51. Battling the Battery Bashers

  Battling the Battery Bashers Our efforts with this column are primarily aimed at keeping a perspective on the issues surrounding consumer and voter choices when it comes to Energy. “Energy” in the sense of “How to address and move forward from the obsolete fossil fuel society that now imperils the planet.” How do we as consumers and voters screen out industry propaganda and parse scientific data so we can help with reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?  There are countless topics illustrating the mortal struggle between the energy Forces of Change and the Powers That Be. This struggle is characterized by the maligning of renewables and all technology associated with them.  You’ve doubtless noticed this, and you don’t want to believe all the bad news about the “dark side” of renewable energy technologies and products. But if something is repeated in your face 10 times a day, a little bit of it infiltrates the brain crevices, followed closely by a little more; soon the channels

50. Prius vs Pick-up, Can We Lay It to Rest?

  Prius vs Pick-up, Can We Lay It to Rest? Despite our attempts to stay abreast of misinformation about current energy topics related to the climate crisis, we are continually caught off-guard by new doozies. One of those experiences was at the Common Ground Fair this year. While staffing a climate solutions booth at the fair, one of us engaged in conversation with a friendly visitor who shared how much he regretted that electric cars were certainly no answer to the CO2 problem. “Well,” we ventured, “certainly not THE answer, but part of it?” Oh no, he assured us, his son had learned at community college - they had “done the calculations” - that his diesel pick-up will have produced less CO2 over its 280,000 mile lifetime than a Prius would produce in its first year, if you count the CO2 involved in its manufacture. Since the One of Us staffing that booth was not the one with the scientific cred, or even the information at hand, we could only ask for clarification. “Well it’s the lithi

49. The Lens We Look Through

  The Lens We Look Through We recently received a “newspaper” in the mail, unsolicited, called The Epoch Times, subtitled “Truth & Tradition.” Despite the opportunity for 70% off our first subscription, we’ll probably have to decline. Somehow, even the entertainment value of the ominous-toned article,“UN Education Agency Launches War On Conspiracy Theories” can’t tempt us to subscribe. The paper, of course, reflects the full panoply of far right extremist “views,” more like dogma really, among which we can count fossil fuel propaganda and global warming denial. One newspaper should probably not distress us to any great degree, even though its content and point of view are biased to the point of relying almost completely on mis-information and outright lies for content…Or should it actually bother us a lot? What if this paper is just one small lens-piece in the misinformation kaleidoscope through which many people view the world? A kaleidoscope consisting of social media, FOX News,

48. Are E-Bikes for You?

  Are E-Bikes for You? Having been born into modern Car Culture, most of us fail to appreciate the profound merit of the humble bicycle. True, some equate it with happy childhoods, some appreciate its exercise value, some derive significant recreation value from it, but what about primary transportation? Donning our climate crisis lens, we note that transportation generates ¼ of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Cars, trucks, buses - even EVs are responsible for emissions, when accounting for their manufacture and their electricity sources. Bicycles have zero emissions.  The invention of the modern “safety bicycle” in the late 1800s revolutionized human transportation. Costing about $100 equivalent in 1901, the bicycle was cheaper and safer than the means of transportation it replaced: walking or horse-back riding. That simple machine delighted its riders with new freedom, independence, fun and convenience. Its popularity was responsible for the establishment of road systems and was behi

47. Good News for Energy Conscious Households

  Good News for Energy Conscious Households The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will offer some nice opportunities for households to save on energy costs and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.  Electric vehicle tax credits, extension of the residential rooftop solar tax credit, a new 30% tax credit for residential battery storage systems, direct rebates to low and moderate income households, and tax deductions for household energy efficiency upgrades are featured. While a thorough summary of these programs does not seem to exist yet, here is what we’ve been able to piece together from various sources: Electric vehicle tax credit   New vehicles:  up to $7500 credit for a new EV. You no longer need to have $7500 in tax liability to receive the full credit. It can be used at the time of purchase rather than waiting until tax filing. It applies to all manufacturers regardless of the number of vehicles already sold (The old credit stopped after a manufacturer had sold 200,000 EVs). Used

46. Quiz Time!!

  Quiz Time!!  Have you been paying attention in class?  Here’s a chance to test your “energy literacy” - don’t worry, you get to grade your own paper. Answers below (go ahead and cheat even!). But if you want to nerd out a bit or try to get a good grade, we invite you to revisit the referenced columns at Extra credit if you email us! During the big polar vortex freeze of January 2021 Texas experienced a massive blackout and failure of its power grid. The main cause of the failure was (article #20) Frozen wind turbines The Green New Deal Water freezing up in natural gas pipelines  Snow on solar panels True or False - Currently there are twice as many solar jobs in the U.S. as jobs in the coal industry (article #45) True or False: Currently the world's largest direct-air carbon capture plant can only capture enough carbon to compensate for the CO2 output of 300 average Americans (article #41) True or False: An acre of photovoltaics prod