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emissions

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Climate Resilience – Flood, Fire, Ice

By Energy Rant No Comments
A reader last week asked, “What kind of home can withstand fire, hurricanes, floods, heat domes, and polar vortex?” This is a great question. I love the challenge, so here we go[1]. Flooding and Landslides Think ahead and ask yourself, “what if” before or even after buying a property. For example, my first home was built to suit my engineering brain. It is wonderful for heating with a wood stove and is very practical; it is not huge and can be expanded with nice amenities for a family. It is built on the side of a bluff in the great...
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electricity storage - climate change

Innovative Electricity Storage Crushes Batteries; Death Sentence for Duck

By Energy Rant One Comment
I’m not in the electricity storage business, but I can recognize lousy ideas when I see them. Grid-scale battery storage is a bad idea. It will never be anything more than a frequency and voltage regulation technology, although I have to say these are critical functions that batteries can provide. Innovation comes out of left field while everyone else is trying to make a pig fly. And when I see it, I think, “Wow, why did I not think of that?” The Roots of Sound Storage Thermal power generation, particularly from coal, and to a lesser extent, nuclear, have enormous...
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grid modernization

Grid Modernization Risk and Protest

By Energy Rant No Comments
God, it’s great to be back writing again. On that note, here is a quote, “There’s an old saying: Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” I’ve been under a rock all my life because I had never heard that one. It’s the opening line to this NIMBYism and grid modernization article. This subject, ironically, is one of the very first ones I wrote about over ten years ago in Renewable NIMBY. According to the article coopted by Energy Central and written by ersi (what it stands for is anyone’s guess), and references the DOE,...
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climate

Little People Take on the Climate Industrial Complex

By Energy Rant No Comments
My undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum at South Dakota State University included requirements for six credits of humanities and nine credits of social sciences. What is this? Who needs this stuff? Walk on the Slippery Rocks I actually enjoyed most of these courses, one of which was philosophy. What a flaky class. There was no work. There were no exams. The goofball professor spewed philosophy and moderated discussions of paradoxes and whatnot. One of those discussions was whether South Dakota should be America’s garbage dump, for princely fees of course. Essentially, should we trade self-induced exploitation for money so we can...
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Prestige, Not Pain – Efficiency at Home

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
I call your attention to the brilliant marvel of engineering shown in the image below. This model was developed before most of you were born. It is the little diesel engine that could – get 60 mpg, in my second car – a 1984 Ford Escort Diesel. Most people didn’t even know they existed, but as a college sophomore, when I got tired of my crappy, rattling, vibrating, chintzy Mustang, I snapped up this baby for a deep discount from the Billion auto empire in Sioux Falls, SD. There was no air conditioning or power anything, including no power steering....
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Decarbonizing the Bourgeoisie Through the Eye of a Needle

By Energy Rant No Comments
Climate change mitigation policies are firmly intertwined in hot political tribalism like school choice, abortion, taxes, and the minimum wage. I can think of few topics that are supported by both ends of the spectrum, although infrastructure spending and staying out of objectiveless wars seem to be two such things. We know things are at peak hostility when DC can’t even agree on infrastructure spending because somebody may get credit for it or allow a win for the other. I like perspectives from outside our industry from sources that don’t wear their agenda on their sleeves. This post was triggered...
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Groupthink and the Yes Man

By Energy Rant One Comment
When this post launches, I will be sitting in a critical thinking course as part of AESP’s National Conference. As luck would have it, I also stumbled onto a couple interesting articles while eating my curds and whey last week. The first covers echo chambers from Inc. Magazine, and the second was referenced in that article: How to Defeat Groupthink, from Fortune Magazine. The Fortune article points out instances such as investment clubs, where robust debate leads to better results. In other words, avoiding echo chambers and groupthink is good and results in greater productivity. In case you haven’t noticed,...
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GHG and NG

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
E Source reported last week that green house gas (GHG) emissions are falling fast in this country, as shown in the chart nearby.  Emissions tanked with the economy in 2009, and as I recall, the summer of 2009 was also cool, resulting in lower electricity sales.  Even so, when adjusted for economic output, GHGs are falling fast. The reason for this is rather obvious if one follows the electricity market.  It is much easier to get a natural gas power plant approved for construction as compared to a coal-fired plant.  I have not done the analysis myself, but it is reported...
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Monty and Me

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability One Comment
Back in August I wrote about our “non-energy policy” and that our federal administrations since Nixon have vowed to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, especially from hostile regions - and exactly the opposite has occurred.  We are better positioned to control our energy destiny right now, for decades, more so than any time in my life. Technology for tapping conventional fossil fuels has vastly outstripped and expanded the gap between inexpensive fossil fuel supply and alternative energy sources.  Unfortunately or fortunately, this is reality.  Two major energy sources being tapped of course include natural gas from shale...
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Blackouts for a Rounding Error

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Utility Stuff One Comment
This week features an overload of potential topics but let’s start with this one: Can we put some adults in charge in certain seats of power in Washington.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the EPA is running wild when it comes to mandating emissions requirements from power plants.  Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA and her cronies make policy in a vacuum sometimes with no regard to implications, at all. People can govern with the carrot – providing incentives to do the right thing; sugar – handouts to politically favored, typically dead end technologies or businesses (see tidbits below); and...
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