…and people still think solar’s not worth it?
The first quarter of 2014 was another big one for the U.S. solar industry, with 74 percent of all new electric generating capacity across the country coming from solar power. The 1,330 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed last quarter bring the total in the U.S. up to 14.8 gigawatts of installed capacity — enough to power three million homes, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
In addition to being the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power, a method of large-scale solar generation that uses a unique ‘salt battery’ to allow the solar plant to keep producing power even when the sun goes down, it was also the first time in the history of SEIA’s reports that residential solar installations surpassed commercial in the same time period. 232 MW of residential PV were installed in the first quarter, compared to 225 MW of commercial solar.(Think Progress)
Of course, power utilities aren’t exactly enthralled about it…just look at the attempts across the country to force solar-power users to pay outrageous fees in return for going solar; while solar power may not be the right choice for everyone, its’ certainly worth the investment, both in terms of lower electrical prices and in a better climate for all of us.
Given America’s energy needs at present, this is good news…
The U.S. Army announced plans on Monday to begin construction on the Department of Defense’s largest solar array on a military installation. Groundbreaking for the 20-megawatt project will take place on April 25, with commercial operations slated to begin late this year. It will provide about a quarter of the annual electricity use for Fort Huachuca in southeast Arizona.
“The project establishes a new path for an innovative partnering opportunity among the U.S. Army, other federal agencies, private industry and the utility provider,” said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability. “I applaud the significant efforts and teamwork to bring this project to fruition — and set the example for other large scale renewable energy opportunities.”
The project is being installed under a purchase power agreement in which the solar installer, in this case Tucson Electric Power, pays for installation, operation, and maintenance and then pays down costs and generates revenue through sales of electricity. The project is an example of public-private industry collaboration in which no taxpayer dollars will be spent. The installation, design, engineering and construction of the project will be overseen by E.ON, a multinational investor-owned energy supplier.(Think Progress)
From an economic standpoint, this kind of plan makes sense: it is a private-public partnership with no taxpayer funds at stake…in addition, from a national security standpoint, it makes sense in that no fossil fuels will have to either be used to build said project or be used to supply energy needs for Ft. Huachuca; even if power supplies elsewhere were disrupted, the base would continue to have a reasonable power supply system. As one analyst put it:
“The military’s clean energy installation initiatives are gathering momentum, enhancing base energy security,” Phyllis Cuttino, who directs Pew’s project on national security, energy, and climate, said when the study was released in January. “These improvements are possible even as the Pentagon’s budget is shrinking because the armed services are harnessing private-sector expertise and resources. This is a win-win-win proposition: The military gets better energy infrastructure, taxpayer dollars are saved, and the clean energy industry is finding new market opportunities.”(Think Progress)
…a win-win-win proposition indeed…
Here’s a couple things I believe in this world….I believe:
(1)that climate change is real and that it is happening
(2)that we need to wean ourselves off of high-carbon fossil-based fuels(oil & coal) within a reasonable amt. of time
(3)that we need to harness as many different sources of energy as possible(geothermal, solar, wind, hydroelectric, biofuels and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas)
(4)that nuclear energy should be one of those sources of energy as mentioned in #3
Any questions? Consider this an open thread…
Most years, the South is the region that gets cooked in August heat and humidity…however, as this Think Progress Climate article points out, its’ been the Midwest that’s gotten cooked over the past month, with the following consequences:
- School closures in Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado & Nebraska
- Flash droughts across the Midwest
- Spikes in grain prices
- Adverse factory working conditions
Still think climate change isn’t real? If conditions continue as they are, events such as this may be become commonplace.
Sometimes, you really can’t make up the stupid that comes from the mouths of Republicans…case in point, OK Rep. Jim Bridenstein:
Just as extreme weather season kicks off, freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) demanded that President Obama apologize to Oklahoma for allocating funding to climate change research. Bridenstine, a climate denier who serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, plans to introduce a bill that defunds climate change research.
“Even climate change alarmists admit the number of hurricanes hitting the U.S. and the number of tornado touchdowns have been on a slow decline for over 100 years,” Bridenstine said on the House floor Tuesday, according to Raw Story. “But here is what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm Gulf air, and we also know that this President spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the President’s apology and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.”(Think Progress)
And people still wonder why I left that lions’ den of idiots, dolts and
morans morons…this would be another example. FWIW, I’d say how I really feel about this congressman’s idiotic words but the WordPress censors would have a field day afterwards…
Sometimes the stupid in the Republican Party(and in conservatism, for that matter) can reach pandemic, Walking Dead levels…case in point: this gem of a statement by a Washington state representative. Quoting AmericaBlog:
The infamous Republican war on science continues. Washington state representative Ed Orcutt (a Republican) wants to tax people who ride bikes because of the wear and tear bicycles generate on roads and, incredibly, because of the greenhouse gases cyclists produce when they exhale.
Orcutt argues that bike riding is not green, and is actually harmful to the environment, because of the CO2 that your body exhales.
If that’s the case, why doesn’t every Republican just hold their damned breath instead? That would cut down on pollution; it would also raise the collective IQ of the United States by, oh..about thirty points or so. But it gets worse…
Here’s what Orcutt wrote to a local bike shop owner inquiring about the tax(quoting from Orcutt’s email): Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclist has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.
To borrow one of Bill Maher’s favorite lines: New Rule – Until Republicans can pass a basic science curriculum, they should not be allowed anywhere near the reins of power inasofar science policy is concerned.
Trust me, I had to do a doubletake when I read the Think Progress headline concerning Fox major-domo Rupert Murdoch and his tweets opposing the long-proposed Keystone XL pipeline(the TP headline read, “Rupert Murdoch Tweets Opposition To Keystone XL: It Brings ‘Lots of Heavy, Dirty Oil Across Country”)…
Background: over the weekend, there was a Forward on Climate rally just steps from the Washington Monument which saw over 35,000 people participate, calling on President Obama to take immediate steps on various climate & environmental issues, including opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. As TP points out, in a series of tweets sent out late last week, Murdoch questioned whether the pipeline is worth the risk….
—Is Keystone Pipeline really good idea? Bringing lots of heavy, dirty oil across country, when fracked , cheaper, cleaner energy available(15 Feb. 2013, 11:13pm)
—Keystone Pipeline not needed for energy independence. Many opinions, let’s discuss. And let’s stop wasting money on ridiculous windmills.(11:17 PM – 15 Feb 13)
Like I said at the beginning of the post, I had to do a doubletake or two when I read what Murdoch said but he does raise an interesting point, albeit a very misrepresented and skewed point, as evidenced by his crack towards renewable energies such as wind in the second tweet above(and by his support for fracking in the first tweet above). Put simply, if we fully exploit the Canadian tar sands that would be shipped via. KXL, it would be a very bad, bad day for the world’s climate, period.
For what it’s worth and as someone who believes that humankind can adapt and overcome obstacles put in front of us with the assistance of technological advances, I honestly don’t believe exploiting the possible billions of barrels that could be gleaned from the Albertan tar sands is worth the long-term environmental and climatic risk…and that’s something I never thought I’d ever say in my lifetime but in this case, the benefits of the oil from the KXL pipeline just are not worth the risk.