January 2016


I never really thought about cars this way before. It seems the more they HELP you drive the more expensive and complicated they are. If the car drives you, it will have a very complicated electronics system but a pretty simple structure. This would mean a much cheaper car and a radically restructured automobile industry.

http://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/bosch-active-gas-pedal/

 

Bosch is developing a connected gas pedal with haptic feedback

This pedal promises to use haptic feedback toward helping you save fuel while driving.

Andrew Krok mugshot
Andrew Krok

Would you be okay with your car bossing you around if it saved you fuel, and therefore money? Bosch is hoping that you won’t mind a few extra pointers on the road with its new active gas pedal, which the company believes can decrease fuel consumption by 7 percent.

Of course, creating a smart gas pedal is a complicated endeavor. By connecting to a vehicle’s various electronic systems, it can use haptic feedback (Bosch mentions vibration, knocking and variable pedal resistance) to tell the driver when to shift, when to cut back on wasteful acceleration and even when a hybrid vehicle is about to switch from electric- to gas-based propulsion.

While going green is a big part of this new pedal, there’s also a safety angle to it. Not only can the pedal be linked to active safety systems like forward collision warning or parking sensors, but it could also connect to the navigation system to prevent drivers from taking corners with too much chutzpah. And once vehicle-to-vehicle technology becomes common, the pedal can be used to warn drivers of upcoming hazards like potholes or stopped vehicles.

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Go there and ponder. More next week.

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I know that this is part of the motive and the profit to do solar equipment deals. It would be a better model if they told you about it up front and then split the RECs with the buyer or homeowner.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/green-energy-rec-rooftop-solar-panels

The Problem With Rooftop Solar That Nobody Is Talking About

Where does the green energy from your panels really go?

 

A couple of years ago, Steven Weissman, an energy lawyer at the University of California-­Berkeley, started to shop around for solar panels for his house. It seemed like an environmental no-brainer. For zero down, leading residential provider SolarCity would install panels on his roof. The company would own the equipment, and he’d buy the power it produces for less than he had been paying his electric utility. Save money, fight climate change. Sounds like a deal.

But while reading the contract, Weissman discovered the fine print that helps make that deal possible: SolarCity would also retain ownership of his system’s renewable energy credits. It’s the kind of detail your average solar customer wouldn’t notice or maybe care about. But to Weissman, it was an unexpected letdown.

To understand his hang-up, you need a bit of Electricity 101. If you have solar panels on your roof, the electrons they produce flow across the electric grid like water, following a path of least resistance. As they whiz around, electrons are impossible to track and look identical, whether they’re coming from solar panels, a coal plant, or whatever. But there is value in keeping tabs on the renewable ones, so energy wonks came up with renewable energy credits (RECs), a tradable financial instrument that corresponds to a certain amount of energy produced by a certain renewable source like solar or wind.

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I know that solar financing makes eyes glaze.  Go there and read anyway. More next week.

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This is an old piece but there is a petition being circulated on line:

http://www.stopthegreatlakesnucleardump.com/

Please go there and sign it. I could not find a newer piece but this should shock your socks off. If it were to ever leak we would have another Fukushima on our hands.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/20/stopping-the-great-lakes-radioactive-dump/

Stopping the Great Lakes Radioactive Dump

Hundreds of environmental and public interest groups, dozens of governmental bodies and thousands of concerned residents across the Great Lakes Basin have joined in rejecting a proposal by the giant utility company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury 200,000 cubic meters of its radioactive waste on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, near its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, in Kincardine, Ontario. The proposed dump is for so-called low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes from the company’s 20 nuclear reactors. The site is 1.2 kilometers from Lake Huron on Bruce Peninsula.

On May 6, Canada’s Joint Review Panel submitted to Canada’s Ministry of Environment — the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq — its formal recommendation to approve the plan. Intervening parties have 120 days to submit comments on the JRP’s “environmental assessment” once its “conditions” have been made public. Aglukkaq will then make a recommendation to Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne, who will make the final decision about whether the dump should be constructed.

Most of the groups, legislators and cities opposing the so-called Deep Geologic Repository (regular folks call it a hole in the ground) have decided to ignore or to just parody the forthcoming “conditions” regulating the plan. A nit-picking analysis of them, they say, only gives the impression that permanent contamination of the Great Lakes somehow an acceptable risk under certain theoretical, computer-model-derived conditions. As Dr. Gordon Edwards, founder of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, said May 19 over the phone, “We reject any permanent abandonment of radioactive waste deep underground near the Great Lakes. And this project, at this time, under any conditions is absurd.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This natural gas “eruption” has been going on in Southern California for a month. The gas company, SoCalGas, claims that it may be several more months before they get the leak plugged. Some people have compared it to the BPH spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. BUT and this is a big but, its in the air. This means it will spread around the world. The effects will be felt everywhere.

Plus this is the largest title I have ever posted!

http://enenews.com/tv-unprecendented-catastrophe-underway-los-angeles-largest-gas-leak-recorded-report-thousands-suffer-nose-bleeds-vomiting-potentially-devastating-planetary-scale-videos

TV: Unprecendented catastrophe underway near Los Angeles; Largest gas leak ever recorded — “Equivalent to strength of a volcanic eruption” — “Thousands suffer nose bleeds, vomiting” — “Potentially devastating on planetary scale” — Expert: “It’s so far above and beyond what I’ve ever seen” (VIDEOS)

CBC News, Dec 31, 2015 (emphasis added): Methane leak in California a ‘major catastrophe‘; Leak ‘largest ever recorded‘ could take 4 months to stop… “The amount of methane and natural gas that’s coming out of the Aliso Canyon Facility really is probably one of the largest volumes of gas ever recorded from a single leak,” says Tim O’Connor, an oil and gas specialist… “We have tried that seven times and have been unsuccessful in trying to stop the leak,” said SoCalGas spokesman Michael Mizrahi. “I have to say more than likely it’s [because] the pressures that are coming up from the leaking well are so intense.” The company says it doesn’t know exactly how much gas is escaping…

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a no-fly zone because of the small risk that a plane could ignite a pocket of methane… Laurie Rosenberg is among the many Porter Ranch residents who say the chemicals are causing them health problems. “I’ve had migraine headaches … itchy eyes, and runny nose 24/7… I think there’s more up there than they’re really willing to admit.”

Gizmodo, Dec 28, 2015: The largest natural gas leak ever recorded is jeopardizing health and causing evacuations for thousands of Southern California residents… Methane is estimated to be leaking out of the Aliso Canyon site at a rate of about 62 million standard cubic feet, per day… it’s potentially devastating on a planetary scale…

Erin Brockovich, Dec 21, 2015: “The enormity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak cannot be overstated… and it shows no sign of stopping… According to tests conducted in November by the California Air Resources Board, the leak is spewing 50,000 kilograms of gas per hour — the equivalent to the strength of a volcanic eruption.”
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Go there and read. More next week.
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Coal is now the most expensive energy source in the United States. That means that it will be to expensive to mine. It also means that the worth of the mining companies will fall and their stocks will collapse. It  can’t happen soon enough for me.

http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2015/12/28/a-sunny-future-for-utility-scale-solar/

A Sunny Future for Utility-Scale Solar
By John Finnigan | Bio | Published: December 28, 2015
Utility-scale solar and distributed solar both have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse emissions, and both have made great strides in the past year.
Utility-scale solar, the focus of this article, is reaching “grid parity” (i.e., cost equivalency) with traditional generation in more areas across the country.  And solar received a major boost when the federal tax incentive was recently extended through 2021. The amount of the incentive decreases over time, but the solar industry may be able to offset the lower tax incentive if costs continue to decline.  New changes in policy and technology may further boost its prospects.
Record year for utility-scale solar
Some of the world’s largest solar plants came on-line in the U.S. during the past year, such as the 550-megawatt (MW) Topaz Solar plant in San Luis Obispo County, California and the 550MW Desert Sunlight plant in Desert Center, California. Last year saw a record increase in the amount of new utility-scale solar photovoltaic generation installed – about four gigawatts (GW), a whopping 38 percent increase over 2013, and enough solar power to supply electricity to 1.2 million homes.  This number is expected to increase in 2015 when the final numbers are in.
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Go there and read. More next week.
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