Thursday, February 11, 2016

Solar Jobs Report

Think Progress has a nice summary piece about the growth of solar jobs in the United States. California leads the way, which is not surprise, but I am surprised that Massachusetts comes in second. I would have thought Texas, but I guess that a lot of the activity in Texas is around wind.

Solar employment numbers have gone up 20% a year for the last three years. That's fine, but it's a frustrating reminder that if the United States would just do the right thing about climate change and embrace solar then we could be having an employment boom in this country.

But, baby steps for now, I guess. The important thing is to elect a Democrat for President this year, along with as many Senators and Congress people that we can.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Obama's Oil Tax Proposal

John Cushman Jr. at Inside Climate News has a nice summary piece about Obama's proposal to place a $10 per barrel tax on oil.

Cushman's main thrust is that, while Republican control of Congress makes the passage of such a tax impossible, it is a wonderful thing to put the proposal out in public for discussion. Sounds right to me. It occurs to me that needs a new focus.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Integrating Renewable Energy into the Grid

A nice overview from Joe Romm at Think Progress about the techniques that are being used to integrate wind and solar electricity into the energy grid despite the notorious variability of wind and solar.

Spoiler alert: it's going really well.

One of the key developments is the availability of highly accurate forecasts of wind and cloud cover that utilities are successfully using to forecast when they need to fire up a traditional power plant to cover a shortfall. Apparently it's the unpredictability of renewable sources that's the problem, rather than their variability. If utilities can predict their availability then they can cope with the variability.

But I have to say that I was amused by the idea of using the batteries of parked electric cars as a form of energy storage for the grid. The idea is that parked cars, at night, could supply energy from their batteries to the grid on the expectation that early morning wind will recharge these car batteries before the cars are needed for the morning commute. That seems far-fetched to me. But points for thinking outside the box.