April 30, 2012

Green jobs could increase in Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation folks have been debunking the "environmental regs are job killers" myth for quite a while. Click here to see their debunking report.

Now a George Mason University study concludes that renewable power sources such as solar, biomass and wind power would create tens of thousands more jobs than either coal or natural gas. And satisfy Virginia's energy needs through 2035!

Their study, prepared for Virginia Conservation Network (a coalition of environmental groups and proponents of renewable energy sources) was based on the 2010 Virginia Energy Plan. That plan projected a need for an additional 19,448 megawatts of demand over the next 25 years. 

One scenario would create 172,328 jobs and generate a "gross state product" of $20.8 million. That's not small potatoes. But it would cost more than $9 billion.

The second scenario, costing about $6 billion, would create 107,890 jobs and generate $13 billion in gross state product. Nothing to sneeze at either.

Coal would create 43,442 jobs and a gross product valued at $5.3 billion while costing $2.4 billion. Natural gas would create 20,473 jobs and a gross state product of $2.5 billion, while its construction costs would be about $1.13 billion.

However, the study also notes that increased electricity generation from renewables would likely mean more costs to ratepayers because of capital costs. The study did not include the North Anna Nuclear Power station in its equations because additional nuclear reactors would not be up and running by 2035.

April 24, 2012

Not so green household cleaning items

Oh NO! I have lots of the latest "Hall of Shame" cleaning items in my house.  Thank you, Environmental Working Group, for making me feel so non-green.

The first one on their list was a real shocker. Guess I've been a victim of green-washing once again.

Get out the baking soda!

April 23, 2012

Wasting water in the desert

A photo is worth more than a thousand words.

Click here to see some amazing photos from NASA that show how Saudi Arabia is irrigating their desert.

Sure hope they are drawing it from a huge aquifer.

Is there hope for wind power in Virginia?

GOOD NEWS: An area of 113,000 acres that sits 24 miles off the Virginia coastline looks enticing to some. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a “Call for Information and Nominations” for the federal waters in February and received proposals from eight companies who want to develop offshore wind power there.
And Dominion Virginia Power is supposedly interested in getting into the action—which could produce an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of energy.

BAD NEWS: Dominion Power has its long-range energy plan before the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for review and approval at this very moment. Unfortunately, that plan has no commitment to large scale wind and solar. On the other hand, Denmark is gearing up its plan for the largest wind turbine on the planet.

The SCC is taking comments right now on Dominion's proposal. This is our opportunity to demonstrate overwhelming public support for efficiency, wind, and solar to the SCC, to Dominion, and public officials.

Click here to send your thoughts on this to SCC before May 1.

Wind maps are amazing

March 20, 2012 wind map
Kinda looks like the U.S. is sporting a toupee doesn't it?

Wind Map, developed by Google, shows streams of wind moving across the US and where they are at their strongest. They are updated every hour from the National Weather Service's forecast database.

Are you not blown away by these images?

Click here for the latest wind map.

April 17, 2012

Clean coal? Or a dirty lie?

I keep seeing energy company ads on TV touting "clean coal." And it makes my blood boil.

Of course I support clean coal technology, but it's not here yet, folks. At least not in sufficient form to really generate clean electricity. It is NOT commercially feasible! We cannot yet bury the polluting emissions from coal-burning power plants, especially in our area of Virginia.

Carbon capture and sequestration/storage (CCS) is still a "pipe dream" for the industry in spite of the first claim to clean coal in Germany in 2008. That power plant captures carbon dioxide and compresses it into a powder, and plans to inject that into depleted natural gas wells or other suitable rock. But it is still simply a plan.

April 5, 2012

Good news for the Chesapeake Bay?

My "Save the Bay" sticker on my car is fading, but there was some good news for the Chesapeake Bay recently. As our sailing season draws near, the EPA announced that restoration of the bay is ahead of schedule on two of three key pollutants.

Whoopee for a reduction of nitrogen, although I still see many of my neighbors dumping the stuff on their lawns in the spring. The lawncare experts keep recommending three fall and winter applications--of the slow-release nitrogen.

But sediment too? I find that hard to believe after Hurricane Irene dumped so much rain on the Susquehanna River last year that the Conowingo Dam allowed tons of trapped sediment (much of it retained by the dam since Hurricane Agnes in 1972) to flow through the dam and smother the northern bay oysters. And we sail on the frequently murky Chesapeake waters. John Smith wouldn't recognize it centuries after he could see the bottom.

Phosphorus limits have not panned out yet, although our lawn fertilizers will have no phosphorus by 2013--except for limited uses. And that regulation was passed by a Republican-controlled Virginia Assembly! The plant and lawn experts finally decided that those three familiar numbers on fertilizers can be reduced to only two. "Potash" or phosphorus isn't really needed by healthy established lawns and shrubs.

So do regulations work? Or do they mean fewer jobs?

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) folks debunk the myth that environmental regs are job killers, and point out that between 1990 and 2009, the number of environmental clean-up and monitoring jobs increased by 43 percent across the region. Click here for the CBF debunking info.