Tag Archives | Energy

Tiny Pacific Island Becomes The First Completely Solar-Powered Nation

Think a completely renewable-energy-based society is a pipe dream? Tiny Tokelau will no longer rely on imported diesel, instead switching over to solar panels and coconut-based biofuel. Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tuvalu plan to follow suit in the next decade. Voice Of America reports:

The remote islands of Tokelau have become the first territory in the world to be powered by the sun, officials say. The move is expected to save money and ease the environmental burden of relying on imported fossil fuels.

“The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is a world first. Tokelau’s three main atolls now have enough solar capacity, on average, to meet electricity needs,” said New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister Murray McCully in a statement. “Until now, Tokelau has been 100 percent dependent upon diesel for electricity generation, with heavy economic and environmental costs.”

The island nations of Samoa and Tuvalu are aiming to get all of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

U.S. Will Be World’s Top Oil Producer In 5 Years

Red Rock Derricks, all flowing Well, by W. L. SuttonThat might sound like good news, but in reality “it’s complicated”…. Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times:

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

“The foundations of the global energy systems are shifting,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based organization, which produces the annual World Energy Outlook, said in an interview before the release. The agency, which advises industrialized nations on energy issues, had previously predicted that Saudi Arabia would be the leading producer until 2035.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Is Willpower a Limited Resource Which Can be Cultivated with Exercise?

Picture: Robbin Cresswell (PD)

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” – Aiwass

New developments in biological science suggest your willpower is drawn from a limited supply of chemicals which accumulate in the brain over time.

According to Wired willpower is:

a measurable form of mental energy that runs out as you use it, much like the gas in your car.

Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University, calls this “ego depletion,” and he proved its existence by sitting students next to a plate of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. Some were allowed to snack away, others ordered to abstain. Afterward, both groups were asked to complete difficult puzzles. The students who’d been forced to resist the cookies had so depleted their reserves of self-control that when faced with this new task, they quickly threw in the towel. The cookie eaters, on the other hand, had conserved their willpower and worked on the puzzles longer.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Data Centers Revealed As Massively Inefficient Energy Hogs

Google Data Center, The DallesIt’s good to see the New York Times engage in some real investigative reporting for a change. In this piece Frank Glanz uses FOIA requests and other federal and local government records to reveal how data centers have become major pollution centers:

Jeff Rothschild’s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt.

The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Thinking fast, Mr. Rothschild, the company’s engineering chief, took some employees on an expedition to buy every fan they could find — “We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area,” he said — to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Nuclear Power Still on the Books in Japan

Picture: By Hirorinmasa (CC)

Less than a week after announcing a plan to abandon Nuclear Power by the 2030′s, Hiroko Tabuchi at NYtimes.com reports that the Japanese government will not be implementing that plan:

Motohisa Furukawa, the national strategy minister, announced the original plan last week, releasing a document titled the “Revolutionary Energy and Environment Strategy” that said Japan would seek to eliminate nuclear power within 28 years through greater reliance on renewable energy, conservation and the use of fossil fuels. On Wednesday, he defended the cabinet’s omission of the 2040 deadline, saying the government had intended to use it as a reference point.

Furkukawa’s administration has been busy reassuring the public that the government is committed to creating a better system of regulation for the industry. Lapses in regulation have been pinpointed as one of the deficiencies that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. These lapses, critics say, were a consequence of a far too cozy relationship between government regulators and the industry they were supposed to be policing.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Japan To Abandon Nuclear Power By 2030s

The future isn’t always what we think it is, via Reuters:

Japan’s government said it intends to stop using nuclear power by the 2030s, marking a major shift from policy goals set before last year’s Fukushima disaster that sought to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply.

Japan joins countries such as Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power after last year’s earthquake unleashed a tsunami that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. Japan was the third-biggest user of atomic energy before the disaster.

“This is a strategy to create a new future,” a policy statement said, after key ministers finalized the decision on Friday. “It is not pie in the sky. It is a practical strategy.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Exxon CEO On The Reality Of Global Warming

Curious what goes through the mind of Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded oil company in the world, when he ponders the alteration of the earth’s climate by CO2 emissions? In a talk before the Council on Foreign Relations last week, Tillerson said that the earth is definitely becoming hot, but that he has no fear because “we’ll adapt”:

So I’m not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It’ll have a warming impact.

We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say, ‘We just have to stop this,’ I do not accept.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Club Of Rome’s Predictions: How Accurate Are They?

Via DW:

Fourty years ago, the Club of Rome released “The limits of growth.” Now, it has released another look into the future. But how accurate are such predictions?

In its latest publication “2052—a Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, the Club of Rome takes a bold look into the future. The 66 scientists and economists that make up the club predict—similarly to their first report (“The limits of growth”) in 1972—that the current economic development could soon tip over. But differing from their view back then, they now put climate change at the heart of their study. Their prognosis is mainly influenced by the assumption that a warming of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius is likely: There will be more floods, draughts and climate extremes.

The use of fossile energy is still on the rise. The goal to keep the global temperature rise under 2 percent will probably not be reached, the report concludes.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Solyndra Redux: Anatomy of a Political Hit Job

John Atcheson writes at Common Dreams:

Republicans have launched a full-scale attack on clean energy, and Solyndra always seems to be exhibit A in their assault. Recently, Romney went so far as to fabricate tales of Obama showing favoritism in this Bush-initiated loan – a whopper even by Romney’s record of complete disregard for the truth.

It’s worth reexamining this whole thing, because Solyndra is actually exhibit A in how the Republican Party manufactures failure out of whole cloth, and what it costs us when they aren’t confronted by Democrats or held accountable by the media.

To understand the full treachery of Republican attacks on Solyndra funding, it’s necessary to understand a little about venture capital investments…

Continue Reading

Germany Sets New Solar Record By Meeting Nearly Half of Country’s Weekend Power Demand

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

This story from inhabitat has the sustainable energy movement incredibly excited, and rightly so methinks:

Germany fed a whopping 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour into the national grid last weekend, setting a new record by meeting nearly half of the country’s weekend power demand.

After the Fukushima disaster, Japan opted to shut down all of its nuclear power stations and Germany followed suit after considerable public pressure. This seems to have paved the way for greater investment in solar energy projects. The Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster announced that Saturday’s solar energy generation met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs AND was equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity! …

By meeting a third of its electricity needs on a work day and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed, Germany’s solar power industry has broken all previous records.

Read the rest

Continue Reading