April 2011

I get some renewable energy newsletters and though you would never know it if you only read/view the fossil fuel controlled mass media, there is a ton of stuff going on. I accumulate some links thinking to post them but I have way more than I will get to so here is a bunch of excerpts from them so I can clean up my Bookmarks.

Gambling When We Don’t Have To

He and I shared a concern about the increasingly hostile, anti-clean energy propaganda from dirty energy-funded critics who are trying to position clean energy as expensive, subsidy-dependent, and “not ready.”…

  • Fossil fuel welfare costs exponentially more than the current, basic policy support for renewables.
  • Policy support for clean energy is something that taxpayers want by overwhelming margins of 70%-90%, while only 8% of Americans want coal and oil corporations to continue receiving their current federal subsidies.
  • Highly profitable, mature dirty energy industries don’t just get subsidies.  They’re also showered with tax breaks, cheap access to public property and forgiven externalities – $500 billion annually for coal alone.
  • Though it claims it’s cheap, dirty energy is on its seventh decade of welfare, without which it can’t survive, according to one of its most ardent defenders….

Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?

Total Clean Energy investment in 2010 was $243 billion.

  • Up 30% over 2009

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations grew 53% over 2009

  • 17 GW of solar was installed in 2010
  • Distributed solar (less than 1 MW) installations doubled to $56 billion, accounting for 26% of total installations.
  • PV hit grid parity in southern Italy due to high electricity prices and good insolation.

Wind grew 34%

  • 40 GW added in 2010

Biofuels slumped

  • Lowest investment since 2005
  • Some markets are oversupplied with conventional biofuels
  • Next generation biofuels are not ready

Solar thermal was not tracked by the report.

  • Concentration Solar Power (CSP) and direct use solar thermal (for water, space, and process heating) were not included
  • I mention this because these are much more significant sectors than marine power, which was included in the report, and given the Pew center’s goal of providing information to policymakers to help them make better informed decisions, I’m hoping they will take the hint and include these important sectors in their next report update…

Phoenix Solar builds solar power plant for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company in Riyadh

Sulzemoos, 14 February 2011 / Oman-based Phoenix Solar L.L.C., a subsidiary of Phoenix Solar AG (ISIN DE000A0BVU93), an international photovoltaic system integrator listed on the German TecDAX, is to build a solar park with a peak power of 3.5 megawatts for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producing company, commissioned Phoenix Solar last year to install a photovoltaic testing field designed to analyse different module technologies at its headquarters in Dhahran…

How Much Could We Save If We Harness Solar and Wind with Electric Vehicles?

We might save money if we harnessed solar and wind to displace all our coal and all the gasoline used for light duty vehicles (cars, SUVs, pick-ups). Let’s see how this works…

Pathway To a 100% Renewable EU by 2050 Unveiled

Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) this week released its new report RE-thinking 2050 a pathway how the European Union can switch to a 100% renewable energy supply for electricity, heating and cooling as well as transport, examining the effects on Europe’s energy supply system and on CO2 emissions. RE-thinking 2050, was initially launched last week.

It assesses how the different renewable energy technologies can contribute to a fully sustainable energy supply by 2050 provided there is strong political, public and economic support for all renewable energy technologies.

“The potential benefits of a future based on renewable energy are multiple: mitigating climate change, ensuring energy security and creating sustainable future-oriented jobs,” said Arthouros Zervos, president of EREC.


The gas pipeline that crosses Bahulaban has been completed and now the reclamation process is about to begin. I had talked to a rep of the pipeline company subcontractor early in the process about some specific details but when I called the  contact, I found out that they were no longer doing the work and that a new company had been subcontracted.

I went to Bahulaban to find out who I needed to talk to by approaching the men who were working there. When I arrived, they were loading a trailer.  One of them had a  muddy garter snake in his hands and was letting it wriggle  over one into the next and then switching his hands so it could keep going. Naturally the conversation turned to snakes.

I told the story of how my wife used to be quite scared of snakes and if she saw a garter snake in the garden would stay out of it for the balance of that day. This lasted until  she saw a garter snake bite her. She knew she was bitten because she saw the snake bite her finger but its teeth were so sharp and thin that she couldn’t even feel it.

We talked about copperheads and how they are easily confused with immature black snakes.

I mentioned that I rarely  see a copperhead here as they are reclusive. One of the guys said that when timber rattlesnakes are cornered they will rattle and try to get away but a trapped copperhead will be more aggressive in attacking as a defensive move.

They said that when working in the mountains of southern West Virginia it wasn’t uncommon to kill 30 or 40 timber rattlesnakes and copperheads in a year.

As there are no timber rattlesnakes in our part of West Virginia the following is academic, but if you ever need to know the sex of a timber rattlesnake here is one method.

The guy said if you pick up a timber rattlesnake by the tail and let it dangle, its penis flops out.

I think it is appropriate to say here, “Kids, don’t try this at home.”


I have previously predicted that there will be a Resurgency in ISKCON when Prabhupada’s disciples start to retire and start coming back into active preaching. The following is an article that enunciates the demographic dynamics that will drive this.

Tips on navigating the new midlife stage

By Kerry Hannon, Special for USA TODAY

Marc Freedman kicks off The Big Shift: Navigating The New Stage Beyond Midlife, with a tale of pulling out his newly minted AARP card to score the “senior discount” at the Homewood Suites in Medford, Ore., while requesting two cribs for a room where his 1-year-old son would soon take his first steps.

Freedman, CEO and founder of Civic Ventures, a think tank on Boomers, work and social purpose, had just turned 50, and like many fellow Boomers was facing an identity crisis. He’d been working hard for 25 years, had been through a health crisis, and was tired. At the same time, he surmised he would probably work another 25 years or so in the second half of his adult life.

He was rattled by uneasy questions. “What’s the category for people like me? There are a growing number of us who can be classified as neither-nors. Neither young nor old. Neither retirees nor of traditional parenting age. Tired, perhaps, but neither ready to be retired nor able to afford it.”

In the past, “the fifties and sixties meant retirement, grandparenthood, senior discounts and early bird specials,” he recalls. But with longer, healthier life spans, that’s all changing. “We need a new map of life,” he writes.

Freedman calls this new life stage “the Encore Stage.”

“The surge of people into this new stage of life is one of the most important social phenomena of the new century,” Freedman writes. “Never before have so many people had so much experience and the time and the capacity to do something significant with it.”

Freedman is a natural storyteller, a deep researcher and a forward thinker. His previous book, Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, struck a chord with Baby Boomers when it came out a few years ago and started the conversation.

This time, he’s banging the drum for deep-seated social and cultural change, and this time it has a personal tinge. At fiftysomething, he is one with his audience. “We’re not talking about a small segment of the population spending a few years off balance, muddling though. This group constitutes what may be the largest group in society, entering a period that could approximate half their adult lives.”

His vision: “As we confront significant challenges in areas like education, the environment and health care, this windfall of talent could help carry us toward a new generation of solutions.”

Freedman’s passion for this emerging stage of aging is palpable. He delves into the work of those who have gone before him, casting a wide net to quote economists, journalists, professors, historians, authors and anthropologists. If there’s any complaint, it’s that he throws too many voices into the mix.

But go with it. Chances are, you’ll find yourself jotting down notes to read more from these experts at a later date.

He discusses efforts underway at community colleges, fellowships and other programs aimed at handling the needs of this growing segment of the population. He tells the stories of what he calls “a new group of pioneers who aren’t waiting for permission from anyone to begin fashioning this new phase.”

John Kerr, 65, for example, moved from a 40-year career of fundraising at public radio station WGBH in Boston to working as a summertime park ranger in Yellowstone working on environmental issues.

Betsy Werley left a 26-year career as a lawyer and manager of corporate projects for an executive director position at The Transition Network, a volunteer-based group for women over 50 “who want to support, help and advise one another as they move together into a new stage of life,” Freedman writes.

His call to action includes:

•Highest Education. “A key part of preparing for the encore phase is supporting continued development and retraining. Now is the time to develop a new kind of education suited to this new stage of life, blending vocational preparation, personal transformation and intellectual stimulation. We invest all our higher-education time and the vast majority of our higher-education dollars in the 18 to 25 period. We need to make higher education “far more adaptable to people at all stages of life,” he urges.

•National Service, Redux. National service programs — most notably the Peace Corps — were designed for young people, but why not create more of these programs for those over 55? He gives the example of the 2010 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The law sets a target of 10% for the proportion of AmeriCorps members over 55. Freedman asks: “Why stop at 10%?”

•Individual Purpose Accounts. Boomers have been tapping their kids’ 529 accounts to go back to school themselves, Freedman writes. We need a savings vehicle to help fund post-midlife transitions. He suggests an IPA — an Individual Purpose Account. Financial-services companies could offer them, and there could be employer matches.

“We better get going,” Freedman implores.

» AKASOL® brand PV backsheet with new colours and designs for integrated building design with solar modules

Vaihingen / Enz, Germany – Manufacturers of solar modules now have the choice: KREMPEL has extended its colour range of AKASOL®-PV backsheet.

In addition to the standard colours white and black, KREMPEL now offers its PV- AKASOL® backsheet in terracotta-red or transparent design. The company thus supports the market trend in architectural design of buildings with solar units.

The new terracotta-red allows manufacturers of solar units to create ideal visual matches for traditional roofs or the shingle roofs of historical buildings. This type of design is not only predominant in southern Germany but also in the southern countries of Europe.

The transparent variant of PV backsheet is highly suitable for modern new buildings with flat roofs as well as special designs for shade-providing constructional superstructures as well as for roof or façade-integrated solar modules. Typical applications include schools, sports stadiums, car ports and green houses.


under a circling hawk
dangling box elder blossoms
flutter ensemble

“A devotee in love with God feels always the pangs of separation and is therefore always enwrapped in transcendental ecstasy.”

Srimad Bhagvatam 1.6.20

“We could not seek God unless He were seeking us. We may begin to seek Him in desolation, feeling nothing but His absence. But the mere fact that we seek Him proves that we have already found Him.”

A Merton Reader, ed. by Thomas P. McDonnell, (New York: Image Books, 1989) 134

Sudras, persons in the mode of ignorance, are generally in deep illusion about the purpose of life, accepting the gross material body as the self. Those in passion and ignorance are called vaisyas and hanker intensely for wealth, whereas ksatriyas, who are in the mode of passion, are eager for prestige and power. Those in the mode of goodness, however, hanker after perfect knowledge; they are therefore called brahmanas.

Srimad Bhagvatam 11.25.21

That action which is regulated and which is performed without attachment, without love or hatred, and without desire for fruitive results is said to be in the mode of goodness.

Bhagavad Gita 18.23

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