April 18, 2015
It means something when the President of the US makes this kind of statement.
Below, my video about the US/China climate agreement.
April 18, 2015
April 18, 2015
Going into a presidential run, Jeb Bush is making noises indicating some newfound concern about climate change. Like his brother.
And his Father.
Billionaire activist Tom Steyer’s climate change advocacy group offered unexpected praise on Friday to Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush for saying the United States should work with the world to reduce carbon emissions.
NextGen Climate, which launched a “war room” earlier this month to target presidential candidates that deny the existence of climate change, said Bush stood out from fellow Republican hopefuls for acknowledging the issue but called on him to offer ideas for tacking the problem.
“In the coming weeks, we urge Jeb Bush to outline his specific plan to reduce carbon emissions,” the group said in a statement.
In a speech in New Hampshire Friday, Bush said he was concerned that the climate was changing but said the United States should not act unilaterally.
“We need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
Bush said however that he was more concerned about the United States maintaining its economic competitiveness, and highlighted the role that natural gas should play to ensure carbon cuts while maintaining its competitive edge.
“We need to restore our competitive posture, which I think our energy revolution will allow us to do,” he said.
April 17, 2015
This has a stillness in motion, a meditative quality that is mesmerizing.
A timelapse of Earth in 4K resolution, as imaged by the geostationary Elektro-L weather satellite, from May 15th to May 19th, 2011. Elektro-L is located ~40,000 km above the Indian ocean, and it orbits at a speed that causes it to remain over the same spot as the Earth rotates. The satellite creates a 121 megapixel image (11136×11136 pixels) every 30 minutes with visible and infrared light wavelengths. The images were edited to adjust levels and change the infrared channel from orange to green to show vegetation more naturally. The images were resized by 50%, misalignments between frames were manually corrected, and image artifacts that occurred when the camera was facing towards the sun were partially corrected. The images were interpolated by a factor of 20 to create a smooth animation. The animation was rendered in the Youtube 4K UHD resolution of 3840×2160. An original animation file with a resolution of (5568×5568) is available on request.
To answer frequently asked questions; why are city lights, the Sun, and other stars not visible? City lights are not visible because they are thousands of times less bright than the reflection of sunlight off the Earth. If the camera was sensitive enough to detect city lights, the Earth would be overexposed. The Sun is not visible due to mechanisms used to protect the camera CCD from direct exposure to sunlight. A circular mask on the CCD ensures that only the Earth is visible. This mask can be seen as pixelation on Earth’s horizon. The mask also excludes stars from view, although they would not be bright enough to be visible to this camera.
April 17, 2015
April 16, 2015
The vision of hell above is part of a developing complex of events in Siberia, consistent with continued anomalous warmth in the region.
With spring barely underway, at least 23 people have been killed thus far in out-of-control wildfires sweeping the Baikal region.
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the federal government would send at least 5 billion rubles ($100 million) to the southern Siberian republic of Khakasia, ravaged by wildfires in recent weeks.
“I talked with the governor today. … About 2,400 homes need to be rebuilt. This will require money from the federal budget, about 5 or 6 billion rubles,” Putin said during his annual call-in show, according to the Interfax news agency.
Dozens of people have died and about a thousand have sought medical attention because of the fires, linked to small agricultural brushfires that grew out of control amid abnormally dry conditions, according to local authorities.
See NASA’s temp anomaly map for March.
MOSCOW, March 2. The outgoing winter, which ended a couple of days ago according to the calendar, has proved the warmest in the history of weather monitoring in Russia conducted since 1891, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring said on Monday.
Over the past winter the average air temperatures in almost all Russian regions were two degrees above the norm as a minimum; on some territories it was even warmer. The past winter proved particularly mild in the Central, Northwest, Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts, where seasonal air temperatures were 4-7 degrees above the norm.
The 2014-2015 winter beat a record earlier set by the 1962 winter by 0.5 degrees. The past winter was one of the four warmest winters in Moscow’s history, ranking fourth after almost equally warm winters registered in 1961, 1989 and 2008.
As usual, the media is quick to connect the dots. Read the rest of this entry »
April 16, 2015
A few years ago I met with a group of middle-management types at a local company – one that makes raw materials that go into, among other things, solar panels.
I guess they wanted some kind of outsider perspective.
In any case, surprisingly, they found it hard to get their heads around the already-apparent unstoppable momentum of solar that was, even in the pre-Solar City/Elon Musk moment, picking up steam
Their block was that they didn’t get that solar did not have to wait until it was cheaper than baseload coal or nuclear. The magic milestone was when solar became cheaper than the most expensive power out there – peaking power.
Utilities have to build, fuel, and maintain “peaker” plants, usually gas turbines, sometimes even large diesel generators, for those few afternoons during the year when everyone has production revved up and all air conditioners are running, the “peak demand” moments. That electricity is several times, maybe even 10x, more costly than normal baseload power.
Sometime in the last 5 years, solar energy crossed that cost line and began to outcompete gas turbines for that purpose, ideally suited to solar because it occurs mostly at times when the sun is blazing.
As I described that situation to them, there was a quiet moment as lightbulbs went on all across the room.
Solar now being bought in utility scale quantity, production ramps up, costs drop, market forces kick in.
We’ve reached, or will shortly reach, that moment with electrical storage.
Next generation technologies—such as those being developed at Eos—are designed to be low-cost, a key criterion for the grid, as opposed to light-weight, a key attribute for portable electronics and electric vehicles. As the industry drives increasing scale and cost reduction, batteries ranging in size from dorm refrigerators to giant shipping containers will be deployed on the electricity grid.
Just in the last year, California, New York, and Texas utilities alone announced plans to procure more than 6GW of energy storage on the grid by 2020—that’s almost 50% of New York City’s peak load. These states alone are creating a $10+ billion market opportunity and are driving widespread adoption of grid-connected battery storage. In short, this transformation is happening today and will forever change the way we generate, deliver, and consume electricity.
How do the economics work here? Can batteries really compete?
Until now, it has been cheaper to overbuild and underutilize power generation and delivery infrastructure than it has been to store electricity. Thus for batteries to be a compelling solution for the grid, they have to out compete this entrenched incumbent on an economic basis. At an installed cost of less than $300/kWh, long-lasting batteries begin to displace marginal generation used for peak power requirements; at less than $200/kWh, batteries essentially replace most peaking generation and a substantial portion of distribution investment.
But to create a true apples-to-apples comparison, you have to evaluate the cost of these competing solutions over the life of the asset and the amount of electricity delivered under normal operating conditions. Known as levelized cost of energy, gas peakers set this cost threshold somewhere between 20 and 27 cents per kWh. For the sake of comparison, the levelized cost of energy of an Eos battery is approximately 12 cents per kWh.
Batteries can be charged at night and discharged during peak hours to reduce system load and facility demand charges—allowing utilities to reduce their cost of service while minimizing customer electricity bills. In broader terms, batteries simultaneously replace both expensive peak generation capacity and expensive distribution infrastructure.
But the dropping price of storage isn’t inherently biased towards consumers. Utility operators can deploy storage as well, Two recent studies have assessed the economics of just that. And both find it compelling.
First, Texas utility Oncor commissioned a study (pdf link – The Value of Distributed Electricity Storage in Texas) of whether it would be cost-effective to deploy storage throughout the Texas grid (called ERCOT), placing the energy storage at the ‘edge’ of the grid, close to consumers.
The conclusion was an overwhelming yes. The study authors concluded that, at a capital cost of $350 / kwh for lithium-ion batteries (which they expected by 2020, but which we may have now), it made sense across the ERCOT region to deploy at least 15,000 MWh of battery storage. (That would be 15 million KWh, or the equivalent battery capacity of nearly 160,000 Tesla model 85Ds.)
The study authors concluded that this additional battery storage would slightly lower consumer electrical bills, reduce outages, reduce the need to build added capacity (by shifting the peak, much as a home battery would), and similarly reduce the need to build additional transmission and distribution lines.