How Solar Supports Ukraine

Solar panels on grass

In the ongoing war caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine power plants have been attacked by both sides to hurt military and civilian operations. Beyond the obvious horrors of war the loss of power generation makes heating homes more challenging and people are suffering as a result. As Russia continues to target large power installations the solution is to turn to distributed power generation, and the best for of distributed power is renewable power. There’s now an organization in Ukraine installing solar power throughout the country to improve reliability of the grid and make it harder for Russia to cause blackouts.

What’s more, if we all follow Ukraine’s lead and get off of centralized power generation and move to a renewably powered electric economy then Russia would have fewer customers to sell oil to.

Hospitals save thousands of lives every day providing medical care to the civilian population, and for that they need an uninterrupted electricity supply. Water utilities provide water supply to the population. Solar power plants are a long-term solution to the problem, a reliable protection against possible worsening of the situation, and also one of the first steps for Ukrainian municipalities towards the green recovery of the country.

The non-government organization Ecoclub with the support of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine, launched the Solar Aid For Ukraine Project ITS PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE UKRAINIAN CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WITH A RELIABLE SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY, WHICH IS SOLAR POWER PLANTS

Read more.

Bike Lanes are Really Good for Businesses (seriously, there are too many studies proving this)

Bike lanes are good for business and everybody knows it, except for business owners and local politicians afraid for of small minded businesses. Over at Business Insider they’re running an article that summarizes the current knowledge about bike lanes and how good they are. Like anything, there are winners and losers when it comes to change in the built environment and it’s clear some stores do better than others. The key thin is no business regrets having bike lanes once they are in. Yes, bike lanes are good for business.

The most effective way to deal with opposition from local businesses is to just get the bike lanes built. Before-and-after surveys tend to show that in the long run, everyone winds up satisfied. “It’s a political question, and oftentimes it’s a very divided community when it comes to these types of projects,” Poirier says. “But once a street is changed, generally speaking, after six months or a year, nobody remembers what it used to look like. It’s the new normal.” All the data in the world may prove that bike lanes are good for business. But nothing beats experiencing them.

Read more.

Packing Potential Power: Better Batteries Blasting Baselines

Graph showing increasing quality of batteries and decreasing costs of batteries.
Source: Ziegler and Trancik (2021) before 2018 (end of data), BNEF Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook (2023) since 2018, BNEF Lithium-Ion Battery Price Survey (2023) for 2015-2023, RMI analysis.

The baseline power that a battery can deal out is increasing at a faster rate than anticipated. This s-curve of growth reflects the burgeoning demand of batteries as we increasingly electricity our systems and shift away from fossil fuels (finally!), and global industry is feeding that demand. As there is more demand for batteries we see an increase in supply and research into improving batteries, which lead to better batteries. This feedback loop of efficiency is driving growth in batteries to double every three years! Even government subsidies for the fossil fuel sector won’t keep the oil companies burning our planet once these bigger market factors really are felt on the global economy. Once you go electric, you never go back.

If we look forward to the next seven years, we see the drivers of change strengthening. Notably, we see costs continuing to fall, policy support continuing to rise, and competition between economic blocs continuing to drive a race to the top. And while there are barriers to battery adoption on the horizon, humanity’s wit, will, and capital are scaling proportionally faster. Thus, we do not see a scenario of slow adoption as credible; instead, we model two futures: fast or faster. Reality is likely to lie somewhere between the two.

RMI forecasts that in 2030, top-tier density will be between 600 and 800 Wh/kg, costs will fall to $32–$54 per kWh, and battery sales will rise to between 5.5–8 TWh per year. To get a sense of this speed of change, the lower-bound (or the “fast” scenario) is running in line with BNEF’s Net Zero scenario. The faster S-curve scenario exceeds it.

Read more.

Walking Increases Wellbeing and Productivity

Are you looking to improve your productivity AND your well being? Then just go walk it off. Walking is a good way to stay fit and have fun, but it’s also a good way to relax your mind. By going for a walk you give yourself space to let the mind wander and explore new ideas instead of being exposed to the same interior space. The more you explore on foot the better things can get.

One thing you learn when you walk really far is that so many things that you’re concerned about on a daily basis really don’t matter. Also you learn that most things have a solution and that solution is really usually quite close by.

You think better when you walk. Obviously you won’t become Steve Jobs just by walking. But it’s a good start. What’s interesting is that at Stanford University, in 2015, they started research on it and they confirmed what we know: you become much more creative by walking. Charles Darwin had his own walking path—every time he’d get stopped up in his head, he took a little walk.

Read more.

This 28-ton Kite Provides 1.2MW of Power

One of bizarre criticisms of solar power is that it only works when the sun hits them which means some areas are hesitant to install large solar arrays (honestly, this criticism is so strange since energy use is highest during daytime). Lunar energy, on the other hand, works all day and is very easy to predict which is why using the moon to provide power is ganging interest. This lunar power is captured through tidal flows, has the moon moves water on Earth we can capture that energy by creating machines that spin turbines using the passing water. That’s exactly what Minesto has done with their underwater kite. Traditional tidal power sources are stationary whereas the Minesto Dragon 12 is only tethered to the sea floor so it can ride underwater currents to produce more power than a stationary tidal generator.

The Dragon 12, like other tidal devices, will be more effective in some places than others – and Denmark’s Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the chilly North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland, offer ideal conditions. Home to about 55,000 people and more than a million puffins, the Faroe Islands funnel tidal currents through a number of slim channels. This accelerates the water significantly, and thus increases the energy that devices like the Dragon 12 can harvest.

“This is a big day for Minesto,” said Dr Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto, in a press release. “We have reached the most significant milestone in the history of the company by producing electricity to the grid with our mega-watt scale powerplant. We are both proud and happy and more than ever look forward to the journey ahead … The competitiveness of the Dragon 12 is straight to the point; it’s powerful, cost-effective and feeds predictable electricity to the grid.”

Read more.

Scroll To Top