Streamline permits for solar

Citizens can promote sustainability by making sure that communities and states have updated their codes and standards for installation of solar panels. States, cities and even planning commissions can choose to encourage or to block homeowners and businesses from adopting cost saving solar power. There are wide differences in waiting time and cost for permits to install photovoltaics. As the cost of solar panels drops, old and costly permitting requirements can double to price of solar installation.The US Department of Energy studied and reported on major gaps in 2010 and helped fund the Solar ABCs, recommending standards and codes for installation. In half a dozen states, solar panels provide cheaper electricity even without subsidies. With current federal tax credits, solar rooftop electricity is competitive with local electric costs in all but a few states.

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/21/local-permitting-makes-a-bigger-difference-as-solar-gets-cheap/

http://solarabcs.org/about/index.html

http://www.ilsr.org/why-pay-double-solar-america/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2012/07/05/cut-the-price-of-solar-in-half-by-cutting-red-tape/

Tea Party support for clean energy

Tea Party supporters in Georgia are calling for more consumer choice in energy. Debbie Dooley, a national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots argued for a vote by the Public Service Commission of Georgia to require Georgia Power to add solar generation to its portfolio. In an interview with Chris Hayes in ‘All In’ she said, “We care about our environment.  We believe things should be done in a conservative way. ..This solar plan will not have to be subsidized.  We believe this giant utility monopoly deserves some competition and that consumers deserve a choice. …Show us in constitution where a government can pick winners & losers and set up a monopoly and be an impediment to the free market. We believe it is wrong.  In the next legislative session we will be asking the legislators to overturn the Territorial Right Act of 1973 that actually allowed these monopolies to take place.”

Byron Dorgon, a former Senator from North Dakota agreed and went further. “If we want more clean and renewable energy in this country, we have to do something about it. Thirty states have renewable energy standards, good for them, they are the heros. States need to make choices about what kind of future they want.  …. There should be renewable standards in every state should have them. We ought to have a national energy standard.”

Encouraged by public support by both the Atlanta Tea Party and the Georgia Sierra Club, members of the Public Service Commission voted on July 11, 2013 to require Georgia Power to generate more power from solar, adding 525 megawatts by  2016.  Although the power company had argued for months that such a move would raise rates, after the vote, the company’s attorney said that the addition of more solar probably would not affect power bills.

http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-07-10/ga-power-says-closing-coal-plant-wont-make-room-solar

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-utility-regulators-back-unprecedented-sola/nYnBk/ – cmComments

Pikes Peak conquered by Winning Electric Motorbike

Go Electric!  Lightening Motorcycle’s electric sportbike won the race up Pikes Peak this year. It beat the next closest competitor, a gas powered Ducati, by a full 20 seconds. The 12 mile track climbs 4720 feet to the top of one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot high peaks.  

Clean Energy is Patriotic

A response to a comment that ‘environmentalists are anti-American’.
Top military advisors have repeatedly stated that US dependence on fossil fuels is a serious vulnerability for our national defense for several reasons.
First, the relatively small amount of oil and natural gas reserves on US territory, 4% of the world total, means that the prices and reliable provision of these fuels are not within our control. Wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen and algae fuel could all be manufactured in America, by Americans, and purchased for American security without giving favors to other countries or obligating us to meet their demands.
Second, the disruption of the climate mostly caused by burning fossil fuels is a threat to peace. Increasing droughts, floods, rising seas, acid oceans and fires are reducing food and water supplies and increasing instability, unrest and pressures to emigrate, a serious pressure on our military.

The cost of fuel is another factor. In 2010, army installations spent $2.1 billion on electricity. A $10 rise in the price of a barrel of oil costs the military an extra billion.A strong American industry manufacturing green energy and efficiency technology would be of great benefit to our military. Changing electricity sources for military installations to clean energy would help scale up the industry and reduce prices.

Finally, there is a safety factor. Installing solar panels and insulation on tents to reduce fuel convoys saves troops’ lives. Reducing use of flammable and polluting fuels is better for our health. 

It is thoroughly American to protect the purity of our waters, the stability of our climate,  and the freedom of consumers to choose new and improved products free from unfair competition by entrenched monopolies.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/oct/28/oil-us-military-biofuels

http://bit.ly/11wje2a

http://www.cna.org/EnsuringFreedomofMovement

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism

Wind, Water, and Sunlight Power a Plan for a Better Economy

‘We can’t afford a green energy economy” is a myth, obvious to people who are paying attention to the hyper expensive effects of a planet-scorching fossil fuel economy.

However, now a group of scientists, headed by Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford have crunched the numbers and laid out a serious plan for a transition to an affordable energy infrastructure in New York State that uses primarily wind, water and sun. It does not require that we ‘live in trees and eat bugs’. To the contrary, it reduces our energy costs, creates millions of jobs, improves public health and costs less than the side effects of continuing to burn fossil fuels.

The report is Examining the Feasibility of Converting NY State’s All-Purpose Energy Infrastructure to One Using Wind, Water, and Sunlight  2013  Mark Z Jacobson, Robert W Howarth, Mark A Delucchi et al.

This plan calls for electricity to be generated by solar, wind, geothermal and some hydro and wave technology.  It calls for batteries and hydrogen fuel cells in cars, trucks, buses, locomotives and ships. For heating and cooling buildings, it uses ground source heat pumps and heat exchangers.

The investment in new energy infrastructure would increasingly develop low-carbon technologies and by 2020, all new investment would be in these systems, The savings would help us phase out old fuel dependent systems by 2050.

Since renewable electricity is several times more efficient than fossil fuel combustion, losing very little energy to waste heat, the plan reduces electric usage.  

It would stabilize energy prices bringing electric rates down   from $.18/kWh to $.13/kWh, create millions of new jobs, reduce air pollution and improve public health.

The transition would help us deal with what Jacobson describes as “the epic environmental and ecological costs we all pay for our current energy supply,”  a “Fiscal Energy Cliff.” See Interviews and story on the report in Huff post.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-clark/mark-z-jacobson-renewable-energy_b_2859518.html

http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf

Spin Cells for Solar Power

Spin Cells for Solar Power

Washington State Clean Energy Leader Governor Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee spoke at the Washington Clean Technology Alliance conference on Clean Energy. Jan 28, 2013:
To hear his remarks go to http://americansecurityproject.org/blog/2013/gov-inslee-speech-at-clean-energy-conference-in-seattle/
The following is a condensed, approximate transcript of what he said.
“This is the season. Clean energy technologies are becoming mature. Last Saturday I went to the launch of world’s largest long liner fishing ship; it is 20% more efficient than other ships like it. It is made by welders, machinists, and carpenters, and it is in the water today. Everywhere I look in Washington State, there is work in green technology. Dave Curry in Spokane has a new way to store energy in batteries. In Marysville they are making new tougher solar panels. We have a maturation of these innovations. This is a time to speak up about the successes.
A superstorm targeted the media center of the world. It demands attention. There have been terrible fires in the Cascades, and oyster growers have had to move part of their operations to Hawaii. The public is ready, poised and ready.
My election is a mandate, and now we have a partner in Washington DC.
The military is committed to move ahead. They are developing net zero training bases. A jet flew over sound barrier on biofuel; they call it the green hornet.
We do not have any other choice. The Chinese are not waiting for us. Germans and Portuguese are not waiting for us. This is an opportunity, not an entitlement. Time demands that we move.
We have a period of opportunity. We are going to push the envelope, here in Washington. We did that in commercial aircrafts and we led the world. We did it in software and we led the world. Now is the time to lead the way in clean energy.
Policy is important in pushing the envelope. Here is what we are going to do in the State of WA.
First, incentivize small but meaningful ways to generate capital with tradable R& D tax credits which can be traded to help people start their own business even before get revenue. A couple of other states, including New Jersey, have tried this and it has succeeded.
Businesses need to get started; waiting for permits is not good. Time is money, we need to streamline the permit system.
We have 600 students waiting to get into engineering school. We need their skills. So we will build an educational system that prepares people to work in high tech so when need computational scientists, we can get them. We need to build an outstanding educational system, and invest more in public research institutions.
Products need to move, so we need to increase freight mobility and at the same time reduce carbon pollution throughout the system in all modalities. We will expand incentives for renewable energy, and build a transportation system designed to reduce carbon intensity across Washington State.
I want everyone here to help me. It is time.”