Tuesday

Arbor Installation by Scotts Contracting

Decorative Metal Arbor and Gate Installation See the Before and After Photos and how the Arbor Adds Charm and Curb Appeal.
  
See Entire Arbor Job Site Photo Collection here Arbor Supplied by the Bug Store of St Louis; Welding and Installation by Scotty, Scotts Contracting

Nash Properties Apartment 101

  1. https://picasaweb.google.com/scottscontracting/NashPropertiesApartment101?authkey=Gv1sRgCKat-NP_w7-pfQ&feat=directlink

Value of Solar Power Far Exceeds the Electricity | john-farrell-ilsr

From the ability to reduce peak demand on the transmission and distribution system, hedge against fuel price increases, or enhance grid and environmental security, solar power has a monetary value as much as ten times higher than its energy value.

The cost of residential-scale distributed solar PV is around 23 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in a sunny climate like Los Angeles, 24 cents in Colorado. While the average cost of grid-delivered wholesale electricity in many parts of the country is low (4 cents per kWh), a new report lists many ways that distributed solar adds value beyond electrons.

Distributed solar power provides electricity on-site or near to demand, reducing transmission losses, as well as wear-and-tear on utility equipment by mitigating peak demand. It also eliminates the need to hedge against fuel price swings. These benefits add 3 to 14 cents per kWh to the utility bottom line.

Distributed solar also provides value to society, by reducing the economic losses of blackouts (just 500 MW of distributed solar could have prevented the massive 2003 Northeast blackout), reducing pollution, hedging against finite fossil fuel supplies, and creating jobs. These benefits add 11 to 16 cents to the taxpayer’s bottom line for every kWh of distributed solar.

These values come at little to no integration cost, since currently low penetrations of solar power pose no threat to grid operations and balancing.

The adjacent chart illustrates the full value of distributed solar PV, using the midpoint values from the report. While this chart indicates that solar producers are paid the average price of grid electricity (which includes cheap power from fully paid-off power plants), the second chart indicates that solar is paid the avoided cost for the utility to add new generation. While solar’s value is positive in either case, the value is significantly higher when its energy is valued at avoided cost (in California, this value is often called the Market Price Referant, and is around 11 cents per kWh).

Solar’s energy value can be even higher. In a recent post, we estimated that the value of solar electricity based on the time-of-production in Los Angeles was 15 cents per kWh over a year. We discuss the value of solar power to the grid in more detail in our recently relased report, Democratizing the Electricity System.

Remarkably, much of the projected value for solar is reflected in federal and state solar policy. The federal investment tax credit and accelerated depreciation often account for as much as half of the up-front cost of a solar project, a(n) (inefficient) taxpayer-financed purchase of the social value of solar power. State renewable energy policies often require utilities to purchase the environmental value of solar in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs).

However, the grid value of solar (illustrated in blue in the charts) often goes unrewarded. This value should be captured in the price utilities are willing to pay for solar, but more often the price a utility pays is either the wholesale price (4 cents, as shown in the first chart) or the avoided cost (shown in the second chart). Neither of these prices reflect the value of distributed solar in reducing peak demand, relieving stress on grid infrastructure or avoiding grid losses.

Perversely, federal policy frequently provides unnecessary incentives to high-voltage transmission for reinforcing the grid, when distributed solar can provide much of the same value.

Solar power is not the least expensive method of delivering clean electricity to the grid, but its value to the grid and society is far greater than its power production cost. Federal and state policy toward solar policy should focus on rewarding that value and encouraging the spread of distributed solar power.

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's New Rules Project.

Contact John Farrell at jfarrell@ilsr.org, find more content at energyselfreliantstates.orgor follow @johnffarrell on Twitter

Value of Solar Power Far Exceeds the Electricity | john-farrell-ilsr

Saturday

Stop Coal Ash Utility Waste Landfill in St Louis

Petition:

We, the undersigned, are opposed to placing a coal ash utility waste landfill in the Labadie Bottoms floodplain of the Missouri river as proposed by AmerenUE. The proposed landfill will store harmful quantities of toxic heavy metals and other contaminants. Despite Ameren's assurances of safety, we believe:

• No one can predict nor control flooding that WILL occur on the Missouri River.

• Coal waste contains hazardous substances that are toxic to humans, animals, and plants. These toxins accumulate and remain in the environment for hundreds of years creating the potential for harmful environmental impact for generations to come.

• Monitoring equipment failure, berm failure and leaching of toxins would expose residents of Franklin County, Warren County and downstream communities of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties to surface and groundwater contamination. Environmental disasters, such as the coal ash spill in Kingston TN and the Taum Sauk dam failure, demonstrate how destructive these events can be.

• Transportation of coal waste from other AmerenUE plants by rail, truck and barge could result in dangerous airborne coal fly ash contamination should an accident occur.

We call upon you, our public officials, to join our efforts to STOP THIS LANDFILL by denying all related AmerenUE permit or zoning requests at the County, State, and Federal level. It is the responsibility of government and those we elect to serve all persons in this generation and future generations through the enactment and enforcement of laws that secure a healthy environment.


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Stop Coal Ash Utility Waste Landfill in St Louis

Petition:

We, the undersigned, are opposed to placing a coal ash utility waste landfill in the Labadie Bottoms floodplain of the Missouri river as proposed by AmerenUE. The proposed landfill will store harmful quantities of toxic heavy metals and other contaminants. Despite Ameren's assurances of safety, we believe:

• No one can predict nor control flooding that WILL occur on the Missouri River.

• Coal waste contains hazardous substances that are toxic to humans, animals, and plants. These toxins accumulate and remain in the environment for hundreds of years creating the potential for harmful environmental impact for generations to come.

• Monitoring equipment failure, berm failure and leaching of toxins would expose residents of Franklin County, Warren County and downstream communities of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties to surface and groundwater contamination. Environmental disasters, such as the coal ash spill in Kingston TN and the Taum Sauk dam failure, demonstrate how destructive these events can be.

• Transportation of coal waste from other AmerenUE plants by rail, truck and barge could result in dangerous airborne coal fly ash contamination should an accident occur.

We call upon you, our public officials, to join our efforts to STOP THIS LANDFILL by denying all related AmerenUE permit or zoning requests at the County, State, and Federal level. It is the responsibility of government and those we elect to serve all persons in this generation and future generations through the enactment and enforcement of laws that secure a healthy environment.


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six neighborhood factors that affect the environmental performance of buildings, including historic ones



The Greenest Building Is The One That's Already Built … Sometimes    Posted June 20, 2011 by Kaid Benfield


copied from: http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/kaidbenfield/26182/greenest-historic-building-one-thats-right-context?utm_source=scc_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

I'm in Wilmington, Delaware this week, where I was asked (and honored) to speak to an EPA-sponsored symposium on green historic preservation.  I spoke yesterday afternoon, and this is what I said.

  Roussillon, Provence (c2010 FK Benfield)

I started with the wonderful phrase attributed to Carl Elefante, "the greenest building is the one that is already built."  (Carl, whom I just met, is also speaking at the conference, so I hope I got it right.)  There is much truth in that statement, since a new building, no matter how green its technology, will often be on a new site, sometimes in sprawl; it will also need to use new material and energy that have already been invested in an older building; and chances are the new building will lack some of the traditional green wisdom that, over the centuries, informed building performance and efficiency "before the thermostat age," as Steve Mouzon (another conference speaker) puts it.

That said, though, the greenest building will not be the one that's already built if it has been abandoned, and rendered nonfunctional and deteriorating because its community or neighborhood has been disinvested by the flight of people and economic resources to the fringe of the region.  I have long thought that the greatest contribution that the National Trust's visionary former president, Dick Moe, made to the cause was to understand that sprawl is antithetical to saving older communities, neighborhoods, and buildings.  He believed it was in the interest of preservationists to fight sprawl and support revitalization, and I do, too.

  Old North St. Louis (before restoration) (courtesy of Old North STL Restoration Group)

Of course, disinvestment and sprawl are not just preservation issues.  If you care about green preservation, you also have to take into account that households in centrally located properties and neighborhoods use far less energy and emit far less carbon for transportation than their counterparts in sprawl.  And you have to take into account that, for many households and office buildings, carbon emissions from transportation exceed those emitted by operation of the building.  The poorly planned spread of development that characterized so much of the late 20th century also eats up North Carolina (c2011 FK Benfield)culturally and environmentally significant landscapes, farmland, habit, and watersheds.

These are regional issues, not just building-centric issues, and I believe that green preservation means, among other things, thinking about how we want our metro areas to be shaped as we go into the future.  Will our development patterns be supportive of older communities and neighborhoods?  Green preservation requires it.

In addition to the serious problems that accompany abandonment and are properly addressed at the regional scale, preservationists who care about green performance must also care about the neighborhoods that surround the properties we wish to preserve.  If a historic building, even a functioning one, is not within a strong, supportive neighborhood context, it will not perform well environmentally.  These issues are in some ways analogous to those that concern the larger region, but they are less about broad policy objectives and more about the character of the immediate, close-at-hand environment.

  Dublin, OH (by: Pierre Metivier, creative commons license)

I only had 30 minutes, so I didn't go into as much wonky detail as I would have enjoyed (!), but I emphasized six neighborhood factors that affect the environmental performance of buildings, including historic ones.  These are all backed by research:

  • Location.  The centers of regions and older suburbs perform better than the fringe, even if other factors are held constant.
  • Connected streets.  A well-connected street network (featuring smaller blocks and lots of intersections) shortens travel distances and makes walking more feasible and pleasant.  It is the single most important determinant of how much walking will take place in a neighborhood and the second most important determinant (after location) of how much driving will take place.
  • Places to go.  A mix of conveniences such as shops, schools, and places to eat and socialize encourages walking, promotes fitness and health, and reduces emissions from driving.
  • Ways to get around.  The more transportation choices, the better.  If you're lucky enough to be within walking distance of rail transit, for example, the number of automobile trips during rush hours can be up to 50 percent lower than what would otherwise be expected under standard engineering forecasts.
  • Density.  As I have said before, it doesn't necessarily have to be high density to reduce driving and watershed-damaging pavement per household.  green infrastructure in Seattle (by: City of Seattle)We see substantial improvements in performance as we move from large-lot sprawl even to ten homes per acre; beyond 40 to 50 homes per acre, we continue to see improvements, but at reduced increments.  Moderate density helps a lot.
  • Green stormwater infrastructure.  While runoff per household goes down in denser neighborhoods, runoff per acre can go up unless mitigated.  Green infrastructure, when in the form of publically accessible green spaces, can also bring an array of additional benefits to a neighborhood.

One could go on with additional factors, but in the interest of time I stopped there.  I believe that green preservation must include strengthening the neighborhood environment around what we want to preserve.  Maybe we can't do all of these things in every place, but we can do (or support others who can do) at least some of them in many places.

I then turned to a delicate issue:  both environmentalists and preservationists need to protect our credibility.  We have created a system of safeguards and laws that are entirely appropriate but also can be misused, even by those who do not have our interests at heart.  Every puddle is not an ecologically significant ecosystem, particularly if what can replace it is a building or development with great green infrastructure that can also add density and strengthen the environmental performance of the neighborhood.  Every vacant lot isn't well-suited to be a park or garden (some are).  I believe environmentalists need to speak up when our cause is invoked to block something that actually would be environmentally beneficial, just as we need to speak up when something would truly harm the environment.

Preservationists face a similar situation:  every building that is 50 years old is not worthy of protection.  Within walking distance of my house, some people tried to block a great development (see rendering) by asserting that the ugly, plain, dysfunctional supermarket on the site was historically significant.  They didn't care about the building at all.  They wanted it replaced, actually, just not with what was proposed.  So they played the historic preservation card, in my opinion damaging the reputation of a movement that needs to be taken seriously when the property in question is truly worthy.  (Their petition was eventually withdrawn.)

In other words:  green preservation also means being discerning in asserting our cause and vigilant against those who hurt us by abusing it.

I'm sure some conference participants were surprised and perhaps even disappointed that I didn't talk much about individual building performance.  Instead, I tried to talk about the context of green preservation more than about preservation per se.  Because I think the context matters, both to preservation and to the planet.





Friday

Transocean releases internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon accident

Transocean releases internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon accident

Source: Transocean

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) released an internal investigation report on the causes of the April 20, 2010, Macondo well incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Following the incident, Transocean commissioned an internal investigation team comprised of experts from relevant technical fields and specialists in accident investigation to gather, review, and analyze the facts and information surrounding the incident to determine its causes.

The report concludes that the Macondo incident was the result of a succession of interrelated well design, construction, and temporary abandonment decisions that compromised the integrity of the well and compounded the likelihood of its failure. The decisions, many made by the operator, BP, in the two weeks leading up to the incident, were driven by BP's knowledge that the geological window for safe drilling was becoming increasingly narrow. Specifically, BP was concerned that downhole pressure -- whether exerted by heavy drilling mud used to maintain well control or by pumping cement to seal the well -- would exceed the fracture gradient and result in fluid losses to the formation, thus costing money and jeopardizing future production of oil.

The Transocean investigation team traced the causes of the Macondo incident to four overarching issues:

Risk Management and Communication: Evidence indicates that BP failed to properly assess, manage and communicate risk to its contractors. For example, it did not properly communicate to the drill crew the absence of adequate testing on the cement or the uncertainty surrounding critical tests and procedures used to confirm the integrity of the barriers intended to inhibit the flow of hydrocarbons into the well. It is the view of the investigation team that the actions of the drill crew on April 20, 2010, reflected the crew's understanding that the well had been properly cemented and successfully tested.

Well Design and Construction: The precipitating cause of the Macondo incident was the failure of the downhole cement to isolate the reservoir, which allowed hydrocarbons to enter the wellbore. Without the failure of the cement barrier, hydrocarbons would not have entered the well or reached the rig. While drilling the Macondo well, BP experienced both lost circulation events and kicks and stopped short of the well's planned total depth because of an increasingly narrow window for safe drilling, specifically a limited margin between the pore pressure and fracture gradients. In the context of these delicate conditions, cementing a long-string casing would increase the risk of exceeding the margin for safe drilling. But rather than adjusting the production casing design to avoid this risk, BP adopted a technically complex nitrogen foam cement program that allowed it to retain its original casing design. The resulting cement program was of minimal quantity, left little margin for error, and was not tested adequately before or after the cementing operation. Further, the integrity of the cement may have been compromised by contamination, instability and an inadequate number of devices used to center the casing in the wellbore.

Risk Assessment and Process Safety: Based on the evidence, the investigation team determined that BP failed to properly require or confirm critical cement tests or conduct adequate risk assessments during various operations at Macondo. Halliburton and BP did not adequately test the cement slurry program, despite the inherent complexity, difficulties and risks associated with the design and implementation of the program and some test data showing that the cement would not be stable. BP also failed to assess the risk of the temporary abandonment procedure used at Macondo, generating at least five different temporary abandonment plans for the Macondo well between April 12, 2010 and April 20, 2010. After this series of last-minute alterations, BP proceeded with a temporary abandonment plan that created unnecessary risk and did not have the required approval by the MMS. Most significantly, the final plan called for underbalancing the well before conducting a negative pressure test to verify the integrity of the downhole cement or setting a cement plug to act as an additional barrier to flow. It does not appear that BP used risk assessment procedures or prepared Management of Change documents for these decisions or otherwise addressed these risks and the potential adverse effects on personnel and process safety.

Operations:

Negative Pressure Test: The results of the critical negative pressure test were misinterpreted. Post-incident investigation determined that the negative test was inadequately set up because of displacement calculation errors, a lack of adequate fluid volume monitoring, and a lack of management of change discipline when the well monitoring arrangements were switched during the test. It is now apparent that the negative pressure test results should not have been approved, but no one involved in the negative pressure test recognized the errors. BP approved the negative pressure test results and decided to move forward with temporary abandonment. The well became underbalanced during the final displacement, and hydrocarbons began entering the wellbore through the faulty cement barrier and a float collar that likely failed to convert. None of the individuals monitoring the well, including the Transocean drill crew, initially detected the influx.

Well Control: With the benefit of hindsight and a thorough analysis of the data available to the investigation team, several indications of an influx during final displacement operations can be identified. Given the death of the members of the drill crew and the loss of the rig and its monitoring systems, it is not known which information the drill crew was monitoring or why the drill crew did not detect a pressure anomaly until approximately 9:30 p.m. on April 20, 2010. At 9:30 p.m., the drill crew acted to evaluate an anomaly. Upon detecting an influx of hydrocarbon by use of the trip tank, the drill crew undertook well-control activities that were consistent with their training including the activation of various components of the BOP. By the time actions were taken, hydrocarbons had risen above the blowout preventer and into the riser, resulting in a massive release of gas and other fluids that overwhelmed the mud gas separator system and released high volumes of gas onto the aft deck of the rig. The resulting ignition of this gas cloud was inevitable.

Blowout Preventer (BOP): Forensic evidence from independent post-incident testing by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and evaluation by the Transocean investigation team confirm that the Deepwater Horizon BOP was properly maintained and operated. However, it was overcome by the extreme dynamic flow, the force of which pushed the drill pipe upward, washed or eroded the drill pipe and other rubber and metal elements, and forced the drill pipe to bow within the BOP. This prevented the BOP from completely shearing the drill pipe and sealing the well.

Alarms, Muster, and Evacuation: In the explosions and fire, the general alarm was activated, and appropriate emergency actions were taken by the Deepwater Horizon marine crew. The 115 personnel who survived the initial blast mustered and evacuated the rig to the offshore supply vessel Damon B. Bankston.

The Transocean internal investigation team began its work in the days immediately following the incident. Through an extensive investigation, the team interviewed witnesses, reviewed available information regarding well design and execution, examined well monitoring data that had been transmitted real-time from the rig to BP, consulted industry and technical experts, and evaluated available physical evidence and third-party testing reports.

The loss of evidence with the rig and the unavailability of certain witnesses limited the investigation and analysis in some areas. The team used its cumulative years of experience but did not speculate in the absence of evidence. The report of the team does not represent the legal position of Transocean, nor does it attempt to assign legal responsibility or fault.

Transocean's internal investigation into the accident can be found here: Macondo Well Incident Report.

Transocean releases internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon accident

Spray Foam Insulation Estimating Tips

While Working on an Material Estimate for Installing 10 Replacement Windows.  I wanted to share this Information on from Dow Great Stuff.

Sizes and Estimated Yields for GREAT STUFF PRO™ Window & Door Insulating Foam Sealant
Can Size, oz (g) Delivery No. of Windows(1)
20 (567) Reusable Straw 6-9
20 (567) Gun 8-11
24.5 (695) Reusable Straw 8-11
24.5 (695) Gun 11-14

(1) Average-sized windows (36" x 60" [0.9 m x 1.5 m), gap 3/8" [10 mm] wide and 1" [25 mm] deep)


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Wednesday

Energy Plan Live-Chat-Sen Lugar’s Sen Adviser N Brown on Facebook


First for Facebook, First for Energy

Jun 22, 2011 Office of Senator Dick Lugar

On Wednesday, June 22, 2010, we are extremely excited about a first for the Senate and a first for Facebook – the start of a rollout of legislation exclusively via Facebook.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern) tomorrow we'll host a Practical Energy Plan Live-Chat with Senator Lugar's Senior Adviser Neil Brown on Facebook.

This is an exciting piece of Dick Lugar's introduction of his Practical Energy Plan on Facebook. Folks will be able to comment on the live-stream and Neil Brown will answer questions regarding Senator Lugar's upcoming legislation.

As Hoosiers continue to integrate new media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter into their lives, Senator Lugar is connecting more Hoosiers directly with the legislative process.

In the next week, Senator Lugar will continue to engage his Facebook and Twitter followers in polls, questions, and notes regarding this legislation. In an intimate press conference next week, Senator Lugar will introduce the legislation and live-stream the moment solely to his Facebook friends.

To participate in this 'first-of-its-kind' event, you must "like" Senator Lugar's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/senatorlugar and watch for the link for our live stream beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.



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Reducing the Need to Build NEW Power Plants

  • report says EERS policies are driving energy efficiency investments and energy cost savings to unprecedented levels
  • national energy policy remains beyond the reach of Congress
  • ((13 of the 19 states are achieving 100% or more of their goals))

U.S. states lead on energy efficiency, lower utility bills

Jun 20, 2011 USA Today

As Congress remains in gridlock, U.S. states are taking the lead in energy efficiency. New research shows 26 now have rules that are lowering utility bills for consumers and reducing the need to build new power plants.

From 2004 to 2010, 24 states followed the lead of Texas and Vermont in adopting an Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS), which require utilities to save a certain amount of power each year, according to the first progress report of states that have had such rules for at least two years. The policies require that the savings outweigh the costs.

"These states are demonstrating that energy efficiency programs deliver real savings for utilities and ratepayers, and it is more affordable than any supply-side energy source," said report author Michael Sciortino of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based research group.

The report says EERS policies are driving energy efficiency investments and energy cost savings to unprecedented levels. For example, in 2009 and 2010, it says Ohio utility customers saved $56 million in energy costs over and above the costs to deliver the programs.

"As a comprehensive national energy policy remains beyond the reach of Congress, states are taking action to show how bold energy efficiency policies can benefit residential, commercial, and industrial consumers," said Steven Nadel, the group's executive director, in a statement.

The report found that 13 of the 19 states are achieving 100% or more of their goals, three states are reaching more than 90%, and the three states falling below 80% are working hard to catch up. It espects more savings from state EERS, since most targets increase over the next decade.

Nadel's group also released a second report analyzing the efforts of six states with some of the largest and most successful energy efficiency programs in the United States: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Vermont. It also looks at the efforts of six other states with simpler but cost-effective efforts: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.



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Tuesday

Climate Change Evidence view your location on the map

explore the signs of global warming on this map or Google Earth. The evidence of climate change includes heat waves, sea-level rise, flooding, melting glaciers, earlier spring arrival, coral reef bleaching, and the spread of disease.

The greatest concentration of global warming indicators on the map is in North America and Europe because that is where most scientific investigation has been done to date. As scientists focus increasingly on fingerprints of global warming in other regions—from Russia to Antarctica and Oceania to South America—the evidence they find will be added to the map.

Scientists project that unless emissions of heat-trapping gases are brought undercontrol, the impacts of climate change are likely to increase

check out the Interactive Map: http://www.climatehotmap.org/ or http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/agree.html

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Bad combination: Floodplains, nuclear materials and understated risk Print E-mail Share173
By Bob Criss, special to the Beacon   
Posted 7:00 am Fri., 6.17.11     

It's only June but one thing is certain: 2011 is another extraordinary flood year. The record high water levels just experienced on the Mississippi from Cairo to Baton Rouge will soon be joined by new record levels on the Missouri River at numerous sites above Kansas City. The vagaries of rainfall delivery will dictate how bad things will become and how far downstream serious problems will propagate, but indications are that many dozens of levees will fail, either by overtopping, under-seepage or simply because they will be water saturated for long periods of time.

How is it that this extraordinary flood year came so soon after the extraordinary flood year of 2008, which came so soon after the extraordinary flood years of 2001, 1995 and 1993? The explanation is that damaging episodes of high water are no longer statistically extraordinary, but rather represent the new norm. Describing these events as "50-year," "100-year" or "500-year" floods grossly mischaracterizes what's happening.

Understated flood risk is not an academic matter. Faulty risk calculations are used by FEMA to set flood insurance rates that are too low and to define flood zones that are too narrow.

Understated risk promotes development projects that place property and lives in hazardous areas. Ironically these same developments encroach on rivers and floodplains in a way that amplifies flood frequency and increases floodwater levels. At the same time, valuable farmland is destroyed, habitat is eliminated and surface water and ground water resources are degraded.

In cases where floodplain development projects are encouraged by TIFs and other inappropriate financial inducements, tax revenues can actually go down, even as municipal responsibilities to provide services such as police and fire protection go up.
westlake300bobcriss
Photo by Bob Criss
The West Lake landfill

Counterproductive enough? Not for some. Now combine the high and progressively increasing likelihood of flooding with the placement of nuclear materials in floodplains. Let's examine two examples.
Incredibly, large volumes of the oldest radioactive waste materials of the Atomic Age were dumped at West Lake landfill in Bridgeton in 1973. From every conceivable viewpoint, the situation is deplorable. Radwaste does not belong in the most populous county in Missouri, near the Missouri River, upstream of several water intakes and within 1.5 miles of Interstates 70 and 270.

This site has high risk factors for flooding and is underlain by soils that have high potential to undergo liquefaction during seismic shaking. USGS maps indicate that the potential for strong shaking is significant in this area, so the possibility for slumping of the landfill or the protective levee is significant, particularly during flood years when shallow sediments become saturated. Moreover, the landfill does not have a clay liner or any other protective barrier, nor does it have the leachate collection and drainage systems that are standard in modern landfills.

The landfill is not capped, so wind erosion and rainwater penetration can disseminate radwaste. Historical slumping of the landfill has already spread radwaste over adjacent fields. The waste has not been adequately characterized, but enough is known to establish that its level of radioactivity will increase approximately tenfold over time. 

This can occur because the systematic decay of the radionuclides produces several additional short-lived "daughter" radioisotopes that will cause the radioactivity of this waste to grow for thousands of years. Few things are as absurd as burying such waste in a substandard landfill in a floodplain in a populous area.

As another example, two nuclear power plants in Nebraska have been constructed in the Missouri River floodplain where new records for flood levels are expected to be set this June. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant has been recently sandbagged, only a year after the plant was cited for having inadequate flood protection. Floodwaters are already adjacent to several of the buildings, and water levels are projected to increase by at least five feet. Fortunately, the reactor was recently shut down for refueling, but about 300 tons of spent fuel rods have accumulated onsite over the years. Make no mistake; some of the most serious, recent problems and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant involved spent fuel, not just the active reactors.

Of course, the NRC and power industry promoters routinely assure us that the risk of nuclear accidents is incredibly low, something akin to the probability of being attacked by a shark while riding a ski lift. The historical record provides a more realistic and vastly higher assessment of nuclear risk. More than 2 percent of the world's 440 nuclear power reactors have been irreparably harmed by nuclear accidents during their operating lifetimes - prominent cases are Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

The bottom line is that understated risk is rampant and the consequences can be economically and environmentally disastrous. Understated risk fosters inappropriate land use in high-risk geologic areas, causing harm that can spread far beyond the boundaries of the offending properties. In contrast, realistic risk calculations and improved economic assessment of construction projects will promote wise land use and resource conservation, while reducing the economic burden caused by flooding or other disasters. Thoughtful stewardship will increase opportunities for research, innovation, enterprise and job creation, and ensure a brighter and more equitable future for all.

Bob Criss is a professor in the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University. He is the coauthor of the 2003 book, "At the Confluence: Rivers, Floods, and Water Quality in the St. Louis Region." To reach Voices authors, contact Beacon features and commentary editor Donna Korando.

Proposed 17th Ward boundaries- St Louis, MO

Every ten years, St. Louis wards undergo re-districting based on Census results in an effort to more effectively distribute the St. Louis population among aldermanic wards. The 17th Ward was affected by these changes. As 17th Ward Alderman Joseph Roddy stated, “While this redistricting lacked the political drama of previous years, it does not mean there was not change. While minimal compared to previous years, the 17th ward will lose portions of neighbors in the Southern end of the ward.” The ward gained a few segments in Kings Oak and Central West End, and lost a significant segment in Botanical Heights, Tiffany, and Shaw. The portion of Botanical Heights and Tiffany lost by the 17th ward will now be in the 19th ward, represented by Alderwoman Marlene Davis.

“The Botanical Heights Neighborhood was entirely in 17 and will now be split between 17 and 19,” said Alderman Roddy. “I look forward to working with Alderwoman Davis, the Botanical Heights Neighborhood Association, and Park Central Development on how best to serve the residents of Botanical Heights. Needless to say I’ve enjoyed getting to know and working with residents of these neighborhoods who are no longer residents of the 17th ward and have always considered it an honor to serve them.”

The 17th ward also gained residents in other areas. “The 17th ward has picked up a few new residents in the CWE and Kings Oak neighborhoods and I look forward to working with them in the years ahead,” stated Alderman Roddy.

Note the new boundaries have not passed as of yet. They will go into effect in late summer pending approval by the Board of Alderman and Mayor Francis Slay. The boundaries have been passed by the legislation committee of the St. Louis Board of Alderman. According to Roddy, “It appears that we will be passing a redistricting map with little or no controversy. This is remarkable given the history of redistricting in the city. President Reed and Alderwoman Young deserve credit for leading this effort as they carefully balanced the sometimes competing political, neighborhood, legal and city interests.”

Proposed 17th Ward boundaries

degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than has been predicted

State Of The Ocean: 'Shocking' Report Warns Of Mass Extinction From Current Rate Of Marine Distress

State Of The Ocean Report 2011 Ipso Mass Extinctio

First Posted: 06/20/11 05:19 PM ET Updated: 06/21/11 09:09 AM ET

If the current actions contributing to a multifaceted degradation of the world's oceans aren't curbed, a mass extinction unlike anything human history has ever seen is coming, an expert panel of scientists warns in an alarming new report.

The preliminary report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is the result of the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all of the stressors currently affecting the oceans, including pollution, warming, acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.

"The findings are shocking," Dr. Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director, said in a statement released by the group. "This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children's and generations beyond that."

The scientific panel concluded that degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than has been predicted, and that the combination of factors currently distressing the marine environment is contributing to the precise conditions that have been associated with all major extinctions in the Earth's history.

According to the report, three major factors have been present in the handful of mass extinctions that have occurred in the past: an increase of both hypoxia (low oxygen) and anoxia (lack of oxygen that creates "dead zones") in the oceans, warming and acidification. The panel warns that the combination of these factors will inevitably cause a mass marine extinction if swift action isn't taken to improve conditions.

The report is the latest of several published in recent months examining the dire conditions of the oceans. A recent World Resources Institute report suggests that all coral reefs could be gone by 2050 if no action is taken to protect them, while a study published earlier this year in BioScience declares oysters as "functionally extinct", their populations decimated by over-harvesting and disease. Just last week scientists forecasted that this year's Gulf "dead zone" will be the largest in history due to increased runoff from the Mississippi River dragging in high levels of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers.

A recent study in the journal Nature, meanwhile, suggests that not only will the next mass extinction be man-made, but that it could already be underway. Unless humans make significant changes to their behavior, that is.


Travis Donovan Author, travis.donovan@huffingtonpost.com 

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Google Invests $280 Million in SolarCity Project Finance Fund

Google Invests $280 Million in SolarCity Project Finance Fund

image SolarCity Funding

New project will finance fund for SolarCity Inc., a financier, installer and owner of rooftop photovoltaic systems.

Google Inc. (GOOG) agreed to put $280 million in a new project financing fund for SolarCity Inc., a financier, installer and owner of rooftop photovoltaic systems, in the Internet search engine’s biggest clean-energy investment.

The deal with San Mateo, California-based SolarCity is also Google’s first investment related to distributed solar energy, Rick Needham, the search engine’s director of green business operations, said by telephone yesterday.

The investment is a “quadruple-win” because it will enable more homeowners to lower their energy bills while also shifting to renewable energy, allow SolarCity to expand its business and facilitate wider deployment of solar, Needham said. Mountain View, California-based Google will also make a return on capital upfront, he said, since its investment is supported by the Treasury Department’s cash grants program.

As an alternative to tax credits, the program reimburses investors for 30 percent of project expenditures for solar. The program was created after the 2008 financial crisis to revive spending on clean energy. Projects must begin construction by the end of 2011 to be eligible.

With the looming expiration of the grants program, other corporations with large balance sheets need to “get into this space or else we’ll see project financing struggle,” Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive officer, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

“Most solar financing has occurred with traditional banks,” Rive said. Those investors though are “constrained with the amount of capital that can be deployed for distributed power. Google is setting an example other corporate companies will follow,” he said.

For more on this article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-14/google-invests-280-million-in-solarcity-project-finance-fund.html

Source: Bloomberg

World of Renewables - Renewable Energy News, Events, Companies, Products, Jobs and more - Google Invests $280 Million in SolarCity Project Finance Fund

Green Jobs Are Real: German and American Solar Industry Both Employ More People Than U.S. Steel Production | Renewable Energy News Article

Washington, D.C., United States – With roughly 93,500 direct and indirect jobs, the American solar industry now employs about 9,200 more workers than the U.S. steel production sector, according to 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics. The American steel industry has historically been a symbol of the country's industrial might and economic prosperity. But today, the solar industry has the potential to overtake that image as we build a new, clean-energy economy.

Green Jobs Are Real: German and American Solar Industry Both Employ More People Than U.S. Steel Production | Renewable Energy News Article

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible

Solar Power Without Solar Cells: A Hidden Magnetic Effect of Light Could Make It Possible

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) — A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells.


The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery," said Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics.

In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.

"You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We've all been taught that this doesn't happen," said Rand, an author of a paper on the work published in the Journal of Applied Physics. "It's a very odd interaction. That's why it's been overlooked for more than 100 years."

Light has electric and magnetic components. Until now, scientists thought the effects of the magnetic field were so weak that they could be ignored. What Rand and his colleagues found is that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. Under these circumstances, the magnetic effects develop strength equivalent to a strong electric effect.

"This could lead to a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation," Rand said. "In solar cells, the light goes into a material, gets absorbed and creates heat. Here, we expect to have a very low heat load. Instead of the light being absorbed, energy is stored in the magnetic moment. Intense magnetization can be induced by intense light and then it is ultimately capable of providing a capacitive power source."

What makes this possible is a previously undetected brand of "optical rectification," says William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics. In traditional optical rectification, light's electric field causes a charge separation, or a pulling apart of the positive and negative charges in a material. This sets up a voltage, similar to that in a battery. This electric effect had previously been detected only in crystalline materials that possessed a certain symmetry.

Rand and Fisher found that under the right circumstances and in other types of materials, the light's magnetic field can also create optical rectification.

"It turns out that the magnetic field starts curving the electrons into a C-shape and they move forward a little each time," Fisher said. "That C-shape of charge motion generates both an electric dipole and a magnetic dipole. If we can set up many of these in a row in a long fiber, we can make a huge voltage and by extracting that voltage, we can use it as a power source."

The light must be shone through a material that does not conduct electricity, such as glass. And it must be focused to an intensity of 10 million watts per square centimeter. Sunlight isn't this intense on its own, but new materials are being sought that would work at lower intensities, Fisher said.

"In our most recent paper, we show that incoherent light like sunlight is theoretically almost as effective in producing charge separation as laser light is," Fisher said.

This new technique could make solar power cheaper, the researchers say. They predict that with improved materials they could achieve 10 percent efficiency in converting solar power to useable energy. That's equivalent to today's commercial-grade solar cells.

"To manufacture modern solar cells, you have to do extensive semiconductor processing," Fisher said. "All we would need are lenses to focus the light and a fiber to guide it. Glass works for both. It's already made in bulk, and it doesn't require as much processing. Transparent ceramics might be even better."

In experiments this summer, the researchers will work on harnessing this power with laser light, and then with sunlight.

The paper is titled "Optically-induced charge separation and terahertz emission in unbiased dielectrics." The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property.

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible

Thursday

CAD Detail of Garage Footing Under Construction

This CAD Drawing by Scotty-Scotts Contracting outlines how I feel a Garage Footing and Foundation Should be built.  Note: Additional Rebar for Support and Strength, True Brick Ledge, and Keyway all add strength to the Foundation.  Not the Bare minimum that I was asked to build- in the Second Photo.  
"If you want a building to stand up to the test of time how intelligent of choice is it to: skimp on $200 Worth of Materials & $300 worth of Labor?"

I was hired on to build a Garage Foundation and Footing Detail of Building to this bare minimum design. See Below



CAD Detail by Scotts Contracting - Garage Foundation Wall and Footing Detail

Scotts Contracting Picasa Web Job Site Album Photos 

    


State Energy Efficiency Policies Deliver, Save Consumers Billions
















                       

NEWS RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release

June 15, 2011

 

Contact: Michael Sciortino

(202) 507-4028

msciortino@aceee.org

 

Seth Nowak

(608) 256-9155

snowak@aceee.org

   

Media Contact: Patrick Kiker

(202) 507-4043

pkiker@aceee.org

 

 

 

ACROSS THE NATION, STATE ENERGY EFFICIENCY POLICIES DELIVER, SAVE CONSUMERS BILLIONS

 

Utilities Expand Programs and Plan for Even More

 

 

Washington, D.C. (June 15): States across the country have been reaching or exceeding their energy savings goals established through Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS), thereby lowering utility bills for consumers and reducing the need to build costly new power plants. The forecast is also bright for the future as states expect to achieve even higher energy savings for utility customers in years to come. These are the findings of two reports released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).   

 

From 2004 to 2010, 24 states followed the lead set by Texas and Vermont by establishing an EERS, a policy that sets long-term energy savings goals for electric and natural gas utilities. Since then, utilities, regulators, and consumers in all corners of the country have embraced this approach to deliver energy efficiency programs that save energy and money in homes and businesses.

 

The first report, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Energy Savings Targets, documents the performance of every state with an EERS in place for more than two years. Comparing actual performance with the EERS targets, 13 of the 19 states with EERS policies in place for over two years are achieving 100% or more of their goals, three states are reaching over 90% of their goals, and the three states falling below 80% of their goals are working hard to catch up.  In each case, state EERS policies are driving energy efficiency investments and energy cost savings to unprecedented levels.

 

"These states are demonstrating that energy efficiency programs deliver real savings for utilities and ratepayers, and it is more affordable than any supply-side energy source," said Michael Sciortino, Policy Analyst and the report's lead author. By law and rule, the energy efficiency programs implemented in a state with an EERS must cost less than the electricity that would have been produced if not for the programs. Accordingly, utility efficiency programs are saving customers significantly more than they cost.

 

For example, in 2009 and 2010, Ohio utility customers saved $56 million in energy costs over and above the costs to deliver the programs. Over the lifetime of these programs, they are likely to save customers in excess of three-quarters of a billion dollars-and this is just the beginning. Program goals increase over time.

 

"As a comprehensive national energy policy remains beyond the reach of Congress, states are taking action to show how bold energy efficiency policies can benefit residential, commercial, and industrial consumers," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE Executive Director.

 

The future promises still more savings from state EERS, since most EERS targets increase over the next decade. The second report, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: State Strategies to Reach Higher Energy Savings, documents how utilities are planning to ramp up their efforts to hit these higher energy savings levels. 

 

The second report includes an analysis of six states with some of the largest and most successful energy efficiency programs in the United States-California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont. In these leading states, utilities are employing new strategies to expand existing programs and add new ones, enhance advertising and promotions, and conduct innovative pilot projects.

 

Six more states-Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania-are also examined in detail as they rapidly ramp up to develop the state-of-the-art energy efficiency programs required to meet the increasingly higher targets. Utilities in these states are running fewer, simpler programs that can get the most energy savings as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

 

"Experts who specialize in these states say the potential for cost-effective energy efficiency is more than sufficient to meet the goals that have been established, and they put the likelihood of states continuing to meet their goals in the 90% range," summarized Martin Kushler, ACEEE Senior Research Fellow. "The greatest challenge for the future isn't technical-it's inspiring the political will necessary to pass these energy and money-saving standards in every state."

 

To read the first report, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Energy Savings Targets, below

 

To read the second report, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: State Strategies to Reach Higher Energy Savings, below.  

 

To read the fact sheet, click here.

 

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit www.aceee.org.

 

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Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: State and Utility Strategies for Higher Energy Savings


June 15, 2011

Research Report U113

Authors:

Seth Nowak, Martin Kushler, Michael Sciortino, Dan York, and Patti Witte

Description:

Twenty-two states adopted Energy Efficiency Resources Standards (EERS) between 2007 and 2010, passing the tipping point so that now more than half of all states have EERS in place for electricity, natural gas, or both. Many states with well-established ratepayer-funded energy efficiency portfolios have been expanding and enhancing their efforts, raising annual percent savings targets to unprecedented levels. There is also a new breed of states launching comprehensive and extensive efficiency efforts built to achieve annual savings goals of 1%, 1.5%, and even 2% within just a few years. These "Established Savers" and "Rapid Start" states have been scaling up budgets, enacting both supportive and complementary policies, and bringing together collaborative stakeholder groups to achieve and sustain aggressive savings. Utilities have been responding to this new policy environment by adding and developing programs, efficient technologies, market segmentation strategies, program approaches, and program designs. For this report, we picked six states in each group to research in order to capture and describe the trends and themes, take a snapshot of results to date, and assess the outlook for the future. We collected data by utility and by state, conducting interviews with 36 program administrators, managers, and state and nonprofit experts with knowledge of how stepped-up savings levels would be attained and sustained. Their on-the-ground, in-the-field perspective was then complemented by the broader views and observations of seven nationally-known industry experts.



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