I was going to post about the Nigerian oil spill in my continued meditation on environmental disasters in the recent years BUT its Christmas weekend eve. So instead I am posting a happy event. The White River is now free flowing after they punched a hole in the Condit Dam and this spring salmon will flow down the White River for the first time in 100 years. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to the rest.
Condit Dam was breached a little after Noon on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. During the event approximately 750 acre feet of water was drained into the White Salmon River downstream of the dam and into the Columbia River. Flows from the breach of the dam are anticipated to transport a plume of accumulated sediment from the reservoir causing turbid water.
Over the course of the next 10 months, dam removal will be conducted and restoration of the former reservoir area completed.
The Condit Hydroelectric Project is located 3.3 miles upstream from the confluence of the White Salmon and Columbia Rivers. Constructed between 1911 and 1913 by Northwestern Electric Company it has been operated by PacifiCorp since 1947. PacifiCorp has chosen to remove the dam rather than seek fish passage required under a new federal dam license.
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) conducted necessary environmental reviews and issued regulatory approvals associated with the project, including granting a Section 401 Water Quality Certification. The 401 certification under the federal Clean Water Act certifies that water quality standards and other water-protection regulations are met during dam removal and subsequent restoration. The 401 outlines the steps PacifiCorp must take to protect water quality during dam removal.
Scrooge-like is the usual manner in which which I handle the power in my little palace, but sometimes that approach doesn’t quite work. There are certain special situations in which even a penurious Scotsman might open up the wallet as well as the heart. This cavalier attitude toward a fast-spinning electric meter wouldn’t be an everyday occurrence, but it could happen. Some of the situations, like just being cold, would have to be pretty extreme, and the missus might have to threaten physical violence, but other potential instances, like the arrival Of Mick Jagger & Co., would be no-brainers. Here are a few of the possible candidates to render the electric bill meaningless.
Brrr! – When the thermometer is broken, or at least it seems that way, and the temperature reading is a constant 10 degrees below zero (inside), it is time to break the piggy bank and crank up an Amish heater in every room in the house.
I’m Melting – The same thermometer, turned upside down, could convince me that 110 degrees is uncomfortable enough to turn on the AC, and I might even be swayed to set the thermostat below 85.
Work, Work, Work – If my boss doesn’t care how much power I use to get a job done, then that’s the time I don’t get to care, either.
This is so funny. I love the Rolling Stones one. Go there and read the rest. More tomorrow.
This is a great blog post. I will only quote part of it because its point is that we must decentralized our energy sources to avoid losses. But I just want to focus on the losses part. Next week we start another meditation. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. (I realize you can not see the entire graphic below. More reason to go read the source.)
This basic trend can be seen around the globe with many energy sources. We’ve most likely already found and tapped the biggest, most accessible and highest-E.R.O.I. oil and gas fields, just as we’ve already exploited the best rivers for hydropower. Now, as we’re extracting new oil and gas in more extreme environments – in deep water far offshore, for example – and as we’re turning to energy alternatives like nuclear power and converting tar sands to gasoline, we’re spending steadily more energy to get energy.
For example, the tar sands of Alberta, likely to be a prime energy source for the United States in the future, have an E.R.O.I. of around 4 to 1, because a huge amount of energy (mainly from natural gas) is needed to convert the sands’ raw bitumen into useable oil.
“Balloon graph” representing quality (y graph) and quantity (x graph) of the United States economy for various fuels at various times. Arrows connect fuels from various times (i.e. domestic oil in 1930, 1970, 2005), and the size of the “balloon” represents part
of the uncertainty associated with EROI estimates. (Source: US EIA, Cutler Cleveland and C. Hall’s own EROI work in preparation)Click to Enlarge.
Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Therefore, the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is enormous.
According to the DOE, California lost 6.8% of the total amount of electricity used in the state in 2008 through transmission line inefficiencies and losses.
By the time energy is delivered to us in a usable form, it has typically undergone several conversions. Every time energy changes forms, some portion is “lost.” It doesn’t disappear, of course. In nature, energy is always conserved. That is, there is exactly as much of it around after something happens as there was before. But with each change, some amount of the original energy turns into forms we don’t want or can’t use, typically as so-called waste heat that is so diffuse it can’t be captured.
Reducing the amount lost – also known as increasing efficiency – is as important to our energy future as finding new sources because gigantic amounts of energy are lost every minute of every day in conversions. Electricity is a good example. By the time the energy content of electric power reaches the end user, it has taken many forms. Most commonly, the process begins when coal is burned in a power station. The chemical energy stored in the coal is liberated in combustion, generating heat that is used to produce steam. The steam turns a turbine, and that mechanical energy is used to turn a generator to produce the electricity.
The main point being we waste energy to make energy. There is something wrong with that. It really means that resources are not free. But that is another post. More Tuesday.
Earth Day should be every day. Just ask my oak tree which currently has a plastic bag hanging in it 28 feet up that remarkably resembles a pair of thong underwear. No kidding.
Why are we celebrating the earth just one day of the year? It has given us everything we have, wear, and eat – yep, even thong underwear. Without the earth humanity would not exist. With the earth we exist. Pure and simple.
Stop messing around people – pick up your trash so it does not get caught in a tree for some bird to get tangled in. Recycle your glass, plastic, and paper, so we save our natural resources. Make a difference every day, not just on Earth Day – it is the right thing to do.
Now. Who’s going to climb 28 feet up to help me get the thong out of the tree? Volunteers?
Like I said yesterday, I am not going to post about high gasoline prices and the middle east unrest because they are both concoctions. Muammar is just being the despicable killer that he always has been. Gas prices have nothing to do with market conditions. The head of the National Association of Oil and Gas Producers said today, the problem is not supply. There is plenty of oil available today, it is the money (speculators) flooding the market that is driving price. So the next time you complain about gas prices and someone says, well it is because we are so dependent on foreign oil. Tell them they are full of it. In the mean time.
Welcome to the most eco-friendly home in Springfield. You’d never guess the carpeting is made of recycled plastic grocery bags, or the bathroom countertops come from recycled cardboard and paper. The speckled rubber flooring of a workroom consists of recycled tires, and the simulated wood deck is actually recycled plastic soda bottles. The place simply appears to be the beautifully designed home of affluent owners. The only clue to their commitment to the environment are the solar panels on the roof.
The three-year-old house on Spaulding Orchard Road has a passive solar design with a thermal wall rising above gorgeous dark cherry flooring of (hybrid) eucalyptus and other sustainable woods. It was the highlight of a tour given by Bob Croteau for a recent Lincoln Land Community College workshop on renewable energy. An energy auditor with City Water Light and Power who has been involved with solar power since the 1970s, Croteau believes the season has finally arrived for green technology in Springfield. “I used to be able to keep track of all the renewables, but so many are springing up everywhere now, I can’t keep track of them all.”
The tour included a stop at the Southwind Park visitors center, the first building in Springfield to be LEED-certified at the highest platinum level (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). When it received certification in December, Erin’s Pavilion, as it is known, was one of only 209 nonresidential buildings in the world with platinum status in the new construction category. It will soon add a wind generator to its solar panels and 15 geothermal heat pump systems. The Capital Area Career Center has an array of solar panels that track the sun throughout the day as well as throughout the season. At 12 kW, it was the largest solar installation in Springfield until a year ago when a 14 kW array went up on the Fit Club South.
This a really long article so go to the IT and read it. More tomorrow.