NEWSLETTERS

(This sub-page under Education is where 4CP places it’s current Newsletters. Archived Newsletters can be found in the Post-”Archived Newsletters”

APRIL :

Methane Leaks from Fracking May be Huge!

This study from Dr Howarth at Cornell will cause a huge storm!  But the criticism so far is that the Prof relies on weak data. Ok – industry must produce better data. If you would like a copy of this Report’ Email: Billhaaf@verizon.net

The conclusion is that the carbon footprint from natural gas obtained by hydro -fracking is much bigger than that from conventional wells and even worse than coal on a 20 yr time frame and just as bad on a 100 yr global warming calculation d- due to large leaks.

Some issues that  need better data and  should be debated openly:

A. The amount of leaks & emissions from various sources are Mostly based on EPA estimates. This challenge is good; Industry needs to get a lot more data and share it;  and then constantly reduce.          a. It would appear that the Gas drilling industry does not have much in the way of data so will argue that their voluntary leak reduction program Gas Star is working.         However  not all companies participate. And without hard data- who knows..

B. What is needed is a third party life cycle assessment following ISO stds and using real data provided by industry. The LCA should provide a CO2 equivalent per million BTUs.

C  Industry must implement an ongoing aggressive leak & emissions reductions program that is verified by third party auditors.  100% of drillers must comply or DEP should not allow them to drill.

Wind POWER :

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)  that production streamlining and efficiency improvements mean wind can compete evenly with cheap natural gas.      As a result, wind power generators say they can now offer utilities long-term purchase power agreements (PPAs) at the same price as natural gas-fired power plants.

AWEA figures show that the average wind PPAs are now being priced at about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, the same price for energy procurements from a combined cycle natural gas plant. The group says wind is actually about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity.

Bird Kills: In Pa. average birds deaths per year were 3.9 per turbine from May 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010. This is well within the U.S. average of 6 birds per turbine per year. Compared to other human impacts on birds, the figure is more than reasonable. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf)   House cats kill an estimated one billion birds each year across the country; collisions with buildings account for 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths; and automobiles kill another 60-80 million birds while power lines kill hundreds of thousands more every year.

Bat impacts still remain a concern and more research is needed to better understand current bat populations in Pennsylvania and how to mitigate impacts at wind sites.

Google Invests in (Another!) Wind Farm:

Google’s investments in clean power are now rivaling that of stand alone clean energy investors. The search engine giant said it has invested $100 million in the world’s largest wind farm, the 845 MW Shepherds Flat project under construction in Oregon. With this investment, Google has put more than $350 million into clean power.

The investment in the Shepherds Flat project follows on a $168 million investment announced last week into a solar thermal project being built by startup BrightSource Energy in California’s Mojave Desert, as well as a planned $38.8 million investment into 169.5 MW worth of wind projects developed by NextEra Energy Resources in North Dakota, and a €3.5 million ($5 million USD) investment in a solar photovoltaic farm in B Germany. In addition to its investments, Google’s subsidiary Google Energy — which can buy and sell electricity on the wholesale markets — plans to buy 114 MW of wind power from an Iowa wind farm owned by NextEra Energy resources.

Google says it’s interested in backing the world’s largest wind farm partly because the project will use next-gen wind tech, permanent magnet generators, which can improve the efficiency of turbines, and increase the reliability of the grid connection, and which aren’t readily used in currently installed large utility wind farms. The Shepherds Flat will use GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines.

One of the main incentives for Google is financial returns.

GE to Build Nation’s Largest Solar Power Plant

General Electric Co. announced Thursday that it would spend $600 million to build the nation’s biggest solar panel factory. It would build the same type of so-called thin film solar panels manufactured by First Solar Inc., the biggest producer of solar panels in the world.

GE also announced Thursday that testing by a government laboratory showed that its panels set an efficiency record for this type of thin film panel.

 

Record drought hits Texas;  Congressional delegation votes to deny climate change

All of the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas  to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding that greenhouse gas pollution threatens the health and welfare of Americans .  The vote came immediately after Texas experienced its driest March on record, and as nearly 98 percent of the state is experiencing drought conditions. This includes 60 percent that is experiencing “severe” drought and 5 percent experiencing “exceptional” drought, the most extreme category.   Record fires are burning in the state.  After wildfires in late February burned over 88,000 acres and destroyed 58 homes in Western Texas, Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney said, “With the drought pattern Texas has had, fire season now is almost running 12 months out of the year. I mean that’s not normal.”    See US  State Temperature and Precipitation Maps: March 2011 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/maps.php?year=2011&month

 

Wind erosion to climate-induced vegetation changes on the Colorado Plateau

1.    aUS Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, Canyonlands Research Station, 2290 South West Resource Boulevard, Moab, UT 84532; and

“Projected increases in aridity throughout the southwestern United States due to anthropogenic climate change will likely cause reductions in perennial vegetation cover, which leaves soil surfaces exposed to erosion.”   (Hmm- Dust bowl to return? )

MISC NEAT STUFF:

  • Aquamarine Power  (wave energy) www.aquamarinepower.com.  The  site has lots of  information on our their design & actual trials.  They see 60 GW global potential.  If real; that is about one thousand nuclear plants if each is 1000  MWatt.  Oregon is the USA choice.
    • Bloom Energy, the supplier of Bloom Box fuel cells to companies including Google, eBay, Staples, FedEx and Coca-Cola, has said that it will quadruple the size of its Silicon Valley factory. Bloom Boxes cost $700,000 to $800,000 and provide 100 kW of energy while taking up an area the size of a parking space.
    • Boeing and South Carolina Electric & Gas today announced an energy partnership that will enable Boeing South Carolina to operate as a 100 percent renewable energy site. (2.6 MegaWatt)New Bulbs:
    • GE Lighting’s latest customer-inspired light bulb—a hybrid halogen-CFL contained in an incandescent-shaped glass bulb—hits the target for homeowners who love the energy efficiency but want  immediate brightness.
      • The halogen element comes on instantly and turns off once the CFL comes to full brightness, thus preserving the energy efficiency of the bulb.
  • Philips Lighting is launching a range of incandescent light bulbs that comply with impending energy-efficiency regulations.  The EcoVantage range has the same look, shape and feel as common household bulbs.  

Creeping into spring:

Temperatures and rainfall can cause normal shifting of bloom dates for native plants in the D.C. metro area, but the shift for some species has changed significantly over the past four decades.   See great table showing change in spring arrival: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/plants-earlier-bloom-times-hurting-some-creatures/2011/04/08/AF42He4C_story.html

One of the most effective things we can do is to call our Elected representatives: . You don’t need to know the bill name or be an expert ; – just say  your opinion.   You can be sure the Flat earth people call frequently.

A staff member will answer the phone. It’s their job to take calls from constituents, so don’t be shy.

To make the most impact, make it personal. EG:  I am concerned about climate change;    Please follow the Science ;   We need to take action…

Senator Robert Casey: (202) 224-6324

Senator Pat Toomey: (202) 224-4254

These calls really have an impact !

Finally:  We did Not make these Up !

  1. Tennessee legislators  voted by an overwhelming 70-23 margin in favor of a bill to teach the “controversy” about scientific subjects “including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Rep. Frank Nicely (R) argued that the “critical thinker” Albert Einstein would have wanted public schools to teach creationism alongside the science of biological evolution. ( Frank provided no references to why Einstein would reject science)

II.          At a congressional hearing to delay critical EPA toxic pollution standards; Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) claimed that reducing emissions of toxic mercury, sulfur dioxide and soot would not bring health benefits. Though conceding he is “not a medical doctor,” Barton offered the “hypothesis” that EPA estimates of the benefits of its proposed air toxics rule are “pulled out of the thin air” because there is no “medical negative” to the pollution.  ( Medical negative means? )

  1. The Federal House of Representatives rejected an amendment    that would have put them on record backing the scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause.     Lawmakers voted 184-240 against Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) amendment  to a GOP-led bill that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.

    The failed amendment stated: “Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate changes is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” (Repeal of Gravity is next on the agenda).

  • Finally – we had an emergency spill at our house: A solar panel blew out and sunlight leaked out everywhere. Crews are still trying to contain it now, but large amounts of sunlight have already been released and will probably get into the water supply.