Mar. 18th, 2009

webfarmer: (Default)
This NY Times Op-Ed piece is spot on. The near constant nattering of congress critters to Dr. Chu - complaining about how poor little nuclear is being ignored - indicates the depth of this systemic problem. This is especially true of the Senate critters as this column also notes.

A Nuclear Waste - Stephanie Cooke - NY Times - 17 Mar 09

"Given the department’s [nuclear bomb] origins, it is not surprising that nuclear programs have won out over other energy technologies. Of the $135.4 billion spent on energy research and development from 1948 to 2005 (in constant 2004 dollars), more than half, or $74 billion, went to nuclear energy, while fossil-fuel programs received a quarter, or $34.1 billion. The leftovers went for alternatives, with renewables getting $13 billion, or 10 percent, and energy efficiency $12 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report written in 2006.

That historical pattern of spending continues to this day. This year nuclear energy research is receiving $1.7 billion, including for a weapons-related fusion program being touted for its supposed energy potential. Nuclear weapons programs are getting $6.4 billion, with an additional $6.5 billion allocated to environmental cleanup. Millions more are spent on efforts to reduce the risk of weapons proliferation, and recovering nuclear and radioactive materials from around the world.

Against this background, alternative energy solutions are but an afterthought: in the current fiscal year, for example, all of $1.1 billion is apportioned for programs falling under this category, not including the stimulus money."
webfarmer: (Default)
This NY Times Op-Ed piece is spot on. The near constant nattering of congress critters to Dr. Chu - complaining about how poor little nuclear is being ignored - indicates the depth of this systemic problem. This is especially true of the Senate critters as this column also notes.

A Nuclear Waste - Stephanie Cooke - NY Times - 17 Mar 09

"Given the department’s [nuclear bomb] origins, it is not surprising that nuclear programs have won out over other energy technologies. Of the $135.4 billion spent on energy research and development from 1948 to 2005 (in constant 2004 dollars), more than half, or $74 billion, went to nuclear energy, while fossil-fuel programs received a quarter, or $34.1 billion. The leftovers went for alternatives, with renewables getting $13 billion, or 10 percent, and energy efficiency $12 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report written in 2006.

That historical pattern of spending continues to this day. This year nuclear energy research is receiving $1.7 billion, including for a weapons-related fusion program being touted for its supposed energy potential. Nuclear weapons programs are getting $6.4 billion, with an additional $6.5 billion allocated to environmental cleanup. Millions more are spent on efforts to reduce the risk of weapons proliferation, and recovering nuclear and radioactive materials from around the world.

Against this background, alternative energy solutions are but an afterthought: in the current fiscal year, for example, all of $1.1 billion is apportioned for programs falling under this category, not including the stimulus money."
webfarmer: (Default)
The first guy on the video is completely wrong about the mythical intermittent Texas wind problem. That problem was the utilities not using wind forecasting. Forcasting that they already had available. Also the ramp rate, it took almost two hours, wasn't that big of a deal. This is very unlike scramming a large plant like a nuke, btw.

More Companies Focus on Utility-scale Renewable Energy Integration - Renewable Energy World - 17 Mar 09

Video behind cut . . . )
webfarmer: (Default)
The first guy on the video is completely wrong about the mythical intermittent Texas wind problem. That problem was the utilities not using wind forecasting. Forcasting that they already had available. Also the ramp rate, it took almost two hours, wasn't that big of a deal. This is very unlike scramming a large plant like a nuke, btw.

More Companies Focus on Utility-scale Renewable Energy Integration - Renewable Energy World - 17 Mar 09

Video behind cut . . . )
webfarmer: (Default)
Robert Redford and Lola Redford were early activists in the development of a solar powered future. Lola Redford co-founded Consumer Action Now and the movie below was linked to that organization. As I recall, she was once also very active in some solar efforts up in Montana that included a traveling solar trailer exhibit. Robert Redford has a new entry on the Huffington Post that, in turn, inspired my post today

I participated a bit on 'Sun Day' as the coordinator of an effort by the NU Public Interest Research Group (NUPIRG) at UN-L to identify barriers to solar energy development (that included wind in those days) in Nebraska. Had a nice little staff to work on it too. It was funny to hear from someone who recently re-discover that old document all these years later. Of course, the report and its conclusions were all circular filed by the then Powers-That-Be in the state government.

Lola Redford and Ilene Goldman of C.A.N. - The Plowboy Interview - Mother Earth News - Jul/Aug 72

"'Just being for trees, fresh air and pure water isn't enough, ' reasoned Lola Redford, wife of actor Robert Redford, and Ilene Goldman, wife of author William Goldman. 'We're all for ecology but few of us know how to begin living our lives in ecologically sound ways. We need information that will help us distinguish between environmentally good' and 'bad' products so that we can vote for (buy and/or recycle) the good and vote against (not buy or use at all) the bad every day of our lives.'"

I Was Too Early on Solar Power -- Let's Not Be Too Late - Robert Redford - Huffington Post - 17 Mar 09

"I saw that ingenuity emerge three decades ago, when the promise of renewable energy became clear to many of us. We were so eager to spread the word about solar power that we created 'Sun Day,' the solar equivalent of Earth Day. We had events from Maine to Chicago to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. I even got the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to participate in one event.

People were just starting to get excited about pollution-free power, but then Ronald Reagan became president and the solar panels came off the White House and the policies promoting renewable energy were stripped from the books.

That same year, a short documentary I produced came out called The Solar Film. The people interviewed in film say they like how solar power cuts down on their bills, doesn't have to be imported, and makes them worry less about terrorists. All of those benefits remain extremely relevant today, but we have lost three decades in the effort to extend them to more Americans.

I was too early in my efforts to promote solar power, but now is the time. We are getting a second chance -- another American trait. If we don't seize this moment, we will be too late to get the competitive advantage in a global marketplace, too late for the economic dividends, and too late to stave off the worst of global warming."


"The Solar Film" (1980) - Das FilmFest (Flash or Quicktime required) - 9:30 minutes for original film.
webfarmer: (Default)
Robert Redford and Lola Redford were early activists in the development of a solar powered future. Lola Redford co-founded Consumer Action Now and the movie below was linked to that organization. As I recall, she was once also very active in some solar efforts up in Montana that included a traveling solar trailer exhibit. Robert Redford has a new entry on the Huffington Post that, in turn, inspired my post today

I participated a bit on 'Sun Day' as the coordinator of an effort by the NU Public Interest Research Group (NUPIRG) at UN-L to identify barriers to solar energy development (that included wind in those days) in Nebraska. Had a nice little staff to work on it too. It was funny to hear from someone who recently re-discover that old document all these years later. Of course, the report and its conclusions were all circular filed by the then Powers-That-Be in the state government.

Lola Redford and Ilene Goldman of C.A.N. - The Plowboy Interview - Mother Earth News - Jul/Aug 72

"'Just being for trees, fresh air and pure water isn't enough, ' reasoned Lola Redford, wife of actor Robert Redford, and Ilene Goldman, wife of author William Goldman. 'We're all for ecology but few of us know how to begin living our lives in ecologically sound ways. We need information that will help us distinguish between environmentally good' and 'bad' products so that we can vote for (buy and/or recycle) the good and vote against (not buy or use at all) the bad every day of our lives.'"

I Was Too Early on Solar Power -- Let's Not Be Too Late - Robert Redford - Huffington Post - 17 Mar 09

"I saw that ingenuity emerge three decades ago, when the promise of renewable energy became clear to many of us. We were so eager to spread the word about solar power that we created 'Sun Day,' the solar equivalent of Earth Day. We had events from Maine to Chicago to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. I even got the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to participate in one event.

People were just starting to get excited about pollution-free power, but then Ronald Reagan became president and the solar panels came off the White House and the policies promoting renewable energy were stripped from the books.

That same year, a short documentary I produced came out called The Solar Film. The people interviewed in film say they like how solar power cuts down on their bills, doesn't have to be imported, and makes them worry less about terrorists. All of those benefits remain extremely relevant today, but we have lost three decades in the effort to extend them to more Americans.

I was too early in my efforts to promote solar power, but now is the time. We are getting a second chance -- another American trait. If we don't seize this moment, we will be too late to get the competitive advantage in a global marketplace, too late for the economic dividends, and too late to stave off the worst of global warming."


"The Solar Film" (1980) - Das FilmFest (Flash or Quicktime required) - 9:30 minutes for original film.
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