Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘solar power’

Good News You Likely Haven’t Heard From CNN Or The NYT

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2014

Here’s some good news you probably won’t hear from most nationally-focused US media:

— Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium (aka the guy who got all the 2012 Senate races right along with the Presidential race) has been saying that the Democrats have at least a 70% chance of keeping the Senate (today’s current snapshot gives them a 75% chance, with a longer-range Election Day forecast of 65%). How does he do it? By using poll data and not “secret sauce” (aka (And the only reason I know about this is because of the cartoon in this Daily Kos post.)

— Mitch McConnell, who has been in a very tough race with Democratic candidate Alison Grimes, just took a big blow when his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned today. Seems that back in 2012, when Benton worked for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, he was involved in getting Kent Sorenson, then an Iowa state Senator, to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, a move which Sorenson, on pleading guilty to Federal bribery charges Wednesday, says the Paul campaign paid him $73,000 to make. (Benton, by the way, is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt.)

A town in West Virginia, where King Coal normally rules without question, has developed a useful funding model for converting to solar power.

So what’s the good word in your parts this week?

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Solar-Powered Rail: It’s A Reality In France,The Netherlands And The UK

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2013

Hat tip to a Solar Roadways Facebook page commenter for this story from June of 2011 about the world’s first solar-powered high-speed railway tunnel:

The 3.6-kilometer (2.2-mile) tunnel, built to protect trains from falling trees as they pass through an ancient forest near Antwerp, is covered with solar cells and could generate 3.3 MWh of electricity annually. Enfinity, the company behind the project, says that’s equivalent to the average annual consumption of nearly 1,000 homes. It also claims that the tunnel will decrease CO2 emissions by 2,400 tons per year.

“For train operators, it is the perfect way to cut their carbon footprints because you can use spaces that have no other economic value and the projects can be delivered within a year because they don’t attract the protests that wind power does,” Bart Van Renterghem, the UK head of Enfinity, told the Guardian.

The $22.9 million project uses 16,000 solar panels covering 50,000 square meters (roughly 538,000 square feet), which is about the size of eight football pitches. They will provide enough electricity to power 4,000 trains a year. The first of those trains left Antwerp on Monday, filled with commuters and students.

The trains tap into the solar energy as they pass through the tunnel at 186 mph. The electricity also provides power for lighting, signals and other infrastructure.

In addition to providing power with far fewer CO2 emissions, it looks to be an excellent way to keep the tracks clear — not just of trees, but of any ice and snow that might obtain during the winter months.

By the way, solar-powered rail is now in the UK, with London’s Blackfriars station getting 50% of its power from its new solar bridge.

Solar is coming.

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Surprise! Wind Now Cheaper Than Coal In Australia, Solar Soon Will Be As Well

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 9, 2013

Here’s something you probably won’t see on FOX News any time soon, even though it’s from Rupert Murdoch’s homeland:

Something interesting is happening in Australia.

A new study by the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that unsubsidized renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels like coal and gas.

In fact, it’s a lot cheaper.

Data shows that wind farms in Australia can produce energy at AU$80/MWh. Meanwhile, coal plants are producing energy at AU$143/MWh and gas at AU$116/MWh.

Unlike the United States, where energy companies can pollute and have the costs (from illness to environmental degradation) picked up by the taxpayers, Australia has a carbon tax, which partially explains why renewables have a price advantage. But the data shows that even without the cost of carbon tax factored in; wind energy is still 14-cents cheaper than coal and 18-cents cheaper than gas.  

Even better: By 2020 if not sooner, solar power will also be cheaper than coal or gas in Australia — and Australia has up to now been a heavily coal-dependent nation.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, but what about the US? Our day is coming:

According to the Energy Information Administration, looking ahead to 2016, natural gas is the cheapest energy in the United States at roughly $66/MWh. Coal comes in second at $94/MWh. But right behind coal is renewable wind at $97/MWh, which in large part accounts for why U.S. wind energy production has tripled since 2000.

And, unlike in Australia, none of those US prices account for the externalities associated with fossil fuels like pollution, cancers, military protection, or global warming. In America, the fossil fuel industry has made sure those externalities are paid for not by the coal and gas energy producers, but instead by you and me.

Got that? Wind power already is nearly at parity with coal, even in the US, even without the massive subsidies given to dirty-energy industries.

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