May 2013



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 ….

Read more here

It was a beautiful day, I had a little energy, and was way behind in the garden so I called in and asked if I could come to dialysis late. Normally I go in at 3 PM but got permission to come in at 5 PM instead. Normally by 3 I am exhausted and that time works  for me but that day 5 could happen.

One thing I did with the extra time was to clip a few sprigs of Daphne odorata an extremely fragrant shrub that throws its scent even when cut.  I took it to dialysis to suck up to the nurses. Sucking up to people who have large needles is in my own best interest IMHO.

There are 16 chairs in the dialysis unit 8 on each side separated by a  low wall.   I was at one end of the room and the nurses station was at the other. After 7 PM the 3 o’clock shift of patients had left and I was by myself  on one side of the room.

Then, though I couldn’t see it behind me, the nurses noted that a puddle was forming. They called maintenance who came promptly. They cleared the clog but as it is a two story building, there came a rush of sewage smell water that formed a small lake around me. The maintenance men asked if I could be moved but the answer was no.

Each patient has a card, larger than a credit card, with a chip on it. All your info is stored on that like what size needles to use, history of your weigh ins and weigh outs, what medicines to administer through the IV etc. It records each session . They said that the computers on each machine don’t talk to each other so once you start a session with one you can’t be moved.

So there I was in the middle of sewage smell.  They pulled me as far from the wall as my cords would stretch but that was it.

The nurses were all huddled at the far end of the room. They said they were grateful I had brought  the flowers because that scent was masking the malodorous. They also repeatedly expressed their regret I was stuck in the middle of it. It took about a half an hour to clean it up.

In the meantime I assured them that this wasn’t the worst I had smelled. While the list is long, here are a couple of examples.

Sonny Neibergall had built a small hog confinement facility on a farm next to us.  They lived on concrete and their manure fell into a pit below and he washed the floors with a hose so the waste was a liquid. He had an 800 gallon tank for spreading it that took him 15 minutes to fill. At that time we aslo dealt with our cow manure as a liquid so we had a 2000 gallon tank I could fill in 7 minutes.

As he realized he wasn’t going to be able to keep up spreading we cut a deal, I would spread his manure in exchange for keeping half of it. Calculating out the value of the plant nutrients in the pig manure, it was profitable for me to do so. Eventually as he didn’t have enough land to absorb all his manure, I ended up getting the greater portion of it.

But pig manure stinks, much more so than the sewage at dialysis. The nose is merciful and after about 30 minutes it says screw this I am leaving and you don’t smell it anymore but it is bad for a while.

Another scent adventure I had was over at old Nandagram  while disking some corn ground. As I was doing rounds on the field I was getting the full range of experience in the material world.  At one end  there was an autumn olive blooming which throws its scent and is heavenly, like you are bathing in it.

At the other end of the field was something dead and in the worst state of putrefaction. I had too much ground to cover and too little daylight so I didn’t venture into the woods to see what it was but based on the volume of reekage it had to have been a deer.

It made me contemplate how while there is some enjoyment in the material world, you also have to take the unpleasant along with it. This is motivation to do right things and accept the mercy of the great souls so we can escape the samsara, the cycle of birth and death, and go back home, back to Godhead where we can get the autumn olive without the corpse.

Anyway, I assured the nurses  I had been through worse, I could cope with a little sewage and soon it was over so permanent damage done and hey, something to write about.

T0day I crossed 108 miles in my journey to Daytona Beach in my imagination on my exercise bike at dialysis.  That leaves 921 miles to go.

My hemoglobin is 10.5 so I have some energy to do stuff which is nice, as Ilots of gardening to do and the  Green Builders workshop is in full swing.

This is running from today until Friday. We need participants so workshop fees have been waived so please show up if you can, even to pound one tire will help.