Communities Shunning Utilities, Forming Microgrids

Communities Going Off-Grid, Forming MicrogridsMy current book project explores the notion that the forces of free market economics alone are in the process of forcing a rapid migration away from fossil fuels in the direction of renewables, energy efficiency, storage, smart grid, and electric transportation. I argue this from a great number of different perspectives, as suggested in the title “Bullish on Renewable Energy – Eleven Reasons Why Clean Energy Investors Can’t Lose.

One of the chapters deals with the upheaval in the world of the power utilities, i.e., how re-regulation, RPSs, distributed generation and negative growth are conspiring to make investors in these businesses very nervous. Illustrative of all this mess is the fact that whole communities are forming their own microgrids and telling their utilities to take a flying leap (see pic above). Here’s an article about this exact phenomenon, taking place in a small burg in Germany.

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Posted in Smart Grid

Economic Growth and Mitigating Climate Disruption — Nothing Is More Powerful Than an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Economic Growth and Mitigating Climate Disruption -- Nothing Is More Powerful Than an Idea Whose Time Has ComeIn one breath, climate deniers tell us that tens of thousands of our top climatologists have covertly gotten together and conspired to perpetrate a hoax on the world’s people.  In the next breath, they tell us that attempts to deal with this non-problem will stifle economic growth.  Both these notions are incorrect.

In this article, leading economists explain how addressing the climate issue will actually stimulate the economyRead more ›

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Posted in Renewables - Business

A Quick Stab at the Intersection of Renewable Energy and Meteorology

A Quick Stab at the Intersection of Renewable Energy and MeteorologyA senior in college working towards his B.S. in meteorology writes:

I’ve always been very intrigued by renewable energy and was curious if there are positions for meteorologists within the field. If there are not I would also be interested in knowing if there are any other positions I would be able to apply for with my degree being in meteorology, something I could apply my knowledge of science towards perhaps. I wasn’t sure how to research this so i figured I would contact a few companies directly. If you have any information on this I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me with some details.

I respond: Read more ›

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Posted in Renewables - Science

South Korea Ranks High in Smart Grid, Air Pollution

South Korea Ranks High in Smart Grid, Air Pollution If you’re looking for countries that have aggressive goals for economic growth, you certainly need to include South Korea on your list. What they’ve done in automotive and electronics over the past two decades has been most impressive. Here’s a story about their goals in exporting smart grid solutions. I won’t be at all surprised to see those goals met—and exceeded. Read more ›

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Posted in Smart Grid

New Auto Offering From Fisker…..Zzzzzzzz

New Auto Offering From Fisker.....Zzzzzzzz

Apparently Henrik Fisker is back with a new set of promises, claiming that he’ll be unveiling two new cars on November 20, a media day at next month’s LA Auto Show. Back-to-back press conferences are scheduled with no details yet revealed, except for the fact that one of them is predicted to be more of a muscle car than an environmentally sound, fuel-efficient model.

Sorry if I have a bad taste in my mouth here. Even if I thought the world needs a new muscle car (which, of course, I don’t), I still remember my annual sojourns to the Los Angeles Auto Show in the 2000-aughts, and how turned off I was to Fisker’s soon-to-be-aborted range-extended hybrid. Each year, the ropes around the prototype kept us a few feet farther away from actually touching it, and each year the story about the price and release date became even more vague and disenchanting.

I feel a sudden yawn coming on…




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Posted in Electric Vehicles

The Top Two Energy-Related Threats To Humankind

The Top Two Energy-Related Threats To HumankindWhat’s the number one threat to human civilization based on our foolish and corrupt approach to energy?  Most of us who try to keep a watchful and objective eye on the world energy scene would say that it’s our de facto energy policy that favors fossil fuels, and uses the power of enormous amounts of money to maintain the fiction that burning hydrocarbons is an acceptable mode of going forward.

But what’s the number two threat?  I would say that it’s the bickering between those of us who see the imperative for a low-carbon energy future.  To summarize it: Read more ›

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Posted in Nuclear

From Guest Blogger Micaela: Onshore Wind Leading the way Towards Denmark’s 2050 Renewable Target

Eco-Friendly Bamboo BeddingDenmark is an early adopter of wind energy

Despite the country has modest wind resources compared to other countries, it manages to capture the power of the wind with remarkable success. A key factor for the success is the early adoption of wind energy. Denmark has invested on wind energy since the 1970s. As a result, Denmark has had the chance to learn from experience. As a consequence of this experience and constant investment and innovative thinking, the wind industry has developed, technology costs have fallen and Denmark has built core competencies in the production and installation of wind turbines. Read more ›

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Posted in Wind Energy

From Guest Blogger Meggie: Top Reasons To Use Eco-Friendly Bamboo Bedding

Eco-Friendly Bamboo Bedding

The eco-friendly feature of bamboo bedding has been just one of the many reasons most people choose to buy and use bamboo sheets, bamboo comforters and and other bedding ware. In contrast to the other types of fabrics and materials, bamboo is a sustainable product that is ingrained with innumerable qualities. Bamboo fabric products are considered to be eco-friendly as it is produced without the use of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers. The pulp of the bamboo shoots is used for manufacturing fabrics and other products. Read more ›

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Posted in Sustainability

Global Climate Disrupution and the “Anthropocene Era”

Global Climate Disrupution and the “Anthropocene Era"Let me call readers’ attention to Glenn Doty’s incredible comments on my post about the new “Anthropocene Era,” so named because of the vast impact humankind has had recently on the planet, and the fact that this impact can only increase as time goes forward.  For those who want a primer on glaciation and the astronomical/geological forces that affect it, you’ll struggle to find anything done any better than this brief science lesson.

However, now that I understand (at some level) the forces that affect global warming over a period of thousands, and in some cases, millions of years, can’t we conclude that they’re irrelevant?  Atmospheric CO2 levels have risen over 29% since I was born.  It’s true that I’m not a kid anymore, but we’re not exactly talking about “geologic time” here.  Not only are levels increasing, but the rate of change at which the levels are rising is increasing as well.  Isn’t everything else negligible, insofar as it’s happening so slowly in comparison?



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Posted in Climate Change

Curious About the Operation of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plants?

Curious About the Operation of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plants?Here’s an interesting article on concentrated solar power, based on an interview with one of the engineers at the Ivanpah plant near the California/Nevada border near Las Vegas. Readers may be curious about the minute-to-minute tactics associated with managing the heliostats (sun trackers) so as to generate as much constant power as possible.

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Posted in Solar Thermal
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