In May, when Tesla Motors announced its new battery product to vast media buzz, the talk was all about people putting batteries in their solar-powered homes, and thereby becoming that much less reliant on the grid.
But there was always another and perhaps even bigger side of the story — the idea that very large scale batteries or battery packs could help out the grid itself by storing large amounts of solar energy for use in the evening or at night. The ultimate effect might be to displace electricity generated from coal or natural gas, and convert an inherently “intermittent” renewable energy source — solar — into a more constant one.
So is it happening? The answer seems to be yes — 2015 has seen several key announced, completed, or experimental grid-scale projects pairing batteries and solar photovoltaic panels….
Indeed, SolarCity — which is chaired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk — has just announced plans to bring precisely this combo to Hawaii, a state that continues to lead the way when it comes to the adoption of solar and batteries, thanks to its towering electricity costs, which are the highest in the nation.
SolarCity and the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative jointly announced last week that they’ve entered into a solar power purchase agreement in which SolarCity will provide 20 years of power from a 52-megawatt-hour battery installation that will be able to send as many as 13 megawatts of electricity to the island’s grid. The battery will draw power from an accompanying solar array.
The biggest news is when the energy would be supplied: the evening. “What makes this exciting is basically that it’s dispatchable solar that will be available at night,” says Peter Rive, the chief technology officer of SolarCity. The system is slated to be running by the end of 2016, said Rive, and will likely use Tesla batteries for the energy storage component.
Once that happens, solar energy will be no longer confined to simply being used when the sun is shining, at least on Kaua’i. Rather, thanks to storage, its use will be shifted to other hours of the day — removing one reason that power plants have often been powered by various types of fossil fuels (on Kaua’i, diesel), which of course can burn at any hour…
There are other examples, similar approaches – not quite the same. To me that is extraneous. What counts is that folks are working at one more avenue to make solar power generation practical.
Walking one small step at a time towards freedom from fossil fuel.
A solar-powered aircraft has now passed the point of no return on a record-breaking attempt to fly across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii…
The plane, which has a wingspan bigger than a jumbo jet, took off from Nagoya Airfield in Japan at 18:03 GMT on Sunday. On Monday morning it was off the east coast of Japan and, all going well, it is scheduled to land in Hawaii in approximately 120 hours.
Live video from the cockpit of the plane is being broadcast on YouTube, and shows the pilot André Borschberg wearing an oxygen mask and thick flight clothes to protect him from the cold…
The five-day leg from Japan to Hawaii is regarded as the most challenging part of the journey.
“If we did a five day flight across a continent and we encountered any problems – be it weather, operational issues, there’s an alternate airport we can land,” the project’s managing director Gregory Blatt told Al Jazeera.
“Crossing the Pacific, there no alternate airport so that’s what keeps me up at night, that’s what keeps up the teams, the engineers, the pilots. This is a first ever – are we going to be able to make it?”
If successful, the 120-plus hour flight to Hawaii will be the longest solo flight in aviation history. It will also break records for being the longest distance flown by a aircraft powered only by the sun.
Stay in touch folks. Here’s the link, again, for the live YouTube link.
Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg has begun his bid to cross the Pacific, from China to Hawaii, in the zero-fuel Solar Impulse aeroplane.
The experimental aircraft, which has a wingspan bigger than a jumbo but weighs little more than a large car, left Nanjing at about 18:40 GMT.
It is likely to take Mr Borschberg five to six days of continuous flight to reach his central Pacific destination.
He will try to stay awake for much of that time, taking only short catnaps.
His progress will be monitored the entire way from a control room in Monaco…
The journey is the seventh leg in the single-seat, propeller-driven aircraft’s quest to circumnavigate the globe using just the energy of the Sun…
Solar Impulse needs not only favourable winds to help push it forward, but also clear skies to enable its 17,000 wing-mounted photovoltaic cells to achieve peak performance.
These cells must have the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries fully topped up at dusk to sustain flying through to dawn the next day.
Mr Borschberg is a highly experienced pilot, and as a trained engineer is completely familiar with the plane’s systems…Nonetheless, he is in no doubt how tough the mission will be.
“It’s more in the end about myself; it’s going to be an inner voyage,” he told the BBC before departure.
“It’s going to be a discovery about how I feel and how I sustain myself during these five or six days in the air.”…
If he succeeds in reaching Kalaeloa airport, he will set several aviation records – not least the longest-duration journey for a single-seater plane.
And then – he will carry on to North America, to Europe, and back to AbuDhabi.
The mystery of the whereabouts of Edward Snowden’s long-time girlfriend is solved in a documentary that premiered in New York on Friday night: she has been living with the national security whistleblower in Russia since July.
The surprise revelation in the documentary, filmed by Laura Poitras, upends the widespread assumption that Snowden had deserted Lindsay Mills and that she, in a fit of pique, fled Hawaii where they had been living to stay with her parents in mainland US.
Since Snowden, a former NSA contractor, outed himself last year as being behind the biggest leak in US intelligence history, Mills has remained silent, giving no interviews or any hints of her feelings on the subject of her boyfriend or his actions.
The two-hour long documentary, Citizenfour, shows Mills living in Russia with Snowden…
Citizenfour offers a fly-on-the wall account of Snowden. Poitras filmed him at the Mira hotel in Hong Kong last year during interviews with journalists that resulted in a series of stories in the Guardian about the extent of surveillance by the US and British intelligence agencies as well as the internet and telecom companies. The revelations started a worldwide debate about the balance between surveillance and privacy.
Poitras captures the tension in his room at the Mira – where then-Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and I interviewed him – and in his final minutes at the hotel before he fled after being tipped off that hordes of media were about to arrive. She also filmed at the Guardian in London ahead of publication of one of the most explosive of the stories arising from Snowden’s revelations, and in Moscow, where Snowden is now in exile.
Snowden has been reluctant to talk about his personal life, preferring the media focus to be on wider debate about surveillance rather than him. But Poitras’s portrayal is both personal and sympathetic.
In his first comment about the documentary, which Poitras had shown to him in advance, Snowden told the Guardian: “I hope people won’t see this as a story about heroism. It’s actually a story about what ordinary people can do in extraordinary circumstances.”
I wish more Americans had the courage of Edward Snowden. I’ve known a few, folks who became left-wing activists on behalf of civil rights, peace and national liberation BITD. Two in particular who worked for military intelligence, who left the military and returned to the United States to become active in very different ways. Like Snowden, revulsion at the lies and deceit of our government, our “leaders” patronizing attitude towards the American people, lies in support of an imperial foreign policy – turned them into activists against political corruption.
And Lindsay Mills – I know nothing more than what little I read in newspapers like the GUARDIAN. Most of what appears here in the States, from the TIMES to TV talking heads, you can presume to be crap, lies and more crap. Mostly motivated by dedication and subservience to the Washington establishment. I accept her private life with Edward Snowden as her own.
I accept their life together as a reflection of the proto-existential dicho, “what is done out of love takes place beyond good and evil”. Snowden, for love of his country and its Constitution. Mills, for love of her man.
Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii…
Geologist Patricia Corcoran of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and Charles Moore, captain of the oceanographic research vessel Alguita, stumbled upon the new rocks on a beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. These stones, which they’ve dubbed “plastiglomerates,” most likely formed from melting plastic in fires lit by humans who were camping or fishing…Although anywhere there is a heat source, such as forest fires or lava flows, and “abundant plastic debris,” Corcoran says, “there is the potential for the formation of plastiglomerate.” When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles to form a kind of junkyard Frankenstein.
Corcoran says some of the plastic is still recognizable as toothbrushes, forks, ropes, and just “anything you can think of.” Once the plastic has fused to denser materials, like rock and coral, it sinks to the sea floor, and the chances it will become buried and preserved in the geologic record increase.
Corcoran and her team canvassed Kamilo Beach on the Big Island for more of the rocks and found plastiglomerate in all 21 sites they surveyed. She says people have already found plastiglomerate on another Hawaiian island, and she expects there to be much more on coastlines across the world. Plastiglomerate is likely well distributed, it’s just never been noticed before now, she says…
The discovery adds to the debate about whether humanity’s heavy hand in natural processes warrants the formal declaration of a new epoch of Earth history, the Anthropocene, says paleontologist Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom…Plastics in general are so pervasive that they’ve been documented in a number of surprising places, including ingested in wildlife and on the sea floor.
The mass of plastic produced since 1950 is close to 6 billion metric tons, enough to bundle the entire planet in plastic wrap. Combine plastic’s abundance with its persistence in the environment, and there’s a good chance it’ll get into the fossil record, Zalasiewicz says. “Plastics, including plastiglomerates, would be one of the key markers by which people could recognize the beginning of the Anthropocene.”
Vulgate terraforming is recognized as reality. Certainly by scientists. Sooner or later by the general public.
That will only leave the same dolts who deny climate change to proclaim that Jesus wore Crocs.
Hawaii lawmakers in both chambers agree that legal permission for police to have sex with prostitutes should end.
House and senate members are still negotiating on the version of House Bill 1926 they will send to the governor. But they concur that the crime bill should revoke a peculiar exemption that permits police in Hawaii, in the course of their duties, to have sex with prostitutes.
The bill began in the house and was amended as it passed out of that chamber’s judicial committee. At the time, Honolulu police told lawmakers that vice-officers needed the exemption in law to prevent pimps and prostitutes from knowing the limits of police methods.
The Associated Press wrote about the successful police lobbying against removing the sex exemption after the bill passed the house. When the senate judiciary committee took up the bill, lawmakers revised it again to reflect the backlash against the exemption, with many expressing strong convictions that police should not have the legal ability to bed prostitutes.
Honolulu police, while assuring the public that their internal policies prevent such abuse, dropped their opposition to removing the exemption.
Nice try, guys. You realize you’ve probably set an example for Congress to try the same stunt.
Paradise on earth is how most people know Hawaii – white sandy beaches and coconut palms. But there are Hawaiians living outside the frame on the picture postcard.
The roughly 8 million tourists who visit the state each year attract a lot of property crime. Even an ocean away from the mainland, the methamphetamine market is thriving. The islands have jails and prisons, and plenty of people to fill them. But Judge Steven Alm is trying to bring his home state a little bit closer to the paradise people imagine.
To do that, he’s spearheaded an alternative probation program, one that delivers immediate consequences – often jail time — for each and every infraction. The program is tough on crime, while also keeping people out of prison. And this double feat has made it a nascent darling in the world of criminal justice policy, with states across the political spectrum seeking it out as a model…
From the deputy prosecuting attorney for Honolulu to the U.S. Attorney for Hawaii and finally judge, Alm won the respect of the law enforcement community…
That reputation gave Alm an opportunity. He knew Hawaii and the justice system. He also knew it needed a change, particularly the probation program.
…Probation is a great way to keep people out of prison, help them rebuild their lives and ease the burden on taxpayers.
The problem is that probationers rampantly violate the rules, and are often sent back to prison is at the discretion of the probation officer or presiding judge. How those authorities respond to violations varies widely from state to state, according to a 2007 Pew Study, with “enormous implications” for prison population size, cost and public safety…
In 2004, Alm founded HOPE, short for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement. Its central principle is simple, Alm explained: “If there are any violations of probation, they’re going to go to jail.”
There also are opportunities and judicial/parole officer discretion exists especially for probationers who are honest and timely about reporting and discussing violations. This was an excellent piece of news reporting – and I hope the video is available sooner rather than later.
Please RTFA. It’s longish and thoughtful. Judge Alm’s system is bringing results – at a minimum 55% of probationers do not re-offend. Other qualities measured have even better results.
So far, 17 states and a number of other countries are on board to give his system a trial. No, New Mexico isn’t one of them; I can’t offer any local evidence.
But, please, read the whole article. If you have access to AJAM, AlJazeera in America from your TV content providers, watch for the documentary on one of their evening news programs. I imagine they’ll rerun it.
Just fill in whichever state you feel deserves this clown
Allan Levene says he is a Republican congressional candidate in his home state of Georgia, as well as in Michigan, Minnesota and Hawaii.
Levene, 64, admits running for four congressional seats simultaneously is unorthodox, but nothing in the Constitution forbids it — and he wants to be a member of Congress as a way of saying thanks.
“I have such a debt to this country, a debt of gratitude to the United States for taking me in and letting me become a citizen about 40 years ago that I have to repay it,” the naturalized citizen originally from Britain said.
Wait. Let me get my rubber boots on.
The Constitution states a person elected to the House of Representatives must be a resident of the state he or she will represent when elected, so Levene will choose one race if he wins a primary election…
The Founding Fathers “didn’t really understand you could fly from state to state … times have changed so I am running in four states,” he said. “I can represent the public no matter where I live…”
K. Mark Takai, a Democrat and Hawaii state representative running in Hawaii’s 1st District, a race Levene has targeted, said he is skeptical and unsure if Levene’s strategy will resonate with Hawaiians.
“The heart of representative democracy (is that) you want someone to represent you who represents your community and its people,” Takai said.
Someone might explain further that Congress-critters should represent the whole community – not just the corporate flunkies who buy and sell electoral positions as an inherited right, defined by the class they truly represent.
Rainbow papaya, GMO and grown on Hawaii for decades = 3/4’s of the papaya crop
From the moment the bill to ban genetically engineered crops on the island of Hawaii was introduced in May 2013, it garnered more vocal support than any the County Council here had ever considered, even the perennially popular bids to decriminalize marijuana.
Public hearings were dominated by recitations of the ills often attributed to genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s: cancer in rats, a rise in childhood allergies, out-of-control superweeds, genetic contamination, overuse of pesticides, the disappearance of butterflies and bees.
Like some others on the nine-member Council, Greggor Ilagan was not even sure at the outset of the debate exactly what genetically modified organisms were: living things whose DNA has been altered, often with the addition of a gene from a distant species, to produce a desired trait. But he could see why almost all of his colleagues had been persuaded of the virtue of turning the island into what the bill’s proponents called a “G.M.O.-free oasis.”
Please read the tale from start to finish. Greggor Ilagan is one of those rare politicians who is willing to spend a great deal of time studying the science affecting beliefs underlying political questions. Most of the article, long and well-detailed, deals with his willingness to examine the opinions of advocates on both sides of the questions around GMO crops – and the conclusions he reached.
For me, the telling conclusion he realized in the course of his study, is that dealing with GMO crops – on the Left – individuals don’t seem to think they require anymore real attention to science than does the Right on questions of climate change or human sexuality.
All right – which one of you has a GPS that’s working?
Two Canadian warships made their way home Saturday, a day after colliding while making their way to Hawaii, navy official said.
The HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur were conducting close-quarters towing exercises Friday morning when the accident occurred, the navy said in a statement.
The Algonquin sustained significant damage to its hangar and will no longer be deployed to the Asia Pacific region. The Protecteur’s bow was damaged to a lesser degree.
The damaged ships were expected to reach port in Esquimalt, British Columbia, by late afternoon, CTV News reported. No injuries were reported.
The navy said the collision would be investigated and a Board of Inquiries would issue recommendations on how to prevent similar accidents in the future.
“The Royal Canadian Navy will be conducting an investigation into this unfortunate incident in order to determine exactly what happened,” Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, said in a statement released by the Department of National Defense.
How to prevent similar accidents? Quit trucking around the ocean in a tin can trying to behave like Attila the Hun who lives just south of you. Does Canada need to train to defend BC from an attack by Dragon Boats from Hawaii?