Top Home Electricity Users  

Posted by Big Gav

Stuart at Early Warning has a look at the top energy drains inside the home (at least inside a North American home) - Top Home Electricity Users.

The above chart shows the top users of electricity in a typical US home. The data are from the EIA and date from 2001 so it might have changed a bit but probably not all that much. Note that this is only electricity usage, not all energy usage.

So if you want to conserve, you can see where are the likely highest priority places to start. Of course, these are national averages so you can make regional or personal adjustments. For example, if you live in the southern parts of the US, air conditioning is likely a bigger fraction of your total, while in northern climes, it's probably less. Similarly, if you heat with electricity then space heating is likely the biggest bar for you, whereas if you don't, it will be zero.

Still and all, if you start working down the bars in size order and replace anything that is old and inefficient with new and maximally efficient replacements, this will be a fairly rational approach.

Doha Climate Talks Enter Week 2  

Posted by Big Gav in

The SMH has an article on the latest round of climate negotiations - It's the end of the world as we know it.

THE world is on track to see "an unrecognisable planet" that is between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by the end of this century, according to new data on greenhouse gas emissions.

As United Nations climate negotiations enter their second week in Doha, Qatar, an Australian-based international research effort that tracks greenhouse gas output will release its annual findings on Monday, showing emissions climbing too quickly to stave off the effects of dangerous climate change.

The new forecast does not include recent revelations about the effects of thawing permafrost, which is starting to release large amounts of methane from the Arctic. This process makes cutting human emissions of fossil fuels even more urgent, scientists say.

The new data from the Global Carbon Project found greenhouse gas emissions are expected to have risen 2.6 per cent by the end of this year, on top of a 3 per cent rise in 2011. Since 1990, the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol, emissions have increased 54 per cent.

It means that the goal of the Doha talks – to hold global temperature rise to 2 degrees – is almost out of reach. That goal requires that emissions peak now and start falling significantly within eight years.

"Unless we change current emissions trends, this year is set to reach 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels, we are on the way to an unrecognisable planet of 4 to 6 degrees warmer by the end of this century," said the executive director of the Global Carbon Project, Dr Pep Canadell.

"Unless the negotiators in Doha wake up tomorrow and embrace a new green industrial revolution to rapidly change our energy systems, chances to stay below global warming of 2 degrees Celsius are vanishing very fast, if they are not already gone."

Emissions are growing in line with the most extreme climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change that explains the Global Carbon Project's findings.

The trajectory means a temperature range of between 3.5 and 6.2 degrees by the year 2100, with a "most likely" range of between 4.2 and 5 degrees. ...

Matthew England, a colleague of Professor Pitman and fellow author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, said: "While the science is clear that emissions reductions are required urgently, each year we are emitting more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is like a smoker ramping up the number of cigarettes smoked each day despite grave warnings to stop smoking altogether – sooner or later this catches up with you."

World Energy Report 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Truly Ugly  

Posted by Big Gav

TomDispatch has an article by Michael Klare on the latest IEA report - World Energy Report 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Truly Ugly (via Cassandra's Legacy).

Rarely does the release of a data-driven report on energy trends trigger front-page headlines around the world. That, however, is exactly what happened on November 12th when the prestigious Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year’s edition of its World Energy Outlook. In the process, just about everyone missed its real news, which should have set off alarm bells across the planet.

Claiming that advances in drilling technology were producing an upsurge in North American energy output, World Energy Outlook predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the planet’s leading oil producer by 2020. “North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world,” declared IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a widely quoted statement.

In the U.S., the prediction of imminent supremacy in the oil-output sweepstakes was generally greeted with unabashed jubilation. “This is a remarkable change,” said John Larson of IHS, a corporate research firm. “It’s truly transformative. It’s fundamentally changing the energy outlook for this country.” ...

The editors of the Wall Street Journal were no less ecstatic. In an editorial with the eye-catching headline “Saudi America,” they lauded U.S. energy companies for bringing about a technological revolution, largely based on the utilization of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract oil and gas from shale rock. That, they claimed, was what made a new mega-energy boom possible. “This is a real energy revolution,” the Journal noted, “even if it's far from the renewable energy dreamland of so many government subsidies and mandates.”

Other commentaries were similarly focused on the U.S. outpacing Saudi Arabia and Russia, even if some questioned whether the benefits would be as great as advertised or obtainable at an acceptable cost to the environment.

While agreeing that the expected spurt in U.S. production is mostly “good news,” Michael A. Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations warned that gas prices will not drop significantly because oil is a global commodity and those prices are largely set by international market forces. “[T]he U.S. may be slightly more protected, but it doesn’t give you the energy independence some people claim,” he told the New York Times.

Some observers focused on whether increased output and job creation could possibly outweigh the harm that the exploitation of extreme energy resources like fracked oil or Canadian tar sands was sure to do to the environment. Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress, for example, warned of a growing threat to America’s water supply from poorly regulated fracking operations. “In addition, oil companies want to open up areas off the northern coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean, where they are not prepared to address a major oil blowout or spill like we had in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Such a focus certainly offered a timely reminder of how important oil remains to the American economy (and political culture), but it stole attention away from other aspects of the World Energy Report that were, in some cases, downright scary. Its portrait of our global energy future should have dampened enthusiasm everywhere, focusing as it did on an uncertain future energy supply, excessive reliance on fossil fuels, inadequate investment in renewables, and an increasingly hot, erratic, and dangerous climate. Here are some of the most worrisome takeaways from the report.

Given the hullabaloo about rising energy production in the U.S., you would think that the IEA report was loaded with good news about the world’s future oil supply. No such luck. In fact, on a close reading anyone who has the slightest familiarity with world oil dynamics should shudder, as its overall emphasis is on decline and uncertainty.

Take U.S. oil production surpassing Saudi Arabia’s and Russia’s. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Here’s the catch: previous editions of the IEA report and the International Energy Outlook, its equivalent from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), rested their claims about a growing future global oil supply on the assumption that those two countries would far surpass U.S. output. Yet the U.S. will pull ahead of them in the 2020s only because, the IEA now asserts, their output is going to fall, not rise as previously assumed.

This is one hidden surprise in the report that’s gone unnoticed. According to the DoE’s 2011 projections, Saudi production was expected to rise to 13.9 million barrels per day in 2025, and Russian output to 12.2 million barrels, jointly providing much of the world’s added petroleum supply; the United States, in this calculation, would reach the 11.7 million barrel mark.

The IEA’s latest revision of those figures suggests that U.S. production will indeed rise, as expected, to about 11 million barrels per day in 2025, but that Saudi output will unexpectedly fall to about 10.6 million barrels and Russian to 9.7 million barrels. The U.S., that is, will essentially become number one by default. At best, then, the global oil supply is not going to grow appreciably -- despite the IEA’s projection of a significant upswing in international demand.

But wait, suggests the IEA, there’s still one wild card hope out there: Iraq. Yes, Iraq. In the belief that the Iraqis will somehow overcome their sectarian differences, attain a high level of internal stability, establish a legal framework for oil production, and secure the necessary investment and technical support, the IEA predicts that its output will jump from 3.4 million barrels per day this year to 8 million barrels in 2035, adding an extra 4.6 million barrels to the global supply. In fact, claims the IEA, this gain would represent half the total increase in world oil production over the next 25 years. ...

Add all this together -- declining output from Russia and Saudi Arabia, continuing strife in Iraq, uncertain results elsewhere -- and you get insufficient oil in the 2020s and 2030s to meet anticipated world demand. From a global warming perspective that may be good news, but economically, without a massive increase in investment in alternate energy sources, the outlook is grim. You don’t know what bad times are until you don’t have enough energy to run the machinery of civilization. As suggested by the IEA, “Much is riding on Iraq’s success... Without this supply growth from Iraq, oil markets would be set for difficult times.”

Staples to off 3D printing in Copy Centers  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Fabbaloo has an article on the steady evolution of 3d printing into a mainstream technology - Staples to Use Mcor IRIS in Copy Centers.

In a blockbuster announcement, Mcor, the makers of the IRIS color 3D printing system based on plain old paper, say they've struck a huge deal with print services giant Staples to supply 3D printing equipment for their numerous print and copy centers.

This will obviously take a while to implement, so Staples Printing Division is starting the process by rolling it out in Belgium and the Netherlands in Q1 2013 and then "will be rolled out quickly to other countries" according to Staples.

How does it work? Those with printable 3D models can merely upload them to Staples' web site, where they will be transformed into full color 3D objects with Mcor's new IRIS paper-based 3D printers. Printed models will be sent to your local Staples or directly to your address. It's not entirely clear from the announcement, but we suspect the 3D printers will not be located initially in all Staples print shops, but instead centralized in some efficient fashion. Nevertheless, we also suspect the long-term intention is indeed to equip every Staples print center with this 3D printing equipment.

The implications of this move are truly enormous, as it will go a very long way to opening up 3D printing for all. Staples is a massive brand with an astonishing capacity for advertising compared to any 3D printing company. Soon people will receive newspaper flyers explaining the new 3D print service. Perhaps we'll even see discount starter promotions. In any case, many more people will know about 3D printing as a result of this deal.

A Mountain Of Debt  

Posted by Big Gav in

Guy Rundle at Crikey has a meandering ramble outlining his thoughts about Montreal - including an interesting passage about the failure to move to a four day working week - Protests, corruption and poutine in sans-serif Montreal. The idea that loading the population up with debt is the capitalist system's way of keeping everyone under control is an interesting one - though I suspect that like its right wing equivalent (working people are lured onto welfare and then become prisoners of the system) its more of a conspiracy theory than a reality - instead just being a side effect of how the system is constructed rather than an explicit goal.

Though many Quebecois of the Left would deny it — having hoped for socialism in the ’70s, they see the current muddle as a social apocalypse — a communal commitment to such values has proved surprisingly resilient. Thus it was that the city surprised the world this year, when a series of student protests, ostensibly at an increase in tuition fees, grew far beyond the usual size of the recent Occupy protests, and then engulfed the entire city, drawing mass social sympathy, a march of 500,000 people in a city of 1.5 million, and bringing down the provincial Liberal government in the September elections.

In keeping with the city’s retro-modernist character, the protests looked forward from a position that, elsewhere, was far in the past. Quebec’s university system has remained substantially unmolested by the “destructive destruction” visited on it elsewhere, and a francophone sense of education as an essential social good survived. The trigger for the protests was a proposed rise in fees from $2000 per year to $3000 per year, both figures a pittance compared to standard North American fees.

The fees are merely part of a more far-reaching reorganisation of the university system on neoliberal lines, and the protests are at least in part a stand against that. Their size and fervour surprised so many across the world, because we have not seen anything like them for 20, or even 40 years, when the last round of protests at the process failed in their aims in other places.

But the Montreal protests were something else as well — a forward defence against the encroachment of capital’s latest technique for domination: life-long debt. Sure twelve grand for a four-year course isn’t in the league of US universities of equal calibre, where one hundred to two hundred grand must be found, or committed to. But it’s a step on the way, and the Occupy movement and whatever comes out of it is increasingly, and rightly so, focused on this shell game, whereby the general level of minimum qualifications for jobs is remorselessly raised, with no great gain in social return, and a debt-monkey degree becomes essential, simply to compete.

The process not only extends capital into new areas, it makes any discussion of shortening the working day impossible — because millions of people are flat chat under a dual education-mortgage debt burden.

Ads

Ads

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

News

Loading...

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (583) global warming (366) solar power (339) peak oil (322) electric vehicles (193) renewable energy (185) wind power (173) ocean energy (156) csp (144) geothermal energy (142) smart grids (139) solar thermal power (133) tidal power (133) coal seam gas (127) nuclear power (122) oil (116) lng (112) geothermal power (111) solar pv (111) china (109) iraq (108) energy storage (105) green buildings (104) natural gas (102) agriculture (85) oil price (77) biofuel (76) smart meters (72) wave power (68) electricity grid (63) energy efficiency (63) uk (63) google (55) coal (53) internet (51) surveillance (49) food prices (48) shale gas (48) bicycle (47) big brother (47) thin film solar (41) canada (39) biomimicry (38) ocean power (37) scotland (36) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) shale oil (33) queensland (32) credit crunch (31) politics (31) bioplastic (30) concentrating solar power (30) california (29) geoengineering (28) offshore wind power (28) population (28) cogeneration (27) saudi arabia (27) resource wars (26) arctic ice (25) batteries (25) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) woodside (25) drought (24) tesla (24) ctl (23) economics (22) carbon tax (20) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) limits to growth (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) buckminster fuller (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) exxon (17) lithium (17) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) mapping (16) michael klare (16) ucg (16) atlantis (15) bees (15) geodynamics (15) iceland (15) psychology (15) concentrating solar thermal power (14) ethanol (14) fertiliser (14) al gore (13) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) brazil (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) biochar (12) bucky fuller (12) internet of things (12) matthew simmons (12) otec (12) public transport (12) texas (12) victoria (12) chile (11) cradle to cradle (11) desertec (11) energy policy (11) lithium ion batteries (11) terra preta (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) hybrid car (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) toyota (10) volt (10) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) afghanistan (8) antarctica (8) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) eroei (8) floating offshore wind power (8) four day week (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) fish (7) stirling engine (7) vinod khosla (7) airborne wind turbines (6) apocaphilia (6) bolivia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) saul griffith (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) global energy grid (2) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)