Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

FINALLY: solar cheaper than coal?

Their mission: to deliver cost-efficient solar electricity. The Nanosolar company was founded in 2002 and is working to build the world’s largest solar cell factory in California and the world’s largest panel-assembly factory in Germany. They have successfully created a solar coating that is the most cost-efficient solar energy source ever. Their PowerSheet cells contrast the current solar technology systems by reducing the cost of production from $3 a watt to a mere 30 cents per watt. This makes, for the first time in history, solar power cheaper than burning coal...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

General says bring the troops home

The former top US military commander in Iraq says American troops should pull out by next year.

Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez said he supported troop withdrawal legislation by the Democratic-controlled congress that calls for most US soldiers to be home within a year.

* * * *

The occupation of Iraq has lasted longer than WWII, cost the US thousands of lives and so far about $1/2 trillion. The US first allowed Iraq to be looted, then fired their technocrats, then fired their entire army, then refused to say when they'd end their occupation. Unemployment in Iraq is pegged at 40%. There's less electricity now than under Saddam. Untold numbers of Iraqis have been killed. Over 2 million have chosen to flee.
People say we can't leave now because things will go bad. What? You mean we've been doing good? We haven't exactly been good stewards, with $9 billion unaccounted for, and thousands of weapons missing that have probably gone straight to the insurgents. Iraq is one of the oldest countries in the world. I'll bet they can run their country better than we have.

Friday, November 16, 2007

are we already in a recession?

For two months, we have been tracking data points that we believe illustrate the changing environment. It's always possible that the worst is over, but these cycles usually take years, not months, to play out.

Innovation of the year; solar power; stick it anywhere!

Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That’s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that’s ubiquitous because it’s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality. The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. With backing from Google’s founders and $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nanosolar’s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year. ..

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

oil demand rising as oil output declines

A recipe for disaster if ever there was one. Worldwide oil production decreasing as demand skyrockets...

"The IEA said that China and India will account for around 45 per cent of the increase in global primary energy demand through 2030, when the world's energy needs are expected to be well over 50 per cent higher than they are today.
The agency added that the two emerging economies' growing appetite for crude oil imports, predicted to quadruple by 2030, could create a "supply" crunch as early as 2015. "

And meanwhile...

"In just the past six months, however, the signs of an imminent peak in conventional oil production have become impossible even for conservative industry analysts to ignore. These have come from the take-no-prisoners world of oil pricing and deal-making, on the one hand, and the analysis of international energy experts, on the other."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ikea will recycle your CFL's

I didn't know those energy-saving flourescent bulbs had mercury in them until I looked at the package on the last set I bought. Fortunately, there's not much in there, and now Ikea will take any burned out CFL's you may have for recycling. I hope you have an Ikea nearby...