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Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends from August, 2018

KSKQ 8-7-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

While CNN, Forbes, MSNBC, and Business Insider all jump on Elon Musk and Tesla as if he and it are about to fail, Tesla keeps making cars and money.  Short-sellers bet against such companies, hoping they’ll fail.  Perhaps some promote negative stories to push that process.  But Tesla keeps winning.

Tesla is so short on cash, about to crash and burn, that it is donating $37.5M to Nevada schools for STEM studies.  They’ll need educated people for their gigafactory.

Motor Trend car magazine tested a Tesla 3 with dual motors, calling it “a pure jungle cat.”

In a recent tweet, Elon Musk hinted Tesla may be developing a small, single-person car.  Too soon to know, but small around-town cars make a lot of sense.  Why haul around 5000 pounds of metal to move a single person to the store and back?

Wunder Capital invests in solar projects of $1 – 5M.  So far, all projects are producing energy and profits.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke seeking exemption from the drilling plan on the east coast, suggesting instead investing in wind power.

Cummins diesel is recalling a half million engines for trucks, cars and pickups because of a catalytic converter that fail sooner than expected.  Unlike VW, which rigged phony testing on its diesels, Cummins tried to make clean engines and will now take on the huge expense of fixing them.

Nearly a third of the UK’s churches have committed to operating at 100% clean energy standards.  5,500 churches have solar on them or they buy it from afar.

KSKQ 8-14-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

There’s a new very small electric car coming out in Italy, the Microlino.  The three-wheeler (single drive wheel in back, two steering wheels in front) is reminiscent of the old Tear Drop, but it’s cute and stylish.  It’s small enough to pull directly into the curb.  The whole front end opens for entry and exit.  It will hold two people and some cargo.  It weighs less than 1000 pounds, can go up to 55 mph, and can travel 75 or 135 miles (depending on the battery size).  As a three-wheeler, it could be classified as a motorcycle, thus evading the stringent safety requirements cars in the U.S. must meet.  I don’t know the expected cost; it could be less than $10,000.  It will be released in Italy, but the Microlino and Tazzari company there is interested in it being made elsewhere as well.  L.A. or Oregon would be good.

It’s meager and late, but it’s a small step forward: Jeep is coming out with a plug-in hybrid by 2021.

China is moving ahead with the transition to clean energy and transport.  They’re possibly going to raise the minimum electric-only miles on plug in hybrids to 125.  They’re teaming up with GE to develop a variable speed stored energy dam and generating system.  Elon Musk is working with them towards both battery and electric car manufacturing.  They’re also forging innovative relations with the European Union.

The Shanghai government met with Elon Musk, who is impressed with China’s ambition and skill.  The ghost city Lingang near Hong will be named Nanhui.  The largely vacant city is targeted for a battery gigafactory.  Lots of room for new residents and workers.  It is the largest foreign investment in Shanghai’s history.  Tesla is planning on producing 500,000 cars there annually, and it is the first foreign company to be granted 100% ownership.

The Australian company Airbus’ Zephyr S has flown a solar-powered electric airplane at 70,000 feet for three minutes shy of 26 days, breaking the old record of 11 days.  Onboard batteries keep it aloft at night.  The 165 pound aircraft has solar cells on its wings, two motors and props, and a wingspan of 88 feet.  It is very light and fragile, but is envisioned to provide monitoring of all below, be that natural disaster, maritime monitoring, or military surveillance.

Dissapointing news is that Uttar Pradesh, India, has cancelled a recent contract for one gigawatt of solar.

Similarly, the national Solar Energy Corporation of India has cancelled 2.4 GW of solar, complaining of high tariff bids.  Only Acme Solar, installing 600 MW, is still part of the original 3 GW offering. 

KSKQ 8-21-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

Secretary of the Interior Ron Zinke tries to avoid and deny the relation between climate warming and our forest fires, instead blaming it all on forest management issues.  Worse, he even tries to link and slam conservationist efforts as eco-terrorism.  But such ecoterrorism peaked 20 years ago with a grand total of 163 incidents then (which include all animal rights protests and other non-forest-related incidents).  In similar fashion our own congressman Greg Walden puts blame on fuel in forests while ignoring the two-month longer fire season, lack of snow and water, the creeping north of the beetles, and other obvious facts. 

Greg Walden email newsletter, 8-20-18

GE and Invenergy were going to put through 2 GW of electricity from the Wind Catcher wind farm in western Oklahoma, part of the 350 mile $4.5B line that was to have supplied the adjacent states.  But because it travels through a small corner of Texas, the Texas Public Utility Commission nixed the project, claiming it was protecting customers from higher rates should the project fail.  This scuttles the 100% federal tax credit it would have earned had it been completed by 2020.  Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and the feds were all on board, but this stymied them all.  Perhaps Texas didn’t want the competition for its own huge wind production.  Perhaps they serve fossil fuel interests?

Tesla is suing Ontario for deliberately ending rebates on EVs but then softening the blow only for those who ordered cars through dealerships.  The new Ford conservative government is like Trump in attacking clean energy policy and technology. 

VW, having deliberately cheated and lied on its emissions tests, now has to pay penance, including some $2B for charging stations across the country, money to states, and an ad campaign to promote electric vehicles.  So they created an ad that will cost them $45M featuring a Chevy Volt, along with other non-descript cars, not even mentioning a Tesla, but they do use Flintstones and Jetstones music.

Will California help protect the rise of electric vehicles?  By having an exemption to the EPA’s country-wide standards, California’s demand for clean-running cars might force the auto makers to plan for more electrics.  As is, many American manufacturers claim customers want big SUVs and trucks, ignoring the growth of efficient smaller cars.  They also ignore the potential for a massive increase in the price of gas.  Meanwhile, China now has 400 manufacturers of electrics.

China is filing a complaint with the WTO against Trump’s solar tariffs. 

International students at Duke University recently moved a person in a small, sleek, lightweight, low-slung, carbon fiber, trike an equivalent of 14,573 miles on a gallon of hydrogen, or, 8.5 miles on one gram.  Impressive, but hydrogen remains a problematic as a replacement for fossil fuels or clean renewables.

KSKQ 8-28-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

An Indian spacecraft has demonstrated water near the surface of the moon’s pole.  The 2008 launch was repositioned to find the water. Temperatures at the moon’s South Pole reach -250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Water would be useful both as a human resource and a fuel.

Norwegian fertilizer company Yara International is set to sail a new electric container ship that may also be self-driving.   The 70 meter-long ship will replace 40,000 truck trips a year.  It will have the equivalent of 90 Tesla Model X batteries on board and will travel a limited, regular route.

India intends to create a 25 GW solar farm in northern India (Jammu and Kashmir).  This huge project would power most of northern India.  The next-largest solar park, 5 GW, is in Gujarat State.

The German bank KfW is floating a €200M loan to India to continue developing their rural solar electrification program.  This will help create 200 MW of clean, renewable energy, enough to supply 270,000 homes.

Worldwide, solar utility scale solar declined by 20% from the regular growth it enjoyed until this year.  Partly this is due to China’s changing how it promotes and sells solar.  Partly it is due to fossil fuel shenanigans driving installation costs up.  But China still leads the world in total being installed, with the U.S. right behind.  But if looked at in terms of solar per person, Chile leads, while per country, it goes to Honduras.

The Rocky Mountain Institute estimates Colorado and other related western states could save $600M by 2030 by merely not using fossil fuels and instead using wind, solar and hydro. 

Shortly after Elon Musk stirred up the blogosphere and investosphere with his “I might take Tesla private” he changed his mind and kept the stock public.  He was tired of all the distraction of short-sellers and their manufactured FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) using media drama to attack and stymie him.  He’s bold, but not arrogant; he humbly listened to big and little investors and cancelled the idea.

Much like Trump, Australia’s new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has come to power using immigration scare tactics and ridicule of clean technologies.  Both came to power aided by Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.  Instead of former leadership by Turnbull, which was rapidly and successfully going clean and renewable, Morrison is now pushing coal and gas.  Fossil fuel fools reign in Australia as well as here – temporarily. 

In what could be bot-influenced fake news from Russia, nonetheless, the rifle company Kalashnikov is coming out with an electric car straight out of the 1970s, a klutzy but solid looking square vehicle – the CV1.  Price info not yet available.

China’s first free enterprise zone, Shenzhen, went from 30,000 in 1980 to 12.5M today, has 3M registered businesses, produces 90% of the world’s new electronic boards, and has an entirely electric bus fleet.  (Peter Diamandis email)

The Kandi corporation intends to import two inexpensive electric cars to America as well as sell them elsewhere.  The smaller of the two is the K22, a two-seater smaller than the Smart Car, that has a top speed of 65 mph and a range of 126 miles, will sell for about $20,000.  Because it is designed to meet U.S. requirements, $7,500 tax credits come in, making the purchase price for this little commuter to be $12,500.  The larger version has the same motor but a larger battery and seats four.  The price is not yet announced, but will be low.

Recent electric car sales are up 42% in Europe and 64% in China.

Tesla’s battery Gigafactory in Nevada will be entirely powered by Tesla solar by the end of 2019, they have announced.

Byron Carrier

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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