Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chemical "Dispersants" can't hide the evidence, BP is doomed.

ABC News went underwater in the Gulf with Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau (one of my personal heros), and he described what he saw.
"one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen underwater."
Check out what BP does not want you to see. And please share this widely -- every American should see what's happening under the surface in the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Potential Wind Farms Along Coast of USA

Imagine a forest of giant wind-mills all along the coasts of the United States, all connected, so that variations in wind speed will average out and feed right into the large demands of the grid.

This is not some dream, it's all proven technology, and already being used in Europe. The wind resources at sea are superior to those on land, and these wind generators don't risk giant oil spills.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Insisting insulation is "sexy"

President Barack Obama called for new federal incentives to make millions of homes more energy efficient as a way to create jobs for the unemployed, save money for homeowners and reduce pollution.

Speaking at a suburban Virginia Home Depot store cleared of shoppers, Obama said he wants Congress to provide temporary incentives to encourage consumers to rush out and buy such items as insulation, new windows and doors, and caulk leaks where they live.

Obama said homes and offices are responsible for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption. This is part of the solution, this is how you make America safe, secure, and energy independent.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SDG&E Continue to Make Mistakes over Sunrise Power-Link Project

Ray Lutz, an Electrical Engineer and Founder of the Community Oversight Project, is running for Congress in the 52nd District against Dunken Hunter Jr.

Ray is a Community Activist and Organizer who courageously documents the meetings and activities of Governments and Corporations, then posts them online.

Receintly Ray was asked not to Video Record a public meeting about San Diego Gas and Electric's Sun-Rise Power-Link Project. You should read the email's between Ray and SDG&E's Public Relations man, Don Parent.

SDG&E Hosted this meeting at the Alpine Women's Club to go over the details of the construction in the middle of Alpine to underground the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.

They always say the project is one of the most studied in the history of the PUC, but they fail to mention that the 11,000 page EIR concludes with the #1 recommendation that the line should not be built at all. The PUC, in their "infinite wisdom" decided to go against the recommendation of the EIR and build it anyway.

Now, we are stuck with a project that is a waste of rate-payer dollars. We could install solar arrays throughout the SD basin and get the same amount of power the transmission line would bring in, for the same $$.

The bottom line is that the Sunrise Powerlink does not generate one kwhr of power, and they guaranteed that at least 0% of the power would be renewable. Their true game plan is to use this line to transmit power generated in Mexicali using imported LNG through the new Costa Azul LNG terminal.

This project must stop, even if we have to chain ourselves to the tractors. -Ray Lutz"

Prior to the recording of the session, Don Parent, PR Rep for SDG&E said recording would not be possible and the camera had to be removed. Ray Lutz said that he would stand his ground and record anyway, unless Parent would have him arrested. Read the emails that followed, HERE.

The video of the meeting is worth watching too!
Video part 1
Video part 2

"They Opened a Gate to Hell"

When I first heard those words, I thought they were hyperbole. After all, the source was a writer so hard-core liberal that even I consider her fringe. But, I'll eat my crow. She was right (Play the NOAA estimate).

According to British Petroleum (BP) the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was only about 5,000 barrels per day. Now, scientists using BP's own video feed estimate it at 25,000-70,000 barrels per day.

I don't think that our government was lying, I think they trusted the oil company, and didn't have any other information to go on. So, they just accepted BP's claims. Now we know the true extent of this spill, and how the oil is building up underneath the surface of the ocean. What we can not know is what the "chemical dispersants" (i.e. detergents) will do to the environment.

I suspect the Florida Keys are in for a soaking, and this spill will likely fill the Gulf of Mexico, damaging all the reefs and waters off the Caribbean islands. Then it will make its way up the east coast and perhaps as far as Europe. It will be a decade before we understand the full extent of the damage.

This is an "I TOLD YOU SO" moment for the environmentalists, and the economic damage to BP and the Gulf States may be catastrophic. We can only hope that nature survives better than these economies.

And yet, astonishingly, members of Congress are still talking as if the way to respond to the climate crisis is to drill MORE oil wells off shore, and in the Gulf in particular. Driven by their self-serving corporate contributors they want to burn MORE coal to further accelerate global climate-change, and preferentially subsidize absurdly expensive and dangerous nuclear power plants instead of true renewables like concentrated solar technologies, where the same investment would make our country energy self-sufficient, safely.

As bad as the situation in the Gulf is right now, it will unfortunately get so much worse when the hurricane season hits again, and all that oil gets dumped on land by the storm surges, as hurricanes themselves driven by rising global temperatures.

"This is not just a wake up call, this is a kick in the head. Either we get serious about the climate crisis, and STOP burning fossil fuels, requiring literally a Manhattan project to develop alternative renewable resources, or the day will come all too soon when the scientists tell us there no longer anything we can do to save ourselves." - The Pen

Monday, May 17, 2010

Greening San Diego

In 2005, San Diego County imported energy, electricity and natural gas, costing us over $1-Billion (not counting transportation fuels, or long term infrastructure costs).

That is $1-Billion that left our economy to pay for energy, most of it wasted through inefficiency. Today we are in the middle of a recession, looking for ways to save money, to create jobs, to become more productive. Now, we have the opportunity to free ourselves from the long term trap that uses our lives to pay outsiders for our energy.

Ecological Designer, Jim Bell, and UCSD's Heather Honea, Ph.D., wrote us a plan in 2007. Their analysis came to the conclusion that even without any local, State, or Federal Government subsidies, it makes pure economic sense to transform San Diego's energy economy over to diversified, local, renewable energy.

Their plan, titled "NET-METERING", calls for 'Community Choice Aggregation Ordinances' that ask all current energy users to reform their energy consumption, implement conservation and efficiency measures, like those called for under the ARRA, and smartly cut usage by 40%. Then uses the energy cost savings from those measures to implement renewable energy projects, like Solar Photo-Voltaics, on a neighborhood scale, to supply the remaining 60%+ electricity we need.

Once we collectively choose to begin down this path, there is a net savings to our economy, and a net increase in local jobs and resources. That means we keep at least $1-Billion dollars in the local economy every year, assuming both our population and the price of imported energy were to stay constant. With that extra capital, we can innovate, educate, and even export energy. Imagine that?

If the average cost of electricity in San Diego County is just ten-cents per kilowatt-hour, then the 2010 cost of energy is $1.6-Billion, in negative cash flow. We can end our dependence on foreign energy supplies, we can increase our energy security, and can keep the money in San Diego County.

We don't need to build more power plants nor power-links to other areas. We don't have to worry about future energy-cost increases, nor brown-outs. No more carbon fuel polluting the atmosphere, no more atomic energy risking catastrophe. We might even choose to create fresh water from the sea using the excess green energy we create?

That is what I call a truly SUSTAINABLE FUTURE!
Want to read more? Visit and read the study for yourself.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spray Polyurethane Foam - Pros and Cons

One great advance in insulation technology is spray polyurethane foam (SPF). With a Polyurethane made from two highly toxic chemicals: methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, and a Resin also known as the polyol blend, and is comprised mostly of polyols, with smaller amounts of catalysts, blowing agents, flame retardants and surfactants. 

Spray polyurethane foam, commonly referred to as SPF, is a spray-applied insulating foam plastic that is installed as a liquid and then expands many times its original size. It offers excellent insulating properties, improving energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings, and is also used in many specialty applications.

Although there is a STYROFOAM™ Brand Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF), these types of spray foams come in all types for all purposes. There use and handling is very dangerous, so I would never call them "green", however they can be used properly to create a very solid insulation barrier, that will last for decades (if not centuries) and create a vapor and moisture barrier that can save energy and thus indirectly save the environment. 

Spray Foam has some great advantages...
  • Very High R-Value for size
  • Easily sprayed into tight spots
  • Can be very water resistant
  • Increases the strength of the existing walls
  • Excellent vapor retarder, creates a good barrier
  • Good sound control by filling cracks and crevices
  • Highly durable
Unfortunately, there are also many drawbacks to be overcome ...
  • Looses its ability to insulate over the years
  • Breaks down at 250-degrees, like all plastic
  • Can give off toxic fumes, off-gassing
  • More expensive than traditional materials
  • Use fossil fuels in production
  • Greenhouse gases are produced by the blowing agents
  • Fumes can be deadly if inhaled, Installers of polyurethane foam need to be protected when applying the foam to a project
  • Some people have allergies to the foam, and If this type of foam comes in contact with the eyes, they should be rinsed thoroughly and attended to immediately because temporary blindness can occur.
  • Very difficult to do any remodel or make changes after foam is sprayed.
  • Lasts forever, so how do you dispose of it when the building's life-span is done?
Remember Polyurethane Foam is made from molecules that are not found in nature. Here is one great alternative that you might want to use: Ecovative Design's - Greensulate (TM) 

Looking at the Future of Climate Change

After his horrible defeat in 1999, Al Gore retooled and created his lecture, "An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It".

The idea that 'Global Warming' is a hoax, or a mistake in the data, has been propigated by reactionary wing-nut radio, but I did a little research. I found that the argument is deep, there are large inconsistencies and variations in the limited data we have. After all we've only had satellites flying around the planet since 1951.

The pseudo-scientists and fringe academics who ask questions, sometimes legitimate questions, are real and right to be skeptical. Unfortunately, their curiosity ends as soon as their political and financial interests are met. The deeper story is that, climates are too complex for our limited time on the planet to comprehend, yet we keep polluting, in spite of the growing evidence.
If Al Gore is wrong, then we will simply have a heat wave, and we will adapt. But if he is right we will not only have great social and economic catastrophe, we may loose a large percentage of the species on the planet. Here is what you can do about it - RepoWEr America