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Thread: The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

  1. Top | #741
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Now if we could only get zero carbon life .....
    It already is, on average (which is all that matters in the context of climate).

    The amount of carbon actively cycling is unimportant; What matters is how much is being released from ultra long term storage as coal, gas, oil, clathrates and geological structures, vs how much is being returned to those ultra long term stores. The amount returning is tiny; So unless we either massively increase that amount, or massively reduce the amount we release, we are fucked.

    Anything with a cycle time of less than a century is irrelevant, so biological effects are negligible unless they are measured on timescales of millions of years - such as the formation of new coal or oil deposits, for example.

    That's why burning coal is disastrous, but having eight billion humans exhaling carbon dioxide isn't. What we exhale was already part of atmospheric carbon dioxide until very recently, and so it's adding net zero to the short term average amount in the atmosphere.
    Nice. But I was thinking of carbon based life alternatives rather that keeping some frigging balance in a decaying, er, cooling system

  2. Top | #742
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    The melting Alaskan tundra will release carbon to the atmosphere. Snowball effect.

  3. Top | #743
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Damn. I wish I'd written something like that. Oh what. I did, except I also wrote Methane release would be 16 times worse.

  4. Top | #744
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Declining renewable costs drive focus on energy storage | REVE News of the wind sector in Spain and in the world

    Though pumped hydropower is still the most-used, batteries have become big, and numerous alternatives are being researched, like storage as heat and storage as cold, as chilled water or ice to assist a building's A/C. Even hydrogen made by electrolysis.

    US Electricity: Solar Up 15%, Wind Up 9% | CleanTechnica
    • 48.45% of new power capacity came from renewable energy
    • 28.55% of new power capacity came from wind energy
    • 18.59% of new power capacity came from solar energy
    • 49.67% of new power capacity came from natural gas

    • 18.18% of electricity generation came from renewable energy, up from 17.57% of electricity generation in October 2018
    • 8.5% of electricity generation came from wind energy, up 32.8% from October 2018, when it was 7.72% of electricity generation (note that wind electricity generation is up 32.8%, not wind’s share of electricity generation)
    • 3.37% of electricity generation came from solar energy, up 21.2% from October 2018, when it was 2.93% of electricity generation (note that solar electricity generation is up 32.8%, not solar’s share of electricity generation)
    • Solar output increased 14.59% in January–October 2019 compared to January–October 2018
    • Wind output increased 9.21% in January–October 2019 compared to January–October 2018
    Impressive progress, even if it is not as fast as one might want in controlling CO2 emissions.

  5. Top | #745
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    The New Coal-Killing Energy Storage Challenge Will Ding Nat Gas
    It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has presided over the collapse of the US coal industry, but do they have to rub it in? The answer appears to be yes. On Wednesday, newly minted Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced an all-hands-on-deck initiative to push the energy storage envelope farther into coal-killing territory. For good measure, the new $153 million “Energy Storage Grand Challenge” will probably bump off natural gas, too. And all this under a President* who pledged to save coal jobs!

    ...
    “Today, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced the launch of the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in energy storage.”

    ...
    The Energy Department is not just trying to keep up with the Joneses here. It is aiming for the US to dominate the global energy storage marketplace. In the process, it will steamroll all over the prospects for future growth in both coal and natural gas for power generation in the US.

    The agency has already dropped a couple of huge hints about its intentions. For starters, it is launching a series of stakeholder workshops with the goal of developing a “coordinated R&D roadmap to 2030 for a broad suite of storage and flexibility technologies.”

    Flexible is code for intermittent energy sources, namely wind and solar, so there’s one clue right there.
    It is welcome to see such people depart from what the fossil-fuel oligarchs might want. However, good storage technologies are also good for fossil-fuel generation, for these reasons:
    • "Spinning reserve" is wasteful.
    • Natural-gas "peakers" are not as efficient as combined-cycle natural-gas generators.
    • Coal, combined-cycle natgas, and nuclear generation have long reaction times, typically hours.

  6. Top | #746
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Study Shows Coal Kills People. Imagine That! | CleanTechnica
    noting
    Shutdown of US coal power facilities saved over 26,000 lives, study finds | Environment | The Guardian
    Because of drops in nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.
    As summarized by The Guardian, the study concludes that the closure of coal-fired generating plants over the past 10 years has kept 300 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. More importantly from a health point of view, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from those plants were reduced by 60% and 80%, respectively. Those pollutants are linked to increased rates of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.

    As a result, 26,610 American lives were saved over the past decade by taking those coal-powered facilities offline, according to the research. “When you turn coal units off you see deaths go down. It’s something we can see in a tangible way,” Burney tells The Guardian. “There is a cost to coal beyond the economics. We have to think carefully about where plants are sited, as well as how to reduce their pollutants.”

    Her study shows that emissions from coal plants not only affect human health, they can lead to decreases in the yield of crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. In other words, emissions from coal-fired plants are bad for all living things, which seems rather a high price to pay to secure the blessings of electricity, especially when there are cost competitive alternatives available that have no harmful emissions at all.
    Air filters create huge educational gains - Vox - "$1,000 can raise a class’s test scores by as much as cutting class size by a third." - 0.20 standard deviations for the one that got air filters - was in Aliso Canyon in the LA area

    Air pollution research: Health and cognitive harms - Vox
    Air pollution — mostly fine particulates, but also ozone and nitrogen oxides — has risen in recent years, in part due to ongoing rollbacks of regulations relating to air pollution, leading to what a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon estimate is nearly 10,000 extra deaths per year.

    Policymakers in the Trump administration seem determined to continue down this course.
    The Impact of Indoor Climate on Human Cognition:Evidence from Chess Tournaments - particulates in the air degrade chessplayers' performance

    Air Quality and Error Quantity: Pollution and Performance in a High-Skilled, Quality-Focused Occupation | Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists: Vol 5, No 4 - carbon monoxide and particulates degrade baseball umpires' performance

    Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers - particulates drive productivity down

    Project MUSE - Pollution and Politician Productivity: The Effect of PM on MPs - particulates drive down the grade level of politicians' speeches

    Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers: A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments - 4892924.pdf - the less pollution the better

    Fresh Air Eases Work - The Effect of Air Quality on Individual Investor Activity

    School Bus Emissions, Student Health, and Academic Performance - cleaning up bus exhaust improves students' performance

  7. Top | #747
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    Cardiologist statistics.

    Oncologists know better than to measure their success or failure in lives saved. You can't save a life. As with a medical intervention, the death rates before and after a coal facility shutdown are the same: one each. To measure the benefit from shutting down coal facilities you need to calculate how much longer those 26,000 inferred but unidentifiable people lived. Did the American people collectively get 26000 more decades of life, or 26000 more years, or 26000 more weeks, or what?

  8. Top | #748
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Denmark Passes Magic 50% In Renewable Electricity Generation Milestone | CleanTechnica
    2019 was a record year for renewable electricity generation in Denmark. The national media outlet dr.dk reports that, for the first time ever, half of Denmark’s electricity consumption originated from renewable generation. Those are the data for 2019 totals supplied by energinet.dk. Wind dominated, with 47% of the green energy coming from wind turbines. The rest came from solar.

    ...
    However, the staggering growth has only just begun. The 600 MW offshore wind farm Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea will be connected to the Danish and German electricity grid by 2021, and by 2025 the offshore wind farm Thor in the North Sea is scheduled to be connected at a nameplate capacity of at least 800 MW. Thor is the first of 3 giga-size offshore wind farms that the Danish Parliament agreed in 2018 to build by 2030.
    25 Climate Activists Occupy Chase Bank & Launch A Major New Campaign Targeting The Financial Industry | CleanTechnica
    Over twenty people occupied a Chase Bank branch in Washington, D.C. today to kick off Stop the Money Pipeline, a major new activist effort going after the financial industry’s funding of climate destruction.
    Stop the Money Pipeline
    Wall Street is financing
    climate destruction

    Banks, insurance companies, and asset managers are funding,
    insuring and investing in the climate crisis.

    Stopping this money pipeline is one of the
    most important ways we can address the climate emergency.
    I don't think that I want to beat up the financial industry too much, because renewable-energy systems are also capital-intensive.

  9. Top | #749
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    School and city buses are good for electric vehicles since they don't travel far.

    Largest Electric School Bus Program In United States Launching In Virginia | CleanTechnica
    Dominion Energy has partnered with local Virginia school districts to begin replacing diesel buses with 100% electric school buses in phases. No phase can come too soon, so CleanTechnica wishes all school districts a rapid rollout after the initial 50 launch the program. Children are more sensitive to air pollution than adults, and it hurts them and their studies.
    15 New Electric Articulated Buses Deployed In NYC — 500 Planned To Serve All 5 Boroughs | CleanTechnica
    New York City’s MTA announced on December 15, 2019, that it has deployed the first phase of its new all-electric articulated bus fleet. The now historic 2020–2024 Capital Plan includes $1.1 billion to acquire 500 new electric buses to serve all 5 boroughs. This first phase includes 15 buses. The first electric articulated bus recently took off on one of the city’s busiest crosstown routes – the 14th Street busway.

    Utility-Scale Solar Has Led U.S. Solar Since 2012 | CleanTechnica - about 60% of the market.

    Zero Mass Water Shrinks Its Panels - Cleantech Talk With Founder Cody Friesen | CleanTechnica

    Behind Zero Mass Water's $2,000 Device That Will Generate 5 Liters of Water a Day--in the Desert | Inc.com

    A combination solar panel and water extractor - it extracts water from the air, even in arid areas. Amortized over 10 years, its cost is $0.11 / liter or $110 / kiloliter. Checking on Cost of Water gives an average of $1.50 / 1000 gallons of tap water in the US, or $0.4 / kiloliter.

    Bottled water is much more expensive. Why is Bottled Water so Expensive? | Quench Water Blog claims 240 to 10,000, or $96 to $4,000 / kiloliter. How Much Does Bottled Water Cost? | IBWA | Bottled Water claims a wholesale price of $1.11 / gallon or $300 / kiloliter.

    Crystal Geyser CGW35001PL Alpine Spring Water, 16.9 oz. Bottles, Bottled at the Source (Pack of 1890): Amazon.com: Grocery & Gourmet Food - for $389. The bottles' capacity is 0.51 liters, and the cost is $400 / kiloliter.

    For water coolers, one typically uses 5-gallon bottles, where water typically costs $1.50 (5 Gallon Water Bottles Safe to Reuse? (symptoms, danger, costs, Walmart) - Health and Wellness -Doctors, illness, diseases, nutrition, sleep, stress, diet, hospitals, medicine, cancer, heart disease - City-Data Forum). That's $80 / kiloliter.

    So these panels can compete with bottled water, even if not with tap water.

  10. Top | #750
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    National Community Solar Programs Tracker | CleanTechnica
    Through community solar, individuals subscribe to a portion of a nearby solar project and get credits on their energy bill for the electricity it produces. This way, people without the financial means for solar on their rooftops and people who don’t own suitable rooftops can still reap the benefits of renewable energy. Local governments and installers can go even further to include subscribers with poor credit, or use local installers on the project.
    Puerto Rico power outage: How have microgrids performed? - "After Hurricane Maria, battery companies like Tesla and Sonnen helped set up alternate power systems across the island. Now that the island is without power again, they are showing a way forward instead of counting on the Puerto Rico’s beleaguered utility."
    Throughout the island, a handful of organizations that now have solar microgrids, like the Boys and Girls Club, have become places that people from the community can visit when the power goes out. “We are there for them,” says Escalera. “Anything they need from us, we’re there.”

    ...
    Homeowners that can afford them often install their own solar panels and battery storage; in the first year after Hurricane Maria, the amount of rooftop solar power on the island nearly doubled. But everyone recognizes that the overall grid, which was in poor repair even before the hurricane, also needs to transform. In a draft plan, the utility called for microgrids across the island, along with some use of natural gas. The challenge is implementing the plan, in part because the federal disaster aid that Congress appropriated—$42 billion—has been slow to arrive.
    US Must Offer Puerto Rico The Funding It Needs To Rebuild Grid, Says Environmental Defense Fund | CleanTechnica
    First Hurricane Maria in 2017 September, now the recent earthquakes.
    Yet the Trump Administration continues to withhold funds that Congress appropriated for the island almost a year ago, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) argues. The money, under the jurisdiction of the Housing and Urban Development Administration, was intended to support recovery and redevelopment in Puerto Rico in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

    ...
    Even before Saturday’s major aftershock, which fissured more roads and prompted more landslides, The New York Times reports that Puerto Rico estimated damages from the earthquake at $110 million. Gov. Wanda Vázquez asked the federal government on Saturday to approve a major disaster declaration, which would clear the way for additional federal assistance, including funds for temporary housing.

    The Trump administration approved an initial emergency declaration last week. CNN notes that the president hasn’t spoken or tweeted about the disaster that took place on the US territory, adding that he often publicly comments on natural disasters in the US and abroad and that “Trump has had a fraught history with the US territory since Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.”

    ...
    Microgrids already are seeing success in Puerto Rico’s most remote regions. Even with extended regions of Puerto Rico without electricity as a result of this week’s earthquake, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) reveals that microgrids in 10 schools are up and running.

    The solar plus storage microgrids were recently installed by RMI, Save the Children, and Kinesis Foundation. These microgrids offer sufficient battery and solar capacity to back up school libraries, administrative offices, kitchens, and critical water pumps indefinitely in the event of an outage.
    President Trump seems to have some grudge against Puerto Rico. He had a much less generous approach to that territory after Hurricane Maria than he did to Florida and Texas after they also were hit by hurricane. In a recent Instagram livestream, AOC agreed about this apparent grudge, and she claimed that some Congresspeople recently snuck about $10m of aid to PR without naming its recipient.

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