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Fast Charge: January 15, 2013
Geostellar’s daily roundup: Ford, Whirlpool, Eaton and others team up to awesomeize energy efficiency; a cool interactive solar grid parity map; tidal power reconsidered in the UK; and a Stanford slideshow on how to change consumer behavior.
The future is now: Solar Daily reports how major makers of U.S. cars, home appliances and clean tech equipment collaborate to remake the American home and streamline energy usage. Working with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the group created an energy-efficient lifestyle model using EV, solar recharging technology, and smart appliances that created a 60% reduction in energy costs and 55% reduction in CO2 emissions. Implementing this nationwide would be the equivalent of taking all the homes in CA, NY, and TX off the grid (32 million homes). Fascinating corporate collaboration.
Find out just how much solar power is being produced right now at grid parity with fossil-fuel-generated electricity with a handy interactive map from your friends at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. California is the big winner with almost 11 gigawatts of solar installed, moving fastest to sink solar prices below that of gas or coal. But how much will be at parity in 2016, or 2020, both with incentives and without, and both homes and businesses? Renewable Energy World invites you to start clicking around on this map and see a bigger picture.
Clean Technica reports that two principal ideas have emerged as the most likely to tap the hydroelectric power of moving tides in the UK: estuary barges, which capture the energy of water moving into and out of coastal estuaries, and tidal stream turbines which are like windmills plunked down in waters with strong tides. A new analysis from the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (now that’s hot reading!) states that tidal power, which has been all but ignored because of environmental effects on the Severn River and other places where it has been proposed, could supply as much as 20% of all of the UK’s energy needs. Which is huge.
David Roberts at Grist acknowledges that every climate change activist is trying to get humans to change their behavior, but the process is riddled with common mistakes and mistaken assumptions. So we visit a slideshow presentation from Stanford University’s Persuasive Tech Lab devoted to the subject of behavior change, to find out what we’re doing wrong. Number 1? Relying on willpower. Gotta pretend that doesn’t exist. Number 4 seems key: Trying to change old behaviors instead of creating new ones. Give us sweet workable solar and we’ll forget all about that glamorous old coal.