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Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Some of you might already know about my work at Duke Energy on a solar photovoltaic distributed generation project. But even if you don’t, the program recently got covered by good ol’ Faux News. Actually, Fox finally put out a story I can’t bash. Proving that in the holiday season, miracles can happen.

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If you are potentially interested in becoming a host site for one of these systems (and you are interested in pulling down a yet un-negotiatied lease payment from Duke for hosting the install, likely in the $50-200/year range) then visit this site to sign up,

http://www.duke-energy.com/nc-solar-panel/nc-solar-distributed-generation-program.asp

Feel free to send the link to your friends and family in Duke’s service territory. We’ll start picking sites in spring 2009 and installations will begin soon after.

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Just so everyone doesn’t feel like it is just economists that are railing on the suggestion of a gas tax holiday, I’ll chime in to say that its a horrible idea.

I don’t have to be an economist to realize that price truly does change the behavior and choice patterns of individuals. The price increases are a result of many things: supply and speculation included. However we must acknowledge that the failure of the supply of light sweet crude to meet the demand of the US economy for light sweet crude is one of the main reasons that gas prices are increasing.

The situation will only get worse if we try to manipulate the price even more through Federal controls (worked great in the 70s? … not really) A higher price also increases the opportunity that people will make new choices when it comes to transportation.

The real problem at hand is that the Federal Government has failed over the last 20 years to develop quality transportation alternatives and incentives for public transit development in city centers. Because of that, Americans have become OK with living in isolated subclusters of housing units (we usually call them suburbs). These suburbs cause people to drive everywhere for everything. It isn’t that we need more fuel efficient cars and substitutes for gasoline engines, although we do need those things, its that we simply drive too much as a society because we want to but mostly because we need to.

And while that sounds like the old stodgy environmentalist line of “conserve, conserve, conserve”, it encapsulates the problem that we have developed ourselves into. We need a focus on urban development policy to make gas price concerns a thing of the past. That reasoning doesn’t even begin to address the importance of price internalizing the externalities generated by mobile pollution sources… I’ll leave that one to the economists.

As you can see, the .40 a gallon won’t go that far when you are talking about $1 increases… sounds like another demand increasing scheme that in the end, will only benefit stockholders

[Chart from the WSJ via Greg Mankiw]

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I had to steal the title of this post straight from TreeHugger because it is so awesome and so true. This photo of Moscow definately makes me happy to live in the US and not Russia or China which have horrible air quality. The US has a long way to go in environmental justice, but at least we aren’t smog nation.

Moscow, Russia, like Sauron's Kingdom

Yes this is Moscow and not a CGI movie set

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Unscrew America!

This is one of the better website designs around! Unscrew America tells you how to save the world by changing your lightbulbs.

https://i0.wp.com/unscrewamerica.org/flash/downloadable/unscrewbanner3.jpg

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