PG&E bankruptcy will have wide, unpredictable impact

PG&E stock price craters. Bloomberg

Potential liability from the Camp Fire is a primary reason for the coming PG&E bankruptcy. Should PG&E have turned off power to the Camp Fire area when the winds started to avoid potential power line fires? In retrospect, maybe yes. But it’s complicated. Turning off the power means first responders like fire, police, paramedics, and hospitals might not have power in their facilities. Water pumps might stop working, precisely when they are most needed. Some of these facilities might have backup power, others won’t. Microgrids would be a great idea. However, the problems with microgrids highlights the huge funding problem faced by PG&E. Upgrading the grid to make it resilient is expensive.

Protecting power lines is expensive

Removing hazardous trees in remote areas that threaten to power lines can cost $5,000 ea. Undergrounding existing regular lines costs $4-5 million a mile. High voltage underground lines can cost upwards of $8 million a mile. PG&E has 125,000 miles of lines…

Credit ratings

Renewable energy plants in California often have multi-year contracts to sell all their power to one utility. So far, two plants that sell exclusively to PG&E have had their bond rating downgraded over uncertainty about whether they will be paid on time. PG&E has been downgraded too. Maybe you have mutual fund retirement accounts that hold PG&E and California renewable energy stocks. If so, they are getting hammered.

The PG&E bankruptcy will have major impacts on the grid in California, plans for renewable energy, stock and bond prices, and more.

Microgrids. Resilient local electricity. Good in emergencies too!

Microgrid overview. Green Energy Corp.

Microgrids are small, community-focused electricity generating facilities. In normal times, they generate power for their area using solar, wind, gas turbines, or batteries. Excess power is sold into the grid. However, during a general power outage, they go into islanded mode, providing power immediately, with no human intervention needed. As the video shows, this can happen in as little as 15 seconds.

Stable power during blackouts is crucial for first responders during emergencies. Residential users will appreciate it too. An example: You live in an area with 200 homes on a microgrid and the power goes out. The microgrid responds in seconds and you have electricity again. Depending on the power source, you could have power for hours, maybe days.

From Green Energy Corp.

A microgrid is a small-scale power production and delivery system comprising distributed generation facilities co-located with the loads they serve. Microgrids encompass multiple types of energy generation resources, storage systems, and efficiency programs, allowing for optimal utilization of renewable energy resources and facilitating advanced energy management, demand response, and load reduction solutions. Microgrids are able to be connected to the utility grid to purchase power from the grid or sell power back to the grid as conditions dictate. Microgrids can be designed to operate “islanded” when the utility grid is not available.

Microgrids can be expensive to install and determining who controls what can be problematic. However, they provide resiliency, which can be priceless.

Estimates for the total cost of lost service in the U.S. fall between $30 billion and $150 billion, but estimating the value of microgrid reliability and resilience is much harder to predict, the Boston researchers found. “How does one apply a value to keeping a patient on life support? Or, how does one apply value to maintaining years of cancer research? In these situations, the value of electricity service is essentially priceless,” they wrote.

FBI counterintelligence investigation into Trump after Comey fired

FBI counterintelligence is investigating Trump to determine if he is working for Russia and against US interests. Let that sink in. The president may be an agent of a foreign power. This is not just a counterintelligence investigation. It’s also a criminal investigation because of potential obstruction of justice by Trump in firing Comey.

IMO, Trump is so venal and amoral that he just goes with whoever offers him the most money, whether that is money laundered through his casinos and faux businesses or by promising to finance the biggliest ever Trump Tower in Moscow. Added bonus for tossing in underage girls. He has no loyalty to anything or anyone, so if that Putin promises him money and women for selling out America, that’s just fine with Donald.

Those of us in Never Trump Twitter have known this for months. So, why is this going mainstream news now? I came of political age during Watergate. There was a point, after months of seemingly little change, when everything starting flipping. Nixon allies gave up on him. We are at that point now with Trump. Because it is clear just how guilty and corrupt Trump is. Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. He’s done. It will be ugly when he falls, but fall he will.

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

Manafort redaction fail shows collusion. How could Trump not know?

Manfort shares data with GRU. Russian hacking. Cambridge Analytica. tweet

Paul Manafort was Trump’s 2016 campaign manager. He and Trump have known each other for decades. Manafort’s lawyers, through massive stupidity, exposed crucial information in a recent filing because they didn’t redact it properly. The exposed data shows that Manafort shared internal Trump 2016 campaign data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian military intelligence officer. And of course we all know there is no such thing as a former intelligence agent. We also know there’s no way Donald Trump didn’t have knowledge of this. This is so many felonies…

That the political operative-turned-convicted felon who helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016 is some sort of clandestine fixer for Moscow now seems certain. And he may be even worse than that. The possibility that Paul Manafort wound up at the heart of the Trump campaign not despite his deep Kremlin connections, rather because of them, is a matter that needs explanation urgently, and may hold the key to the entire mystery about the president’s secret relationship with Russia.

CNN: “Manafort intended for polling data to go to 2 Ukrainian oligarchs.” He was paid $2.4 million for the data. The oligarchs tried to hide where the money came from via transfers through dicey banks, which is totally not suspicious at all. Manafort tried to hide the money too, failed at doing so, and that’s one reason he’s in jail now and may die in prison. He claims to be in bad health, with gout, confined to a wheelchair. I will have a sad for him. Ok, all done.

Now why do you suppose two oligarchs wanted private polling data? Perhaps to pass it along so it could be weaponized and used by Russia to help elect Trump? Especially when combined with stolen DNC and Facebook data.

Landfill gas can be a pollutant or renewable energy

Landfill gas to energy. Advanced Disposal.
Advanced Disposal diagram

Landfill gas is created by organic matter decomposing in landfills. It’s nasty stuff, almost entirely methane and carbon dioxide. Methane is particular is a potent greenhouse gas. When released, it traps heat in the atmosphere. In the past, landfills would either do nothing or flare the gas. However, if captured, landfill gas becomes renewable energy and an income stream. A problem then becomes an asset.

The gas can generate electricity, be used as thermal energy in heating, directly substitute for another gas in industrial applications, or be refined to create natural gas.

In a related process, gases produced by animal manure can also be turned into usable gas. Karachi plans to run 200 buses on bio-methane produced by water buffalo poop.

The project will prevent about 3,200 tonnes of cow manure entering the ocean daily by converting it into energy and fertiliser at a biogas plant, and will save more than 50,000 gallons of fresh water now used to wash that waste into the bay, Aslam said.

Advanced Disposal explains how they use landfill gas.

Landfill gas collection systems are how modern landfills deal with gases created within the waste.

Here’s how the process to convert this valuable resource to energy works: as landfill cells are filled with waste, methane gas, a byproduct of any decomposing material, is collected from within the waste through a system of vertical wells and pipelines and directed to a separate on-site treatment facility. The treated landfill gas is either pumped off site to a manufacturer near the landfill to supplement or replace their natural gas usage or is used to generate electricity right at the landfill that is delivered to the electrical grid.

Another benefit of the destruction or utilization of this landfill gas is that it prevents the raw methane in the gas from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.