Astounding, mike dropping, comic butchery.

The essential takedown thus far.

Who’s the Other Guy?

February 29, 2016

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The PBS report above leaves out some crucial information.

Although briefly touching on what the benefits of residential/commercial solar installs might be – the report does not spell out those benefits.  The biggest one is that a distributed network of solar systems provides energy during the heaviest demand times of day – the midday thru afternoon period – and helps head off the need for rate-payers to finance very expensive “peaker” plants that are designed to make up the difference during those limited time periods, sometimes meaning they are used only on a limited basis thru the year – and are very costly.

A network of solar installations fills this spot very neatly – and was specifically not considered as part of the Nevada evaluation of solar costs.  The New York Times piece below hints at the reason – the new Nevada anti-solar rules were written at least in part by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a key player in the Koch Brother’s ongoing war on solar.
I fault PBS for not pointing out this easily-googled and critical fact.

CleanTechnica:

Current PV and wind technologies have improved to the point where they can produce enough power to meet the needs of the owner, plus excess energy that can be exported to the grid. When you add the latest utility-grade storage batteries to those installations, along with the most advanced inverters and electronics, you now have a reliable source of energy that can be tapped even when there’s no active generation.

It’s a simple step from using this technology to solve one consumer’s energy needs to addressing the problem in Ohio. Using cloud-based software management, these individual units can be aggregated by a local utility into a “virtual” power plant, or VPP, serving a whole neighborhood, an industrial park or even entire communities. The control systems allows the aggregated power of these systems to be redirected over the local grid at periods of high demand, to any consumer – not just to another DER owner.

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The more of these renewable systems with integrated storage are installed in an area, the more they reduce the need to bring additional large-scale plants online to meet demand. And when enough VPP capacity is connected to the grid, the available stored energy and flexible nature of VPPs will make it possible to retire these old, costly and polluting plants. Their extra capacity will have been replaced by VPPs and be fully prepared to meet peak demand.

In fact, we will be better prepared to meet that demand reliably, because distributed VPPs eliminate the potential for single-point failure that is inherent in those large plants. Unplanned outages due to large plant failures also wreak havoc on utilities and consumers, and cause wild price fluctuations. Locating resources close to demand also reduces power losses, and may allow utilities to defer costly transmission and distribution upgrades.

Flexibility, reliability and cost: This is what makes VPPs highly attractive to utilities, while at the same time providing the assurance of reliability to the consumers who own them, as they have first call on their own power.

New York Times:

WHEN President Obama proclaimed in his State of the Union address last month that “solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills,” he clearly wasn’t talking about Nevada.

In late December, the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which regulates Nevada’s energy market, announced a rate change drastic enough to kill Nevada’s booming rooftop solar market and drive providers out of the state. Effective Jan. 1, the new tariffs will gradually increase until they triple monthly fees that solar users pay to use the electric grid and cut by three-quarters users’ reimbursements for feeding electricity into it.

More startlingly, the commission made its decision retroactive. That means that the 17,000 Nevada residents who were lured into solar purchases by state-mandated one-time rebates of up to $23,000 suddenly discovered that they were victims of a bait-and-switch. They made the deals assuming that, allowing for inflation, their rates would stay constant over their contracts’ 20- to 30-year lifetimes; instead, they face the prospect of paying much more for electricity than if they had never made the change, even though they’re generating almost all their electricity themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

As I show on this page, and here as well, Ted Cruz, the most hated man in America, is now the face of climate denial.

A leading voice affirming the science of climate change, Leonardo DeCaprio, just won the Oscar for best Actor, and gave an impassioned plea for climate action last night. DeCaprio has also been a strong supporter of our Greenland work with the Dark Snow Project.

Yeah, I know. Hollywood people, yadda yadda.
I’ll take it.

supportdarksnow

DeCaprio foundation funding announcement from last year is below. We still need continuing support for future efforts, but this was a huge affirmation. Read the rest of this entry »

As promised.

A few weeks ago, Ted Cruz gave the world perhaps the greatest gift he is capable of at this point – a widely publicized rant on video which included just about every bonehead climate denial talking point now current.

Having the country’s most hated man as the spokesperson for climate denial is a good thing.

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Independent:

Rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice is about to set a new record after an “absurdly warm” winter at the top of the world. For the second year running, it will have grown to cover less of the Arctic Ocean than ever before.

The revelation comes as scientists are increasingly worried that the heating of the region could escalate out of control, as growing numbers of “feedback mechanisms” – which reinforce and accelerate the process – are being discovered.

Most attention on the melting sea ice so far has been focused on the increasingly low minimum levels it reaches each September. Its nine smallest-ever extents have all occurred in the last nine years, with the record being reached in 2012, when it covered only 3.41 million square kilometres –  44 per cent less than the average of the previous three decades, and a full 16 per cent lower than the previous record, in 2007.

But the amount by which the ice recovers each winter, peaking at the end of February and the beginning of March, though little publicised, is at least as important. Last year it reached only 14.54 million sq km on 25 February, its peak day – the lowest ever. Exactly a year later, at the end of last week, it was just 14.27 million sq km, a fall of 270,000 sq km.

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado (NSIDC) – the world’s foremost authority on the issue – are not quite ready to proclaim a new record, as the ice may yet spread further over the next days. But, with another week of unseasonably warm weather forecast for the region, they privately believe it is almost certain.