Hold Onto Your Hats, Folks … It's Wind Energy, Texas Style PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Firma   
Friday, 13 December 2013 00:55

texas-big-windWhile the rest of the United States remains mired in a sluggish recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown and the persistent recession that has followed, the great state of Texas has not. Not only has the Lone Star State's economy grown and its population increased, employment figures continue to rise at pleasing rates, and all of these factors combine to make the state a model in the promise of managed dynamic growth.

With all of that relative atypical growth comes an ever increasing hunger for electricity  Since 1960, Texas' total energy consumption has grown by an average of 2.2  percent per year, and it shows no signs of abating.

Not surprisingly, Texas produces and consumes more electricity than any other state in the Union. But what may be surprising to some is the fact that more and more of that demand for electricity is being met by wind power, a bit of an odd concept for a state that was made and is still dominated today by Big Oil.

The strain on the state's power grid has, of course, become a massive problem, especially during summer months when demand outstrips supply. In 2011, several spikes in wholesale electric prices were the result, causing headaches for businesses and residents and the power reserves alike. The two following summers were equally bad, but generally cooler weather in 2013 prevailed and helped to relieve the strain on the grid.

Since that time, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas , which operates some 85 percent of the state's power grid, has added coal and natural gas generators to meet the demand, but even so, the lion's share has been from its installation of wind generators, located mostly in windy western Texas.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 December 2013 00:59
Maine Governor Sees the “Bright Side” of Global Warming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Firma   
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 01:33
paul-lepage-memeHow anyone in this supposedly enlightened day and age can actually find a “good side” to the nagging problem of global warming seems at once to be quite beyond the pale. With all the scientific evidence backing the issue's devastating effects on our battered Earth, it is simply absurd that anyone could be that stupid.

But stupid is as stupid does, as a wise character once said, and so Maine Governor Paul LePage has, in an astounding and shameless display of bare-faced folly, reached far and wide and come up with a crackpot theory about global warming that goes against all evidence to the contrary.

“Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up,” LePage said recently at a transportation conference. “So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline.”

Sure, Gov. LePage, a new pipeline ... a pipeline to Hell on Earth.

Of course, LePage's screwball theory would have nothing to do with the possibility of financial gain, now would it? According to Daily Kos, perhaps LePage's special arrangement with an Icelandic shipping company whose president feels much the same brings to light their mutual belief that utilizing a Northern Passage route to ship goods into Maine is a simply grand idea.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 21:48
X-Treme XB-305-SLA Electric Mountain Bicycle Review: Eco-Friendly Transportation Series PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Firma   
Friday, 06 December 2013 02:31

x-treme-xb-305-sla-electric-mountain-bikeThe X-Treme XB-305-SLA electric mountain bike is featured in this weeks Eco-Friendly Transportation Series. Like almost any other person I know, I like getting around in style and at a speed that won't slow me down. But I'm also careful while I'm doing it, because I don't want to spend my time using a smog-spewing ride that poisons the planet at the same time. I also like to off-road, so when I saw that X-Treme had come out with a new electric mountain bike, I got pretty excited. I got to test out the XB-305-SLA on my local hills, and it was a great ride.

Coming in at a mere 63 lbs., the X-Treme XB-305-SLA electric bike features a step-through 18” steel frame that's ideal for female riders who appreciate a stylish, strong entry level mountain bike. It can carry a rider weighing up to 350 lbs. for up to 10 miles on a single charge, at up to 20 mph without pedaling, more of course when you do get those legs pumping.

Two 12 volt, 12 amp sealed lead acid batteries feed the XB-305SLA's 300 watt brushless hub mounted motor, located in the center of the rear wheel. This means there are no chains or belts to worry about, as power is applied directly to the wheel itself.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 02:36
X-Treme XB-300-SLA Electric Mountain Bicycle Review: Eco-Friendly Transportation Series PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Firma   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 02:21

x-treme-xb-300-sla-electric-mountain-bikeX-Treme's new XB-300-SLA Electric Mountain bike is perfect for entry level or novice mountain bikers with a passion for riding in the great outdoors. You can enjoy the weather and the sport while at the same time take care not to expand your carbon footprint on this weary planet.

As I tested this mountain bike, I really came to like it in pretty short order. The X-Treme XB-300-SLA is probably the lowest cost quality electric mountain bike on the market today. But it's packed with high end features that make it a real bargain, and it's a rugged and attractive looking bike to boot, one that I would not hesitate to ride with others sporting much more expensive models.

The XB-300-SLA mountain bike has an ample 300 watt brushless electric motor, fed by two 12-volt, 12-amp SLA batteries that can keep you moving at a top speed of 20 mph for up to 10 miles on a single charge, without pedaling. You can go faster and farther if you help, so get those legs pumping!

Showcasing a high quality and reliable 7-speed Shimano Tourney gear and shifter system, the XB-300-SLA electric bike has a TZX-31 rear dérailleur and gearbox. You can just pedal, or use the Twist and Go (TAG) system for that extra boost to make it up that hill. If you want to make pedaling easy, you can activate the Pedal Assist (PA) mode, which makes the engine come on for a little boost after every 360 degree rotation of the pedals.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 02:26
Ontario Officials Say “Coal, Be Gone” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Firma   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 21:30
ontario-kicks-coalPollution-wary government officials in Ontario, Canada have taken the Green pledge to heart and will finally introduce legislation this week that will not only completely ban coal burning within its boundaries, but will also prohibit the construction of any new coal plants within the province.

Ontario also expects to complete the conversion of the huge Nanticoke Generation Station to biomass by the end of 2013. At one time, the plant was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in all of Ontario, but provided only 4 gigawatts of baseline electricity. Now it will serve to “top off” demands during peak electrical consumption hours, having had about half of its generating units dismantled over the past few years.

Not that the Province of Ontario is short of power. No, not by a longshot. With an aggressive combination of ultra efficient habits and an effective renewables reclamation program, and then by adding nuclear and natural gas into the electricity generation equation, Ontario has actually become a major exporter of excess electricity. Last year alone, the province sold 10 terawatts of redundant energy to Canada's surrounding territories and provinces.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 22:09