Archive for the ‘energy’ Tag

Why does that train smell like french fries?

Fun fact: The trains at Disneyland run on bio-diesel. They burn oil from the park’s restaurants.

from What I Learned From A Mouse With Big Ears by Guy Kawasaki

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New 200MW wind farm will double wind energy in Michigan

How crazy is this? With Michigan’s long history of manufacturing, a single 200MW wind farm will more than double the amount of wind generation capacity in that state.

Big expansion soon for Michigan’s wind power grid
Associated Press
11:30 a.m. CDT, July 10, 2011

BETHANY TOWNSHIP, Mich.— An array of 133 wind turbines that will tower 46 stories over farmers’ fields and rural homes will begin taking shape in a few weeks in central Michigan’s Gratiot County.

The Invenergy LLC project is designed to produce 200 megawatts of electricity, starting in 2012. That’s more than the 164 megawatts made by all of Michigan’s wind turbines now in operation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In all, 103 turbines now operate statewide.

How much crazier is it that Ohio has no utility-scale wind farms yet, and Iowa leads the country?

US subsidies of oil and coal more than double the subsidies of renewable energy

File under “Things that make me scratch my head:”

US subsidies of oil and coal more than double the subsidies of renewable energy

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
September 21, 2009

During the fiscal years of 2002-2008 the United States handed out subsidies to fossil fuel industries to a tune of 72 billion dollars, while renewable energy subsidies, during the same period, reached 29 billion dollars. Conducted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the research shows that the US government has heavily subsidized ‘dirty fuels’ that emit high levels of greenhouse gases.

The funds provided to renewable energy sources plunges further when one takes into account that of the 29 billion dollars, 16.8 billion went to subsidizing corn-based ethanol, an energy source that numerous studies have shown is not carbon neutral and has been blamed in part for deforestation in the tropics and the global food crisis. The remaining 12.2 billion went to wind, solar, non-corn based biofuels and biomass, hydropower, and geothermal energy production.

Of the 72 billion dollars given to fossil fuels, 2.3 billion went to carbon capture and storage. The rest of the funds went to oil and coal.

via US subsidies of oil and coal more than double the subsidies of renewable energy.

I have no problem with using subsidies or the tax code to encourage private enterprise to move in a certain direction. But this boggles the mind. Why are we subsidizing businesses that have posted record profits, even in the middle of a recession, and slighting those that have demonstrated economic, employment, and environmental superiority?

Ford Engine Plant #1 Reopens to Build Fuel Efficient V6

Ford Engine Plant #1 reopened yesterday. The retooled factory is now building an advanced engine for use in the 2010 Lincoln MKS.

This is good news for the 250 or so Ford employees who were recalled. But this is at best a baby step in the right direction. According to news reports, the new 6-cylinder engine delivers performance typically seen from a V8. You could spin this as Ford being responsive to that segment of buyers that want full-size cars, but it’s not going to do much to curb dependence on foreign oil.

Why do I keep getting flashes of buggy whips going through my brain?

NPR: Power Hungry: Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid

File under tres cool: Interactive map of the current US electrial grid.

Interactive power grid map from NPR

Is anyone else surprised by the relative lack of high-voltage lines in the Northeast and Great Lakes states? Is that because there is enough local generation capacity to meet local needs? Or is it an artifact of the way the power “system” was built?

I am not an electrical engineer, but it seems to me that a few more high-voltage lines to somewhere outside the region would be prudent. Profitable, even – selling surplus power becomes more economical when delivered over higher-voltage (less lossy) transmission lines. And building in some redundancy would also be a good thing, in case of an attack on the transmission grid. I am not a mad bomber, either, yet it seems to me that those transmission towers are pretty vulnerable structures.