April 20, 2017
This one’s going viral.
I’M A CLIMBER, a singer-songwriter, and a conservationist. I grew up in Rexford, a tiny town in Montana about two hours northwest of Glacier National Park. My dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 35 years and is also a climber. He instilled in me an appreciation for the environment and the outdoors early on.
I’ve performed my music in 31 countries and have seen the effects of traffic, deforestation, and overpopulation. I started feeling that I was creating a big footprint flying across the world and not doing much for the earth. So I started brainstorming with a bunch of friends about how we could use our climbing skills to help the environment rather than hurt it. (There are a lot of jobs that utilize climbing in the oil industry.) One of them told me that I should join Rope Partner as a rope-access technician to service wind turbines. I’ve worked there for five years. The company is based in Santa Cruz, California, but we repair wind turbine blades all over the globe.
The job requires advanced rock-climbing and rope-rigging skills. Technicians work in high wind speeds on turbine towers that are between 262 and 328 feet tall. First we climb a ladder in the inside of the tower and anchor our ropes. Then we rappel off the nose cone and secure ourselves to the blunt side of the wind turbine blade. Our repair supplies are then hauled up in buckets.
It’s a really physical job. Out of Rope Partner’s 75 technicians, I’m one of only two women in the field. That’s because not as many women have the skill sets needed—you also need expertise in fiberglass repair. I just happened to have fiberglass skills because I was a firefighter for seven years, working at the hotshot base helping to repair water tenders.
It’s a crazy lifestyle. You’re constantly traveling, since each job is four to six weeks in a different location. You have to do some very technical stuff and keep your cool.
When you’re up on a tower, you have a main rope and a backup. In my opinion, this is safer than driving to work every day. For some jobs, you can be up there from six to eight hours, so you have to train your body to work in high winds. Even on a low-wind day you’ll get bucked around, since you’re up really high. And you have to be careful, because one side of the wind turbine blade is so sharp that it could cut your rope. Blades are tricky—they have many layers, and each turbine’s blades are different, so you’ll often be on the phone with the engineers while up in the air.
Alex Jones is a climate denying right wing talker and major disseminator of the “Pizzagate” story, supposedly linking Hillary Clinton to a Pizzeria-based sex ring, and who believes the Sandy Hook Massacre, a shooting of school children in Connecticut, was staged. (much like the Moon landing, one suspects)
Anyway, he’s in court – go figure – because his ex wife thinks he’s too nuts to have custody of the kids.
Jone’s program has been a favorite venue for such luminaries in the climate denial universe as “Lord” Monkton, John Coleman, and Marc Morano.
Bear in mind that this guy is an information source for many Republicans including the President of the United States.
You be the judge.
Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Thursday told a jury that he believes George Soros is somehow behind a plot to make the effects of smoking marijuana stronger than ever before.
As reported by BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel, Jones was asked about his drug and alcohol use by attorney Bobby Newman, who is representing Jones’ ex-wife Kelly in the custody battle over the couple’s three children.
During his testimony, Jones claimed that he smoked marijuana once a year to “monitor its strength,” and he claimed that its gotten progressively stronger over the years — and he thinks that George Soros is somehow involved.
“George Soros has brain damaged a lot of people,” Jones said, according to reporter Texas Monthly reporter Dan Solomon. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19, 2017
April 19, 2017
Above, Christiana Figures, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, on the prospect of peaking global emissions by 2020.
Emissions globally have flattened over the last 3 years even as global GDP has grown.
Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero has received funding from Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures toward making its dream of electrified air travel a reality.
Sometimes billed as the Tesla of the airplane industry, Zunum is developing a relatively small regional aircraft with about 700 miles of range. A 1,000-mile range will be attainable by 2030, it says.
The as-yet-unnamed aircraft will hold between 10 and 50 passengers, depending on how it’s configured, the company says.
Zunum’s jet will primarily run on batteries, so it promises to make air travel quieter for passengers and those who live under flight paths.
Noise-free take-offs will open up the possibility of scheduling more flights overnight.
A fuel-burning range-extender will turn on only when additional electricity is needed, according to the company’s official website. Ultimately, Zunum plans on building a regional jet that runs exclusively on electricity.
April 19, 2017
New technologies continue to create new business models that could not have been imagined decades ago.
Unbelievably, German home battery manufacturer Sonnen has just launched a product offering that means you, the consumer, can receive free electricity for 10 years.
All you have to do is buy the battery (for €3,999) and become part of the Sonnen energy community of household producers and storers (imaginatively named – wait for it – the “sonnenCommunity”), allowing your battery to soak up or spew out electricity as and when needed. It’s limited to 5000 sales, but is surely a sign of where the home battery market could head in other countries.
Indeed, Sonnen is about to perform the same trick in Australia. It could earn more money from the Aussie national grid for balancing services than from households – households will again just pay for the battery and get free electricity.
Lessons from abroad
As we’re all now well aware, just as in Germany and Australia, energy storage is the next piece of the puzzle that will be slotted into the UK’s energy system. The sun shines, the wind blows, the tide comes in – add storage to the mix and burning fossil fuels will seem so last century.
In a digitally connected ‘smart’ world, grid balancing will be done by algorithms, and part of this process will involve instructing thousands of energy storage devices to either import or export electricity. As a by-product, we would be richer as well – the National Infrastructure Commission estimated consumers collectively could save up to £8 billion a year. Eight Billion!
Grid balancing has historically been all about matching supply to demand, but in the future will be as much about matching demand to supply, and that supply may not come directly from the normal operators. Not only will big centralised coal power stations be fossils, but if the sun isn’t shining/wind not blowing/uranium not splitting, then that electricity is likely to come from one of the millions of batteries that will become part and parcel of everyday life.
And there’s a good chance one of those batteries will be in your house.
The UK has some 3.23 GW of storage projects (as of August 2016, including pumped hydro), but the vast majority of this is found “in front of the meter” – in other words, it’s connected to the grid, not a private add-on in the home or business. Included in this figure are some 1500 household installations though, all of which have an associated solar array somewhere near them.
To give this some idea of this market’s potential, there are an estimated 34,000 household batteries in Germany already. Australia installed 6500 household systems last year. Indeed, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the global household battery market will become worth $250 billion by 2040.
Little wonder, then, that Sonnen – which first rolled out its flat rate model in Germany in September last year and now has 6,000 battery systems in the German balancing market – is targeting Australia, with plans to offer the deal to customers here in the next two months. Read the rest of this entry »
By now you’ve heard that Bill O’Reilly has become so toxic and radioactive due to his long time habits of, for instance, calling up women and verbally abusing them while masturbating. Worth asking whether this behavior is a pattern among climate deniers.
Let’s just say, I’ve seen some comments on this blog that I’m pretty sure were from people who were similarly distracted.
We know that climate denial and racism go hand in hand.
I think we all knew that was true about Misogyny as well.
This is not a coincidence.