Sunday, September 27, 2009

Maryland considering offshore wind power

Apparently I'm pretty late in picking up this story, but here's a link: 12 miles off Ocean City may soon be some industrial-sized windmills. I guess that's far enough away that they won't be visible from the beach, which is probably key.

I wonder how BG&E feels about this, with all their recent investments in nuclear....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shopping bags banned outright in San Jose, CA

Not much details on this legislation and apparently it's not final, but it sounds pretty strict. I wonder if grocery stores can just charge 5 cents a bag and get around it?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Live Strong

Thomas Friedman's editorial in today's New York Times is an interesting call for action. Nuclear power has many detractors (and rightfully so, I must say as a Nevadan) but one of its benefits is that it does not emit carbon. If we are really to take the issue of climate change seriously, there really should be more serious discussion of the topic, as well as of the perpetually unpopular carbon tax. Is now not the time because of the recession? Fine, then say we set a start date of January 1, 2011.

Friedman's point is that we simply have to wean ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil. It's not a new point but it bears repeating.

Another article of note in the same paper is an article about electronic devices and energy consumption. We had some discussion in class about "phantom loads"- devices that turn off but continue to use up a little energy so as to respond quickly when we activate them. Unsurprisingly, the average American home has more electronic gadgets than ever, and most of them drain energy basically all the time. An idea suggested in the article is to attach such devices to "smart" power strips, which turn off when they're not in use. I'm not sure where to find these strips, but I think I'll try to use more regular power strips to turn everything on and off at once rather than doing one at a time. Needless waste makes economists in particular cringe!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Federal plan for the Chesapeake

A belated welcome back to school to everyone. One observant class member sent along this yesterday: the EPA under the Obama administration is working on a plan to help the Chesapeake, starting with "$638 million over the next five years for farm incentives and other measures to help the bay." Sounds like a good start! This link is to an article about an executive summary of a draft report that's due to be released soon. I haven't seen much press about this: I wonder if the actual report will garner more attention....