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A proposal announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Monday could increase by 70-fold the existing installed capacity of solar electricity-generating plants in the United States. The plants would be located on federal land and eventually provide a capacity of 100,000 megawatts, enough to provide the electricity needs of 15 million to 25 million residences. Today, slightly more than a gigawatt (1000 megawatts) of photovoltaic-generated electricity and 600 megawatts of concentrated solar power operations are tied to the nation’s electrical grid. Off-grid PV installations are calculated at 50 megawatts.

Companies have previously announced they will build nearly 6000 megawatts of CSP plants in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

There are currently about 29,000 megawatts of installed wind power capacity in the United States. Ten years ago there were 2500 megawatts.

"With coordinated environmental studies, good land-use planning and zoning and priority processing, we can accelerate responsible solar energy production that will help build a clean-energy economy for the 21st century," Salazar said.

Many solar projects have been blocked at the local level, putting at risk the Obama administration's plan to double renewable energy production by 2012. For example, in March, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote to Salazar vowing to fight against the construction of a solar project on 600,000 acres of federal land between the Mojave desert preserve and the Joshua Tree National Park. The area lies in a state-designated renewable zone where companies have applied to establish hundreds of solar projects.

Because the solar projects are large-scale commercial activities, often requiring exclusive use of federal lands and official land use changes, the environmental assessments and public comment processes are lengthy exercises, Interior Department officials said.

Balancing the need for renewable energy with other environmental concerns, such as land conservation and wildlife preservation, has long been a concern of major green advocacy groups. Some land that is best suited for solar output is also some of the nation’s most fragile desert habitat.

Helen O’Shea, a policy associate for one of those groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, said:

"This announcement signals the Department of the Interior’s commitment to proactively finding appropriate places for solar energy development on public lands based on stakeholder input and taking into account environmental impacts. Looking for least conflict areas for solar development is the right place to start and can put America on the right path to addressing the climate crisis while protecting our natural heritage and creating much needed jobs."

Interior’s press release stated:

Under one initiative, 24 tracts of Bureau of Land Management-administered land located in six western states, known as Solar Energy Study Areas, would be fully evaluated for their environmental and resource suitability for large-scale solar energy production. The objective is to provide landscape-scale planning and zoning for solar projects on BLM lands in the West, allowing a more efficient process for permitting and siting responsible solar development.
Those areas selected would be available for projects capable of producing 10 or more megawatts of electricity for distribution to customers through the transmission grid system. Companies that propose projects on that scale in areas already approved for this type of development would be eligible for priority processing. The BLM may also decide to use alternative competitive or non-competitive procedures in processing new solar applications for these areas.

The evaluations will be completed in 2010.

= = =

The rescue begins below and continues in the jump. (If you haven’t already, consider joining DK GreenRoots, the new Google Group for environmentally active bloggers.)

= = =

A Siegel took a poke at Dana Milbank's "Goracle" ... six months later ...: "Six months ago, today, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank went to town on Al Gore in With Al due respect, we're doomed with 18 references to the ‘Goracle,’ a right-wing term dismissive of Gore, trying to undermine his strong, science-backed discussion of Global Warming with ridicule suggesting that his substantive work somehow relates to the Delphi Oracle.  At the time, too heavily caught up in The Will Affair, taking on yet another Washington Post absurdity on climate issues seemed too tiresome. Well, Plutonium Page dismissed Milbank as applying for an Inhofe internship and I put that dissection aside. Well, Dana has stepped into --it with his attacks on HuffPost's Nico Pitney and that reminded me of Dana's Goracle ..."

Magnifico wrote a DK GreenRoots-tagged diary on Climate War: the United States and China: "Americans are now seeing a changing climate across the country, according to Thomas Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a principal author of  ‘The United States Global Change Research Report.’ The question now is not if climate change will happen, but how much of a change do we want to allow and how quickly will those changes come?  ‘Our destiny is really in our hands,’ Karl explained. "The size of those impacts is significantly smaller with appropriate controls.’"

The Overnight News Digest: "Clean coal's dirty secret" Edition is posted. Included is the story
Study Advises Chinese Government To Change Fuel In Millions Of Households

Schedule for DK GreenRoots
Wednesday, July 1
All listed times are PDT.
5am: A Siegel with energy meta
noon:  FishOutofWater
3 pm:  Asinus Asinum Fricat on bottled water
5 pm: it really is that important visits Shenandoah NP
7 pm:  Mark H
Wednesday Series:
Bookflurries: Bookchat by cfk; Siglines! by Wee Mama

Full week schedule here.  Plus there'll be music on environmental themes in jotter's High Impact Diaries every morning, along with schedule updates.  Additional diaries will be filled in from amongst the following: faithfull, The Cunctator, and Turkana.  And we’ll make more slots as needed - anyone who has an environmentally-related story they want to post this week, we’ll create a place on the schedule for you.

In a DK GreenRoots tagged piece, Jeff Biggers wrote that Obama Says Mountain Crimes Can Be Regulated: "Only two days after the US Supreme Court reprimanded the West Virginia Supreme Court for making conflict of interest decisions from its Big Coal-financed justices, and one day after the WV Supreme Court upheld a decision to build a toxic coal silo on the playground of an elementary school, which sits under a 2.8 billion gallon toxic coal sludge pond that is being jeopardized by mountaintop removal blasting, the Obama administration has decided to ‘regulate’ the crime of mountaintop removal. In an extraordinary move to disregard a 38-year rap sheet of crimes of pollution, harassment and forced removal of some of our nation's oldest and most historic communities, and the destruction of over 500 mountains and 1.2 million acres of deciduous hardwood forests in our nation's carbon sink of Appalachia, the Obama administration will announce today that it has decided to ‘regulate’ mountaintop removal mining operations, not abolish them."

SCOTUS denies Chevron Amazon spill appeal wrote bob zimway: "In a surprise decision (I mean, considering the makeup of this group) the US Supreme Court has denied Chevron Corporation's appeal that would shift damage claims of up to 27 billion USD to Ecuador's state owned oil company in the historic oil spill trial in the Amazon Basin. This decison was probably the last legal hope that the desperate oil giant had left."

LaughingPlanet’s DK GreenRoots-tagged diary labeled Ecotourism: Not an oxymoron: "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints. But this phrase was coined before the term carbon footprint. Today one's print is much larger than one's foot. With all of the fossil fuel needed to get somewhere, are we now unable to resolve our desire to see the world up close with our desire to tread lightly on the Earth? The question becomes, Is it worth it to travel? Here I will attempt to answer the question with an unequivocal YES! contingent upon doing things with the impact of our choices in mind."

terryhallinancientific American Does Geothermal EarthquakesEngineers are even worse at political science than geology.  No need at all to wonder if geothermal power will be blamed for earthquakes, drought, famine, disease.  It will be. The threat of removal of heat from magmas is like worrying that spooning water into a teacup will dry up the oceans.
On the other hand the draining of aquifers or introduction of water may well be the proverbial straw that did in the camel.

Got a Grip wrote a DK GreenRoots-tagged diary about learning from one’s predecessors called Walking Gently in the Footsteps of My Ancestors: "The lessons I learned in caring for the earth came from my paternal grandparents and my father and his youngest brother, who were partners in farming until the bitter end.  Each had their own lessons to teach me.  I paid attention and learned well. My grandmother was a gardening master.  No chemicals ever touched her garden.  Companion planting and herbaceous borders for beneficial insects and birds was her answer to pests, and weeds were pulled or hoed away.  As an infant I flailed my arms in delight from the confines of a basket lined with blankets as she planted potatoes, or peeked over the edge of a makeshift sling tied around her neck as she harvested the tender young shoots of asparagus.  As I learned to crawl she'd plop me down in between the rows as she pulled weeds or harvested.  I'd crawl along behind her, sampling a green tomato here or a dirt clod there.  I cut my teeth on the raw green beans she handed me."

Kaid at NRDC cited T. Caine on Village Green: Tax Sprawl, Subsidize Infill: "Sprawling development is notoriously inefficient; each an oasis of occupancy connected by thin veins of pavement that make car travel a considerable portion of daily life . . . Greenfield development can mean funding for new power lines, new sewers and new roads for a relatively small group of new citizens. It expands the coverage areas for maintenance crews, emergency vehicles and mail delivery that can drastically offset the incremental rise in tax revenue . . . [Yet] there is no need for greenfield building. We have loads of existing space in close proximity to transportation and infrastructure . . ."

Purplepeople was glad that the EPA Grants California Emission Waiver!

indycam assembled some clips about the proposal for Solar on Fed Land: "The president has promised to promote the use of federal land for the production of alternative energy and has set a goal of obtaining 10 percent of the nation's electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Salazar vowed to have 13 ‘commercial-scale’ solar projects under construction by the end of 2010."

In a DK GreenRoots-tagged diary, RLMiller discussed DK Greenroots: Glacier Park 1, Strip Mines 0: "On the American side, it's Glacier National Park: a huge wilderness of peaks, alpine lakes, grizzly bears, mountain goats, and sublime hiking.  On the Canadian side, it's the smaller and more developed Waterton Lakes National Park.  Together it's known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Crown Jewel of the Rockies. A river runs through it; specifically, the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western border of the American park.  Upstream (Canadian side), the Cline Mining Corporation wanted to strip mine a nearby mountain.  The mine tailings (which, according to the United States Supreme Court, can no longer be considered ‘pollution’) would be pushed into the Flathead River.  Canadian strip mining is the same technique described in Devilstower's excellent FP story on Appalachia; however, the same Bush-era rocket scientists who determined that enhanced interrogation sounded better than torture also decided that mountaintop mining sounds less threatening than strip mining."

In yet another DK GreenRoots-tagged diary, Texas Revolutionary told us about The Left Wing: Owl Farm: "The property is pretty small, about 3 acres, but it's plenty big enough to turn into the perfect bird habitat. When we got it, it was overrun with Juniper, which was choking everything else out except the old oaks. A little brush clearing (actually it's more fun than it sounds. I now understand why the ex-preznit loved it so much) fixed that, and now the flora is starting to balance out a bit. The birding there is already good. We're lucky enough to get both Blue Jays and Scrub Jays, lots of Painted Buntings, and even common birds like Titmice and Cardinals are brighter out there."

In her DK GreenRoots-tagged diary, maggiejean looked at the prospects for Coast Redwoods and Climate Change: "Allow me to begin by introducing you to Professor Todd Dawson who is a plant physiologist and ecologist and who has spent nearly two decades climbing and studying the world’s tallest trees. With help from Save the Redwoods, he’s currently focused on the biggest challenge of his career: helping coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and their inland relatives, giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), weather the storm of climate change."

Elise added the DK GreenRoots tag to Top Comment with The Local Green Economic Stimulus Edition: "The State of Iowa set aside money in the budget for energy efficient home construction in flood damaged areas. The goal is to help low and moderate income families replace homes that were lost in last year's flood. Flood damage victims weren't the only ones who could apply for the program though, it was also open to first time home-buyers. The Iowa Department of Economic Development is responsible for giving out the grant money for this program. Several cities qualify for the grant funding. Iowa City had applications due on 6/15 and they had $2.2 million to approve loans for 40 families. An added benefit: Homeowners who live in the home for five years or more will not need to repay the loan, but if they move before the five-year term has expired, they will be required to pay back a prorated amount. You can see design plans for the homes they'll be building here."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:34 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  With GE investing in America as well as GM in (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, wader, Pluto, irishwitch, KenBee, JML9999

    Michigan, I do hope these are the types of announcements which keep on rolling out.
    General Motors and General Electric announce manufacturing investments in Michigan

    GE's Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center will include a GE research and development facility that will be part of GE's Global Research network. It will house scientists and engineers who will develop next generation manufacturing technologies for GE's leading renewable energy, aircraft engine, gas turbine and other high-technology products. Such work will include development of composites, machining, inspection, casting and coating technologies for GE's Aviation and Energy businesses.The center is expected to grow to more than 1,100 GE employees over the next few years.


    This announcement from Salazar is incredibly exciting news, although I knew of 55GW of proposals through the BLM, 100GW is a different ball game.

    "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

    by Unenergy on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:39:52 PM PDT

    •  GE is One of Our Largest (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard, irishwitch, KenBee, Unenergy, annieli insurers and news media owners, as well. Monopoly behaviors are very interesting. Sometimes their quest for wealth and power works for the people. Sometimes it works against them.

      •  IMO, I think Immelt is one of the good guys. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, koNko

        I've worked on a number of Jobs with GE turbines and it has been my experience that their US people are very professional.
        So I do this think technology centre will be something pretty good. Another Schenectady maybe?
        GE Research
        Damn, I wish I was a Michiganer (is that how you'd say it) as I'd be applying to work somewhere like this in a heartbeat.

        "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

        by Unenergy on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:09:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm Pretty Agnostic about Our Corporate... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...overlords, but I have to agree that GE has a positive shine (despite the fact that they are the 2nd largest lobby trying to prevent health care reform).

          I'm actually kinda thrilled about the solar project in the southwest. NOT that I would want to work on it. Hot!

          •  solar power (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Why do power generating plants have to always be so gigantic?

            Why not design and market a solar power plant designed to provide power for one home, one building, or one business?

            There are many small solar power plants in rural areas along highways where a solar panel is used to power a traffic sign.  In space, solar power panels are used to power man-made satellites.

            Why can't a solar power system be designed to provide the power needed for one home?  

            •  size of projects (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Generally, PV projects don't have to be large, which is one of the great things about solar. (Concentrated solar collectors, on the other hand, are industrial sized solutions that require large projects.) We should be doing both large and small roll-outs. Clinton tried to get us to do it the small scale way with his million-roof initiative, but the key thing missing then . . .and still missing, is a good consistent system for financing such systems. The average homeowner cannot easily come up with the up-front costs to install the system, even though they make financial sense over the 30 year lifespan of the equipment.

              Here in Florida there is a debate going on about which way to go in financing solar in the state. Promote large-scale solar facilities, which all of the large energy players in the state naturally want, or finance small scale distributed systems, which most of the environmental advocacy groups want. Unfortunately the trend is toward the large, thanks to our Republican dominated state house, when the answer should be . . .BOTH.

              -- I share no man's opinions; I have my own. -Ivan Turgenev -6.75 -3.79

              by tergenev on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 05:37:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Briefly, it is about economies of scale, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              however there are externalities such as the recent article in the NYTimes on the geothermal project in Northern California that has an effect on the increased production of small earthquakes.

              The larger issue is whether energy policy at all governmental levels can be coordinated and even diverted to renewable alternatives. The emerging crisis requires more than a faith in market solutions.

              Pendelton State University is a college located in Rutherford, Ohio.

              by annieli on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 05:38:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  GE is interested only in making money. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, annieli

        If they're going to Michigan, it's primarily to exploit what they see as cheaper U.S. labor.  They're probably also asking the state to finance some of what they do.  I'd be very surprised if they haven't asked for money from someone already.  These guys would do business with the devil if they thought it would increase their profits.  Instead of protecting U.S. workers, what we've seen are successful attempts to reduce U.S. workers to the level of what happens in China.  What's happening to this country is very sad, and there doesn't seem to be anyone who's interested in changing it.  Just take a look at what has happened to our financial sector and ask yourself why nobody has been held accountable and why no significant changes are being made.

  •  Storage (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rktect, wader, irishwitch, KenBee, Unenergy

    At the Right is fond of screaming the sun doesn't come out at night. Off grid home solutions include deep cycle storage batteries to handle the nighttime and "Cloudy day" issue. Any mention of Storage in the Salazar initiative?

    Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

    by JML9999 on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:40:53 PM PDT

    •  No, but Spain is in the process of ... (9+ / 0-)

      ...building two 50-megawatt CSP operations that will include thermal energy storage. One method is molten salt.

      I think Salazar is leaving storage up to the companies that build these operations, as he should.

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:44:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  R Buckminster Fuller's idea (6+ / 0-)

      many decades ago - link the Western and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth, and the Northern and Southern hemishperes with a power grid, shunt the energy back and forth as needed.

      Could provide power to many more humans with much less production. Night and day, summer and winter. In many nations there is excess production during times of the year which is not efficiently stored for later use.

      (He made this proposal long before any kind of technology existed to transmit energy over such large distances, but, by mapping the accelerating growth of transmission capability, he projected that it would be possible within a relatively short time).

      Better local storage is one option, smart grids are another (the modest version of this is the Obama administration proposal to link our disconnected power grids across the US to more efficiently distribute produced power to places it is needed).

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:31:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If one builds only to offset peak generation and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      installs small scale and locally at the point of use, one doesn't need sophisticated storage. It may not be as efficient, but I believe the economy of scale can be shown to work for small scale PV solar.

      Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

      by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:39:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The proposal as reported is misleading (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, JML9999, Unenergy, annieli

      A proposal announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Monday could increase by 70-fold the existing installed capacity of solar electricity-generating plants in the United States. The plants would be located on federal land and eventually provide a capacity of 100,000 megawatts

      What Salazar is doing is making land available not building plants or addressing storage concerns. The proposed solar electricity generating plants in western states are on the order of 100 megawatts, maybe 200 not 100,000 megawatts.

      Meanwhile the Chinese are already engaged in building 500 megawatt plants and the Germans are ahead of them.

      What might be better than locating all of them on public lands which tend to be a bit north of the border in the west, would be to buy or take as public land some of the desert land in west Texas that has been abused by the oil companies.

      About a third of west Texas, the area known as the King ranch owned by Exxon Mobile is hot sunny arid desert with one of the lowest percapita incomes in the nation. Putting up solar arrays in West Texas would support Houston, El Pason, Tucson, Larado; relieve some of the economic pressure that is causing the drug wars there.

      The only drawback is that you might need to find some way to make them bullet proof so the locals don't go out and shoot them up for kicks.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 03:53:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  coalition of interests who want to break (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neighbor2, annieli, SweetLittleOkie
        the environmental review process throughout the west.
          I've said before I'll support ruining forever fragile desert lands after the flat roofs of all the Walmarts and big box stores and warehouses and their parking lots have solar power installations. Reasonable return to the owners, convenient to service, millions of acres available, and cool the stores/building and reduce the massive electricity demands for A/C.
          This is going to be a green gun to the head of wild land preservation...oh noes, Nimbys. Mark my words, federal lands considered for preservation will be among the first to go, and the strife and division within the green ...wait, 'green' movement will be epic, celebrated, and planned by industrialists, corporatists,  and big business...who will be the biggest private players in these activities.

        I totally agree that degraded coal and oil lands should be the first to be inundated with solar and wind installations, including the highway systems right of way and the electrical grid corridors, where practical and safe obviously.

        In 2002, the USFS spent $36 million on its Tongass timber sales program, and rec'd back just $1.2 million from timber companies.

        by KenBee on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 04:08:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And don't forget railway right-of-way! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, SweetLittleOkie

          There are a lot of square miles that could be tapped for solar, if you lined all possible railway lines with solar collectors. Since the railways were given the land gratis, they should start paying back by giving the access free of charge.

  •  I'm lovin' this Eco-Week (11+ / 0-)

    This is a wonderful idea and I hope to see many more.  The DK Greenroots looks like it's off to a great start with 160 members so far.  

    Thank you, MB, for the rescue.

    In unrelated news, California continues hurtling off its cliff.

    Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:41:53 PM PDT

  •  read this, if only because (5+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed writing it so much.


    "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

    by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:44:42 PM PDT

    •  You missed tonight's deadline! n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, alizard, Unenergy, mieprowan

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:46:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  doesn't matter! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Pluto, Unenergy

        I love y'all anyway!

        "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

        by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:50:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  FWR (0+ / 0-)

        as in; "For Future Reference"

        When's the deadline?

        Not that I care, or anything. I have LOTS of better thing to do besides troll around Daily Kos (and that's in the original meaning of "troll," you children.

        I'm too old not to do this. Dang.

        Oh shit. I remember now. We're on Eastern time.

        Troll def diary coming up soon. Late night fun! I'm working on the assumption that people generally don't do this sort of thing; therefore it might provide a sort of variance.

        Correct me if I'm wrong.


        "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

        by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:58:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  okay, how about "forward reference?" (0+ / 0-)

          I just hate it when I screw up letter patterns.

          Actually, I just hate it when I screw up any patterns whatsoever. It's just enough to make one choke.

          We'll just skip the diary motif idea, and leave this as a comment. Fun, I thought! Definition of "troll:" to follow, in short.


          OK let's start with the American Heritage third edition. 1992. I love mine, even though its first pages tend to crinkle up when I fold up the monster.

          Okay. We start here with fishing. Fishing with a line from a boat. Fishing by trailing a baited line from behind a slowly moving boat. Meaning #1 is all about actual fishing and actual boats.

          Now we get to meaning number 2. Wow. "To patrol (an area) in search for someone or something." Check out the quote printed in my big tome here, just after that. I'll put it up here exactly as it is on my dictionary:

          "[Criminals] troll bus stations for young runaways" (Pete Axthelm).

          Already totally wow! for me.


          1. "To sing in succession the parts of (a round, for example.)
          1. "To roll around or revolve."

          Then we get back into fishing, and rambling; singing and fish.

          Wow. Words fail me.

          "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

          by mieprowan on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:27:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  8:30 p.m. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 02:14:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Highly Recommended (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maggiejean, mieprowan

      It's a lovely Diary.

      •  thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, Unenergy

        Sometimes I suspect that about 12% of why I keep coming back here is that about 85% of the time when I post diaries, I get a rush that's about 3% bigger than the last time.

        "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

        by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:01:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a Good Sign... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, mdmslle, LaughingPlanet, mieprowan

          Someday you'll be reduced to posting chart, cats, and cartoons like me, just to stay in the game.

          •  I do not post cats (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            though I have strong friendly feelings towards people who do post cats, always. As I do towards cats, which are animals; and animals are almost always fine; except for maybe some parasites.

            I'm already posting map images, but you will try to get me to think that posting images is wrong somehow over my cold dead body, as well.

            Posting map images, if accurate, is always right. Period.

            I have not yet descended to posting cartoons, except in posted links. I don't copy the images. I figure I should not do that unless I drew it myself.

            The xkcd guy does get me thinkin' that I could do that.

            Meanwhile...I'm sure I'll be happy to get horribly pissed off at people who stroll in here, from time to time. Nazi trolls come to mind, but we'll have no more of that discussion.

            Better to talk of sweet dreams of spring. It's always good to talk of sweet dreams of spring. That's one of the RULES OF BLOGGING.

            Make a note.

            "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

            by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:14:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  meip - have you been (0+ / 0-)

              shotgunning Mountain Dew?

              Your energy is popping out of my computer monitor!

              (And it's highly entertaining.. so I'm not telling you to stop!)

              "My greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome." -Barack Obama 10/16/08

              by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:42:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you don't wanna know (0+ / 0-)

                glad to be entertaining, though. I figure if I can (a) be entertaining, and (b) write accurately about stuff, I'm doing okay here :-)

                "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

                by mieprowan on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 08:30:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Well Done! (14+ / 0-)


    ► - "Fill in the ______"

    by Al Rodgers on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:45:45 PM PDT

  •  Suncatcher is really cool (6+ / 0-)

    But excessive eco-activism has stymied CSP badly in Socal and the permitting process is out of control.
    If you really believe in these renewable technologies
    as a way to combat GW, we'll have to make allowances
    for the speedy development of renewables that will need to cover dozens of square miles to equal the electrical energy of just one average coal plant.

    •  I've been following SES for several years (4+ / 0-)

      And I think their Suncatcher system is going to be one of several real renewable solutions that will be utilized for many decades to come.

      Note that there is VEGATATION growing between the units in the picture. A large installation of these units can both supply energy AND allow a significant natural ecosystem to occur, as can a large wind farm. The same cannot be said for a Mountain Top removal operation, or a Nuclear plant.

      Single Payer and WPA 2.0...NOW!!!

      by Egalitare on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  CSPs do use a lot of land ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, alizard, KenBee

      ...but not as much as hydropower, and no mountain tops need to be removed.

      CSP takes about 5-10 acres per megawatt. The average coal plant in the U.S. is 675 megawatts. So 11 square miles.

      For those 100,000 megawatts supplying at least 15 million residences, we're talking a maximum of 1562 square miles, about 4x the size of the city of Los Angeles.

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:52:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  However, (0+ / 0-)

      neighboring Nevada has a higher percentage of gov't-owned land than any other state (a whopping 84.5%), so that could provide a big opportunity for jobs in the High Desert.
      here's a map for y'alls:

      Who owns the west?- a map

      so ultimately, the foggier eastern states may have a disadvantage when it comes to solar, especially when so much power is lost transporting electricity on our current grid.

  •  They aren't very aesthetic to look at, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    where they are talking about putting them is the right place.  One for each home is an idea, if one supplies enough energy for one home, and acres of them for industry, nation-wide electric vehicle charger stations, etc.    

    Efectus nihil profundus sub pensus est

    by Riddlebaugh on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:58:38 PM PDT

  •  What I don't get (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, mataliandy, RANT, KenBee, annieli

    is why the law doesn't require new homes to have solar panels, along with better insulation and double-paned windows? Well, actually I KNOW the answer: power companies give lots of bucks to pols in  Congress and state legislatures and city councils and zoning boards to PREVENT that from happening.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:59:28 PM PDT

    •  Some people live under newspapers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But, yeah, I get your point.

      Physician heal thyself, then make laws for Appalachian.

    •  Actually, the new building codes do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, irishwitch, Egalitare

      require high efficiency windows and more insulation on new houses. Solar cells and solar hot water heating are really expensive with a long payback.
      It's all about money.

      Under the new energy law, the power companies will be encouraging consumers to implement energy efficiency.

      I agree that local zoning/governments is an absolute disaster and will fight to keep BAU.

      •  I live in Barrow Cty GA, right next to Gwinnett. (5+ / 0-)

        We've had a drought (a perfectly foreseeable one as experts warned of it for year) due to lack of zoning and huge 5,000 sq foot McMansions built ten feet away from the house next door. Result: VAST overbuilding and unplanned, unchecked growth. SOtuherners HATE zoning with a passion,. but the outlying coutnies seemt o  ahve learned from Gwinnett's bad example. We STILL have a drought, though.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:11:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's not true of numerous power ... (12+ / 0-)

      ...utilities these days. They often are not eager to have to build more power plants - especially toxic, difficult-to-site power plants - to provide extra power. So conservation is on their agenda (some of them anyway).

      As for your other concerns, when I worked at the Solar Energy Research Institute 30 years ago (it's now the National Renewable Energy Lab), one of the key issues in my division was dealing with municipal and county zoning and building codes in just the way you say. Which is why so many now DO include requirements for better insulation, double-paned windows and other energy-conserving techniques.

      There are complications, however. What happens if you have solar PVs on your roof and a neighbor's tree grows tall enough to shade them? Drafting laws to deal with such situations was also part of what we looked at then, and it's very difficult, as shown by the fact that most cities still don't have ordinances for dealing with such matters.  

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:26:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so glad the big solar stuff might happen! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, Pluto, Egalitare, Unenergy

    It seems so obvious, and I've wondered so many times why this isn't a straightforward major project.  I know there are environmental concerns, but the overwhelming concerns of global warming and national economic security I think trump many (but of course not all) desert ecosystem effects.  Big solar plus big wind plus big conservation can get us sorted!

    •  Where do you think it might stop? (0+ / 0-)

      Once we see how cheap and abundant this energy source is, I have a feeling what passes for our energy needs today will be dwarfed by what we consider our needs to be in a few decades. I think some strict controls will be needed to curb our energy appetites in the end. After all, look at how our use of obviously polluting and destructive energy sources has grown. The damage big "desert" solar projects do is less obvious.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 06:07:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i have being up late. i'm wide awake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and i dont have anything to do.

    let's see: south park....meh probably seen it already.

    bizarre foods with andrew zmmern (in appalachia?! oh boy...i'm scared to look)

    history channel which has devolved into a repository for alien, ghost, biblical tales and other random pseudo science programs. (this is history now?)


  •  Hmm Develop some desert habitat, or burn more Coal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kosta, Pluto, Unenergy
    I say we error on the side of prudence. That means we have to sacrifice of some desert habitat few Americans know or appreciate for a more livable planet in the future.

    Insurance, Oil, Banking, and Defense corporations all have a substantial equity positions in what's supposed to be our Congress.

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:10:00 PM PDT

    •  Isn't it interesting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That sacrificing habitat becomes acceptable when it's for the "greater good".  Well, the greater good that one supports.

      I don't mean to be snarky, but from an objective point of view it's amusing how people blissfully go on about putting a massive piece of infrastructure on habitat and handwave environmental concerns away for said habitat but scream bloody murder at the very idea someone might drill a natural gas well offshore.

      There are always tradeoffs.

    •  Few Americans know or appreciate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Unenergy

      Glib choice, but appreciation of the desert is possible. I grew up in China Lake at the northwest corner of the Mojave. One irony is that China Lake has preserved a pristine area of desert and arid mountains roughly the size of Connecticut even though it owes its creation to the Federal Government's easy-to-make assumption that the desert is empty -- a perfect place for testing things that fly, fall out of the sky and explode. Lefty, I assure you that anybody can realize the beauty, variety, richness and frailty of desert habitats in less than two decades.

      Obviously, converting solar energy to electricity makes sense for powering some systems, but why not put America's  "Drill Baby, Drill" ethic to work with ground-based heating and cooling. The bottom line is that the fossil-water table in China Lake can provide water at around 17-degrees-C, which, using exchangers, allows for efficient space heating in winter and cooling in summer. This is a much better starting point than the Swedes or Finns, who have to base their ground-heating on 10-degree-C bedrock water (and yet they have national programs to do this.) Electricity is reserved for special tasks, e.g. pumps and electronics. Given that the US is the world's third most populous country and on a per capita basis generates for times the impact of a Chinese, I believe it makes more sense to treat solar energy collection as part of a broader strategy that considers education, population pressures and energy efficiency, as well as the problems from coal-burning.

  •  It always strikes me as silly and lame... (8+ / 0-)

    ... that we don't use more solar power here in NM.

    We're BATHING in energy here!

    I need to look into that for our house, actually.

    Glenn Beck seems the very essence of a one-clown pie fight. His brain wears gigantic puffy shoes and comes with a bicycle horn. -- Hunter

    by Page van der Linden on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:10:02 PM PDT

    •  You use a lot of passive solar ... (11+ / 0-) New Mexico. That's what all that adobe is about.

      The folks at Acoma knew about passive solar. All the indigenous homes atop the mesita there once had their windows and doors facing southeast-to-southwest so they could absorb heat from the winter sun. When the Spanish came and built their church, they ignored this design. So, when you enter that church in the winter now you freeze. And in the summer, it's stifling.

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:19:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have Ailanthus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        here's a link. Yow, least wanted??

        The Tree that grows in Brooklyn.

        It's down here and invasive in SE NM. It sends off seeds and they root like crazy; this is one stalwart species.

        The west end of my place (about 1/4 acre, residential) has several of these trees that are about maybe 30 feet now? They did that in about six years from seedlings.

        I was always down on Ailanthus but now I am seeing that the biggest of those trees is starting to shade my west-facing windows, over the roof of the other, closer house (closer to the Ailanthus), to the extent that it's shading my windows on THIS house.

        Oh, hell. Here.

        Oh, wow. The Ailanthus just aren't there. I knew that the photos must have been taken several years ago, from the height of the other trees and the presence of the trash bin.!!! Damn, those things grow fast.

        We need shade down here. The tree that grew in Broooklyn is becoming welcome.

        "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." - Tallulah Bankhead

        by mieprowan on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:41:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  MB, i just sent you an email ... (0+ / 0-)

        hope your account is still the same ...

        "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

        by boatsie on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:45:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Green Diary Rescue Rocks! Dana Milbank sucks! (4+ / 0-)

    I can't believe that strip mining is still legal in the 21st century, it's pretty obviously horseshit all the way around.

  •  One thing I wondered (0+ / 0-)

    Or an idea I had, I'm sure I'm not the only one to think of it, but wouldn't it be a pretty good idea to cover those huge wind turbines with solar panels? Seems like it would be very possible, if it could be done effectively of course. You could have both, a wind and solar grid combined.

    Quick to judge, quick to anger Slow to understand Ignorance and prejudice and fear Walk hand in hand

    by jetdog on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:37:11 PM PDT

  •  I too am enjoying these green (0+ / 0-)

    diaries, but I wonder if anyone will ever have the nerve to address the elephant in the room.  What are we to do with our exploding population?  Humans are like a red tide on the earth.

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:37:31 PM PDT

    •  I think Mother Nature already has a plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for that .. and it's not going to be pretty. It will affect people in the 3rd world a lot worse than us, to be sure [it already is].

      The planet has an infection, called humankind and the antibody the planet is using is called Global Climate Change. It's already here, and it's going to get a hell of a lot worse, especially for those who can least afford to survive the changes.

      Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

      by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:54:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why fuck up the desert? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kosta, shpilk, borkitekt, KenBee

    The most beautiful places on our planet. FULL of life...anything BUT barren. A fragile desolate balance and beauty. Solitude and inspiration. Good for the soul. about putting solar on every rooftop in America, and filling our CITIES and SUBURBS with it? Less transmission lines...millions of rooftop acres going to waste...all ready to go. People will be happier...animals will be happier...deserts will be saved for the enjoyment of future generations.

    •  Yes! Develop a more efficient amorphous (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, mataliandy, borkitekt, KenBee

      solar coating for metal roofs. Then use them to replace shingle roofs all across America.  America gets green energy, Americans get 50-year roofs.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:53:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The cost of transporting the energy, and the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      borkitekt, KenBee

      losses on the transmission lines are not trivial things. PV solar in the desert is fine for the people who live nearby. But this 'dream' like T Boone Pickens dream of West Texas wind is all a pipe dream.

      Transmission lines and upgrading the grid are huge costs and serious national security risks, too.

      A good solid solar flare, computer malfunction or "terra attack" could knock out the national grid and bring our whole economy to a screeching halt.

      I think huge PV solar and wind farms are a huge mistake, and are intended to make companies money more than solve solutions.

      Distributed energy is a big part of the answer.

      Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

      by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:19:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't produce enough power for ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      borkitekt, KenBee

      ...multiple-residence apartment buildings in dense cities, for one thing. Rooftop solar is making some inroads, but retrofitting all those roofs will be more than massively expensive.

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 02:08:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  loss of land (0+ / 0-)

        free land is a factor in addition to the sun.

         This smells like big business to me..I said it above.

        In 2002, the USFS spent $36 million on its Tongass timber sales program, and rec'd back just $1.2 million from timber companies.

        by KenBee on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 04:16:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Way off topic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Pluto, Situational Lefty

    But this is also an open thread, so I thought I'd pimp the health care diary I just posted, before it slides off into the abyss:

    On topic:

    If I hear back from the extension office at UVM, I MAY have an environmental diary later this week. It looks like all the white pines around here are dying. Very, very rapidly.

    Unlike the red pines (whose bark fell off last spring, starting around the same time - second week of June), the needles aren't tenaciously clinging to the dying trees, masking their deaths.

    We have whole trees turning yellow and losing all their needles - in the course of a week. Every single white pine I've looked at since I noticed the first one seems to be affected. I've driven on roads that are and are not salted, looked at old trees, young trees, trees on hills and on river banks.  It's scary. That means both the red and white pines will have been decimated in one 12 month period - except decimated is an inapt description for the wholesale loss of species.

    Get your DemocracyFest tickets, today!

    by mataliandy on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:41:15 PM PDT

    •  What part of the State? (0+ / 0-)

      We've had one of the wettest JunesI can ever remember here in NH, and it's doing some strange stuff to the growing cycles.

      Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

      by shpilk on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:10:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've seen it from Montpelier, (0+ / 0-)

        East to the CT River, and South to W. Lebanon. I haven't driven around much during the day time in the last couple of weeks, so I don't know how far it extends.

        WCAX says we had 5.25" of rain in June, which is almost a full 2" more than normal, but only slightly more than last year's 5.21".

        Get your DemocracyFest tickets, today!

        by mataliandy on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 08:36:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I live in Mexico (8+ / 0-)

    costs about 60 bucks to buy cooking fuel for a family which lasts maybe a few weeks and this is expensive for the poor-

    Solar ovens, solar hot water passive systems are good.

    And seriously, why are Americans addicted to AC?

    I was shocked when one of my great nephews in the Pacific Northwest was upset because the home he was purchasing didn't have AC !!!

    I mean who needs AC in Oregon, they can survive a few hot days

    •  LOL re: AC addiction. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mariachi mama, Egalitare

      When my daughter says "Dad, I'm hot", my wife says "we'll turn on the AC."  Whereas I say "Of course you're hot; it's summer!" Seriously, I don't understand why so many people are bothered by a little heat.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:51:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't stand the people who run A/C all (4+ / 0-)

      night long -- and they surround me!  My neighbors all have a/c bills of $500/month.  One neighbor, returning home from vacation, asked me to go into her house 5 hours before her return to turn on the a/c just so that she could walk into a cool house.  Arrggh!

      Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

      by RLMiller on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:55:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The minute my wife leaves for work (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mariachi mama, RLMiller

        my AC shuts off, and I really noticed a difference after a period when she had several late nights last month. Literally a $200 difference, and all it cost me was a few extra glasses of Arnold Palmers Under Par (that's the standard Arnold Palmer with - in my case - a couple of shots of Bourbon. My cousin prefers Vodka in his)

        Single Payer and WPA 2.0...NOW!!!

        by Egalitare on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:23:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, RLMiller

        They surround you?

        Isn't it patriotic to use less energy?

        I think so.

        •  Sometimes my neighbors really bug me! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, mariachi mama

          3 years ago I started keeping chickens, which would wander on to the front yard.  A couple of neighbors hated them -- "they carry bird flu!"  They sicced a dog on my girls.  Now that chickens are officially cutting-edge trendy, I don't get quite so much flak.  I'm seriously considering solar panels, if only I had $10K (or so) lying around, and tearing up my front lawn and installing drought resistant natives come October, which will brand me as some sort of crazy hippiechick.

          Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

          by RLMiller on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:50:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I barely run my AC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, KenBee, RLMiller

        And I have these big windows that face west in Southern California, so even on a moderately warm 80 degree day, I still get blasted for 3 hours by direct sunlight. It's brutal. But I still don't run my AC. I do crack once in awhile, when it's like 100 degrees and it's just a furnace in my home, but that's rare. My neighbors, however, will run it 24/7 during the summer, then bitch about their energy bills.

    •  AC was America's greatest 20th century technology (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you look at the demographic shift to the south and the west that occurred in the last century, you realize that AC is what made it possible. When America was the world's largest oil exporter and biggest energy consumer, the sense of this was hardly questioned. Notably, Henry Miller's first big work after he returned to the US, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945), immediately grasped our perverse arrogance toward climate. Artists really are the antennae of the race apparently, because his insight has taken nearly two-thirds of a century to become the emerging wisdom. America's demographic misallocation driven by exuberant carbon combustion now stands to bite us back -- it could well be the second shoe to drop in the current "housing" crisis.    

    •  I can't deal with the heat. It makes me sick. (0+ / 0-)

      And I allergic to summers in Minnesota, so I run the air conditioner all summer. But, I compensate by barely running the heat in the winter.

  •  I can see where the desert is a natural place to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Unenergy, Hopeful Skeptic

    install solar, but people don't LIVE THERE. So that requires transporting the energy made, which is a huge fixed cost as well as an ongoing maintenance cost.

    Why not produce the energy right where it is being used? Produce power where the power is used.
    No wires to run.

    Of course, there are baseline load arguments and economy of scale to consider. If all homes and businesses installed a way to reduce their baseline load demand by let's say 25-30%, producing the energy right in situ, where it's used we could stop building new power plants.

    The electronics to integrate the power are cheap, cheaper than installing 500 billion dollar upgrades to the damn electrical distribution net.

    Loan the consumers the money up front to install PV, wind, geothermal - and set up the repayment to roughly be equivalent to the cost of the energy it is displacing.

    This will immediately generate jobs. Building the PV panels, wind generators, geothermal pumps - jobs in places like Detroit, putting people to work building this stuff where there's already manufacturing facilities, machinists, assemblers, people who know how to run production plants.

    The government gets the money back as people repay the loans, people get employed, we reduce CO2, we reduce the need to burn coal, oil, gas.

    Why isn't this happening?

    Imagine if 2 trillion had been given to consumers instead of the banks, to go buy alternative energy generation equipment.

    It can STILL be done - the banks are paying back the TARP. Let's put the money to REAL use this time.

    Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

    by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:15:48 PM PDT

    •  This is very sensible. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, KenBee, Hopeful Skeptic

      Instead of paying a monthly utility bill for just the power, pay a monthly low interest loan bill which was for the cost of your solar installation LESS any surplus power you did not use PLUS any power you needed when your system wasn't generating.

      This will
      a) reduce the need to spend the money on grid upgrades.
      b) encourage people to monitor their energy use so they generate more power than they use
      c) increase the value of a home

      and if the home owners own the asset say after 15 years, provide close to free electricity until the panels wear out allowing them to save enough to replace them.

      Any drawbacks apart from gaining a little bit of independence from the corporate overlords as Pluto put it and them probably not liking this?

      "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

      by Unenergy on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:28:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even if it only displaces peak load (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, Unenergy

        {PV solar generating power to run A/C fans during the peak heat of the day, for instance}, installation of power generation right at the point use can prevent brownouts, overloads, shutdowns.

        I just threw out 25-30% of the load as a number. It could be anything - the key would be to reduce peak demand first, and work towards the baseline. We could stop the need to install so much in the way of new power plants, screwing with upgrading the Grid.

        But the problem is, the large corporations won't stand to make money. They'll fight tooth and nail.

        Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

        by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:33:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They will if they manufacture the new equipment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and if they are financing the installation.

          And I do think that once people start generating their own electricity they will reduce their own personal use by purchasing more efficient appliances. So there is avenue for revenue there also.

          In fact I would say the money that goes into the pockets of the coal and oil barons does a whole lot less to improve the living conditions for Americans in terms of jobs, than this particular idea.

          Further if grid demand is down from a domestic POV, could any excess capacity be used in industrial applications such as desalination, hydrogen or ammonia production? Net benefits there that I can see.

          "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

          by Unenergy on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:41:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure. I could see excess production being used (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            at home or business being used for any of these - to split water and store the hydrogen for burning later, not so efficient, but it would be totally off the grid.

            A national grid is needed, certainly but too much emphasis is placed upon centralized production. It makes the system extremely vulnerable to variations and maintenance issues.

            Rather than build behemoths of power generation and transport the energy across huge distances, a combination of distributed as well as grid carried energy makes the most sense. But distributed generation is getting very little traction.

            Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

            by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:51:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In my mind, revegetating desolate desert (0+ / 0-)

              areas, bringing agriculture to the desert if you like via desalination plants operated 8-12 hours a day and fed from vast solar arrays.
              Or utilising daytime sunshine generated electricity to pump enough water up into a dam that night load is covered by pumped storage.
              Splitting water into hydrogen and O2 via electrolysis with the Hydrogen for use in fuel cells, the O2 possibly correcting the vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico affected by Eutrophication.
              Or as Stranded Wind keeps discussing manufacturing Ammonia for use in fertilizer/agriculture or as a fuel.
              Urban agriculture the norm in vast skyscraper greenhouses throughout our cities.
              Instead of taking out more from the planet than we can ever replace, start putting back more than we can ever use. Replace the savings for future generations to use.
              Improving on those areas which need it and actively searching for ways to do more.
              Even aquaculture on a much larger scale around the base of large offshore wind arrays is a concept which is better than knowing that in 50 years 90% of the large fish in the sea are gone because of us. That factory ships are now harvesting the bottom of the food chain in the krill they eat in the Antartic.
              Forest where desert once had been.
              Life where only a barren landscape stood.
              Marine reserves and new breeding grounds where only trawling, netting, harpooning and long-line fishing, dolphin graveyards currently exist.

              And then I realize that the GOP (and the Liberals in Australia) party exists simply to ensure our continued dependence on fossil fuels and destruction of habitat and I snap back to reality and frown.

              "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

              by Unenergy on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:08:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Good ideas, but we need both methods. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 02:03:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Off peak use of energy should be rewarded. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Unenergy

    If you've got to use energy and choose to use it off-peak and pay a lower rate it should be encouraged. In some States, it's the law that lower rates apply for off peak power use. That should be adopted nationally. It's peak energy use that's got to be addressed first, without it we are going to see serious disruptions again during heat waves and cold snaps.

    Extreme Republican Evangelical Elitism is destroying America

    by shpilk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:46:28 PM PDT

  •  Hear that great big whooshing sound? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's the state of California falling into the ocean.  They worked until 11:58 pm but couldn't get the Republicans to budge.  IOUs start going out Thursday.  We are doomed.

    Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:03:14 AM PDT

  •  Here's a neat idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Unenergy

    .I have been thinking about how NASA or some other group could use a mirrored balloon as a giant space Reflector Telescope with a 300(or bigger)foot primary mirror so I was amazed when I read about this use of Balloon mirrors and Solar Cells also if they could find a way to use the heat that will build up inside the balloon that would be a big plus.I found this clip at TreeHugger but I first read about this in a science magazine this week but I can't remember which one.

  •  Greenroots Diary tonight (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Just wanted to let you know I'll be writing about Responsible Shrimp Buying tonight.

  •  Interior Dept.'s Solar Energy Investment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you Ken Salazar and Barack Obama for doing what Big Oil deceptively killed in 1973 in the aftermath of the OPEC oil embargo.  Big oil had its chance, got federal research and development money for solar energy r & d in 1973, and laughed all the way to the bank after killing it.  Their record profits should be taxed draconianlly to fund solar powerplants, windfarms, electric cars and maglev trains.  The only carbon footprint should be on the rear ends of Big Oil and Big Coal.

  •  Anyone heard from Winerev??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Maybe he's still too drunk to write the capstone diary of the Franken/Coleman race?

    I demand a Winerev diary on Franken's victory!!!

    Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! Winerev!!! inerev!!! Winerev!!!

  •  Nuclear Energy 93,000,000 Miles Away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patriot spear, RLMiller

    For you nuclear power advocates, I'm with you as long as the reactor is 93,000,000 miles away because there is a spent fuel/waste disposal problem.  There is also a human resource problem--bigots and idiots hiring other bigots and idiots.  (TMI is the proof!)

  •  Bloomberg: Solar Industry in Bad Shape (0+ / 0-)

    Bloomberg has had a couple reports on the radio about the current state of the solar industry in the US.  They said the solar collection manufacturing industry is operating at only about 60 percent, they have overly optimitic expectations for their sales, and they are having trouble getting financing for future shipments.  

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 06:10:54 AM PDT

  •  What's a good net resource for 'Off Grid' Energy? (0+ / 0-)

    Something that walks you through the process and helps you determine your options.


  •  Decentralization (0+ / 0-)

    While there may be special cases where central solar power stations make sense (like around Las Vegas) transmission losses usually cancel out any economies of scale.
    The government's role should be to encourage a decentralized system by encouraging a truly 21st century power grid and building a competitive photovoltaic market.
    Look how prices for microchips plummeted under Moore's Law and apply it to photovoltaics.
    Right now lawyers are fighting over a new high-tension transmission line in my region of Montana (allegedly to feed wind energy to California consumers). An underground superconducting corridor using existing rights of way would eliminate nearly all local opposition.
    Call it a national security project, as Eisenhower did when he built the interstate highway system. A decentralized power system is immune from terrorist or military attack.

  •  Excellent Article on the Micogrid Alternative (0+ / 0-)

    From Fast Company Magazine:

    Why the Microgrid Could Be the Answer to Our Energy Crisis

    "The choice is clear," says Harvey. "If you want renewables, you want 'em clean and you want 'em fast, and the best way to do that is [rooftops]. But the utilities have been so adamant about thwarting these programs. They are the ones that are standing in our way."

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - Martin Luther King

    by Do Something on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 07:25:50 AM PDT

    •  Energy? (0+ / 0-)

      Well the way things are going we will soon be in the stone age again. Green energy? It cost more to make, is an ecological disaster waiting to happen, had your mercury yet? Its will be very very expensive, so all products will probably double or triple in cost. So with the economy headed down the crapper very few will be able to afford the basics of life. I am seeing it happening already. I call it trickle down DISSASTER.

      •  Yeah, but less stuff.. (0+ / 0-)

        .. would help the environment, too. It doesn't take our level of consumption to be happy, really.

        Oh, I had my materialist dreams back in the day, but after I got rid of most of my stuff it became apparent what had been the boss.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 04:57:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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