28 February 2012

2012-02-28, Renewable and Non-oil Energy Update

Here are a few recent articles in the renewable energy relm, along with a note on compressed natural gas.  If these don't interest you, ahhh, they should!  :^)

Don't everyone panic at once. U.S. energy use is *down*, but the economy is *up*. Wall Street is, as usual, clueless. (What's new?)


U.S. Drop In Energy Use: It’s A Feature, Not a Bug! «
The money-centric become hysterical when they see energy use drop, even though, says columnist Susan Kraemer, it's really a sign of progress.

    • Also from Earth Techling: solar roofs available directly from roofers in San Diego. Interesting. http://bit.ly/yqyWIr

      Rooftop Solar Drives 100 New Jobs In San Diego «


      OneRoof, a San Diego seller and installer of solar roof panels, says it will hir...See More
      about an hour ago · Like · 

    • Designing a gated community in the American Southwest? Forget the gate; install a community solar power system instead: http://bit.ly/wjArv3


      Spanish firm promotes new solar power vision for Arizona homes

      PHOENIX – Until now, visions of Arizona homes powered by renewable energy have centered mostly on rooftop solar panels or huge solar power plants in the desert. A Spanish company setting up operations in the Valley is promoting a new vision: developments built around generating stations providing so...
      59 minutes ago · Like · 

    • Solyndra's demise: corporate life ain't easy when your competitor's materials costs become 1/10 of what they recently were. If you're also busy innovating the wrong part of the product, bankruptcy court is in your near future. Seehttp://bit.ly/yW1PhR


      Solyndra: Lessons for solar, everyone else

      It's too easy to point to Solyndra's collapse and denounce solar energy altogether. However, it's important to understand that Solyndra represents only tiny fraction of a massive solar industry, and that its failing in no way represents the health of the entire industry as a whole. Today I'll discus...
      43 minutes ago · Like · 

    • Chuck Oates While the U.S. Congress, looking to the past, subsidizes oil companies, China very aggressively seizes the future, dropping prices of silicon solar panels by an order of magnitude. Chinese methods may be raising complaints of unfair trade practices, they're working quite nicely. Seehttp://onforb.es/AoQXMz


      BTW, the typical coal-fired electric generating plant in Oklahoma is a 500 megawatt (= 0.5 gigawatt) facility. Total Chinese solar installations amounted to 2 or 3 gigawatts in 2011, but they're expected to half-again or double in 2012. Yearly doubling doesn't take long to overwhelm almost anything you can name. 

      U.S. energy dinosaurs look out! The extinction asteroid is about to hit again, but this time it's made of Chinese solar panels instead of space rock.

      Chinese Manufacturers Cement Their Hold On Global Solar Market - Forbes


      Suntech's solar panels at the Sydney Theater Co. in Australia. Image credit: Sue Murray Chinese solar panel makers increased their dominance in the world market in 2011 -- which was marked by crashing solar panel prices and bankruptcies of companies such as Solyndra -- and accounted for six of ...
      20 minutes ago · Like · 

    • But what will we use to power our transportation system? Practical electric cars and other vehicles are just in their infancy. As an interim measure, natural gas powered vehicles use most of the technology that already exists and is well-proven. Some states, Oklahoma chief among them, are powering their state and some corporate automobile fleets with compressed natural gas (CNG) and building the retail infrastructure that's required to deliver CNG to CNG-powered vehicles across the state. A CNG-powered vehicle's carbon footprint is about half that of gasoline-powered models. It isn't perfect, but it's progress.

      Until we can power our transportation system with electricity made from renewable fuels, we could run for a while on CNG and get OPEC out of our hip pockets. Much as I hate to agree with Boone Pickens on anything, he may be correct on this one: http://www.pickensplan.com/

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05 February 2012

2012-02-05, More Weird Weather--Maybe It'll Finally Dawn on the General Public What's Happening

Up to 50.5 inches (128 cm) of snow in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, with all-time February snowfall records broken in Denver? Daffodils six inches (15 cm) tall and preparing to bloom in my front yard on February 4th? Are thee kidding me? The wacky weather is getting even wackier. The half-inch (13 mm) of rain here in Norman yesterday was nice, though.

Pix from the Colorado snow storm:
Check out Denver Post readers photos of the Colorado Snow on Friday, February 3, 2012.
 ·  ·  · Yesterday at 8:21am near Norman