Archive for the ‘alternative energy’ Category
Thanks in large part to the support the Chinese government has offered to manufacturing, cheap solar panels flooded the global market causing a great deal of damage to renewable energy businesses. The damage was fueled by subsidies from the Chinese government that allowed manufacturers to sell solar panels for less than actual cost, thus allowing these manufacturers to dominate the market and put many foreign developers out of business. Read the rest of this entry »
When it comes to renewable energy and efficiency, a double-dip in the dish is a great deal.
The latest in solar dish technology that does what solar installations do—converts sunlight into power—but with an added twist: it generates clean water.
The efficiency of the typical solar installation ranges from 10 to 20 percent, with the rest waste heat. Swiss researchers associated with IBM have developed the High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal system (HCPVT), which uses that waste solar heat to generate fresh water.
It’s reminiscent of the ancient craft of turning lead into gold. But it’s not alchemy, it’s real. Read the rest of this entry »
As this infographic courtesy of AutoPawn indicates, maybe you can’t have everything—at least not yet.
Climate change is real, and it’s coming to your neighborhood. This comprehensive and disturbing infographic, “How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth,” comes courtesy of LearnStuff.
According to LearnStuff, “Thanks to extensive research and noticeable changes in weather and storm prevalence, it’s getting harder to turn a blind eye to the reality of climate change. Since the Industrial Age spurred the increasing usage of fossil fuels for energy production, the weather has been warming slowly. In fact, since 1880, the temperature of the earth has increased by 1 degree Celsius.
“Although 72% of media outlets report on global warming with a skeptical air, the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the extreme weather of the last decade is at least partially caused by global warming.”
So check it out:
Climate Change by LearnStuff.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.learnstuff.com/climate-change/.
It was a big year for Big Coal — in the sense of big losses and setbacks for the coal industry’s agenda, which made it a very good year indeed.
When thousands of people show up at the Seattle Convention Center for a technical “scoping” hearing to comment on and protest plans to export coal through Pacific Northwest terminals to Asian markets – Big Coal’s master export plan is in doubt. One coal plant each week was retired during 2012, which perhaps helps to explain why there is such zest on the part of the industry to ship the stuff overseas.
The Sierra Club‘s nationwide campaign—Beyond Coal—to phase out coal burning in the United States won victories from coast to coast, including the coal plant retirements and record investments in wind and solar. The coal industry experienced numerous setbacks in 2012 as its market share fell and stock prices tanked.
“With an overarching goal to move America off coal and slash carbon pollution, an unprecedented coalition including Sierra Club and more than a hundred local, regional and national organizations has helped to secure the largest drop in U.S. coal burning ever,” the club said in its year-ean review.
The campaign, which received major backing with a four-year $50 million commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2011, now includes legal and grassroots fights that target every stage of the coal lifecycle in more than 40 states. It has grown to become one of the largest and broadest grassroots environmental campaigns in the nation’s history, according to the club.
The following Sierra Club info-graphic tells the campaign tale of the tape:
Many investors lost big on coal, with numerous bankruptcies of coal mining companies and coal-burning utilities including Midwest Generation in Illinois, Patriot in West Virginia, and Dynegy in Texas. After declaring bankruptcy, Patriot – Appalachia’s third largest coal company – reached an agreement with the Sierra Club and its allies to end the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and retire much of its large scale surface mining equipment. Coal’s poor economics were underscored news that the Great River Energy Spiritwood coal plant in North Dakota has sat idle since it was completed at a cost of $440 million earlier this year.
NRG Texas Energy announced this month that it will not proceed with plans to build the Limestone 3 coal unit in Jewett, Texas, 120 miles south of Dallas. NRG filed the initial applications to build the plant in 2006, when a handful of other Texas utilities were filing similar proposals to build more than a dozen new coal boilers in Texas. As of December 2012, the majority of these proposals have been cancelled, due to the changing economics of coal plants, the growth of wind energy in the state, and because of legal challenges and grassroots opposition.
Coal is on the run and battling on many fronts – 2012 may turn out to be a watershed year in its downward spiral, especially if 2013 sees the fall of Big Coal’s PNW export plans. That will be a great new year indeed.
The Los Angeles Times reported this bit of news this morning:
In an announcement today from its London headquarters, BP confirmed an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve all federal criminal charges and all claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the company stemming from the events that began with the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
As part of the agreement, BP said it has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect in connection with the 11 deaths caused by the rig’s explosion. It also agreed to plead guilty to other charges, including one felony count of obstruction of Congress. The agreement is subject to U.S. federal court approval.
Image: Sorry via Google images
So the election is over and we can breathe a sigh of relief. There’s general agreement that jobs are a priority for the coming months and the Sierra Club Magazine has helpfully illustrated where those jobs might come from. The short article and infographic debunks the fossil fuel industry’s well-heeled insistence about the huge loss of jobs that will occur in a switch to a clean energy economy. It’s just not so, according to the club, and its sees big opportunities in the concentrating solar and solar photovoltaic sectors.
Peter and Maria Hoey did the graphic and the text is by Paul Rauber.
Image: From Sierra’s Grapple page.
Something? Anything? Listening to the debates one might think climate change was not an economic, health, safety and security issue worthy of discussion.
It’s really disheartening, but it’s also a pure calculation – apparently both sides believe that there are few if any votes in numbers that matter by talking about climate change, especially in the swing states where the final battles are occurring.
It’s also startling, and historic. Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts and ClimateSilence.org: “For the first time since 1984, the presidential and vice presidential debates have ignored the threat of climate change. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Mitt Romney, and Representative Paul Ryan have failed to debate the greatest challenge of our time. Climate change threatens us all: the candidates’ silence threatens to seal our fate.”
In the second debate President Obama and Mitt Romney extolled the virtues of coal and natural gas during a sequence on the high cost of gasoline, but they neglected to mention the costs of climate change now and for future generations by relying so heavily on gasoline and fossil fuels for energy, especially “clean” coal. (This just in – there is no such thing as clean coal.)
In the third debate the focus was on foreign policy, a perfect opportunity to weigh-in on the dangers to security and the environment coming from reliance on oil from the most volatile region in the world, which happens to sit on most of the globe’s oil reserves. But no.
The connection between foreign policy, peace, energy, economic and environmental security is real and needs to be addressed – the candidates’ silence on this is dumbfounding and cynical.
[Image: TV screenshot]
I’ve been obsessing perhaps a little too much about the Romney/Ryan “energy policy” and attitude towards climate change, so it was refreshing to see President Obama’s evisceration of them during his DNC speech.
He rebuked Mitt Romney’s ridiculous joke making climate change a punchline at the Republican National Convention. “Climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.”
Here are his comments, from the transcript, which Obama followed pretty much verbatim:
“You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.
Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.
“We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.
“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.”
Great stuff from Obama and the Dems – especially calling out Romney and the Republicans on their lies and lopsided view of America.
No, Mittwit has not a clue. The progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress Action Fund today lacerated the Mittster’s energy policy in an issue brief that says the Romney-Ryan ticket’s opposition to key clean energy investments would result in more jobs shipped overseas and lower American competitiveness.
Despite pledging to protect American employment, the Republican presidential candidate opposes clean energy policies that encourage investment and create jobs on American soil. Romney wrote in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed that, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.”
“Real energy?” Solar energy is not real? Wind is not real? Someone who can say that with a straight face is the one living in a fantasy world of denial and subservience to the fossil fuel giants. Read the rest of this entry »