Archive for June, 2010

Biking is Illegal for first time in the US

Posted on June 30, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , |

The little town of Black Hawk, Colorado main motto is “Preserving the Past, Providing for the Future, Still Making History.” Well, there are making history all right — Black Hawk is the first town to ban cycling, punishing anyone who rides a bicycle with a $68 dollar fine. Since June 5 (right after the law had been stated), eight tickets have been issued. The Black Hawk website conveys that “this ordinance is necessary for the preservation of health and safety and for the protection of public convenience and welfare.”  Not everyone is so keen on the new law, especially cyclists. Cyclists riding in on Colorado highway 279, a main route through the town, would have to dismount and walk about 400 meters. The Cyclists who live in Black Hawk are getting frustrated! They are getting ready to protest for their right to ride! At this point, the counsil of Black Hawk has no intention of appealing the law: “they believe their actions are what’s best for its citizens in Black Hawk, which are casinos and their patrons.”

More info: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/18/black-hawk-colorado-bans-cyclists

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Ironic BP Advertisments

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Events, News | Tags: , |

BP’s ironic advertisements over the years – ironic, I think yes

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Clarifying The Energy Debate

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , |

With the manner in which mainstream reporters have been covering the renewable energy industry, most of us can be forgiven in thinking that renewable energy is much more expensive to produce and operate than traditional carbon energy.  However, this is far from the truth.

The first myth is that renewable energy (and specifically wind) is more expensive to produce than coal.  But according to the Energy Information Administration, the total cost of generating coal power is between 4.8-5.5 cents /KWh.  Utility scale wind is already being produced at between 4.0-6.0 cents / KWh (and next gen technology is aiming to decrease that by one-third).

The second myth is that the renewable energy industry will only survive with continued government subsidies and support.  But the fact is that of all energy sources in the country, coal continues to be the largest recipient of government subsidies (by far).  Electricity production subsidies per unit of production (dollars per megawatt hour, MWh) vary by fuel.  In 2009, electricity from refined coal received $29.81 per MWh, solar received $24.34 /MWh, and wind received $23.37 /MWh.

*It is important to note that not all coal consumed in the USA is “refined coal”.  However, there is a general trend towards phasing out unrefined coal, due to its inherent inefficiency.  Refining coal (through the K-Fuel process) uses heat and pressure to remove approximately 30 percent of the moisture from raw, low-rank coal and raises its thermal content to approximately 11,000 Btu per pound – making it more efficient to burn.  But according to The Union of Concerned Scientists, “refining coal is a relatively simple process where coal is washed with a water or chemical bath to remove some impurities.  Refining coal does not decrease the coal’s CO2 emission upon being burned, but simply decreases its sulfur and mercury output.”  So while refined coal is cleaner than unrefined coal, it is still more polluting (by far) and MORE heavily subsidized than either wind or solar.

The domestic coal and oil industries receive roughly $70 billion annually in the form of government subsidies.  This is compared to the $26 billion that the renewable energy industry and energy efficiency received in 2009.

It is important to understand that entrenched carbon interests are trying to cloud (literally) the energy debate.

It is NOT cheaper to produce and operate coal power than wind power.

Coal and oil are the LARGEST recipients of government energy subsidies.

And we haven’t even touched upon the subject of external costs – which would make producing and operating coal and oil plants MUCH more expensive . . . we’ll continue this conversation on this point later in the week.

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New Study Shows Climate Skeptics Lack Scientific Expertise

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

According to a study led by Stanford researchers, climate skeptics have less expertise in the field than those who are convinced climate change is real.  The prominence of a scientist is assessed by the number of times their work is cited in other papers.  Papers by scientists convinced by climate change were cited 64 percent more than papers by those unconvinced.  What an interesting new way to show that climate skeptics may not be the right people to listen to! Check out the full article at Science Daily.

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FAA Gives $125M To Produce Green Air Technology

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Events, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has awarded $125 million in contracts, envisioning new green technologies to improve fuel burn and reduce jet fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise pollution.  The companies that FAA has awarded contracts with include General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt and Whitney, Rolls Royce, and Boeing. These contracts were a part of the CLEEN program to develop and demonstrate new technologies, procedures, and alternative fuels that help us meet environmental and efficiency goals by the year 2015. These goals include reducing fuel burn by 33%, which will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reducing landing and takeoff nitrogen oxide emissions by 60%, reducing noise levels by 32 dB relative to the current noise standard; and increasing use of more sustainable jet fuels, with transition strategies that don’t require significant aircraft or engine modification.

For more information :http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/06/25/faa-cleen-awards-125-million-in-new-contracts/

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Perspective on the Oil Spill

Posted on June 23, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , |

The Gulf Oil Spill, a result of a pipeline blowout at the Macondo well, is spewing thousand of gallons of oil/day into the Gulf waters.  The ecological (as well as economic) disaster is epic. 

But the sight of a gushing oil well still intimates a sign of good news in the American cultural lexicon.  From old-time James Dean movies to The Beverly Hillbillies, the visual image of a gushing oil well has stood for economic riches, abundance, and might.   

In fact, the world’s largest oil spill to date, the 1910 Lakeview Gusher in Kern County California, was momentarily celebrated for what lay beneath it.  But that was a different era.  An era when the Energy Return on Energy Investment was roughly fifty barrels of oil extracted for every barrel used in the extraction.  (Today we find ourselves at between one and five barrels of oil extracted for every barrel used in extraction).  

Unfortunately, the on-going Gulf spill saga is representative of a much larger problem our country is facing in this current era – the 21st century.  That we are still powering the vast majority of human activity with the same, toxic substance that we were more than one century ago is shocking.  Add to that the long list of environmental and human disasters that were a direct result of extracting oil, and the level of shock grows.       

 While the Gulf Oil spill has only leaked half of the total oil of the Lakeview Gusher, we should guarantee its notoriety by ensuring that it goes down in the history books as the last great oil spill because humankind made a concerted effort to greatly scale down (and eventually wean itself off of) oil extraction.

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Ride-On Promotes Green Business Certification Program!

Posted on June 22, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Montgomery County Ride-On buses, are getting green, and not just in color! Some busses will now sport an advertisement for the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program Clean Currents is one of around 20 firms that are Certified Green Businesses, but the county is pushing to get more businesses certified by making their operations more environmentally sustainable. The Certified Green Business Program and the bus ads raise awareness about environmental consciousness in the commercial sector, which still has lots of room for improvement in greening the supply chain.  Be sure to check out Ron and Charles of the Clean Currents in front of the bus to kick off the push for green certification!

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Support the Chesapeake Clean Water Act!

Posted on June 18, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , |

Clean Currents supports the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s efforts to get the Chesapeake Clean Water Act passed in congress. This pending legislation will strengthen the current Clean Water Act sections related to the Chesapeake Bay. Here are the main points from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

  • It places legally enforceable, science-based limits on pollution from all sources.
  • It gives states pollution reduction standards to meet and allows them the flexibility to achieve those reductions as they best decide. 
  • It provides significant funding for technical assistance to farmers so they can implement pollution controls, as well as funding for stormwater pollution controls.
  • It encourages market-based approaches to pollution reduction, which could provide an estimated $300 million annually to rural areas.
  • Today, Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, sent this letter of support to the sponsor or the Senate bill, Senator Ben Cardin and the House bill, Congressman Elijah Cummings.

    June 18, 2010

    Dear Senator Cardin and Congressman Cummings,

     I am writing to let you know that I fully support passage of the legislation known as the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act (S. 1816 and H.R. 3852).  The bill would bring nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment levels in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries down to sustainable levels over the next 15 years. 

     Our business, Clean Currents, is a growing clean energy company based in Rockville, MD. We strive to provide affordable renewable energy choices for Chesapeake area homes and businesses. We serve over 7000 residential and commercial customers in MD, DC and PA.

     Clean Currents strongly believes in environmental conservation and protection locally. As a certified Montgomery County Green Business, we aim to be environmentally responsible in our daily operations by recycling, encouraging employees to use public transportation, conserving water and other resources, and educating the community about taking action to fight environmental problems.

    I applaud you for your vision and want you to know that I will do whatever I can to help your bills to pass the Senate and House in this Congress.  Please do not hesitate to draw on me if I can assist you in any way. 

     Sincerely,

     Gary Skulnik

    President, Clean Currents

    Take Action:

    Send your own letters of support to Senator Cardin and Congressman Cummings and to your Congressional represantives!

    The Honorable Ben Cardin
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC  20510
     
    The Honorable Elijah Cummings
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC  20515
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    attention, target shoppers green products aisle 9

    Posted on June 17, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

    I love Target, can not get enough of it! The store has everything, it even has escalators that go from the first to the second floor (I mean  my Target in Gaithersburg at least does) ! So I was browsing and now Target has a new eco friendly shopping section online! It’s fabulous! It ranges from home accessories to apparel, to kitchen and dining, to Electronics, and so much more! Gotta check it out.

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    Guess What? It’s Warm!

    Posted on June 17, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

    According to NOAA, global temperatures for May 2010 were the warmest on record.

    The combined land and ocean temperatures for May were 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average of 58.6 degrees Fahrenheit and the global land surface temperature was 1.87 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.  Ocean temperatures were second warmest on record only behind 1998, when a major El Nino contributed to warm ocean temperatures.

    How many more records do we need to break to convince climate skeptics that this thing is real?  Learn more about this record-breaking year at Science Daily.

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