Blackfriar’s Bridge in London, part of a railway station, now has 4,400 solar PV panels and generates 50% of power needed for the station. It is the largest solar bridge in the world. Construction was a bit tricky, as the panels were installed atop an aging Victorian era bridge while trains ran underneath. Solar PV, clearly, can work anywhere, not just in baking deserts.
During the renovations, the railway station was also fitted with other energy saving measures such as a rain harvesting system and sun pipes that will provide natural lighting throughout the building.
US hypocrisy over climate change is nauseating. Our government bleats sanctimoniously about stopping global warming then kills calls for funding poor nations in the IPPC report. Poor nations are the biggest victims of climate change yet the least responsible. The World Bank estimates helping poor nations deal with global warming will require $100 billion a year. The IPPC report mention this in all versions except the final version.
The need for $100 billion in crisis funds to aid poor nations was removed from the 48-page Summary, the only document that will be read outside the scientific community.
Thus, we have gasbags like Secretary of State John Kerry babbling about how we must stop climate change while he and his ultra-wealthy ilk work secretly to make sure it never happens. As Secretary of State it is inconceivable Kerry wasn’t responsible for removing the IPPC statement.
Your three take-aways from this material should be:
1. There will never be international cooperation, because the rich will never pay a dime to offset anyone’s cost to deal with this crisis.
2. Any nation can embark on a Zero Carbon energy economy the minute it wants to.
3. The rich will have to be moved aside to solve the climate crisis. And by that I mean forcefully.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is facing internal dissension over whether their upcoming update, the first in seven years, is too alarmist. Some IPCC scientists say the challenges of climate change will be manageable, not apocalyptic, and want the report to reflect that. It’s important to note these criticisms are coming from scientists in IPCC and not from climate change deniers.
“The message in the first draft was that through adaptation and clever development these were manageable risks, but it did require we get our act together,” he told BBC News.
A next-gen heat pump powered by warmer water two meters down in the Thames is fed through filters and heat exchangers, raising its temperatures from 50 F to 113F, suitable for hot water. This is a first. Until now heat pumps were not able to generate hot water. The pumps used a small amount of solar-power electricity, making it essentially carbon-neutral.
This is at a really early stage, but it is showing what is possible. You never have to buy any gas – there are upfront costs but relatively low running costs.”
The government plans to map the entire UK looking for other suitable locations. Deeper water in the Thames stays at 45-50 F year round, making the heat pump feasible.
Wind speeds at 1,000 feet are 5-8x stronger than on the ground. Altaeros will test their Buoyant Airborne Turbine for 18 months in Fairbanks AK at 1,000 feet. If successful, BAT could provide power for disaster relief, remote areas, military operations, and more. It produces power at 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, much more than land turbines. However, it provides power when other technologies can’t and is an alternative to noisy, polluting diesel generators.
The Alaska project will deploy the BAT at a height of 1,000 feet above ground, a height that will break the world record for the highest wind turbine in the world. Altaeros has designed the BAT to generate consistent, low cost energy for the remote power and microgrid market, including remote and island communities; oil & gas, mining, agriculture, and telecommunication firms; disaster relief organizations; and military bases. The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground.
A widely circulated headline from Policymic says a NASA study concludes we are doomed. The headline is misleading. The report was a NASA-funded study written by Safa Motesharrei, an applied mathematician at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. I bet you never heard of them or him. There’s a good reason for that. SESYNC, a small think tank, has been in existence for just 18 months. Motesharrei, according to SESYNC, is a graduate research assistant. And I can not find his article on their own website.
Look at the screenshot. Motesharrei is reading a book by es-NASA head James Hansen who, most would agree, is an extreme believer in the we’re-all-doomed theory of climate change. How cozy is that?
The real problem here is such gloomy predictions are counterproductive. If you want to rally people to join your cause, you must give them hope. If instead, you say civilization will end soon, they will probably just give up.
The recently opened, ginormous Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California near Primm NV is a hazard, says airplane pilots. Ivanpah uses huge mirrors to reflect heat from the sun to a central tower to power turbines. The glare is so pronounced that pilots say it was hugely distracting, even blinding.
“Daily, during the late morning and early afternoon hours we get complaints from pilots of aircraft flying from the northeast to the southwest about the brightness of this solar farm,” reported an air traffic controller at a FAA center that monitors the airspace in southern California. A pilot of a commercial jetliner told him the light reflected from the Ivanpah mirrors “was nearly blinding.”
In addition, birds have been killed by having their feathers burned off.
Of 34 birds reported dead or injured at Ivanpah in September, 15 had melted feathers. Dozens of other bird carcasses, not singed but with critical injuries, have been found in recent months at two solar projects about to go online on public land between Joshua Tree National Park and Blythe, Calif.,
Regulatory authorities have been curiously slow in reporting this, much less taking action.
Deep pocket elitists (hi there, Kennedy Clan!) posing as very concerned environmentalists have managed to throw yet another roadblock against Cape Wind. They of course deeply care about renewable energy, so as long as they never have to view an icky wind turbine miles offshore. What would this do to property values? Oh the horror.
The United States still has no offshore turbines. That’s right, none. Cape Wind, between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard has been delayed, blocked, and sabotaged for ten years, primarily by wealthy, arrogant landowners who simply can not allow such foolishness to built anywhere their exalted personages might see it.
The court remanded the case to FWS to independently evaluate a shutdown of turbines during migratory bird season. FWS has acknowledged this as the most effective measure to reduce bird mortality; however, Cape Wind has resisted the measure as one that would destroy the economic feasibility of its proposed project, the project opponents said.
I’m not sure what is more pathetic – that the US, despite its bleating about renewable energy, still has no offshore wind or the rich elitists who try to block it while pretending to be liberal environmentalists. Cape Wind will no doubt prevail again, no thanks to the overly-entitled.
The Salton Sea is shrinking, contaminated by agricultural run-off, reeks in the baking summer, and desperately needs help. Geothermal energy could be the answer. The area has a potential 2.9 GW of geothermal energy ready to be harnessed. That’s more power than all but very few large coal and nuclear plants generate. Developing geothermal energy in the Salton Sea area would boost the economy and provide badly needed funds to clean up the sea.
“Not only is there more geothermal generating capacity in the Imperial Valley than anywhere else in the U.S., but geothermal energy can be produced with minimal impact on landscape and habitat,” says the Imperial Irrigation District.
New transmission lines would need to be built. Getting siting permits and battling NIMBYs can take years. (The area is so desolate there might hopefully only be a few NIMBYs.) The alternative, letting the sea die, is far worse. If it completely dries then clouds of toxic dust will blow everywhere. Also, it is currently a crucial migratory route for birds.
Liquid Air Energy Storage is similar to Compressed Air Energy Storage. Both use excess energy from a power plant to store air which can then be released later to power turbines. Highview Power Storage in the UK is building a commercial-scale LAES facility as a demonstration it can be done.
“We’re treating this (demonstration plant) as a shop window on the technology,” he says. “Utility companies are pretty conservative and they want to see this bit of kit working at a scale that they can buy one.”
Energy storage at grid scale, whether by batteries, LAES, CAES, or pumped hydro is essential as we transition to renewable energy.