May 2009


(jam band Friday- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81eSIwsLcWg  )

But it seems like the Environmentalists have been hollering STOP for that long. I know that I promised white roofs today but we will just have to wait for Monday OK.

http://www.ilenviro.org/calendar/

http://www.illinoisclimateactionnetwork.org/calendar/?y=2009&mode=list

http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=10250

http://illinois.sierraclub.org/sangamon/events.html

 

Presentations at the Earth Awareness Fair

Prairie Capital Convention Center

Sustainable Community Forum

Saturday, May 30 2009

10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

Speakers in PCCC breakout rooms downstairs

Room A

10:30    CFLs, Home Energy Efficiency & Carbon Footprint Explained – CWLP Energy Services Office

11:30                            Solar, Wind and Alternative Energy Sources

                                    Michelle Marley, WindSolar USA

12:30                            Geothermal Heating and Cooling – Richard Hiles,

                                    Henson Robinson Company and Climate Master

1:30                              An Inconvenient Truth/Global Warming & Positive Developments

                                    Sister Sharon Zayac, Jubilee Farm & Jim Johnston, Sustainable Springfield

                       

2:30                              Local Environmental Organizations/Volunteer Opportunities

Room B

10:30                            Rain Gardens Dave Kiliman, Master Gardener,

                                    University of Illinois Extension

11:00                            Food Systems and Urban Planning

                                    Deanna Glosser, Environmental Planning Solutions

                                    -and-

                                    Community Gardening

                                    Kristi Kenney, IL Department of Agriculture         

12:00                            Back Yard Composting & Vermicomposting

                                    Jennifer Fishburn, Horticulture Educator

                                    University of Illinois Extension

1:00                              Rainwater Harvesting: Rain Barrels, Greywater & Water Conservation                                          

                                    Austin Grammer, Prairie Rain Harvester, Inc

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There is a lady who thinks that all that glitters is gold ohhhhh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys0hBEEM2Lo&feature=related

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I have argued for a long time that the only demonstrable source of global warming is homo sapien. Why? Because we burn things unnecessarily. We can’t help it. We got started a long time ago and it is all we know. All the other potential sources of global warming are in cooling phases, the Sun, the Earth’s Core, Jupiter and the Moon.  Now of course it could be caused by Aliens shooting raybeams at the Earth and if you want to believe that, fine. So for the long term what we get is a hot wet unpredictable planet that causes a human die back…that is ok at one level. Humans have suffered several “evolutionary bottlenecks” and survived. At one point 50,000 years ago us Sapiens went from a couple million strong to 5,000 over night. You might think that having the Homo population shrink to the size of Riverton, IL is scary enough BUT

But the bigger danger is short term. Because the cooling going on is being masked by our polluting, this can have what is called in statistics a “rebound effect”. According to Statistical Theory (and Quantum Physics) everything fluctuates which puts us in danger of having a really really cold or hot year. Believe it or not since we have been warming for soooo long, the odds are that we have a really really cold year. From a food perspective and actually from a life in general perspective it’s better to be hot than it is to be cold – unless of course you are a Neaderthal. The point being that humans shrank to the equator during the last ice age and just kinda hung around.

Why do I bring this up? Well:

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/05/27/solar-minimum.htmlhttp://dsc.discovery.com/space/my-take/solar-minimum-problem.html

Dormant Sun Spills Secrets in Its Sleep

Irene Klotz, Discovery News

 

 

Photo of Sun

Sitting Pretty | Discovery News Video

 

May 27, 2009 — With the sun at its lowest activity level in nearly 100 years, scientists are taking advantage of its quiet state to ferret out some of the more subtle — and occasionally insidious — ways the sun impacts Earth’s climate and atmosphere.

Solar flares and other geomagnetic events on the sun vary in frequency over an 11-year cycle. Now at an unusually low “minimum” in that cycle, the sun is expected to peak in activity in 2013.

“If you thought that the globe was going to warm up because there was more solar activity, you might perhaps expect it to get warmer everywhere, and this is not the case,” said Joanna Haigh, an atmospheric physicist with Imperial College in London.

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Even worse:

 

alien life solar system space

Comparison between solar minimum (left) and solar maximum (right) in extreme ultraviolet light (EUV). Huge coronal loops can be seen erupting from the solar surface at solar max, conditions perfect for solar flares and CMEs. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory’s EIT instrument captured these images 11 years apart Credit: SOHO/NASA

 

 

sun solar flare burst hot gas star burn center solar system earth

Want more? Click here for the rest of the Wide Angle: Solar Maximum. Credit: NASA

 

The sun is being really boring. Nearly 18 months after the “official” start of Solar Cycle 24, observers are looking closely at the ball of hot plasma in the sky asking, “What is wrong with the sun?”

To be honest, we don’t know if there’s something wrong or not; it depends on what your opinion of “wrong” is.

On the one hand, the sun is enduring the deepest solar minimum for a century, perplexing solar physicists, leading to some suggestions the sun may continue its blank stare for some time to come.

As sunspot number is astonishingly low, this means internal magnetic activity must also be low. For some reason, the usual cycle of 11 years from peak to trough — from solar maximum to solar minimum — has been interrupted. The fireworks we experienced in 2003 could be a thing of the past and we might be looking at another Maunder Minimum (an extended period of time from 1645 to 1715 when few sunspots were seen by astronomers).

As magnetic activity is low, this also means there has been a drop in solar energy output. There has been a 0.02 percent decrease in optical light and a 6 percent drop in ultraviolet light if we compare this solar minimum with the last one, 12 years ago. Although we’re not going to freeze any time soon, the suns reduction in output could have consequences for our climate. But no, it won’t save us from carbon-induced global warming, that problem is here to stay.

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I was going to work my way through all the energy incentives from the Feds and showing examples of each starting with PAINT your ROOF white…something I have advocated for 30 years but I thought this was more important for today. Jam Band Friday will have to do.

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What’s up with the Feds for the new green economy?

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits

 

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How has the new Stimulus bill affected the tax credits for energy efficient home improvements?

What tax credits are available in 2008 for energy efficiency home improvements?

Are installation costs covered by the tax credit?

All Tax Credit FAQs

UPDATED May 14, 2009

Quick link to this page: energystar.gov/taxcredits

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency includes:

**Please note, not all ENERGY STAR qualified homes and products qualify for a tax credit. These tax credits are available for a number of products at the highest efficiency levels, which typically cost much more than standard products. If, for whatever reason, you decide not to purchase a product covered by the tax credit, you may still consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR product. ENERGY STAR distinguishes energy efficient products which, although they may cost more to purchase than standard models, will pay you back in lower energy bills within a reasonable amount of time, without a tax credit.

Tax Credits for Consumers:

Home Improvements

Tax credits are now available for home improvements:

  • must be “placed in service” from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010
  • must be for taxpayer’s principal residence, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems (where second homes and rentals qualify)
  • $1,500 is the maximum total amount that can be claimed for all products placed in service in 2009 & 2010 for most home improvements, EXCEPT for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems which are not subject to this cap, and are in effect through 2016
  • must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement3 to qualify
  • for record keeping, save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement3
  • improvements made in 2009 will be claimed on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010) — use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version) — it will be available late 2009 or early 2010
  • If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters. More.

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Or you can go here:

http://www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm

Consumer Energy Tax Incentives
What the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Means to You

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extended many consumer tax incentives originally introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) and amended in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343). Businesses, utilities, and governments are also eligible for tax credits.

See the summary of the energy tax incentives included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

About Tax Credits
A tax credit is generally more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only removes a percentage of the tax that is owed. Consumers can itemize purchases on their federal income tax form, which will lower the total amount of tax they owe the government.

Fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-efficient appliances and products provide many benefits such as better gas mileage –meaning lower gasoline costs, fewer emissions, lower energy bills, increased indoor comfort, and reduced air pollution.

In addition to federal tax incentives, some consumers will also be eligible for utility or state rebates, as well as state tax incentives for energy-efficient homes, vehicles and equipment. Each state’s energy office web site may have more information on specific state tax information.

Below is a summary of many of the tax credits available to consumers. Please see the ENERGY STAR® page on Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency for complete details.

Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credits
Consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in existing homes can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements “placed in service” starting January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. See EnergyStar.gov for a complete summary of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits
Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.

Automobile Tax Credits
Hybrid Gas-Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Individuals and businesses who buy or lease a new hybrid gas-electric car or truck are eligible for an income tax credit for vehicles “placed in service” starting January 1, 2006, and purchased on or before December 31, 2010. The amount of the credit depends on the fuel economy, the weight of the vehicle, and whether the tax credit has been or is being phased out. Hybrid vehicles that use less gasoline than the average vehicle of similar weight and that meet an emissions standard qualify for the credit.

This tax credit will be phased out for each manufacturer once that company has sold 60,000 eligible vehicles. At that point, the tax credit for each company’s vehicles will be gradually reduced over the course fifteen months. See the IRS’s Summary of the Credit for Qualified Hybrid Vehicles for information on the status of specific vehicle eligibility.

Alternative-fuel vehicles, diesel vehicles with advanced lean-burn technologies, and fuel-cell vehicles are also eligible for tax credits. See the IRS summary of credits available for Alternative Motor Vehicles.

Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Plug-in electric vehicles also qualify for a tax credit starting January 1, 2010. The credit for passenger vehicles and light trucks ranges from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on batter capacity. The first 200,000 vehicles sold by each manufacturer are eligible for the full tax credit; the credit will then phase out over a year.

Plug-In Hybrid Conversion Kits
Hybrid vehicle owners who purchase a qualified plug-in hybrid conversion kit are eligible for a 10% credit, capped at $4,000, through 2011.

* Sources: ENERGYSTAR.gov and IRS.gov
** The IRS will determine final tax credit amounts. As more information becomes available, it will be posted on our website.

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I am getting tired now. So you can go here:

http://www.moneymaestros.com/federal-tax-credits-for-energy-efficiency-now-extended-in-2009/

 

Federal Tax Credits For Energy Efficiency Now Extended In 2009

by James K. on January 14, 2009

Good news for consumers who are energy conscious and using energy efficient appliances. Last October, Federal tax credits for energy efficient home improvements have been extended into 2009.

The recently-signed “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008? includes an extension of the residential tax credits for energy efficient improvements. The previous tax credits expired at the end of 2007.

It’s important to note that the new tax credits for installing energy efficient improvements are only good for 2009 installations. There are no tax credits for improvements installed during 2008.

The tax credits are available for insulation, replacement windows, water heaters, and certain high efficiency heating and cooling equipment. However, be aware that not all Energy Star rated improvements are eligible for the tax credit. Be sure to check EnergyStar.gov for rules and more details.

Here are some examples of the federal tax credits that are available to homeowners:

- Windows: 10% of cost, up to $200, for qualified ENERGY STAR windows, skylights and storm windows
- Doors (exterior): 10% of cost, up to $500, for qualifying doors (most ENERGY STAR doors will qualify)
- Roofs (metal): 10% of cost, up to $500, for qualifying ENERGY STAR metal roofs
- Insulation: 10% of cost, up to $500, for qualifying insulation (not vapor retarders or siding)
- Air Conditioning (split or package systems): $300 for qualifying systems, not all ENERGY STAR systems qualify
- Water Heaters (tankless only): $300 for qualifying systems
- Cars: Credits are available for certain cars, and is limited by 60,000 per manufacturer before a phase-out period begins
- Solar Water Heating: 30% of cost, up to $2,000, not available for water heaters used for pools or spas
- Solar Power (Photovoltaic): 30% of cost, up to $2,000, must provide electricity for the home
- Fuel Cells: 30% of cost, up to $1,000 per kW of power that can be produced

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Tomorrow – Paint your roof white

The US Military is the largest single user of carbon based energy in the World. When you toss in the other worlds militaries, if we just cut the militaries of the world to patrolling borders global warming would backup by decades. Not only that but the Energy Companies are pushed around by the military big time. No military and the pirates take tankers…No Iraq war no Iraqui oil…No defense against China they suck all the world’s resources up like a vacuum cleaner…Do I feel sorry for the Energy Companies or the Military? No they deserve each other I just don’t think we deserve them. GO AWAY.

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/29925

I am not going to reprint the total article here…this guy did a lot of work on graphs and charts and things but it is interesting and he is not the only person to report on this. It is important to note that the Energy Bulletin has been adopted by the Post Carbon Institute (http://www.postcarbon.org/). Wonder when that happened?

Published May 20 2007 by Energy Bulletin
Archived May 21 2007

US military energy consumption- facts and figures

by Sohbet Karbuz

As the saying goes, facts are many but the truth is one. The truth is that the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of energy in the world. But as a wise man once said, don’t confuse facts with reality. The reality is that even U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) does not know precisely where and how much energy it consumes. This is my Fact Zero.

Below I give some facts and figures on U.S. military oil consumption based mostly on official statistics.[1] If you want to reproduce them make sure you read every footnote even if you need to put on your glasses. Also read the footnotes in this article.

FACT 1: The DoD’s total primary energy consumption in Fiscal Year 2006 was 1100 trillion Btu. It corresponds to only 1% of total energy consumption in USA. For those of you who think that this is not much then read the next sentence.

Nigeria, with a population of more than 140 million, consumes as much energy as the U.S. military.

The DoD per capita[2] energy consumption (524 trillion Btu) is 10 times more than per capita energy consumption in China, or 30 times more than that of Africa.

Total final energy consumption (called site delivered energy by DoD) of the DoD was 844 trillion Btu in FY2006FACT 2: Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) sold $13 billion of energy to DoD services in FY2006. More than half of it was to Air Force.

FACT 3: Oil accounts for more than three-fourths of DoD’s total site delivered energy consumption. Oil is followed by electricity (slightly more than 10%) and natural gas (nearly 10%). In terms of fuel types, jet fuel (JP-8)[3] accounts for more than 50% of total DoD energy consumption, and nearly 60% of its mobility[4] fuel.

FACT 4: Nearly three quarters of DoD site delivered energy is consumed by vehicles (or for mobility if you like). Only one quarter is consumed in buildings and facilities.[5]FACT 5: DoD consumed 97 million gasoline gallon equivalent in its non-tactical vehicles and for that it spent 238 million dollars.

FACT 6: In 2006, its oil consumption was down to 117 million barrels (or 320 thousand barrels per day),[10] despite increasing activity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

FACT 7: In 2006, for example, DESC reports in its Factbook that it sold 131 million barrels of oil (or 358 kbd) to DoD but DoD Federal Energy Management Report states that DoD consumed 117 million barrels (or 320 kbd).[12]

FACT 8: According to 2007 CIA World Fact Book there are only 35 countries in the world consuming more oil than DoD.

FACT 9: There exist no official estimates. Let me know if you see or hear one. According to my most pessimist estimates it is about 150 thousand barrels per day FACT 10: Whatever the true figure oil consumed by the U.S. military does not show up in world oil demand. See for more explanation under item #425 in October 2004 issue of ASPO Newsletter.

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For more of this incredibly insightful and well written article please go to the above website and see it..Even the Military is aware that it is seen as a BIG FAT energy PIG, but it is also aware that NO OIL = NO WAR

http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/addressing-the-militarys-energy-efficiency/

Addressing the Military’s Energy Inefficiency

 

Report

The folks who gave the world the Hummer, the poster child of fuel inefficiency, want to spawn a new generation of eco-friendly military equipment with cross-over potential in the “civilian sector,” say a group of retired American military officers who released a sharply worded report on Monday calling on the Department of Defense to reduce its “carbon bootprint.”

“The American military gave you the Humvee, and now we’re taking it back,” said retired Adm. John Nathman, the former vice chief of naval operations and an adviser to President Obama, in a conference call on Monday. “You’re going to see some fairly dramatic movement by the Department of Defense in terms of public visibility.”

The report, “Powering America’s Defense,” was published by CNA Analysis and Solutions, a research group based in Alexandria, Va., that issued a previous study on defense and energy security in 2007.

In the new study’s preface, 12 retired military officers lay out the case for weaning the military — and the country — off oil:

Many of our overseas deployments were de?ned, in part, by the strategic decision to ensure the free ?ow of oil, to the U.S. and to our allies. Many of the troops we commanded were aided by air cover from high-thrust delivery systems that only an energy-intense society can provide. Many of these same troops were often burdened and imperiled by battle?eld systems that were energy-inef?cient. Some of the attacks on our troops and on American civilians have been supported by funds from the sale of oil. Our nation’s energy choices have saved lives; they have also cost lives.

As we consider America’s current energy posture, we do so from a singular perspective: We gauge our energy choices solely by their impact on America’s national security. Our dependence on foreign oil reduces our international leverage, places our troops in dangerous global regions, funds nations and individuals who wish us harm, and weakens our economy; our dependency and inef?cient use of oil also puts our troops at risk.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking minority member chairman Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, told The Associated Press that he strongly agreed “with the stark conclusions” of the report, whose authors point out that fluctuating oil prices, dependence on foreign resources and an ailing electricity grid imperil national security both at home and abroad.

“Climate change is a threat multiplier,” said Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn, a retired officer and former commander of the Third Fleet.

Defense officials have previously described the American military as likely the world’s largest consumer of petroleum products, with an annual outlay in excess of $13 billion.

Each $1 per barrel increase in oil prices translates into $130 million of extra cost.

Calls for the military to address its environmental performance are not new. But in the past year or so, energy efficiency seems have become more of a priority, from a new solar wall installation at Fort Drum to the purchase of a large electric vehicle fleet for military bases.

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After all is said and done, are we safer with all this energy consumption? I think not:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/05/19-9

US Energy Use a National Security Threat: Study

WASHINGTON – US dependence on fossil fuels and a vulnerable electric grid pose a perilous threat to the country’s national security, retired military officers warned Monday in a report.

The threat requires urgent action and the Defense Department should lead the way in transforming America’s energy use by aggressively pursuing efficiency measures and renewable sources, said the report by CNA, a nonprofit research group.

“Our dependence on foreign oil reduces our international leverage, places our troops in dangerous global regions, funds nations and individuals who wish us harm, and weakens our economy,” it said.

“The market for fossil fuels will be shaped by finite supplies and increasing demand. Continuing our heavy reliance on these fuels is a security risk,” said the report titled “Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security.”

The authors, top ranked retired officers from the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, also point to the strained domestic electricity network as a possible hazard for US military bases.

“Our domestic electrical system is also a current and significant risk to our national security: many of our large military installations rely on power from a fragile electrical grid that is vulnerable to malicious attacks or interruptions caused by natural disasters,” it said.

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They raise prices. Yup that is right. If you want to go see the Wall or other war memorials on the DC Mall or even go to Arlington Cemetary…you are going to pay more at the pump. They do it every year and no one makes the connection. Soldiers die in energy wars like Iraq and WWII and then they charge loved ones for the honor of visiting their graves…Of course they do the same thing to Labor in the fall. They are equal opportunity thieves.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20090522/pl_usnw/consumers_will_suffer_memorial_day_energy_price_hangover__says_consumer_watchdog

Consumers Will Suffer Memorial Day Energy-Price Hangover, Says Consumer Watchdog

To: NATIONAL EDITORS

Contact: Judy Dugan, +1-213-280-0175 (cell), Jamie Court, +1-310-392-0522 ext. 327, or Carmen Balber, +1-202-629-3043, all of Consumer Watchdog

‘Optimism’ Is Driving Energy Prices and Oil, Gas Prices Rise Steeply for Holiday, Despite Oversupply and Low Demand

WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The price of regular gasoline at the pump has shot up 30 cents a gallon nationally in the last month and crude oil has nearly doubled, to $60 a barrel, since its low point in December, according to data from AAA and the federal Energy Information Administration. Steeply rising prices are tough on everyone except energy traders, said Consumer Watchdog.

“The price spike at the pump amounts to a holiday frat party for energy traders and oil companies, with drivers paying for the kegger,” said Judy Dugan, research director at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer Watchdog. “A one-month pump price increase of 15% can only undercut the rest of an economy struggling to show any sign of long-term recovery.”

Analysts cite optimism that U.S. motorists will drive a little more this Memorial Day weekend, expectations that the economic slump has hit bottom and, harking back to mid-2008, the possibility that Nigerian violence will cut oil output. There is very little hard evidence of increased demand, said Consumer Watchdog.

The record spike in oil and gasoline prices in late 2007 and the first half of 2008 helped send the U.S. and world economies over a cliff, said Consumer Watchdog. Even a smaller spike at this low point of job loss and financial fragility will hurt consumers, curbing more economically productive spending. Food prices are also rising in tandem with oil, though at a slower pace.

Find out more at

www.oilwatchdog.org

www.consumerwatchdog.org

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

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There is not much you can do about it but some people are trying to fight back:

http://ase.org/content/news/detail/5597

Memorial Day Weekend, Summer Travelers Can Cut Gasoline Costs in Tough Economy with Drive $marter Challenge Interactive Website, Money-Saving Tips, Resources

For Further Information                                                             
Jessica Lin (202) 530-4346; jlin@ase.org
Rozanne Weissman (202) 530-2217; rweissman@ase.org

http://drivesmarterchallenge.org/default.aspx

Washington, D.C., May 2009 – With the Memorial Day holiday weekend and heavier summer driving season approaching, and with gasoline prices nowhere near last summer’s record highs, thoughts turn to weekend and vacation road trips as a great escape from economic reality.

The Alliance to Save Energy’s interactive Drive $marter Challenge fuel efficiency website provides vacationers and everyday drivers with hundreds of dollars of money-saving gas tips, resources, and myth busters that respond to the call of frugal drivers: Why pay more for gasoline than you have to, particularly in this economy?

Whether you are headed to the big city or the great outdoors or staying closer to home, you can start saving money on gas even before you are on the road with a little advance planning, basic maintenance, and your driving and other choices:

Planning your vacation:

  • Get a customized vacation map with low gas prices along the route. Getting lost while driving in unfamiliar areas could lead to an expensive waste of gas. Resources on the Drive $marter Challenge website (http://drivesmarterchallenge.org/money-saving-tips/fuel-efficient-resources.aspx) can help your family print a customized vacation map that highlights low-cost gas stations along your route. Choose the right vehicle.  If your family has more than one vehicle, drive the car that gets better gas mileage if possible.
  • Rise and shine!  When possible, drive during off-peak hours to reduce gas costs and stress by avoiding stop-and-go or bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions.
  • Investigate other travel options. Consider trains, buses, or public transportation to your vacation destination when possible.
  • Explore new ways to get around at your destination.  Find information on biking, public transportation routes, car sharing, walking, and renting hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles on the Drive $marter Challenge websiteresources page at http://drivesmarterchallenge.org/money-saving-tips/fuel-efficient-resources.aspx .

Before you leave: maintenance tips

  • Inflate your tires.  Keeping your tires properly inflated improves gas mileage by around 3%.
  • Select the right oil.  Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil improves gas mileage by 1 to 2%. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol contains friction-reducing additives. Change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your vehicle.
  • Tune up.  Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%.

On the road: driving tips

  • Decrease your speed.  Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60 mph. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents or more per gallon for gas.
  • Drive sensibly.  Speeding, rapid acceleration (jackrabbit starts), and rapid braking can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds.
  • Use cruise control and overdrive gear.  Cruise control cuts fuel consumption by maintaining a steady speed during highway driving.  Overdrive gear, when appropriate, reduces engine speed, saves gas, and reduces engine wear.
  • It’s a “drag.” Avoid carrying items on your vehicle’s roof. A loaded roof rack or carrier increases weight and aerodynamic drag, which can cut mileage by 5%. Place items inside the trunk when possible to improve fuel economy.
  • Turn down the air.  Operating the air conditioner on “Max” can reduce mpg by 5-25% compared to not using it.
  • Avoid idling, which gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste even more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.
  • Navigate with a GPS system.  GPS systems can help you find your way and, increasingly, GPS programs can search for low-priced gas at nearby stations.
  • Fill up before returning rental. Rental car companies charge higher gas prices if you don’t fill up the tank before returning the vehicle. Keep your gas receipts in case the company requires receipts to remove a gas surcharge. 

The Drive $marter Challenge website, www.drivesmarterchallenge.org, has been updated with 2009 vehicle models and current campaign partners. The website calculator and all tips will be further updated May 19 with new projected gas prices for the yearThe Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy, and national security.

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You remember the Whigs, right? The Torry party that lost first its appeal and then its name. Well guess who the Republicans appeal to now? I do not normally post on the weekend but I saw this piece from AP and I thought WOW they really do want to lose more seats…They suck..

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090523/ap_on_go_co/us_republicans_energy

GOP: Alternative energy alone won’t meet US needs

Barack Obama

 

WASHINGTON – Democrats will increase energy costs and make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil if they focus solely on alternative energy, the Republicans say.

In the party’s weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Republicans support a more comprehensive energy plan that would increase funding for energy research, develop U.S. oil and gas resources and promote clean coal and nuclear power.

“Democrats have focused solely on what they call green jobs. Those are jobs from alternative energy. I support green jobs, but why discriminate?” Barrasso said. “American energy means American jobs, which is why I support red-white-and-blue jobs.”

He said renewable energy such as wind and solar power is important, noting that Wyoming has world-class wind resources. But Barrasso said wind and solar only account for about 1 percent of U.S. electricity, far below what is needed to meet the nation’s energy needs.

Barrasso also said Democrats were misguided by ruling out the use of U.S. oil in places such as the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska.

“There’s enough oil shale in the Rocky Mountain West alone to power America for the next hundred years,” he said. “As a nation, we need to be more energy independent. It is a matter of energy security, as well as national security.”

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(it’s jam band friday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Feq_Nt3nM )

This maybe the longest list of Qualifiers I have ever published and I have to start by eating crow to boot. I made a missssstaaake yesterday. The piece that I was quoting yesterday was actually a piece on seismic activity, but I thought what it said was more applicable to Volcanic eruptions. I said that the Natib Caldera had erupted 3,000 years ago, but the actual article said that a major fault shift had occurred every 2,000 years. The last major fault shift was 3,000 years ago so a major Earth Quake was overdue. The caldera last blew 14 to 18,000 years ago and not enough is known about its activity to say what its periocity is. Whew, I feel so much better…A major earthquake in the area is overdue.

( I know that Shake Rattle and Roll isn’t really a jam song but what the heck it’s Friday)

As was noted in one of the comments in the seismic piece, the Philippines is not alone in either being on the Ring Of Fire nor is it the only Earth Quake prone zone in the world.  Japan and America are both very sophisticated places technologically and also have extensive infrastructures to handle disasters in general. The Philippines is neither. Plus where are you going to evacuate too? It is an island. Not only that but the Japanese and the Americans have released a lot of radiation over the years. Look the big deal is Bataan is not fueled. Once it is fueld you might as well run it because everything is radioactive anyway. Drago in the US is just as much a threat.  I bitched about it for years while it was being built and submitted written protest to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency in DC when it was Licensed.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpT8Sd9wRlQ&feature=related )

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So having said all that, the Philippines really shakes:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=7.8686,126.8434(M5.7+-+Mindanao,+Philippines+-+2009+May+21+05%3A53%3A59+UTC)&t=h&z=7

Everyday. Why because the Philippines sits on the edge of a Techtonic Plate. So really BIG things can happen:

( Elvis shake those hips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCBT7PfAEgc&feature=related )

http://www.drj.com/drworld/content/w1_116.htm

Earthquake Devastates Philippines

By Cathy Clark and Jim Taylor

On July 16, 1990 at 4:26 p.m. local time, a severe earthquake registering 7.7 on the Richter scale struck the northern Philippines. The earthquake caused damage over a region of about 7700 square miles, extending northwest from Manila through the densely populated Central Plains of Luzon and into the mountains of the Cordillera Central.
Over 5,000 people were reported dead or injured, and in excess of 2300 infrastructures were either destroyed or seriously damaged. While the quake was devastating, it was not an unusual occurrence in the Philippines; since 1950 alone there have been six major earthquakes at various locations in the archipelago, having magnitudes ranging from 7.3 to 8.3.

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

Buildings were decimated by ground shaking, soil failure and liquefication (causing them to settle into the ground), and landslides.
Nearly all multistory buildings in the Philippines are constructed of reinforced concrete frames, supporting slab floors. Short-column failure was evident in many buildings observed to have the classic diagonal cracking where the column was acting as a short shear wall and could not carry the loads. Many unreinforced masonry infilled walls separated from the concrete frames and collapsed.
In the heavily shaken regions, two general types of disastrous failure to multistory, larger reinforced concrete buildings were observed–failed first stories and total building collapse.

First-story (or Soft-story) Failures

The ground floor of a building is frequently the weakest part of the structure. It is seldom enclosed on all four sides by walls capable of resisting shear forces, and it is also generally taller than upper floors. Ground floor shops, stores, lobbies, or garages normally allot most of their front wall area to doors or plate glass, leaving one side of the building with no shear resistance. Bending and shear forces induced by strong ground shaking are therefore concentrated in the ground-floor columns. As a result, the building may fail by collapse of only its first story, with the stronger upper section of the building remaining intact.

Multistory Failures

Many multistory building failures or “pancake” collapses (typically with structures of six to ten stories) were observed in the city of Baguio. One such collapse included a nine-story hotel which killed over a dozen occupants on the ground floor. This type of damage has been observed repeatedly in numerous earthquakes throughout the world where design and construction deficiencies exist.

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( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_SOmE5tfNo&feature=related )

Not only that but it appears to happen about once every 20 years or so:

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/1968_Casiguran_earthquake

Ph Locator Aurora Casiguran

 The 1968 Casiguran earthquake occurred on August 2, 1968 at a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale. The earthquake’s epicenter was located in Casiguran
Casiguran is a 3rd class Philippine municipality in the northern part of the Philippine province of Aurora province, Philippines. It is located 121 km from Baler, Aurora, the provincial capital….
Quezon

Quezon is a Provinces of the Philippines of the Philippines located in the CALABARZON Regions of the Philippines in Luzon. The province was named after Manuel L….(now part of Aurora province).The city of Manila, or simply ‘Manila’, is the Capital of the Philippines and one of the 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila…. was the hardest hit with 268 people were killed and 261 more were injured. Many structures that suffered severe damage were built near the mouth of the Pasig River

The Pasig River is a river in the Philippines and connects Laguna de Bay into Manila Bay. It stretches for and divides Metro Manila into two….on huge alluvial deposits. A number of buildings were damaged beyond repair while others only suffered cosmetic damage. Two hundred and sixty people died during the collapse of the 6-story Ruby Tower, located in the district of Binondo. The entire building, save for a portion of the first and second floors at its northern end, was destroyed. Allegations of poor design and construction, as well as use of low-quality building materials, arose. In the District of Santa Ana is a district of the City of Manila in the Philippines, located at the southeast banks of the Pasig River, bounded on the northeast by Mandaluyong City, Makati City to the east, southwest is the Manila district of Paco, Manila, and to the west, Pandacan, Manila…. one person was injured by debris from a damaged apartment building.
Two more people from Aurora sub province and Pampanga  is a Provinces of the Philippines of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Regions of the Philippines. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga….
died as a direct result of the quake. Around the town of Casiguran, there were several reports of landslides, the most destructive one at Casiguran Bay.

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( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t61oJT-d900&feature=related  )

So let’s put our thinking caps on here. The Luzon Earth Quake happened in 1990 and Pinatubo happened in 1991. What if the Luzon earthquake had hit Manila like the Casiguran. I don’t think I would have wanted to have had to worry about a Nuclear Reactor popping off. Guess what it has been about 20 years…

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See, it’s not just that it’s a 1973 designed reactor on which construction was started in 1976 and finished in 1984, nor is it the fact that it had 4,000 safety violations, cost 2.4 billion $$$ and was finally paid off in 2004. No, it’s that it is inbetween an ocean and a bay, it’s on a fault line, and it’s in the flow path of a VOLCANO. One that is still ACTIVE.  Everything about this screams “retard alert” or “danger will robinson danger”…

But it isn’t just one volcano it’s 2 in a chain of Volcanoes. Both Natib and Pinatubo Volcanoes are within 60 miles of the site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Pinatubo

285px-pinatubo_ash_plume_910612.jpg

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Natib is a whole nother booger that goes off about every 2,000 years and it has been 3,000 years since it went off..

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=443497&publicationSubCategoryId=75

The 1992 Torres report

While he was still at Phivolcs, Dr. Ronnie Torres, a foremost expert regarding pyroclastic flows who is now at the University of Hawaii, warned of volcanism and faulting at the site in a 1992 report, “The vulnerability of PNPP site to the hazards of Natib volcano” (Phivolcs Observer, Vol. 8 No. 3: 1-4).Quoting Dr. Torres: “Natib volcano does not erupt very often but could still erupt.” As a rough rule of thumb, the longer a volcano is in repose, the more time it has to store eruptive energy, and thus, the stronger the eventual eruption caldera on Mt. Pinatubo.

The Sonido-Umbal 2001 Report to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

Dr. Ernesto Sonido collaborated with Mr. Jesse Umbal to submit in 2000 an exhaustive, 38-page analysis for SBMA of the geology and geohazards of the Subic Bay area. Jess Umbal is one of the brightest, most competent volcanologists and geologists I know. Working with me during the Pinatubo eruption, he earned his Masters degree at the University of Illinois in 1993. Dr. Sonido is not a volcanologist, so we can assume that Umbal wrote those aspects in the report, which adjudged Natib as “potentially active.” The report documented two Natib eruptions that formed large calderas, one with a diameter more than twice as big as that of the new caldera on Mt. Pinatubo.

The Cabato et al. study

In 1997, Ms. Joan Cabato, Dr. Fernando Siringan and I of the National Institute of Geological Sciences of UP Diliman, collaborating with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the National Power Corp., initiated a geophysical study of the marine geology of Subic Bay. The study was supported as “due diligence” hazard evaluation by then SBMA Chairman Richard J. Gordon.

From a slowly moving boat or ship, we gathered 125 kilometers of “seismic reflection” data. That method puts powerful pulses of low-frequency sound into the water. The sound passes down through the water and into the layers of sediment below the sea floor. Some of the sound is reflected back upwards from the different sediment layers, and is collected by hydrophones trailing behind the boat. Much as if we took an X-ray, electronic equipment automatically uses the returned signals to make a detailed picture of the structure underlying the sea, in our case down to a depth of about 120 meters.

After we processed the data and prepared the manuscript, it underwent rigorous scrutiny by our geological peers in the Philippines and abroad, before it was published in the international Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. I am proud to have been part of that effort, which earned a Masters degree for Joan Cabato, a very bright young woman who recently earned her doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Quite by accident, we discovered a massive deposit of sediment that can only be explained as originating as a large pyroclastic flow from the large Natib caldera, in an eruption that occurred sometime between 11,000 and 18,000 years ago. That date has wrongly been called Natib’s latest eruption. A systematic study of Natib itself could find evidence of even younger eruptions.

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So here is one of the BIG Questions what happens to a reactor when it washes out to sea. I have no answer but it sounds like a very bad idea. Some people would argue that it would just melt down and be encapsulated…but I got my doubts.

http://www.bataan.gov.ph/ragingpeninsula/mt.natib.trekking.html



BATAAN NATURAL PARK
Tala, Orani

Mt.Natib is the highest summit in the entire Natib Caldera System in the Bataan Natural Park, a dormant volcano with an elevation of 1,253 meters above sea level (masl). It lies between the larger Old Caldera and the smaller Pasukulan Caldera and represents the latest of the volcanic edifice to develop in the area. The slope is characterized by very steep forested slope. Mossy forest characterized by small-stunted trees occurs approaching the peak. The peak is covered by a small patch of grassland. Also found are boulders with inscribed names of American expeditionary forces that climbed the peak way back the 1930s.

Mountain climbers and nature lovers will find the mountain exciting and interesting since the forest is home to many floral and faunal species. Migratory birds are also seen in the area. A trail shelter is available for overnight trekkers to pitch their tents and enjoy a breathtaking sunrise. However local guides should escort visitors.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

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What about the Earthquakes? More tomorrow.

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There is a movement afoot in the Philippines to actually fuel a long abandoned Nuclear power plant. It was built but never fueled because nuclear power makes no economic sense. The fuel is too expensive, and creating the fuel is so lethal as to be largely unthinkable. But in this particular case…much like the nukes in California built on earthquake fault zones…the Philippines in general is sooooo close to the water table as to invite the China Syndrome. For those that relate that to a mildly entertaining and scary movie

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078966/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FxtBJ59Jm8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnDBXGb6Nn8

The reality of the China Syndrome was suppressed at Three Mile Island where at least a 1,000 people died and 1,000s more were sickened in a 5 state region in New England:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmmdh8Xlbvg&feature=related

It was never confronted at Chernobyl where 10s of 1,000s died and 100s of 1000s of people were sickened worldwide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=101OEaksU0s&feature=related

Where unbelievably 3 Nuclear Reactors still operate today…next to a Lake..

So why intheworld would you want to fuel a reactor built in 1976 on an island near the sea in a tropical jungle? Because it cost 2.6 billion $$$ to build (thanks Ferdinand Marco…where do you think his wife got those shoes) and which is still costing the people of the Philippines 155,000 $$$ a day. As the song says, Money Money Money:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkOmcIl79s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O8gTib5rnw

But let’s start at the beginning, I was 22 in 1976 and working at Powerton, a Com Ed coal fired powerplant in Pekin, IL.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Nuclear_Power_Plant

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant, completed but never fueled, on Bataan Peninsula, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Manila in the Philippines. It is located on a 3.57 square kilometer government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan. It was the Philippines’ only attempt at building a nuclear power plant.

[edit] History

The Philippine nuclear program started in 1958 with the creation of the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) under Republic Act 2067.[1]

Under a regime of martial law, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in July 1973 announced the decision to build a nuclear power plant.[1] This was in response to the 1973 oil crisis, as the Middle East oil embargo had put a heavy strain on the Philippine economy, and Marcos believed nuclear power to be the solution to meeting the country’s energy demands and decreasing dependence on imported oil.[2]

Construction on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant began in 1976. Following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States, construction on the BNPP was stopped, and a subsequent safety inquiry into the plant revealed over 4,000 defects.[1] Among the issues raised was that it was built near major earthquake fault lines and close to the then dormant Pinatubo volcano.[2]

By 1984, when the BNPP was nearly complete, its cost had reached $2.3 billion.[2] A Westinghouse light water reactor, it was designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity.[2]

Marcos was overthrown by the People Power Revolution in 1986. Days after the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the succeeding administration of President Corazon Aquino decided not to operate the plant.[1][3] Among other considerations taken were the strong opposition from Bataan residents and Philippine citizens.[1][3]

The government sued Westinghouse for overpricing and bribery but was ultimately rejected by a United States court.[4]

Debt repayment on the plant became the country’s biggest single obligation, and while successive governments have looked at several proposals to convert the plant into an oil, coal, or gas-fired power station, but all have been deemed less economically attractive in the long term than the construction of new power stations.[2]

Despite never having been commissioned, the plant has remained intact, including the nuclear reactor, and has continued to be maintained.[2] The Philippine government completed paying off its obligations on the plant in April 2007, more than 30 years after construction began.[2]

On January 29, 2008, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes announced that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 8-man team led by Akira Omoto inspected the mothballed Bataan Nuclear power station on rehabilitation prospects. In preparing their report, the IAEA made two primary recommendations. First, the power plant’s status must be thoroughly evaluated by technical inspections and economic evaluations conducted by a committed group of nuclear power experts with experience in preservation management. Second, the IAEA mission advised the Philippines Government on the general requirements for starting its nuclear power programme, stressing that the proper infrastructure, safety standards, and knowledge be implemented.[5] The IAEA’s role did not extend to assessing whether the power plant is usable or not, or how much the plant may cost to rehabilitate.
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What a bad idea.

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I could have picked any number of Google “friendly” topics today like:

Gasoline prices rise Oil prices don’t – because I have long argued that the refiners will restrict production to raise prices because of the Speculator Driven Oil Shock of 2008.

Obama to announce new mileage standards – because I argued during the campaign that if Obama wanted a real energy policy change he would ban the sale of gasoline in anything other than 1 gallon containers. Gas driven cars would disappear overnight.

There is a local story however that needs to be covered. Local 193 of the IBEW is breaking ground for a new union hall later this month and it is going to be a doozy. Geothermal, Solar and Wind, the whole enchilada. God I have always wanted to say that.

While there is nothing up on their websites yet (hint hint)

http://www.unions.org/home/v-28641-13-IBEW-.htm

http://www.ibew193.com/

Nor do they list the Building Committee on there web site. Here is what one of their better writers, Tim Landis,  had to say in the State Journal Register. First in brief:

http://www.sj-r.com/business/x1393569371/Tim-Landis-Changes-to-Lincoln-Home-site-considered

The INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS 193 plans to break ground Friday for a union hall and training center at 3150 Wide Track Drive, just off Dirksen Parkway in Springfield.

According to the union, the “green building” will include solar panels that cover the roof, geothermal heating and cooling, and green space. Long-term plans are to add a wind-turbine. The training center will offer instruction in wind and solar technology.
The site is adjacent to the existing hall, which also will be upgraded once the new building is finished.

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Then in a longer piece that talks about the Greening of Central Illinois:

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 193 has begun construction of a new administrative office and training center at 3150 Wide Track Drive, just off Dirksen Parkway, in response to “green” trends in energy and job training, said business manager David Burns. The local represents about 800 workers in nine area counties.

“We just think that the green concept is more than right around the corner. It’s here,” Burns said.

In addition to use of geothermal heating and cooling, the solar panels on the roof are expected to provide most of the building’s electrical needs. Long-term plans are to add a wind turbine. Once the new hall is completed, the existing hall will be demolished to make way for green space, including landscaping and a retention pond.

But it’s the 12,500-square-foot training center that is the centerpiece of the green strategy for the labor union.

Plans are to offer hands-on training to apprentices in solar and wind technology. A “green jobs training curriculum” will include 70 lessons.

Burns said members already work on solar and wind projects, large and small, but that the training required will become more sophisticated along with the technology.

“We believe the demand is going to continue to grow,” Burns said. “As the technology gets better and better, we’re going to have to train people.”

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He listed these jobs that could enlist Electricians:

Jobs of the future?
A state list of “green jobs” outlines the top jobs that should be available in coming years or that will require retraining as alternative energy use increases. Additional information is available at http://www.ilworkinfo.com.

Among the categories:
* Building retrofitting. Electricians, heating and air conditioning, carpenters, construction equipment operators, roofers, insulation workers, carpenter helpers, industrial truck drivers, building inspectors and construction managers.

* Smart grids. Computer software engineers, electrical engineers, electrical equipment assemblers, electrical technicians, machinists, construction laborers, operating engineers, electrical power line installers and repair technicians.
* Wind power. Environmental engineers, iron and steel workers, millwrights, sheet metal workers, machinists, electrical equipment assemblers, construction equipment operators, industrial truck drivers, industrial production managers and production supervisors.
* Solar power. Electrical engineers, electricians, industrial machinery mechanics, welders, welders, metal fabricators, electrical equipment assemblers, construction equipment operators, installation helpers, laborers and construction managers.

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Way to go 193!

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