Salmon Once Again Flow Down The White River – Condit dam blown through

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.


For text see:

Condit Dam Removal Project

Breaching Event

Updated! 10/24/2011 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.

See more project info on the Pacificorp website.

Project Overview

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.


Go there, view and read. More next week.


Halloween Spoof – Thanks to Compare Electricity Rates

This is a guest post from a group that has done it before. Thanks for the holiday gift.

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.


Americans Waste Energy Just Getting Out Of Bed – Even while they sleep

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.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It’s Not Just Alternative Energy Versus Fossil Fuels or Nuclear – Energy Has to Become DECENTRALIZE

dot dot dot

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.

Professor Charles Hall of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry provides the following graphic to illustrate the point:


“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.

(click for larger image.)

The take away message from the graph is that the energy return on investment was very high for oil in 1930, but it is very low today, since the cheap, easy-to-get-to (and less dangerous) oil is gone.


dot dot dot

America uses 39.97 quads of energy, while it wastes 54.64 quads (i.e. “rejected energy”).

As CNET noted in 2007:

Sixty-two percent of the energy consumed in America today is lost through transmission and general inefficiency. In other words, it doesn’t go toward running your car or keeping your lights on.

Put another way:

  • We waste 650% more energy than all of our nuclear power plants produce
  • We waste 280% more energy than we produce by coal
  • We waste 235% more energy than we produce by natural gas (using deadly fracking)
  • We waste 150% more energy than we generate with other petroleum products

The Department of Energy notes:

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.

The National Academies Press notes:

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 2011 – Here is the first post

I am probably going to post Earth Day stuff for the next week. I see it as a way to hook up with old friends like today’s Shawna Coronado or new friends unknown.

Green Tip #6-Earth Day Is Every Day, Just Ask My Plastic Bag Thong Underwear Oak Tree Art

Plastic Bag Thong.jpg

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?


I Am Tired – Of being ripped off by the North American wealthy elite and

I am tired of the death and destruction in Japan. So today it is kids fun.

Q: How did Benjamin Franklin feel when he discovered electricity?

A: Answer

Image of a man fishing.

A: Goes fission.

Cartoon image of a baseball batter. 

Q: How is energy conservation like a baseball team?

A: Answer

Image of a light switch.

A: They can both use a switch hitter.

image of a half moon and a car 

Q: What is burned by cars driven late at night?

A: Answer

image of a clock and oil can

A: Midnight oil.

Image of a beach. 

Q: How are renewable power plants like people who enjoy going to the beach?

A: Answer

Image of sun, wind, and water.

A: They all like sun, wind, and water.

Image of a criminal behind bars. 

Q: In which part of the jail are energy criminals kept?

A: Answer

Image of a fuel cell diagram behind bars.

A: The fuel cells.

Image of a school. 

Q: What is a renewable energy source that is used every day at your school?

A: Answer

Image of gears inside profile of a head.

A: Brain power!

image of a cloud with a face 

Q: What did the solar cells say to their cloudy boss?

A: Answer

Image of sun and a solar cell.

A: We need rays!

image of a man of a ladder 

Q: How many energy students does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Answer

image of fluorescent light bulb

A: None! They’re smart enough to use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, which rarely need to be replaced.


More yucks tomorrow.


Greening UP In Springfield – LLCC pitches in

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.

Thursday, March 3,2011

The greening of Springfield

LLCC leads the way to renewable energy

By Karen Fitzgerald

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.