September 2012


This has been so needed for so long. America pivots from gasoline to natural gas. When will we get over that to something that makes sense?

http://www.chron.com/business/article/Natural-gas-wins-place-as-oil-field-fuel-3900742.php

Natural gas wins place as oil field fuel

By Zain Shauk | Thursday, September 27, 2012

The biggest, baddest engines in the world, long chained to diesel fuel, are on the verge of a mass transformation because of cheap natural gas – with oil field equipment holding particular potential, executives said Thursday during a summit of heavy fuel users and producers.

“Here’s the first reason that large engines are going gas,” said JoelFeucht, director of gas engine strategy for Caterpillar’s energy and power systems division. “Large engines burn the most fuel. I could try to make it harder, but that’s pretty straightforward.”

Oil companies alone use nearly 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year just for pressure pumping equipment that supports hydraulic fracturing, said David Hill, vice president of natural gas economy operations for Encana Corp. Adding the diesel used to power drilling rigs themselves, the total is more than 2.8 billion gallons annually, said Pierce Dehring, a project engineer for Baker Hughes.

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This article is both disturbing and self explanatory.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources

 

James Conca, Contributor

Everyone’s heard of the carbon footprint of different energy sources, the largest footprint belonging to coal because every kWhr of energy produced emits about 900 grams of CO2. Wind and nuclear have the smallest carbon footprint with only 15 g emitted per kWhr, and that mainly from concrete production, construction, and mining of steel and uranium. Biomass is supposedly carbon neutral as it sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere before it liberates it again later, although production losses are significant depending upon the biomass.  Carbon emissions and physical footprints are known as externalities and are those vague someone-has-to-pay-eventually kind of thing it’s hard to put a value on. Proposed carbon footprint taxes are in the range of $15 to $40/ton of  CO2 emitted, but assigning a physical footprint cost depends on the region, ecosystem sensitivities and importance. A hundred-acre wetlands to be flooded by a new dam is worth more to the planet than a barren hundred-acre strip under a solar array in the Mojave (P. Bickel and R. Friedrich, 2005).

But an energy’s deathprint, as it is called, is rarely discussed. The deathprint is the number of people killed by one kind of energy or another per kWhr produced and, like the carbon footprint, coal is the worst and wind and nuclear are the best. According to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Science and many health studies over the last decade (NAS 2010), the adverse impacts on health become a significant effect for fossil fuel and biofuel/biomass sources (see especially Brian Wang for an excellent synopsis). In fact, the WHO has called biomass burning in developing countries a major global health issue (WHO int). The table below lists the mortality rate of each energy source as deaths per trillion kWhrs produced. The numbers are a combination of actual direct deaths and epidemiological estimates, and are rounded to two significant figures.

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Go there and read. The numbers are disgusting. More tomorrow.

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And it is not just Tesla who is getting into the game. Tomorrow I will post about natural gas refueling stations in Northern Florida. This could be the wave of the future. A battle between electricity and natural gas.

http://peakoil.com/consumption/tesla-motors-launches-revolutionary-supercharger-enabling-convenient-long-distance-driving/

Page added on September 25, 2012

Tesla Motors Launches Revolutionary Supercharger Enabling Convenient Long Distance Driving

Tesla Motors( NASDAQ : TSLA ) today unveiled its highly anticipated Supercharger network. Constructed in secret, Tesla revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger stations, which will allow the Model S to travel long distances with ultra fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.

The technology at the heart of the Supercharger was developed internally and leverages the economies of scale of existing charging technology already used by the Model S, enabling Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost. The electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, which results in almost zero marginal energy cost after installation. Combining these two factors, Tesla is able to provide Model S owners1 free long distance travel indefinitely.

Each solar power system is designed to generate more energy from the sun over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the Supercharger. This results in a slight net positive transfer of sunlight generated power back to the electricity grid. In addition to lowering the cost of electricity, this addresses a commonly held misunderstanding that charging an electric car simply pushes carbon emissions to the power plant. The Supercharger system will always generate more power from sunlight than Model S customers use for driving. By adding even a small solar system at their home, electric car owners can extend this same principle to local city driving too.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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It is my firm belief that most of the global warming occurring is the direct result of world wide aircraft activity: military, commercial and personal. While it is true that the carbon uptake systems world wide have been compromised or broken by our general production of carbon, it is the relentless daily flights through the atmosphere using combustion engines that are doing the bulk of the atmospheric damage.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120921-lighter-than-air-craft-rises

HyperDrive | 24 September 2012

Lighter-than-air craft rise again

Jon Stewart

f you like the idea of cruising on a ship in laid-back luxury, but prefer the speed and convenience of air travel, there may soon be a solution. Drawing their inspiration from the airships of yesteryear, a new generation of airship-like vehicles could soon be making their way across our skies.

In a hangar outside Tustin in California, engineers are preparing one of the most radical designs for testing.  The Aeroscraft, as it is known, is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak and has been made possible by advances in materials and computer control systems.

“We are resurrecting [the airship] with new composite fabric structures, that are stronger, lighter, more versatile” says Fred Edworthy, of Aeros, the company building the lighter-than-air vehicle.

The airship in the hangar is being built to test various key components of a design that could one day contain a hotel, casino or spa. However, the company believes one of its biggest markets could be transporting freight from hard-to-reach locations or, for example, carrying wind turbine blades. Currently blades are as large as they can be to be transported on a truck.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1811/viewFull/

 

Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

BY ANNETTE BUBAK
September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.

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Go there and read. More Tomorrow.

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But I imagine the whole “front range” of the rocky mountains is. Usually you think of deserts but really sunshine falls everywhere and the higher you go the more intensity it generates. So we close the week with this:

http://www.myenergysolution.com/energy-savings-blog/

Colorado Solar Power

Despite Colorado’s fame as a skiing destination, Denver actually ranks 30th of 174 major U.S. cities in terms of sunshine potential, not far behind Honolulu and Miami. In fact, Colorado has the third highest installed solar PV generation capacity of any U.S. state (source: IREC US Solar Market Trends 2009). As a result of innovative policies and greater awareness of environmental issues, Colorado was an early adopter of solar energy systems. As of the end of 2009, the state had 59 megawatts of installed solar PV capacity, third highest among U.S. states despite the fact that the state ranks 22nd in terms of population. In addition, Colorado installed 53.6 megawatts of solar power in 2010, ranking Colorado fourth in the nation, which was double the output for 2009 (23.4 megawatts). Home to natural gas, oil and some of our nation’s best solar rebates, Colorado plays an important role in the United States’ energy industry. Colorado was the first state to create a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), through a 2004 ballot initiative. Originally, the RPS mandated that all utilities with more than 40,000 customers provide at least 10% of their electricity from a renewable energy source. Through additional improvements, it is now mandated that by 2020 investor-owned utilities must provide 30% and cooperatives and municipal utilities with over 40,000 must provide 10% of their retail load from renewable energy sources. Investor-owned utilities also have a distributed generation requirement, which is good news for solar owners. By 2020, 3% of the retail load must come from customer solar electric systems, rather than huge solar farms. This means that investor-owned utilities will continue to offer fantastic solar incentives to consumers to increase the number of residential and commercial solar systems

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I hate to say it but it couldn’t happen to a nicer company. For years they have been one of the least tolerant of companies. They resisted any thought of innovation. Stuck to burning coal and nuclear power plants long after it was fashionable. And snickered all the time like an evil teenager. They fought regulation until they were overwhelmed. Bad karma always comes to a bad end.

http://www.suntimes.com/business/15247115-420/comed-rate-hike-issue-delayed-customers-keep-switching.html

ComEd rate-hike issue delayed; customers keep switching

BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter sguy@suntimes.com September 19, 2012 6:06PM

The Illinois Commerce Commission on Wednesday delayed until Oct. 3 reconsidering a Commonwealth Edison rate-hike request centered on how ComEd accounts for its pension assets.

he ICC previously approved a rate that ComEd claimed was inadequate, ruling that ComEd can’t earn a rate of return on a pension asset that isn’t fully funded.

The commission took up other issues at its meeting Wednesday in Springfield, and didn’t give a reason for the delay.

ComEd had proposed a decrease in its electricity rates totaling $40 million to $50 million, but because of the pension issue, the ICC decided May 29 to cut customers’ rates by four times that for a total of $168.6 million.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Not much to say here, except it is about DAMN time. Way to go San Francisco.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SF-public-power-plan-given-tentative-OK-3875891.php

SF public power plan given tentative OK

John Coté
Updated 10:41 p.m., Tuesday, September 18, 2012
San Francisco took a major step toward public power Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to a five-year contract with Shell Energy North America to provide 100 percent renewable power to San Franciscans willing to pay a premium.

The 8-3 vote provided a veto-proof majority for a program that will effectively break Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s decades-old monopoly on the consumer power market in its headquarter city. It also lays the groundwork for city-owned renewable power production.

“The long-term goal is to really do our own generation,” said Ed Harrington, the outgoing general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, who delayed his retirement to see the proposal brought before legislators.

The plan comes eight years after the city began setting up a community choice aggregation program, which allows municipalities to choose alternative electricity providers. Former Supervisor Tom Ammiano, now an assemblyman, began pushing for public power, a touchstone issue for many on the city’s political left, 14 years ago.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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This is pretty mundane from my perspective. The US is building 100s of wind farms around the country. The coasts are places where the wind is most powerful and consistent. Are the numbers accurate? Who knows? They likely would be higher than what is stated, so why worry about that?

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/17/858551/offshore-wind-on-the-atlantic-cost-could-create-300000-jobs-and-200-billion-in-economic-activity/?mobile=nc

Offshore Wind On The Atlantic Cost Could Create 300,000 Jobs And $200 Billion In Economic Activity

By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm

by Silvio Marcacci, via CleanTechnica

America has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world — especially along the Atlantic coastline. But while the promise is massive, zero turbines are currently spinning in U.S. waters.

Fortunately, federal and state governments have made significant progress toward the first offshore turbines and have put America at a turning point toward harnessing the more than 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation potential identified along our coasts. Harnessing a realistic fraction of offshore wind’s potential — 52GW — could power 14 million homes with clean electrons while creating over 300,000 new jobs and $200 billion in new economic activity in some of our biggest cities.

These findings come from “The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy,” a new report from the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) outlining the energy and economic benefits offshore wind could create in the U.S., highlighting progress made to date, and detailing policy action needed to realize the industry’s potential.

Federal Policy + State Action = Turbines

While it seems like offshore wind has been touted for years, the future is closer to reality than ever before.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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This is so cool that I really don’t know how to describe it. Lights that use 6 watts of energy and are controlled by your telephone. The future is here.

http://gigaom.com/2012/09/17/lifx-bulb-shines-light-on-connected-home-vs-gadgets/

Sep 17, 2012 – 7:17AM PT

LIFX bulb shines light on connected home vs gadgets

Who needs a light switch when you have smart bulbs paired with smartphones? LIFX is just that: a Wi-Fi connected LED bulb that you remotely control or even change the color. But will consumers want one-off connected gadgets or centrally-managed smart homes in the future?

A new Kickstarter project aims to offer Wi-Fi connected light bulbs to the masses and the best part is, you can change the bulb’s color with the help of a smartphone. The bulb is called LIFX and thanks to the LED technology inside, it’s an energy saver when compared to traditional or CFL bulbs. You control the brightness and color directly from an iPhone or Android device using the LIFX application and there’s smarts in the bulb itself: It can notify you when a new Twitter message arrives, for example.

Take a look at the LIFX explanation video and you can see that the creators my be correct in calling LIFX the “smartest light bulb ever made”:

(No video included because I do not have the skills but please go there and look at it.)

The project impresses me for a few reasons. LIFX, which can be backed for as low as $69 a bulb, has already surpassed its $100,000 goal for backing, taking in over three times that much with nearly two months left for fundraising. It also brings a wide variety of functionality to something most people consider mundane but necessary: a light bulb. And it appears simple to use through the dedicated smartphone application or can still be turned on or off through the existing light switch.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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