Georgia Power has just joined other southern electric utilities by announcing a decision to buy wind energy. If the Georgia Public Service Commission agrees to the deal, the Peach State will be receiving up to 250 megawatts of wind power – enough power for about 50,000 Georgia homes – from Oklahoma around the 2016 timeframe . In doing so, Georgia Power will follow in the footsteps of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Alabama Power and the Southwestern Electric Power Company in buying wind energy from the midwest.
With the announcement from Vatican City that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has been elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a whole bevy of analysis has begun on the newly elected pontiff including his chosen name: Pope Francis. When I heard this, I immediately wondered, is Pope Francis the new “green” Pope?
For folks not following Catholicism, it may have been easy to overlook the green credentials of Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In 2007, Vatican City became the first carbon neutral country in the world under Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. As part of that decision, a forest was planted to absorb as much carbon dioxide as the Vatican emits annually. Just a year later, over 2,400 solar panels were installed on the Vatican’s papal audience hall. In 2010, the Vatican decided to expand its solar program to 100 megawatts – decidedly making Vatican City the greenest country on the planet. Other green credentials of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI include a publication by the Papal Academy of Sciences noting the dire effects of climate change on glaciers, an entire sermon for the celebration of the World Day of Peace in 2010 titled “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation,” and last but not least, evaluating an all-electric, solar-powered Popemobile.
The Catholic Climate Covenant put together a Carbon Fast calendar for Lent a few years ago. Daily items range from reducing ones food waste, electricity consumption to getting involved in the climate discussion. All activities are designed to reduce your carbon footprint. While the dates aren’t current, the advice is still quite good. Check it out here.
Lent 4.5 is a program offered that breaks the season into weekly themes including Food, Consumption, Water, Energy and Transportation. This program includes a dose of data and information, scripture and real-world activities to implement “creation care”. Check it out here.
Similar to the Carbon Fast, the Energy Fast contains 40 days of Lenten activities from the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Energy Fast borrows some wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi, considered by many to be the patron saint of ecology. Check it out here.
Interfaith Power and Light, a non-profit organization that SACE works with to promote clean energy, has posted a blog on different activities regarding a “low-carbon Lent”. Check it out here.
The Evangelical Environmental Network had a blog series last year covering the seven weeks of Lent. Check it out here.
My family and I moved to Lafayette, Louisiana a little over a year ago. We were pleasantly surprised to find out Louisiana has some of the best solar incentives in the country, and were eager to install a solar panel system on our home. The process started out similar to just about any other large purchase – we did our research, and got estimates from several solar installation companies. We asked the installers about their competition and why they were the best for the job – just like any other contractor or car dealer. However, we decided to hold off for a year, in good part because it appeared that the solar photovoltaics industry was in price free-fall in 2011; and, if we just waited, we could get more solar energy for the same price. After that year, I just contacted our former installers again and they all gave me updated quotes within a week.
Chances are, if you see a wind farm while driving on the road, you instantaneously know exactly what it is. Unlike coal or nuclear power plants, there’s usually little question as to what those big white spinning things are and what they’re doing. But, for whatever reason, you may find yourself looking for wind farms on Google Earth. Even though turbines are relatively easy to see and comprehend in three dimensions, when looking for turbines on Google Earth, finding turbines takes a bit of finesse and practice.
This blog is one of a series on ways to identify power sources in Google Earth. To use all the features discussed in these blogs, download Google Earth, here.
Nuclear power plants tend to be one of the more iconic and easily recognizable forms of electric power generation. The most easily identifiable portion of a nuclear power plant is usually its cooling towers – not the reactor itself.
Coal power plants are probably the easiest to identify in Google Earth. Generally, coal plants have four major features that are pretty easily identifiable – a huge coal pile, smoke stacks (you usually have to look for the shadows cast by these towers), a major water body nearby (for transporting coal, cooling and intake water), and a generation station.
The Obama Administration announced today a major milestone in advancing offshore wind in North Carolina. Tommy Beaudreau, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), announced that BOEM will issue a Call for Information and Nominations for commercial offshore wind development in three wind energy areas off North Carolina. Those three areas, which were developed in close coordination between BOEM and the North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force, represent approximately 1,441 square miles of area potentially available for offshore wind development. With this BOEM announcement, North Carolina effectively more than doubles the amount of area potentially available for offshore wind development in the United States.
About 3,500 megawatts of wind turbine capacity was in the path of Hurricane Sandy. As we wrote on October 26th, it wasn’t expected that Hurricane Sandy would cause much damage to wind turbines. Based on the experience from another Category 1 hurricane (Irene) that struck the Mid-Atlantic last year, the turbines in the region proved that they are built to withstand hurricane-force winds.
Thus far, it appears that no wind turbines suffered catastrophic failure because of Sandy.
But here’s the good news – Hurricane Sandy is unlikely to do any major damage to wind turbines. Currently, Sandy is expected to hit the coast as a low-level Category 1 storm with winds around 80 miles per hour. Modern wind turbines are designed to protect themselves in extreme weather – including shutting down when winds get too high, even up to a Category 3 hurricane. And that’s exactly what the turbines in Delaware and New Jersey did with Hurricane Irene last year.