Cows and Environment
May 16, 2013
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May 15, 2013
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By Julie Johnsson and Naureen S. Malik, Bloomberg
A glut of government-subsidized wind power may help accomplish a goal some environmentalists have sought for decades: kill off U.S. nuclear power plants while reducing reliance on electricity from burning coal.
That’s the assessment of executives and utility experts after the U.S. wind-energy industry went on a $25 billion growth binge in 2012, racing to qualify for a federal tax credit that was set to expire at year’s end.
The surge added a record 13,124 megawatts of wind turbines to the nation’s power grid, up 28 percent from 2011. The new wind farms increased financial pressure on traditional generators such as Dominion Resources Inc. and Exelon Corp. in their operating regions. That’s because wind energy undercut power prices already driven to 10-year-lows by an abundance of natural gas.
“Right now, natural gas and wind power are more economic than nuclear power in the Midwestern electricity market,” Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based advocate of cleaner energy, said in a phone interview. “It’s a matter of economic competitiveness.”
Wind-generated electricity supplied about 3.4 percent of U.S. demand in 2012 and the share is projected to jump to 4.2 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The wind power boom has benefited consumers in regions where wind development is fastest, contributing to a 40 percent wholesale power-price plunge since 2008 in the Midwest, for example. Yet the surplus is creating havoc for nuclear power and coal generators that sell their output into short-term markets ….
April 25, 2013
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From Abhay das:
Today is the appearance day of Shyamananda Pandit, and i thought you would appreciate the following pastime.
Syamananda Prabhu’s bhajana-kutir and full Samadhi are still present today in the remote village of Narasinghpur in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj District. Also present there are the two tanks that Syamananda had dug and installed as Radha Kund and Syama Kund.
The worship of Sri Sri Radha Mohanjiu was later passed on to one of Syamananda’s disciples, who became the mahant, temple manager. The local devotees tell an interesting story. The deity was maintained by some agricultural fields that the temple owned. No one was there to help with the farming, so the mahant was working in the fields and also taking care of the deities.
At one point he became very sick. Another devotee was brought in to worship the deities, but there was no one to tend to the fields. The time came to plow the land, but no one was available to do it. Understanding the situation, the mahant cried and prayed to Krishna, “My Lord! What can I do? If the fields are not plowed now then the planting will not be able to go on properly. Then there will be no crops, so how will we take care of You?”
The next morning when the pujari came to wake the deity, he was surprised to find that Krishna’s flute was gone. He also couldn’t understand why there was mud on the deity’s hands and feet. Just at that time a villager came by and congratulated the pujari for plowing the field so nicely the night before. “What are you saying?” the pujari asked, “I didn’t plow the field last night.”
The villager looked at him strangely, and said, “Well, come see for yourself!” When the pujari went to look, he was astonished to find that someone had nicely plowed the field during the night. Noticing something shiny on the ground, he bent down to pick it up – and found Krishna’s flute.
April 22, 2013
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The following is one of the projects I am working on.
May 13th-17th 2013
“During this five-day workshop, we will build the foundation, walls and roof of a 200 square foot cottage. The skills you’ll learn will include how to prepare the site, rammed-earth tire wall construction, bottle wall construction, straw bale construction and basic framing for window, door and roof construction.
“As part of this workshop, you will receive detailed construction drawings for the cottage – a sleeping cottage design that’s easy to build and everyone will love.”
See details here. Scholarships available for devotees.
April 20, 2013
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Ladakh, a remote district of India’s northernmost state, is currently benefiting from the largest off-grid renewable energy project in the world. The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is spending INR473 billion (US$88.8 million) on decentralized solar and hydro technologies to bring energy security to this remote mountain region. Why Ladakh?
“Because we Ladakhis are closer to God,” smiles Jigmet Takpa, project director of the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA). “Our sunshine is high quality. We have an average of 320 sunny days every year and the mountain air is thin and cold, making the operation of photovoltaic systems highly efficient. Ladakh is a solar paradise.”
Ladakh, known as the Land of High Passes, is a high-altitude cold desert region in Jammu & Kashmir state, neighboring China to the east and Pakistan to the north. It is a focus of the 3.5 year Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative (LREI), a 28.3 MW energy revolution, now in its final year.
Ladakh is manifesting a flagship role in national renewable energy policy. Although Ladakh is a small district with sparse population, its rugged geography means that many dispersed communities are beyond the viable reach of the regional grid system. Stand-alone renewables are the obvious solution. “The harsh environment makes it the perfect test case for the technology itself, and for future policy: to prove to the government and the public that renewables have a valid role to play,” says Dr. Parvind Saxena, director of MNRE in Delhi.
Electrifying rural areas is a prime government concern. Prime Minister Manoman Singh gave his personal commitment to electrify every Indian household by 2017. The 2005 Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) program has pursued grid electrification of villages, and the 2009 Remote Village Electrification Program makes off-grid provision, but 400 million Indians still lack access to modern forms of energy, and 20,000 villages are too remote to ever realistically be grid-connected.
Displacing High-cost Diesel
Beyond the social expectations, there is also a financial incentive to this initiative. “We noted that, bar a couple of small hydro projects, almost the entire region, including the Border Defense Force, was using diesel generation (DG) for electricity and kerosene for space heating, and due to Ladakh’s remote location, fuel is imported by road at a very high cost. Harsh winters close those roads for at least five months of the year, exacerbating energy vulnerability and deprivation,” says Saxena.
Prior to the LREI, Ladakh generated a total of 25 MW electricity. Of some 240 villages, 187 received electrification by micro-grid for a few hours each day, 75 percent by diesel and the remainder by small hydro. A few remote communities entirely lacked electricity.
“The high cost of DG in Ladakh, currently INR25-28/kWh (US$0.47-0.52), makes renewable energy very competitive,” says Takpa. “Off-grid solar PV-generated electricity worked out over 20 years’ system-life in Ladakh currently comes to INR16-18/kWh ($0.30-0.34). And the cost of solar keeps falling due to technological development and scalability.
The International Renewable Energy Agency‘s (IRENA) November 2012 report confirmed renewable energy as the default option for off-grid electricity provision, with solar PV now a cheaper option than diesel in many locations.
The LREI’s use of dispersed hydro and solar PV have rapidly replaced diesel to a large extent and avoided unnecessary extension of long, expensive grid lines. According to LREDA figures, the total expected saving of diesel in Ladakh from hydro and PV generation is 35 million litres per year or approximately INR1.6 billion ($32 million) annually, a substantial saving for the government.
April 19, 2013
My hemoglobin is low and I have no help so the spring planting with ISKCON and my garden get all the attention, alas poor blog.
Asparagus is coming in almost three weeks later than last year. 2012 March we had unusually warm weather and asparagus in the first week of April which was early. This year March was well below average and even the first week of April was wintery so the asparagus is later than usual.
The forsythia came in late but now is lingering beautifully as it is now like full blown spring with no frosts to tinge it. The daffodils started late but now the late ones are blooming at the same time as the earliest so that season is compressed.
At dialysis I am riding the bike but while in good energy it is 70 rpm I am lucky to do 50 rpm. They claim they are increasing the hormone to raise the hemoglobin but it takes weeks to resond and the increase three weeks ago clearly wasn’t enough.
March 29, 2013
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The 2012 report cites Apple’s planned expansion into “iDataCenters” to support its booming iCloud services, which at the time were thought to be powered mostly by fossil fuels. Apple was given poor rankings due to its apparent lack of initiative in clean energy and efficiency. Due to this lack of commitment, “Apple [was] finding itself behind other companies such as Facebook and Google who are angling to control a bigger piece of the cloud. Instead of playing catch up, Apple has the ingenuity, on-hand cash and innovative spirit to Think Different and make substantial improvements in the type of energy that powers its cloud,” according to Greenpeace.
Shortly after the report was released — and Greenpeace hosted several colorful protests — Apple announced it would power its three new data centers in North Carolina, Oregon and California would be fully powered by renewable energy. Its Maiden, NC facility includes two 20-MW solar PV installations, with its remaining power to derived from a 10-MW biogas plant, fuel cells and renewable power purchased from local and regional sources — which are all set to be up and running by the end of 2013. It is locally sourcing wind power for its Newark, Calif. center and will do the same with a mix of renewable sources at its Prineville, Ore. center. Its next data center in Reno, Nevada will be powered by onsite geothermal and solar sources.
Apple is standing by its commitment to be powered entirely by renewables company-wide. According to its Environmental Footprint Report, “The implementation of our energy strategy results in an energy supply mix unique to each location. In all cases, though, Apple’s goal is to meet our energy needs with 100 percent clean, renewable energy that reduces GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.”
Greenpeace acknowledged Apple’s swift turnaround in a statement: “Apple’s announcement shows that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future. Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud will be powered by clean energy sources, not coal.”
March 17, 2013