Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

Brave new electric world

December 1, 2008

23_MINI_E.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you had a great holiday.

I have already experienced how much fun it is to drive BMW’s MINI Cooper and soon I could be driving one of the most environmentally friendly efficient cars at the same time.

I had read the news that BMW was soon to introduce an all-electric version of the MINI but I wasn’t going to get my hopes up.  The new electric-powered MINI E, however, as displayed at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, just blew me away.  If they can keep the costs under control, this car will be a true winner.  It can go 0 to 62 in 8.5 seconds, travel 150 miles on a single charge, and reach a top speed of 95 miles an hour.

The first version will carry two passengers and will require an additional “fast charge” box that will reduce charged time to about 2 ½ hours.

Happy motoring!

 

JCE

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We need leadership

October 23, 2008

Here is some food for thought. Take a look at:

 http://www.env-econ.net/2008/10/the-economic-th.html.

Simple economics principles are at work here; Supply and demand. The price of oil goes up the demand for renewable energy also goes up. Currently there’s a huge shortage of wind turbines. See:

http://www.windenergynews.com/content/view/932/43/

And it’s just getting worse. See:

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2008/10/09/turbine-shortage-delays-projects/

As the prices of oil fall and the demand for a renewable energy sources remains high, demand will fall and hopefully prices will fall as well. And then we’ll go right back to using all the oil we can and renewable energy will fade again to a distant memory.  Then we’ll sit back and enjoy a ride in our giant trucks and SUVs; fat dumb and happy.  Renewable energy falls off the radar just like it did in the past.

There are many different opinions and approaches but democracy will prevail and dig us out of this hole. As you can see, pure capitalism fails miserably when faced with this sort of issue. When we become puppets of large corporations we are doomed to a boom and bust economy. Long-term solutions and long-term thinking pays off here. Europe has had a long-term plan for a long time. United States has had no plan (and no clue) for a long time. Our plan has consists of a series of starts and stops following the rise and fall of oil prices. It looks like the heartbeat and now it’s pretty much in cardiac arrest. Much of this has been orchestrated by large automobile manufacturers, the airline industry, auto parts manufacturers, and large oil companies. As long as there have been large corporations in the United States we have been ruled by greed, collusion and shortsightedness.

D. Eisenhower

There has been no long-term plan since Dwight D. Eisenhower came up with his vision for the future and created the interstate system of superior highways that we have today. Europe on the other hand has developed a superior mass transportation system and has hardly been impacted are all by the increasing fuel prices. In the great streetcar scandal of 1947 to 1949 General Motors and eight other companies including tire and big oil companies systematically eliminated America’s light rail system. They were all found guilty and only fined $5000 each. And this is just one example of the many such secret agreements and collusions involving large corporations with great amounts of money involved. Uncontrolled capitalism suffers from an old saying that goes something like this “a fool with a plan will do better than a genius without one.”

We need a challenge with a clear goal like John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University in Huston Texas. He clearly stated that America was going to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. We need leadership and we need a challenge with a clear goal. We need a great leader that will demand that America become energy independent and import no energy by the end of the decade. Lobbyists for large corporations and partisan special interests should play no part in this process.

It is common sense that any finite supply of a substance such as fossil fuels will diminish as it is consumed. Eventually there will be none of it left to be consumed. As demand increases from emerging economies such as China and India and eventually the rest of the world, prices will increase and that is assured. Decreasing demand around the entire globe would be the only way to keep the prices of Petroleum Products low and stable.

Boone Pickens’s right. To me it makes sense that in very hot areas such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California to name a few for example experience peak energy use for air conditioning and industry on a hot sunny days during the daylight hours. This can be addressed with solar energy to avoid the rolling brownouts and blackouts that we’ve seen in California. From my experiences here in Wisconsin, the sun often shines on the coldest days and the wind blows on the cloudy days when the fronts to come through. On the hottest days a summer the sun is shining bright, it is a very hot and our conditioners are running all the time. Storing solar energy is simply an engineering problem that is being solved as we speak. Advances in thin film solar cell technology have reduced the price to about a $1.30 per kilowatt hour. The cells are rapidly decreasing in price and should reach a competitive price of a dollar or less in the near future. As for the huge solar concentrators that heat water to steam to power turbines, the superheated water generates electricity during the day. At night this hot water under pressure could be stored inside insulated tanks buried in the ground. When electricity usage is much lower during the night, the pressurize water could then released back into the system and is able to power the turbines. This generates less electricity when less electricity is needed.

The desolate an empty desert southwest would be an excellent area to install a huge expanse of solar generators. In the Midwest corridor is an excellent place where huge when farm. It is also been proposed to install a huge when generation facility in the center of the shallow plateau that exists in the middle of Lake Michigan. Wind is constant and reliable in that location. All the solutions would need distribution systems and transmission lines. This is probably the largest complaint of many utilities. But if you look at history you’ll see that when large dams, like the Hoover dam are built the infrastructure is created to supply areas where it is needed. Build it and they will come. We have to plan ahead.

Yes these projects would increase the deficit substantially. However, in the long term there would be fewer wars and much less money spent. The deficit would become a surplus and a windfall would pay off the debt of the United States.

John Eberhardt

https://johnceberhardt.wordpress.com/