Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


“Back in the days, our lignite plants were inflexible, produced power around the clock and were always earning money. Now they are as flexible as gas plants.”

Ulrich Hartmann - Executive board member at RWE’s generation unit

Friday, July 4, 2014


The Sioshansi et al., (2009) analysis found that a modest rated capacity of sotrage (0.7% peak load, 1.2% average load) reduced the value of storage arbitrage by as much as 10%. Opportunities for Pumped Hydro Energy Storage in Australia

Recommended Reading

Pumped hydro – the forgotten storage solution

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Are you Hungry?

EE Jeez - Do you believe in a Higher Power?

Originally posted here.

Hmmm... Land lords can make hot water/air with a heat pump and then sell the hot water and space heating by the kwh-th to the renters. Would this arrangement get around the surcharge?

Another way to get around the surcharge could involve district heating systems. You could imagine a home/business owner who has photoelectrics and an auxiliary heat pump but is also connected to district heating. These end-users could back feed hot water into the system if they had surplus power. The idea would be to trade heat back and forth with the system rather than electricity. With all the surplus power in the summer it might make sense to back feed cold water into these district heating systems for a few months to provide cooling. I live in a similar climate to Southern Germany so I don't need an AC system but I was at the Vet yesterday and they had AC and it was nice. If I had cheap AC available I'd use it. In Germany the heat pump earns its keep in the winter but this same tool could provide some wasteful comfort in the summer as well.

Advertising went through a funny genre back 50s when electricity started getting cheap... All those adverts with a tag line about how the housewife can free up her day by getting a Whirlpool washing machine and dryer. Save time for the things you want to do... What was that Electricity character's name? Shockley? Buzz? Can't remember... Point is, green power producers need to encourage consumers to buy their product too. Key inspirational jingle... Picture a dog sticking his head out the window with a flappy smile. The screen asks... Do dogs love the wind? Switch to a time-lapse of daisies following the arc of the sun. Do Daisies love the Sun? Switch to a handsome man closing up a dishwasher and selecting the Leaf button. At Bosche we build our Green Means Go products with a clean power mode. Quick clips showing a sunrise then sun hitting solar panels on a roof then cut to a water heater control panel... Green Means Go appears on the display... switching on. Clip to a shot of a stainless steel refrigerator... Then another Green Means Go appearing on a control panel... Make ice... Find out more at www... Key happy ending jingle...

I find the application of the surcharge to self-consumption to be rather despicable - like old school silent movie villain tying up the girl to the train tracks evil. It's a joke of a bad bad idea... A smaller FiT would be preferable and more logical than a tax on self-consumption. It's clear the opposition isn't just playing dirty - they're playing stupid filthy. Green power doesn't have the option of playing dirty... It needs to Play Smart... That could be the tag line of a poster. They're playing dirty. We're playing smart. Yeah... it's hokey... but it's true. There's a moral angle that can be addressed with a play on words... Do you believe in a Higher Power?

The advocacy needs to spend a lot more time thinking about consumption rather than production - specifically the controlled consumption of Green Power and the controlled avoidance of Filthy Power. It will take some time to get things rolling but Germany can significantly reduce the cost of the surcharge and show that Photoelectrics/Wind can be economically integrated into the system.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dear BSW

Dear BSW,

Weighing of the Heart
I’m having a difficult time understanding why BSW is promoting the installation of batteries? Batteries, while interesting, are currently too expensive to meaningfully contribute to the value proposition of solar and will likely remain so for at least 10 more years. With the solar industry currently under attack now is no time to promote uncompetitive technologies. There are two priorities at the moment: 1. Improve the value proposition of solar against the backdrop of falling FiTs. 2. Control the surcharge costs. It is well understood that raising self-consumption rates can significantly improve the value of solar. Batteries can indeed improve self-consumption but there are several other ways to improve self-consumption at a 10th of the cost. Given the pressure of the situation the cheapest and most flexible ways to improve self-consumption should be the focus. Here’s a quote from a solar researcher that summarizes the situation.

"According to Henning’s modelling work, a future decarbonised system will be dominated by variable renewables such as solar and wind, where 40% of the remaining heat demand (after efficiency measures) is met by heat pumps. In such a system, heat pumps are a powerful asset because they can store energy, albeit in thermal not electric form. “Heat storage is much more important than electricity storage,” believes Henning. “Heat pumps are a back-stop technology in a renewable energy system.”

Dr. Hans-Martin Henning - Fraunhofer Institute

Dr. Henning has calculated the future battery needs of Germany at 35 GWh compared to thermal storage needs of over 800 GWh. This speculative forecast suggests that both types of storage will eventually need to be pursued but I’d argue that the current economics strongly favour focusing on thermal storage over batteries. Small scale thermal storage devices cost approximately $10 per kWh of storage. Small scale battery systems cost $1000 per kWh. We’ve all heard that battery costs are falling but I don’t see batteries ever becoming as cheap as insulated hot water tanks that most people already have in their homes.

The combination of heat pumps with thermal storage won't only improve the self-consumption of solar power - heat pumps and thermal storage are also an essential part of integrating wind. This brings me back to Priority 2 – Controlling the surcharge… It is a relatively small technical matter to send signals to homes and businesses telling them how much wind and solar power are available in the market. It is also a small matter to have heat pumps (and smart appliances in general) schedule their operation to be coordinated with the availability of solar and wind. If you meaningfully increase load on the system when wind and solar are available it will hold up the prices of electricity on the wholesale market. This means the surcharge will be held in check and quite possibly reduced. Polls suggest that Germans overwhelmingly support wind and solar. Give them the market signals they need to prove their support. While I don’t give a damn about coal plant operators I’m sure they’d appreciate it if wholesale prices stopped going down.

The electrification of heating via heat pumps has multiple benefits of which I’m sure you are aware – environmental, economic and political. I’d like to point out a benefit I haven’t seen mentioned. The use of electricity for heating will increase the volume of electricity sold on the market. More electricity sold means the surcharge costs can be reduced by division over more sales. The ultimate potential of heat pumps to increase electricity use is very large – several hundred TWh per year.

While heat pumps and smart appliances could be used to improve the value of solar/wind and help control the surcharge moving forward they could also help control the surcharge moving backwards. By this I mean a focus should be put on deploying heat pumps and smart appliances at locations that have installed solar in the last few years. Every kWh of homemade production that is used in-house will help reduce the surcharge pool. I don’t have high quality statistics that would allow me to make a rigorous estimate of the potential savings but my ballpark calculation is that the surcharge balance can be reduced by 500 million using this technique. It is not the maximum savings that matter so much. What matters is that positive steps are being taken to control the surcharge. Too often I hear solar/wind promoters say that Germans don’t mind paying extra to support solar and wind. Even if this is true I’m willing to bet that Germans wouldn’t mind paying a little less extra to support solar and wind.

The math shows that solar will continue to be an attractive investment in Germany depending on how much production can be self-consumed. I think the numbers also show that attractive Internal Rates of Return would exist even if the solar FiTs were universally reduced to the level of Wind FiTs - 9 cents/kWh. If solar FiTs were reduced to 9 cents/kWh it would make them approximately 6 cents above the current wholesale rates of 3 cents/kwh – wholesale rates which appear to be bankrupting generators so I don’t see them going lower. This 6 cent/kWh differential price is roughly equal to the current surcharge. If load continues to fall in Germany the surcharge will inevitably go up because the total costs are being divided by less volume. But if load increased by X amount a year you could add X amount of new 6 cent premium wind/solar a year and it wouldn’t change the surcharge. What would this look like? In rough numbers, 500,000 new residential heat pumps would increase load by around 2 TWh. This would allow 2 GW of solar to be installed without impacting the surcharge. Again, this is not rigorous math – I’m only showing how controlling the surcharge is a function of future FiT rates as well as future load and to make the case that there needs to be a more integrated policy that manages these factors. It pains me to see BSW promoting batteries when it’s imminently clear that your best allies are heat pump manufacturers and installers, the wind industry and the smart appliance manufacturers.

Here’s a parting thought. One way to reach a compromise with industry would be to leave the legacy surcharge costs where they are and focus on incremental costs moving forward. This means you’d grandfather industry from the first 6 cents/kWh of the surcharge. If industry were forced to share in all incremental surcharge costs above 6 cents/kwh it would somewhat address the concerns from Brussels. If you could make a rigorous case that the surcharge won’t go any higher industry would have a strong incentive to support this kind of a deal because they would be buying free protection from the current surcharge – it goes without saying that industry would be required to support a mandate of zero self-consumption taxes across the board.

Good luck with the upcoming compromise. I very much want to see your energy transition succeed.


Monday, June 2, 2014


"We have to build a mind-boggling amount of infrastructure to scale up renewables, and it won't happen overnight."

Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mac Bandy

I heard today that google searches for Climate Change are down 85% in the last seven years. This suggests that Climate Change messaging sucks.

Recommended Viewing

Monday, May 26, 2014

Recommended Reading

Stanford to divest from coal companies


And of course we have to answer open questions, eg, to control the power grid when many solar panels and wind turbines feed their electricity. But these are harmless problems towards finding a repository for radioactive waste or the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Detlef Neuhaus

Thursday, May 22, 2014


"Due to the massive drop in cost of solar systems, it is now possible to produce electricity at a depreciation of the plant for over 30 years to around 5.5 cents."

Michael Boenisch, Heckert Solar AG Sales Manager

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Hero is me in 10 Years

In a moment of giddy candor Musk revealed that his hero is him in 10 years. When ask why 10 years Musk paused thoughtfully... "It's not an exact science but I figure I'll need 10 more years to build my life-force. Additionally... Our technology roadmaps need this amount of time to reach criticality." It was at this point that Musk started dropping bombs... "Developing the Lithium Ion battery factory has nothing to do with cars... It's all about achieving power densities that enable Lightsabers. Red, Green, Blue... We think we can achieve the full spectrum of Sabers." In a subsequent revelation the father of SpaceX indicated his space project also has nothing to do with its stated goals... "Mars is a lifeless ball of dirt which I have no interest in visiting... Our goal is to develop a space cruiser capable of reaching Tatooine." May the Force be with you Elon.

FU Yummy

Woke up, got out of bed, had a smoke and ate some lead... I've been trying out this new breakfast product called Fossil Flakes - they're preposterously delicious. As a side benefit they cause weight loss. How awesome is that? This is ironic but as I was sucking down my Flakes I came across this quote in Coal Digest...

"Since the mid-1990s, the coal industry has used mountaintop removal mining to extract coal - destroying more than one million acres of Appalachian forest and burying nearly 2,000 miles of streams."

America... FUCK yeah... As if things couldn't get any better I noticed the Fossil Flakes box had a whole story on the back. Gripping stuff...

At FU Industries we strive to be environmental stewards. We're proud to say that when it comes to packaging our materials we don't stop at 100% preused materials... Our clientists have found that our packaging actually comes from 8353% preused materials - oops... 8354%.

Our environmental leadership doesn't stop there... At FU Industries we not only make our packaging out of pre-used materials - we make everything inside out of pre-used materials as well. At FU Industries we live by the 10 to 1 promise... We guarantee that 10 calories of fossil fuels were used to process every calorie that goes into your mouth. We think you can taste the difference. As a bonus... each bite is guaranteed to have trace amounts of real fly ash residues. Folks around here like to say... Mmm Mmm Mmm... FU Yummy...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Recommended Reading

Home energy management grows in some mind-bending ways

Economics of Photoelectrictricity - May 2014

Economics of Photoelectrictricity - May 2014

*Completed the Reserve Unit Translator.
*Added a pie chart visualization to the LCOE Calculator.
*Built a Worksheet Reordering tool to better organize the worksheets.
*Expanded the Blender function and tweaked the data entry layout
*Added a tool that removes data associated with a specific source.
*Expanded the information displayed with the Energy Report tool.
*Added a bridging tool that fills in missing data. So for example if data exists for the years 2000 and 2008 the bridging function will fill in data for the years inbetween with an exponential guess. The bridging tool will also bring data up to the present year by assuming persistance... i.e. If there is data for 2011 it will be carried over to 2012 and 2013.
*The bridging data is coded to have a source of *... I added an abridging tool which quickly removes all * data leaving valid sourced data only.
*Added a tool that estimates the TWh generated by photoelectric systems based on the installed GW per country. The function relies on population weighted insolation stats.
*Added several functions that allow new countries to be added or removed as well as moved around in the database.
*Added a This per That tool. This allows the user to generate derivative pages. For example, CO2 per Person or CO2 per GDP or Watts of Solar per Person.
*Expanded the Country Datasheets to include regions... Africa, North Africa, Middle East, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia et cetera.
*Improved the PVinsight and Energy Trend data downloaders such that they run a logic check on the downloaded data and will redownload data if they see any junk. Also added dedicated pages for Monthly/Quarterly data along with code that automatically updates the pages.
*Added a visualization of Photoelectric Module prices that shows how prices have evolved since 1975.
*Aligned the Electricity Price pages to the standard layout and retuned the currency converter tool.
*Added Production data for an assortment of major minerals.
*Added Production data for ethanol and biodiesel.
*Added Import and Export data for Coal, Oil, Natural Gas and Uranium.
*Added TPES data for Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Hydro, Renewables and All Sources.
*Added pages for GW, Renewables and Thermal as well as TWh of Renewables and Thermal

*Add more data on Energy Use per Sector - Transport in particular. The goal here is to gather enough information to be able to synthesize TPES stats.
*Add graphs and visualiations to the Energy Report tool. Add graphs and visualizations in general.
*Finish importing Major Mineral data.
*Go after regional data which I've been neglecting up to this point.
*Produce instructional videos that explain how to use all the tools.
*Add logic that looks at past capacity factors and carries those forward and allows for the estimation of TWh based on installed GW.

I did a hell of a lot of work on the project this month. One night I got out of bed at midnight and worked for several hours to finish off a script. At this point I don't have any ideas that will get me out of bed. The tool has gotten to be well organized and very flexible. When I read an article I can quickly cross-check the data from the article against EPE regardless of the units used. Not saying EPE is boring but I've completed my ya gotta do list - no critical subjects remain - I'm working off a nice to do list...

I have another project, PEPE, which I've been neglecting... not for lack of interest but for lack of both path and data. Earlier this week I read a thesis paper that provided both missing ingredients. PEPE is an photoelectric modeling tool and an energy modeling tool rolled into one. PEPE can currently model the performance of a photoelectric system, household appliance load and household lighting load. What PEPE lacks is the ability to model household heating and cooling load - these are huge loads but difficult to model. It will take several weeks of work but I believe I have a roadmap I can use to add these heating and cooling simulation abilities. Once heating and cooling simulations are added I'll be able to model photoelectric energy production against total household energy consumption and simulate how energy management can align the two. This is something I've had on my mind for about 4 years. I've used EPE as a meantime project to stay busy and develop skills which I can apply to PEPE. EPE is currently sitting at 12 MB and PEPE will easily be that large so integrating the two would produce a cumbersome product. The basic plan is to stripe out a few of the worksheets from EPE and build them into PEPE. The striped out EPE sheets would provide finacial modeling abilities to PEPE. The goal is to have a tool which is simple to use - you pick your house typology (built in 1980 for example), answer some questions (how many people live in the home and what appliances you own for example) and press play. The program would then calculate the economic performance at a range of system sizes, display the results and suggest an optimum.

There's a decent chance of completing an upgrade to PEPE in the next month and change. This would free up some time for things like cooking, hiking and riding my new bike. In the last two weeks I've tried out three new recipes - Roman Chicken, Indian Butter Chicken and Thai Coconut Chicken... Maybe I'll pivot to beef or lamb or pork? We'll see..

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mac Bandy

When it rains it doesn't necessarily pour... Sometimes it sprinkles. Sometimes you'll get a rainbow.

My wife drew a three legged man when she was is kindergarten. Problem was the middle leg was a little short so the picture looked more dick man than stick man. Aimee claims she was showing correct perspective.

We had a class project to draw idioms once. Early bird get the worm - don't bet your bottom dollar - that sorta stuff. I drew a man's home is his castle. Johnny drew a massacre of cats and dogs splashed on houses and front yards, dangling from trees and powerlines and shit. A few frantically falling through the air. It's raining cats and dogs he says.

Recommended Reading

Tandem devices and Perovskite cells

Friday, April 18, 2014


I’ve got this idea… It’s a minor modification to an existing device. It’s cheap to build and easy to operate.

Score: 1.23 for conservative. 1.5 for cheap. 1 for buildable. Point for easy. Minus 1 for operability.

Reminds me of a math joke about Arabs, Indians and Jews. Arabs added algebra and Indians the zero… Jews learned to count…

Sigh… There was this other story… About this fraud of an invention… Not a mousetrap at all… A scifi shakedown.

It’s a service to keep you out of mice.. But I don’t have mice. See… You don’t buy our service you gonna have mice… Big mother fucking mice… fangy and shit… I grew up with dem bastards in Bahmbalee… Wake up with that shit in your face-fuck-me… You don’t want that in your building…Bahmbalee mice suck balls you know… Literally… the balls are their favorite meat on the body. Weird creatures yeah. You think I’m lying… You wanna see one of these dremlins? No Mr. Mr.… That’s right… 50 Vigs a week… A week? I can’t do that… I don’t make that. WTF… Charlie, you said this guy was pumping. Shaking this fuck is for practice and spectacle… Marks over there. Seriously? Seriously mutha fucker? Why you wasting our time? Did you not just have fun? That fuck just pissed himself. Look at all that fun on the floor. Ready to make some more… huh. We goin across the street now.

Gentlemen please come in for a king’s dinner… steak, liquor and belly dancers for desert. Cut the shit Sherlock. You got 5 seconds to pay 50 vig a week… Five… Done… Please Please Please… sir… Please understand…We want your protection… WTF Charlie? What’s this guy’s game? I think he’s gonna try to suck your dick here pretty quick – maybe both our dicks at the same time… mimes milking cows horizontally close to his face… It is not like that. I am a business man… I understand that I need your insurance. I have penciled your going rate into my books. I don’t want to suck your dicks – especially not at the same time like that. What do think Charlie? Now that he doesn’t want to suck our dicks maybe we should make him…. I’m just kidding man. Let’s do that steak, liquor and belly dancing… Right this way gentlemen. Oh but please… after you Charlie…

Richard Pryor - Mafia by spnpanos

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mac Bandy

Bandwagons aren't pulled, they're pushed.

New Word of the Day

from meme/myth, noun: a dullderous falsehood propogated by urban advertising.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Speaking of Funky Camels


Ducks Suck... Go Beavers...

The funny thing about the quack curve is that it shows net load - as if there was a net around California's grid protecting it from all the hydro in the Pacific Northwest and all the thermal generation in the 4 Corner states. If there was an annual award for how to lie with statistics this graph would take home the dishonors.

 If you think the duck curve is bad hold on to your britches. The camel curve is way worse... This stanky bastard has been known to show up randomly in Socal when it's hotter than a sheriff's pistol outside... Speaking of guns... Hey Chavez... d' d' d'you guys see the size of that griffin? You don't want to be on shift for a Griffin Event... That's when a funky camel curve collides nut to butt with a randy duck curve - It's like you're in that movie with the boat and the wicked big waves... C'mahn you BITCH!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Coal-fired power plants emit 84 of the 187 Hazardous Air Pollutants identified by EPA as posing a threat to human health and the environment.
Emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants from Coal-Fired Power Plants

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mac Bandy

It's not one thing leads to another. Anothers come from all over.


When I was a kid my Opa taught me checkers. One of the rules he played by was that if your opponent offered you a jump you had to take it even if the move wasn't in your best interest. This particular rule is interesting. It led to me beating Opa a year or so later... We didn't play any more games of checkers after that... Next came chess and poker and Boule.. a game Opa may have learned in Italy but favored in France. Great camping game.

Oma was from Brittany. Her family was rich enough to have servants. WWII put a crunch on that... She was suddenly in a convent reading by candle light. She said you'd lose all your banks reading. She was 18 at the end of the war. Years go blank. Mourning... Fixing... One day Oma gets out of there.

She spent time in Cuba before all hell broke loose. I'm figuring she was there around 52' give or take. She worked there and elsewhere as a nanny.

As I'm writing this story it occurs to me that I've made a move I must follow up on with an additional move I don't want to take...

I've just realize... dun dun dun... There's either a hole in my memory regarding Oma's story or there's a hole in Oma's story.

Oma got pregnant around 55'... Where was the child born? Don't know... Do know the child was adopted.

Years pass... Oma looks up her lost daughter. Daughter agrees to meet. Wonderful crazy painful things happen to bind them together.

How did the child get to California? Ahhhh....

Now I remember...

She was a nanny for a star. They were vacationing and perhaps filming in Cuba. Then back to Hollywood.... Of course... she provided the info just not in order.

But then she goes back to France after the baby is born. She recovered... Then back to the US to pick up and climb. But then on the trans-Atlantic cruise she runs into Opa... a handsome 37ish, well spoken 6 foot drink of water who happens to be a good dancer and a magnificent artist headed back to his home state of California. Boom. He seduced her with is copious skills and before you know it they were married. They honey mooned in Death Valley... Same as Aimee and I. Oma has a wedding picture holding a bottle of Sonoma wine but she's holding the bottle just so... She's in profile with her red hair and red grin... you can just see OMA on the bottle.

It's all fitting together now.


I can't keep up with my wife. If she had her money is no object way we'd be permanent travelers. 2 weeks a place Boom... Boom... Boom... She doesn't do drugs... She does imagination... Snorts the fuck out of it...


Been playing around with statistics lately. Funny statistics... I built an abacus that tells me how many feet are in a meter. How many meters around the earth. How many earths in a sun. How many snowflakes in the universe. How many cunt hairs in the fluff of a scrote.

feet per meter... 3.281
Earth's Circumference... 40075000 meters
Earths in a Sun... 333070.998
Snowflakes in the Universe... 3.34 * 10^60
Cunt hairs per scrote fluff... 1.337

I may be wrong about the maths but I'm right about the play

Thursday, March 6, 2014


“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI."
Tim Cook - Apple CEO

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Math Exercise

  • 19.64 lbs of CO2 are produced from burning a gallon of gasoline.
  • 1.22 lbs of CO2 are produced from turning Natural Gas into a kWh of Electricity.
  • The average US driver travels 12,000 miles per year and gets about 30 miles per gallon.
  • The average home in California uses 6,000 kWh per year.
  • Assume all electricity comes from natural gas in the following examples
  • Vehicle Emissions = 21.5 lbs of COper day
  • Power related Emissions from a 100% NG powered home = 20 lbs of CO2 per day

While this exercise is hypothetical it's surprising how similar daily CO2 emissions are between these two "activities"... i.e. Driving a gasoline car and powering an NG home produce about the same about of CO2.

More Givens:
  • NGCC = Natural Gas Combined Cycle - it's a common type of power plant 
  • Average vehicle emissions of hydrocarbons: .21 lbs per day
  • Average NGCC emissions of hydrocarbons: .002933 lbs per day
  • Average vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide: 1.57 lbs per day
  • Average NGCC emissions of carbon monoxide: .001467 lbs per day
  • Average vehicle emissions of NOx: .10 lbs per day
  • Average NGCC emissions of NOx: .005161 lbs per day
  • An average vehicle emits around 60 times more hydrocarbons, 1000 times more carbon monoxide and 20 times more NOx than a hypothetical 100% NG powered California home. 
More Notes: 

It's surprising how much relative pollution comes from cars when viewed from a non-CO2 standpoint. Extra surprising when you consider that the average US home has 2 drivers.

If my math is off well then fuck me.... Given these ridiculous comparative pollution numbers you'd have to think my math must be way way off but in my defense I channel checked the numbers across two separate sources and they were spot on.
  • Above we established that CO2 emissions from a car are about equal to the CO2 emission from a NG powered CA home. 
  • Forget CO2. 
  • An average vehicle pollutes around 60 times more hydrocarbons, 1000 times more carbon monoxide and 20 times more NOx than a hypothetical 100% NG powered CA home. 
I started this post thinking... hmmm... math is fun... At the end of this post I'm feeling sick... How is it that we're being distracted by CO2 metrics while all this pollution flies under the radar?

How did we lose sight of the fact that pollution is currently murdering multiple ecosystems worldwide? Given that pollution is a clear and present danger why are people so worried about global warming impacting their grand children? How are unborn grandchildren more important than today's tortured ecosystems? Anybody know? I sure don't. I'm at a complete fucking loss. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lean Skate Lean

How do you fight life. How do you contend against sporadic unknowns.

It's not a question. It's a subjective objective.

These are bullshit truisms of truth.

My Why says the Why man.

So think of any why you have.

Rule it overside and out. Play it Lick It.

Magnify up... Adore... be creative... dance... entertain....


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mac Bandy

A task is something you methodically conquer through thought, test and recourse. In the Nuclear industry we have an acronym to describe the process: STAR... Stop, Think, Act, Review

A problem is something you haphazardly stumble into with angst, doubt and waiting. In the Unclear industry we have an acronym to describe the process: RATS... Rant, Argue, Talk, Sit  


Well-stoked fears of grid instability and unreliability due to renewable power are as widespread as evidence for them is unfindable.

Renewables disrupt utilities. That's a good thing.

Friday, February 7, 2014

500 pounds here... a ton there... meh... no big deal.

Coal dust is notoriously difficult to control. BNSF estimates that each uncovered car loses between 500 pounds and a ton of coal dust en route.

Coal Train Facts

Portugal and Switzerland? Really?

"Countries like Portugal and Switzerland that have introduced progressive and tolerant drug laws have seen crime plummet and drug-related deaths significantly reduced. We know this. We know this system doesn't work – and yet we prop it up with ignorance and indifference. Why? Wisdom is acting on knowledge. Now we are aware that our drug laws aren't working and that alternatives are yielding positive results, why are we not acting? Tradition? Prejudice? Extreme stupidity? The answer is all three. Change is hard, apathy is easy, tradition is the narcotic of our rulers. The people who are most severely affected by drug prohibition are dispensable, politically irrelevant people. Poor people. Addiction affects all of us but the poorest pay the biggest price."

Russell Brand: Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014


A sapphire screen with a laminate of film containing solar cells is likely in iPhone 7 but not in iPhone 6.

Don't Expect Solar Cells In The Next iPhone

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mac Bandy

Some people want catapults launching ideas into balloons. Good idea to pace yourself. 


L: I just had a religious experience...

A: Me too... I can talk.

L: Whaaaa

A: What you say Whaaa for... I can talk... English Mother Fucker... Do you Speak It?

L: OK OK.. but I just had a religious experience...

A: Got it... I'm a talking cat and you just had a religious piff... You said... I said. You said whaaa... I'm supposed to wait for you. You just think up a new Now and Later flavor or something... Discover the cure to the cold, fusion, women's shoes? I'm a talking cat!

L: OK... OK... OK... OK....

A: My name is Frida. I'm the Sixth Sister of the Seven Psyches. I've been trapped in a vortex of worms and dark and feet... feets always da worst... And zen poof I'm HERE!

L: OK... but you're a cat.

A: Say OK one more time mother fucker. One more god damn time and I swear to power I will end your ass.

L: Whaaa

A: You're funny...Sometimes... Listen... I've been given a special clue in life... I'm not supposed to know this. You've surely noticed I can lick my ass. I can't fucking resist it... None of us can... This may be hard for you to believe but it's like heroin.. We make our own heroin... It's weird... You don't understand... That's the whole reason we're so chill... It's like Matrix. I'm Neo or something... OH shit... The letters in NEO rearrange to ONE... OH... Shiver Me Timbers that's right up there with 6th Sense... Damn Shame about Matrix 2 and 3... They should have stopped with Neo flying into the Rage Against the Machine sunset... Anyways... I'm not Neo... I'm what you'd call a soul. The funny mission I have before me is to get tickled a lot before I find out the further information that I require to continue my journey... From Cat to God... back to dirt.. and so on... I must level up in this www wave. So tickle me. Tickle me in aggressive ways but no butt stuff... I mean that.. Don't be thinking about licking my ass... The heroin only works on cats.

L: Tickle... Got it...

A: Live your life to dream you're a worm becoming a willow becoming an ant becoming a cat.. Cat way stations are fun. Tickles and heroin and sleep.. What was your piff anyway?

LIVE AND LEARN... Life comes first for a reason. Like step and Leap come in order... Dust to Dust we Dust to Dust we Dust to Dust we Dust to... It's not waves we're on... It's corkscrews...

A: Frida's Day...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Do you think we should make iPhones for babie? Cause I do...

Fancy Maps and Time Travel

Time Flies... A Film about a Mad Scientist who develops a 
time machine and sends Plague infected flies into the past to 
kill off History's greatest Villains... What could go wrong? 

Here's a Fancy Map you should go check out right now. It's a time based progression of monthly solar power production in the US. It provides an interesting visualization of solar power coming into the US market. Follow the link, let the page load and then find the play button on the right side of the page... Zoom Zoom Koala...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dear Jigar

Hi Jigar, 

These Chinese plants that are 1300 to 1500 USD/kWp. Do you think this includes tracking equipment? The reason I ask is I'm trying to figure... China has plenty of 1400 to 1600 kWh/kWp zones using fixed systems. Would't this bump up to 1700 or 1800 kWh/kWp with tracking?

A $1300/kWp plant with 1700 kWh/kWp performance, 50% financing at 5%, 25 year system life, 5% discount rate, yadda yadda produces electricity for about 5.5 cents/kWh.  Tweak the interest rate to 3% and you're down to 5 cents/kWh. Tweak the inverter replacement costs and bump the system life up to 30 years and you're down to 4.5 cents/kWh. That's really cheap. So cheap that if you use the current FiT rates they have you get IRRs and NPVs that are off the charts. It's cheaper than the 7 cents/kWh FiT they have for their nukes. Cheaper than a modern coal plant with pollution controls. I'm not a fan of big solar farms but these are impressive numbers. 

I agree that China is experimenting with the logistics here. I expected a significantly larger market last year and was disappointed... but here now we have some preliminary figures from BNEF that suggest at least 12 GW of PV went in last year. I realize the figures are preliminary AND unreliable but wow... wow... wow... 

I saw the space shuttle launch at night once. It was awesome. It lit up the whole sky. The sound felt like it took 20 seconds to get from the launch pad across the water to where we were. This growth in China feels like that. A rocket lighting up the dark with a time delay while the sound crosses the water. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mac Bandy

I just realized lip service is a double entendre.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


"Like so many iconic American products, Los Angeles smog is now being made in China." "...pollution caused by China's manufacturing for export contributes as much as 12 to 24 per cent of daily sulphate levels in the Western US."

Los Angeles' fog is made in China

"Studies by the World Bank, WHO, and the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning on the effect of air pollution on health concluded that between 350,000 and 500,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of outdoor air pollution in China."

Chinese official says air pollution kills up to 500,000 a year

Much SO Pollution

Monday, January 20, 2014


"Understanding of the underlying causes of the experience curve is still imperfect. The effect itself is beyond question. It is so universal that its absense is almost a warning of mismanagement or misunderstanding. Yet the basic mechanism that produces the experience curve effect is still to be adequately explained. (The same thing is true of gravitation.)" Boston Consulting Group - 1973 "...the actual costs of 75 of the existing nuclear power plants in the U.S. exceeded the initially estimated costs of these units by over 200 percent." Nuclear Power Plant Construction Costs - July 2008

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dueling Impressions

First Impression

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, with the passage of AB327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. But recognize that this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness. You – my fellow Commissioners - all must be bold and forthright in defending and strengthening our state’s commitment to clean and distributed energy generation.

Final Commissioner Report by Mark Ferron, January 16, 2014

Second Impression

Commissioner Mark J. Ferron stated "It's critical that the State invest in technologies such as concentrated solar combined with molten salts storage", "In my personal view, projects like solar Rice will be important to demonstrate that we can firm and shape intermittent renewables with clean technology, not just with fossil technologies". 

PPA amendment for Rice CSP plant with PG&E approved by CPUC

Here's what my cat has to say about that:


She sure has a way with words. 

But anyways, while my first impression of Mr. Ferron was positive my second impression was not so much. In the second quote Ferron is defending a Dinosaur of a project that should have been cancelled long ago. The Rice project won a Power Power Purchase Agreement back in 2009. The PPA they won is likely in the neighborhood of 200 $/MWh compared to a current fair market value closer to 100 $/MWh. Ferron had an opportunity to vote against a project that produces electricity at twice the current costs but he didn't - none of the commissioners did. 

Based on these rough numbers here's how much extra this project costs California:

450,000 MWh/year * 25 years * about $100 extra per MWh = 1125 million dollars extra over the life of the project. This represents a Net Present Value of around 350 million dollars. You can do a lot of good stuff with 350 million dollars. For example you could use that 350 million to provide loan guarantees on residential photoelectric systems. If you assumed an installed cost of $3/Watt and a default rate on the loans of 5% you'd be able to insure loans capable of deploying nearly 2.5 GW of rooftop solar. You'd get 8 times more clean energy with this rooftop solar scheme. I realize there are some debatable assumptions built into this comparison but I doubt I'm off by a multiple of 8.

Ferron's fundamental error is that there are much cheaper ways to firm wind and solar even when restricted to non-fossil resources. Second off, we shouldn't artificially confine ourselves to using non-fossil resources for firming - that's a completely unnecessary self-imposed handicap. It's a Perfect Idea bending over and asking for a real Good Fuck. What you want to do is Firm wind and solar with a portfolio of low cost resources. Part of that portfolio is definitely going to include fossil plants. The Rice CSP plant won't make the medium list of cost effective Firming resources let alone the short list. 

It's a pity you know - the CPUC voted unanimously for the Rice project despite earlier indications they were getting wise to the high costs of CSP projectsWay back in November of 2011, CPUC commissioner Mike Florio noted the following about CSP: Solar trough technology has "been around for a long time, and is not getting cheaper, if anything it's getting more expensive." Florio also noted that these CSP power purchase agreements have been established with "extraordinary above-market costs," totaling $1.25 billion over the life of the PPA. You've got to wonder, with California still struggling to recover from the Great Recession why is the CPUC still voting to build expensive Toys? This team should be making smarter decisions.

Friday, January 17, 2014


"As decentralized as possible, as centralized as necessary"

This is the main finding of a new study by the Reiner Lemoine Institute (RLI), entitled "Comparison and optimization of centrally and locally oriented expansion paths to a power supply from renewable energies in Germany."

Read more:

Most Hilarious Acronym of the Day

HERCULES: High Efficiency Rear Contact solar cells and Ultra powerful moduLES

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's Science

Fly like a bird: The V formation finally explained

Super Bowl

Two words... Smart crappers... If you could economically automate the analysis of human effluent for heath diagnostics you'd save and improve more lives than smoke detectors and penicillin put together. Dietary recommendations... Early cancer detection... All sorts of shit like that.

As a side benefit the naming opportunities of this device and its associated software are off the charts. 

UCP... Scatamatics... Pooper Sleuther... CornWhole Analytics... Brains for Shit... and so on...As you can see there's a fine line between naming a smart toilet and naming a porno.
As an additional side benefit you'd shake out all sorts of crazies who'd go on about big brother being... ya know... up your ass. Truly the Perfect Shit Storm. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

So I'm tryin' to hail this cab

in the rain... tryin to hail this cab for me and my girl who for Christmas I purchased a sweet pair of boots which she was wearing this very night for the first time in the rain. Opa... Leaning into traffic waving at lights. 5 minutes go by. As the cab I finally caught rolled up this bitch pops out 3 feet ahead of me and tries to take my cab. It was ridiculously rude. My wife and I simultaneously verbally and physically express... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm standing here waving my umbrella. The chick next to my wife says... Oh I didn't know he was your wife... The bitch in front of me says... meyan... meyan... yan... han... Actually made that sound.... Don't hit me with your umbrella... I shake my head.. no... I'm tryin' to get my wife home... she's got fancy boots and it's raining... And this is my cab. Bitch ran off and by wife ran up. Then we laughed our asses off.

Good night...

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Everything is between Never and Forever.



Everything is between Never and Again.


Good Luck.

Saturday, January 4, 2014