Tag Archives: fracking

Major Shift in Global Energy Power Sources Begins

Cellphone-battery-power-tower

It appears a major, century long shift is in its infancy of reordering how power is supplied to homes, businesses and modes of transportation.

Increases in battery storage technology, lower battery weights, available higher capacity lithium, and faster super-chargers are about to change how energy is supplied to the masses in a major way.

Hence the 60% haircut in the global price of oil over the past six months.

Over the past couple of weeks major announcements are coming out as to the utilization of solar, wind and battery storage. Two of the three largest global mega-corporations, Apple Computer and Google, have just announced, within days of each other, that they were going to be powering their main HQ’s by solar and wind power exclusively.

Apple to build $2B solar-powered “command center”

Google Will Soon Use Wind Power to Run Its HQ

Across the pond, in the U.K., announcements are also being made as to the mass rollout of the mini-electric car as well. And even IKEA, the home furnishing store, is also a stepping up as major player in the electric car charger market.

 Speedy charging driving a global boom in electric cars

IKEA promises rapid rollout of electric car chargers

This week, Tesla, the leader in battery powered automobiles, announced that they would be making decentralized battery powered home energy systems. In the not so distant future home power will come from either mini power stations in your neighborhoods or self -contained systems at your home.

Wall Street Journal: Apple Is Working on an Electric Car

The rumors have been getting stronger all week, and now they’ve come to a head: WSJ is reporting that Apple is indeed working on a car. “Project Titan,” as it’s known internally, is an all-electric vehicle that apparently “resembles a minivan” in its current iteration and has a team of several hundred people working on it.

That’s not to say that there’ll ever be an Apple car on the road, necessarily. WSJ hedges its report, noting that it’d be several years at least before Titan could be ready for production, and that’s assuming Cook and company decide to go through with the project.

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BASF Doubles Nickel-Metal Hydride Energy Storage

Via: MIT Technology Review:

Almost every automaker interested in producing electric cars is betting on improvements to lithium-ion batteries to make the cars cheaper and extend their driving range.

But scientists at BASF are exploring the possibilities of an older type of battery, nickel-metal hydride, now used in hybrids. They recently doubled the amount of energy that these batteries can store, making them comparable to lithium-ion batteries. And they have a plan to improve them far more, potentially increasing energy storage by an additional eight times.

LG Chem to Build Battery Storage Systems Worth $272 Million for Japanese Solar Plants

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Tesla Plans Battery for Household Energy-Storage Market

Tesla Motors Inc., best known for making the all-electric Model S sedan, is using its lithium-ion battery technology to position itself as a frontrunner in the emerging energy-storage market that supplements and may ultimately threaten the traditional electric grid.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said during an earnings conference call with analysts Wednesday.

California’s largest utility also has just announced that it is moving heavily into the community solar grid business.

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The Perfect Storm

 

The Perfect Storm; Grow Local or Grow Hungry?
By Jamie Lee

Most of us who live in the United States have always assumed that our food would be available in abundance at our commercial grocery stores at affordable prices, at least for the past three generations. Most have never spent a thought about what they would do if their basic weekly food staples became unavailable and/or priced out of affordability to all except those in the upper class of our society.

Back in the early 1900’s, 44% of the country were farmers and 22% of our net income was spent to put food on the table. Today less than 2% of the jobs in this country involve farming and 7% of middle class income on average is spent on food. This is in large part due to the just-in-time industrial globalization of food supply, large food subsidies to Big Ag doled out by our government, and the creation of synthetically modified “foodstuff” through biotechnology since 1966.

A Perfect Storm is upon us this spring 2014 in California and well beyond.

The gale force storm is likely to blow serious price changes to the price and availability of our basic foods through the months and years ahead due to several different factors that affect food costs and availability, or as called in businessese ,“structural prices change”. This March of 2014 has seen the largest increase in beef and veal prices since 2003 while milk prices globally are hitting all-time record highs. According to the U.S. Labor Department, since the end of 2013, lean hog prices have risen 42.5%, oats 29%, cocoa 11.8%, wheat 11.9%, cattle meat 11.4% and raw sugar 3.9%.

As what happens in many a crisis’ it is not usually one catastrophic event that causes great disruptions and significant abrupt change in lifestyles, but many times seemingly random unrelated events occurring simultaneously or in quick succession, which can cause great upheaval and long-term deviation from previous periods of seemingly long-term normalcy.

Additionally, weather-wise, history shows us that there are long periods of constant and consistent “Goldie Locks” planetary environments which have been followed by sudden, abrupt rapid climate changes. We appear to now be one of those times as the Eastern half of the U.S. endures an endless winter while Californian records historical drought conditions, yet to our immediate North, Oregon has recorded record cold snows this past winter. Globally, it is much the same story.  Europe is blasted this winter with massive winds and storms while Alaska reports 40 degree above normal temps and Australia has to reset their color coded weather warnings to accommodate never before seen temperatures that reached 130 degrees this summer.

 

California officials who manage the State Water Project announced in early March that they won’t be releasing any water for farmers, marking a first in its 54-year history.

Farmers are hit hardest, but they’re not alone. Contractors that provide cities with water can expect to receive half of their usual amount, the Bureau said, and wildlife refuges that need water flows in rivers to protect endangered fish will receive 40 percent of their contracted supply.

3300 water contractors that provide farmers with water and hold historic agreements giving them senior rights will receive 40 percent of their normal supplies. Some contracts date back over a century and guarantee that farmers will receive at least 75 percent of their water.

One of those is the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority in Los Banos that provides irrigation for 240,000 acres of farmland. The Water Authority’s executive director Steve Chedester said farmers he serves understand that the reality of California’s drought means it’s going to be tough to find enough water for them. “They’re taking a very practical approach,” he said. “If it’s not there, it’s just not there.”

For the State of California, most in the state are critically dependent on what water comes off the Sierra and as noted above there will not be very much water to allocate.

The snowpack – often called California’s largest reservoir – normally provides about a third of the water used by cities and farms as it melts into streams and reservoirs in spring and early summer.

California’s major reservoirs, mostly bereft of both snow and rain this winter as the drought pushes through its third year, are dangerously low. Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project’s (SWP) principal reservoir, is at only 39 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity (57 percent of its historical average for the date). Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, is at 38 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity capacity (52 percent of its historical average). San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta reservoir for both the SWP and CVP, is at a mere 33 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity (39 percent of average for this time of year).

With no end to the drought in sight, DWR on January 31 set its allocation of State Water Project water at zero. The only previous zero percent allocation (water delivery estimate) was for agriculture in the drought year of 1991, but cities that year received 30 percent of requested amounts. This is the first time the allocation has been set at zero across the board. (Source)

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