according to different surveys, 47th in environmental quality, third in poverty, and 49th in education. Are you still gushing about your latest trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest Presented by Shell, or French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron? “New Orleans is the best,” one visitor recently wrote to me, “you are so smart to live there!” But how smart is it to allow children to attend school built on toxin-laced waste? How smart is it to allow a community’s cancer rates to shoot off the charts? Louisiana is rich in culture, spirit, and faith, yet what type of state knowingly poisons its own people? What type of country stands by and allows it to happen?

While it is fashionable to critique President Trump for his scientific ignorance, science was misdirected long before Trump laid hands on it. It is time to open our eyes and see what is really going on in this world, to critique our society’s dinosaur methods, then step back and imagine what a new path forward might look like. It is with this aim that I begin a science column for Longreads. In my first story I’ll tour us through a land America should have never allowed to materialize—it’s what I’m calling the Louisiana Environmental Apocalypse Road Trip. As the Trump administration chucks environmental science out the window, evaporates industry regulations, and cripples agencies charged with protecting the environment, this tale is relevant for all Americans, because the poisoning happening in Louisiana could happen in your state too—in fact, it is probably already happening.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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While this piece is important, it is also kind of cutsie in the fact that all the nuclear waste mentioned is well taken care of. Still I want to make 2 points.

1, I always thought and still do, that Yucca Mountain is a perfect place to store nuclear waste. I was pissed when Obama tried to call the whole thing off and I am glad that the Trump administration is trying to reopen it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not like much of what Trump has done so far BUT this is just fine.

2, Illinois had the perfect opportunity to be the nations nuclear waste dump for real. Northern Illinois between Chicago and the Mississippi River is virtually earthquake free. Like for 1000s of years. As soon as Obama defunded Yucca Mountain we could have stepped up and said, “We will build it here”. Illinois could have gotten Billions of Dollars and 100s if not a 1000 jobs, and the waste would have had a very short train trip to disposal. They could have even used trucks. Then it would have been up to the rest of the States to figure out how to get their waste here.  But no, that would have been tooo bold, so now we are back to the beginning.

http://nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-prairie-states-nuclear-waste-conundrum#stream/0

Illinois Issues: The Prairie State’s Nuclear Waste Conundrum

Jul 20, 2017

The Land of Lincoln is the country’s largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Under a federal measure passed 30 years ago, the spent fuel from America’s nuclear reactors is supposed to be permanently buried out in the Mojave Desert, tucked deep under a mountain, far from any population center and easily guarded

In reality, though, that radioactive waste – tens of thousands of tons of it – is sitting in temporary storage at dozens of current and former nuclear power sites all over the country, as it has been for decades. The largest portion of it is divided among seven sites that dot the nation’s fifth-largest state: Illinois.

The story of how the Land of Lincoln became the nation’s biggest de facto nuclear waste dump is a tale of public fear, political pragmatism and the power of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

It’s a story that radiates political irony. Among those responsible for Illinois’ atomic dilemma is the state’s favorite son, Barack Obama, who scuttled a decades-old project that was to have created a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

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Go there and read. Think about it. More next week.

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The technology of the Technology is just starting to come in. Who could have imagines huge wind turbines that float, let alone at sea. I mean, this is really amazing. I am pretty sure they can do this in the Great Lakes. I even hear a rumor that they are going to try to do this in Coos Bay in Oregon. Way to go people!

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40699979

World’s first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland

  • 23 July 2017
  • From the section Business

The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.

The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes.

Manufacturer Statoil says output from the turbines is expected to equal or surpass generation from current ones.

It hopes to cash in on a boom in the technology, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US, where waters are deep.

“This is a tech development project to ensure it’s working in open sea conditions. It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down,” said Leif Delp, project director for Hywind.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I was originally going to post about the growth of off shore Wind Farms in the Northeast as reported by Bloomberg. This article caught my eye instead. If the Utility Companies are this desperate then that is a good thing. You know you can’t stop the invisible hands of the market.

https://www.ecowatch.com/north-carolina-solar-2440926788.html

Solar Battle Continues as Duke-Backed Energy Bill Passes North Carolina House

By Molly Taft, Laura A. Shepard and Monika Sharma

Alongside Highway 401 in northern North Carolina is a 21st-century twist on a classic rural scene. A few miles outside of Roxboro, sheep graze among 5,000 panels at the Person County Solar Park, keeping the grass tidy on the rural installation.

Fields like these aren’t just scenic settings for roadtripping tourists to snap photos. Solar has “been some of the only economic development to happen in rural North Carolina in the last 30 years,” explained Richard Harkrader, CEO of a local solar company.

For companies like Harkrader’s Carolina Solar Energy, the Tar Heel State is a great place to do business. Abundant sunshine, ample support for clean energy and smart public policy have spurred the rapid growth of solar. Today, North Carolina boasts more solar capacity than every state except California. In the first quarter of 2017, North Carolina added more solar than any other state, and its solar industry employs more people than Wake Forest University.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Sometimes it takes famous and rich people to push the boundaries of what is possible. God bless these people for doing it.

http://www.ecowatch.com/celebrities-solar-energy-2381311838.html?xrs=RebelMouse_fb&ts=1493665530

These 5 Celebs Are Big Solar Buffs

Solar energy is cheaper and more efficient than ever. The price of utility-scale solar dropped 85 percent from 2009 to 2016, and newer panels can power up on even cloudy days. Rooftop solar is now cost-competitive with the traditional grid in much of the U.S. Heck, some cutting-edge companies see a market so ripe for the picking they’re developing entire roofs made of solar panels to sell to homeowners.

Forty years ago, the total global installation of solar was around two megawatts, enough to power around 330 homes. Today, it’s closer to 224,000 megawatts. (You do the math!) And as you might expect, the more the price falls, the more attractive it becomes to, well, everyone.

So naturally the people cheering the loudest about the thrifty benefits of this sustainable energy source have been … celebrities!

Hey, wait a minute!

Sure, famous folks can sometimes seem like they live in a different universe from the rest of us, but just like you and me, a growing number of celebs care deeply about the future of our planet. (And not just because no planet, no EGOT!) And the very best of them not only practice what they preach by incorporating solar energy into their own lives, they also use their place in the spotlight to advocate for climate solutions. Below are a few of our favorite sunshine-loving superstars:

Cate Blanchett

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Like I have always said, is there such a thing as an environmentally friendly car? I prefer to think instead of minimal impact on the environment. Really given all of the mining that goes on just to produce cars and all the fossil fuels it takes to fuel them, we would be better off without them. Mass transportation is the only hope for the future.

http://www.caranddriver.com/best-hybrid-electric-cars

Hybrid and Electric Cars 2017-2018: The Best and the Rest

Interested in a hybrid or an electric vehicle to help save gasoline, and possibly the planet, too? The vehicles that wear an Editors’ Choice badge are our picks for the best hybrids and best EVs of 2017 and 2018.

Toyota Prius C

The Editors’ Rating summarizes a vehicle’s overall degree of excellence and is determined by our editors, who evaluate hundreds of vehicles every year and consider numerous factors both objective and subjective.
Editors’ Rating

 

  • Starting at
    $21,035

    Take the uninspired underpinnings of the Toyota Yaris and mix with it an even less powerful version of the Prius hybrid powertrain and you get the Prius C.

  • Honda CR-Z

    The Editors’ Rating summarizes a vehicle’s overall degree of excellence and is determined by our editors, who evaluate hundreds of vehicles every year and consider numerous factors both objective and subjective.
    Editors’ Rating
  • Starting at
    $21,130

    The CR-Z is an ambitious attempt at making a sporty hybrid, but its performance doesn’t match its adventurous styling.

  • Hyundai Ioniq

    The Editors’ Rating summarizes a vehicle’s overall degree of excellence and is determined by our editors, who evaluate hundreds of vehicles every year and consider numerous factors both objective and subjective.
    Editors’ Rating
  • Starting at
    $23,035

    Sharing its underpinnings with the Kia Niro, the Hyundai Ioniq is a hybrid in many flavors.

  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV

    The Editors’ Rating summarizes a vehicle’s overall degree of excellence and is determined by our editors, who evaluate hundreds of vehicles every year and consider numerous factors both objective and subjective.
    Editors’ Rating

 

Starting at
$23,845

 

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Go there and think. 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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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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