Archive for December, 2013

A timely Dec. 2009 repost — Addicted to Nonsense INDEED! AKA Hubris of the humanities…

I forgot I had started blogging elsewhere before getting ambitious and learning to use WordPress. I thought the following deserved a repost. Not much has changed. *Sigh*

…it happened before in societies that collapsed, it’s going to happen again, I’m afraid. I speak of the Hohokam in AZ in 3BC who, in spite of not raising domesticated animals and only used wood modestly, a life ‘apparently’ based on sustainability, with the increase in population food became scarce, environmental changes, imposition of irrigation strategies/over-farming and social responses, er ‘ceremonial activities’ weakened their system’s resilience and made their system vulnerable to the climate extremes. And the Norse society in Greenland in the 1720s sticking to established patterns, elaborating on its churches and ‘ideological conditioning’ of the population instead of its hunting skills. And so it goes today…

After my mid-20s, I didn’t subscribe to this societal nonsensical crap that’s dished-out on the eeidiot boxes. I’m just trying to get my ducks in a row, and be ready to do what I can to start mopping up the mess that will invariably arrive one of these days in the (dare I say) near future. Unfortunately, there’s going to need to be A LOT of pain, strife and discomfort, before the ship can be up-righted, if that ends-up even being possible.

Chris Hedges offered a rather sobering ‘Addicted to Nonsense‘ account to the consumerism-bent mindset of the sheeople recently…
[snip]

The juxtaposition of the impossible illusions inspired by celebrity culture and our “insignificant” individual achievements, however, is leading to an explosive frustration, anger, insecurity and invalidation. It is fostering a self-perpetuating cycle that drives the frustrated, alienated individual with even greater desperation and hunger away from reality, back toward the empty promises of those who seduce us, who tell us what we want to hear. The worse things get, the more we beg for fantasy. We ingest these lies until our faith and our money run out. And when we fall into despair we medicate ourselves, as if the happiness we have failed to find in the hollow game is our deficiency. And, of course, we are told it is.

…Many have lost hope. Fear and instability have plunged the working class into profound personal and economic despair, and, not surprisingly, into the arms of demagogues and charlatans of the radical Christian right who offer a belief in magic, miracles and the fiction of a utopian Christian nation. Unless we rapidly re-enfranchise these dispossessed workers, insert them back into the economy, unless we give them hope, these demagogues will rise up to take power.

The former in the last sentence ain’t gonna happen, is it? Rhetorical. I know the economist Richard Wolff has a great deal to say on the rapid re-enfranchising of dispossessed workers matter.

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.

Bloom Box Bummer

I’m miff’d. On Xmess Eve, 24 December 2013, I sent this to one of my USA Senators, Dianne Feinstein.

Bloom Energy Greenwashing In California – Request for a Fraud Investigation

Senator Feinstein,

I wanted to bring something to your attention, because I understand that you are the Chair for the Energy and Water Subcommittee in the Senate.

Since 2009, as a renewable energy engineer with a rather anomalous skills set, I have struggled inordinately to get substantive, steady paying work. And, I am not alone. I have MANY seasoned and unseasoned colleagues, who are also inordinately challenged to get work in this tumultuous, global financial climate.

I am confident one of the reasons for this is, in the case of companies like Bloom Energy, who has unfairly fleeced the PG&E customers out of $257+ million in Self-Generation Initiative Project (SGIP) funds. Funds earmarked to support ALL emerging renewable energy systems technologies in the State of California. Such that, companies that wanted to hire me, have been unable to garner funding under this SGIP program. And so, I have been relegated to the fringes and in survival mode on the ‘food stamp diet’.

There is public information provided by the Delaware Public Services Commission (DPSC) about the Bloom Box’s ‘fuel cells’ under-performance, that these devices emit higher CO2 emissions than the existing California grid, and that the hourly natural gas fuel consumption exceeds the limits of the permit. I also understand sulfur wastes have not been monitored in the State of Delaware with these boxes. The publicly available Diamond State Generation Partners Annual Report for QFCP-RC Operations June 2012 – May 2013 report, affirming the aforementioned is located here.

It has been my experience, generation devices like the Bloom Box and should be available at least 95+% of the time, instead of only ~85% of the time as noted in the report; see pp. 3 of the Diamond State report. And, if you do not understand my last comment, please see:  http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_cap_factor.html

Not to mention, according to the CPUC records, Bloom Energy has received 73.2% of SGIP funding–funding which is meant for ALL emerging renewable energy systems technologies. I also understand Bloom Energy was ordered to pay back wages from underpaying workers earlier this year.

Senator, I am VERY concerned that once this information is revealed to the general public, it will do NOTHING to build trust in the general public for renewable energy systems technologies. Am I angry about this? You betcha! I tire of green fashionista schemes like this making make it prohibitively more difficult for me and my colleagues to get work due to back-lashes once the general public finds out.

I trust you and your colleagues will look into this, and require and command companies to practice good science and understand thermodynamics instead of undermining it. I thank you for your attention and indulgence.

Best,

Kimberly King | Renewable Energy Engineer

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.

Micro-grid-as-a-service

Wonders never cease. Quality takes time.

At least now that CA SB 43 is being realized, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown signing it into law back on 28 September 2013, some are taking notice an opportunity to explore developing decentralized, utility-scale hybrid renewable energy systems technologies [and not just solar only] on existing electrical distribution networks in the urban/built environment in N. California. And what’s particularly great about this law is, 100 MW of the 600 MW needs to be developed in under-represented, marginalized communities.

The Germans persist in being the vanguards in this arena of distributed generation (DG). Just have a look at the following read:

Integrating Variable Renewables as Germany Expands Its Grid 

SDG&E’s Borrego Springs real-world micro-grid performed well during a severe weather storm that affected 2780 customers power outage due to a severe storm on 6 Sept 2013. I understand this was one of the first times in the USA that a micro-grid in the actual working environment, and not just a model, has been used to power a large portion of a community during an emergency situation.

  • uses new smart grid technology – including local power generation, local energy storage, and automated switching
  • variances to island are in place for emergency scenarios
  • 1060 customers power restored in a few hours
  • All 2780 customers power restored w/in 25 hours

I have some enquiries to SDG&E, and am awaiting feedback on the following–which I will update on this thread, once received:

  • RE systems technologies deployed
  • Performance metrics

A break-off from a group I have been volunteering for, has been brainstorming on how to make this a reality in the SF East Bay Area. For now, our progress can be followed, here.

I have said for many, many years, it just makes sense to generate energy closer to where it will be utilized. And once the IT, smart(er) grid communications protocol ‘glue’ is implemented and tuned, we’ll be off to the races. And this is just one version of the future outlook:

 

SMART GRID – a real time dynamic network of electrical demand, supply and control (utilityproducts.com)

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.

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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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