Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The consumer face of the Smart Grid looks like you and me. It is tall and short, conservative and liberal, lazy and driven. In short, it is everyone, which means that it can be both random and ordered depending on changing conditions, geographic realities, and discordant behavioral patterns.
Capitalizing on Smart Grid opportunities in the residential consumer market means finding order and predictability across a wide range of variables: different ecosystems, temperature variation, number of people living under one roof, behavioral patterns, etc. Currently, data is measured home-to-home, which means that fine-grained details under the roof are usually unaccounted for.
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Solar Energy (both photovoltaic and solar hot water, aka solar thermal) are great resources to have at your disposal. In the case of photovoltaic, you can substitute the power from your utility grid by harnessing the sun’s power and converting the sun’s rays into electricity. With rising electricity prices, photovoltaics (aka solar electric) is a great hedge against ever expanding utility bills. The photovoltaic industry is growing by leaps and bounds. You may want to get into the action. (more…)
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
The US wind power industry is facing huge problems that have led analysts to forecast a 60% drop in installations this year. This will be the first year since 2004 that the industry will not grow. The main reason for this set back is that we have nearly run out of high wind areas with easy access to transmission. This combined with extremely low prices for natural gas have led the industry back to the drawing board. (more…)
Monday, June 14th, 2010
Watching baseball’s first quadruple play was strange. Seeing Wal-Mart go green is stranger still.
First the baseball: The scene was a game of T-Ball, where everyone bats every inning, regardless of the number of outs.
The bases were loaded when a line drive ended up in the glove of the pitcher. While he wondered how it got there, all the runners took off without tagging up. The pitcher ran to third, then second, then first.
We kept counting the number of outs and they did not add up. First in our heads: That doesn’t make sense. Then on our hand: That’s crazy. Then our other hand: It kept adding up to four outs.
It took us a while to believe what we saw right in front of us.
And now Wal-Mart, the original Black Hat, is going green. Or better said, sustainable. Let that sink in because it is true. Big time.
So much so that Treehugger.com says It “could end up being one of the biggest motivators to make truly ‘green’ products ever.”
As in history of the world.
Wal-Mart has made believers out of not just the biggest environmental organizations in the world — like the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Federation — but also Wal-Mart’s suppliers.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
The EPA may experiment with using containment booms made out of mushrooms to break down oil gushing from the Gulf, according to a leading mushroom scientist.
Paul Stamets, a pioneering mycologist, said he had been contacted “at the highest levels of the EPA” to discuss using long, floating cylinders of fungi to break down hydrocarbons floating in the Gulf from the BP oil disaster.
Stamets has experimented with a species of oyster mushroom, pleurotus ostreatus, that can withstand saltwater and establish itself on straw. Applied to diesel-contaminated soil, it cut the dirt’s oil content from 10,000 parts per million to 200 parts per million within 16 weeks. (more…)
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Power purchase agreements and solar leases can eliminate up-front costs and are ideal for commercial use.
When considering solar energy for your business, what you really want is the power, so why shell out for the system? That’s the basic scheme of financial agreements known as power purchase agreements and solar leases that cover up-front equipment and installation costs while the customer pays only a monthly amount.
Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t, but the process can be rather complicated and contracts become very complex, according to Matt Lugar, vice president of sales at Stellar Energy in Rohnert Park, Calif. Lugar outlined the primary types of financial structures available for solar and the impacts of the 2008-09 financial crisis on the marketplace during a workshop held at the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego, Calif.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
The oil industry’s decommissioning costs will dwarf those of nuclear power. The money being made now should be put aside to meet them.
Has BP ever made a profit? The question looks daft. The oil company posted profits of $26 billion last year. There’s no doubt that BP has been pumping money into the pockets of its shareholders. The question is whether this money is what the company says it is. BP calls it profit. I call it the provision the firm should be making against future liabilities. (more…)
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wind, solar, and biomass facilities comprise only a little more than two percent of the nation’s electricity. But renewable energy production is anticipated to increase by 70 percent or more by 2030. Finding affordable land in areas with the resources to support new renewable energy plants is the biggest challenge.
Now, as part of the EPA’s RE-Powering America’s program, the agency is taking a multi-level approach to cleaning up and developing contaminated land, such as polluted former industrial properties, or “brownfields,” for the development of wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy facilities. In addition to brownfields, the EPA has identified close to 15 million acres of Superfund sites, abandoned mines, and federal facilities, all of which are among the county’s most contaminated lands. (more…)
Friday, June 4th, 2010
The horror emerging from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico continues to lay its nightmare before a nation – and a world – of stunned witnesses. With the tragedy of native waterfowl now being found smothered in petroleum along the marshes of Louisiana comes continued reports that the American people have been prevented by BP officials from seeing images of the slaughter. According to reports by photojournalists, television producers and others (more…)
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
As good stewards of the planet we live on, it is often a good idea to measure our impact on the Earth and adjust accordingly. One of the best ways to do this is to calculate our carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is a rough measurement of greenhouse gases (GHG) that an individual, organization, event, or product produces. In this case we are looking at an individual assessment of GHG.
Luckily there are many online tools that will calculate your carbon footprint for free. (more…)