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I just came across an interesting interview that radio host Diane Rehm did with Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution. The excerpts below lay out his vision for an energy future that is decentralized and democratized. (He also notes that this vision has just emerged in the past two to four years, but we’ve been around since 1974…).
The book is organized around five pillars of the third industrial revolution:
Pillar one, renewable energy. Pillar two, your buildings become your own power plants. Pillar three, you have to store it with hydrogen. And then Pillar four…the internet communication revolution completely merges with new distributing energies to create a nervous system…Pillar five is electric plug-in transport…
when distributed Internet communication starts to organize distributed energies, we have a very powerful third industrial revolution that could change everything…
You can find some renewable energy in every square inch of the world. So how do we collect them? … If renewable energies are found in every square inch of the world in some frequency or proportion, why would we only collect them in a few central points? …
[it] jump starts the European economy, that’s the idea. Millions and millions and millions of jobs. Thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises have to convert 190 million buildings to power plants over the next 40 years…
That’s the vision: a decentralized energy system can be democratized with local ownership, spreading the production of energy and the economic benefits as widely as the renewable energy resource itself.
The Media Action Grassroots network is holding a digital dialogue phonecast from 1-2pm EST on January 25. The discussion features Traci Morris of Native Public Media, Danielle Chynoweth of Urb… Continue reading
AT&T, one of the few dominant Internet access providers in South Carolina, is again pushing a bill in the state legislature that will gut the self-determiniation of local communities in the… Continue reading
As should happen with entities that are accountable to the public, the 2011 audit of the UTOPIA network in Utah is available for the public to read. In short, it appears that UTOPIA has contin… Continue reading
In recent weeks, I wrote a Solar Grid Parity 101 and published an animated map of the year when major U.S. metro areas will reach solar grid parity. The most frequent criticism was “you didn’t include tax incentives!”
Yes, there is a 30% federal tax credit on the table until 2016 (barring Republican control of Congress and the White House) and it makes a substantial difference. Mouse over the following map to see the impact of the federal Investment Tax Credit on solar grid parity in 2016.
My one thought: if the ITC expires as scheduled, the 2017 map will have a lot more red than the 2016 one if we measure grid parity with incentives.
But you’ve seen the difference (from 3 states to 21 states with grid parity!), now vote in the comments:
Should the tax credit be included in a calculation of grid parity? Why or why not?
Silicon Valley Power, the muni electric utilty owned by Santa Clara is preparing to launch a citywide Wi-Fi network later this year according to the Santa Clara Weekly. The city took over the … Continue reading
Prior to Chattanooga’s gigabit announcement, Amazon had no considered that region as a location for the distribution center they would looking to put in the southeastern U.S. But they saw the … Continue reading
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a small non-profit based in Minneapolis seeks a full-time employee to conduct public policy research in broadband/telecommunications. The position … Continue reading
Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote an excellent essay on the value of electric vehicles (a rebuttal to the idea that Americans hate EVs), but this paragraph could stand alone as the “reason to buy an electric car.”
3) Screw you, electric cars are fun to drive.
Look, I know this is purely subjective. But “not fun,” Johnson? Seriously? Have you gotten a chance to floor the accelerator on a Nissan Leaf on a stretch of empty one-way street? Because I have. And it’s hella fun. Electric motors don’t shift gears the way internal combustion engines do. Which means, when you accelerate, you just keep accelerating, without the slow-down that accompanies each shift up. Which means you’re slammed back in your seat like you’re riding a motherf***ing rocket ship to the moon. Only it’s silent. How is that not awesome? If I buy an electric car, I am going to get sooooo many speeding tickets**. I think that’s pretty much the all-American definition of a fun car.