European Ennui

It looks like, after the huge push in the EU, political posturing and the fear of a possible recession are causing a lot of Europe to pull out of energy investments. After the Fukushima disaster Germany’s knee-jerk political response caused them to push for a nuclear plant shut-down which left the nation reeling. Similarly, the UK, in recession fear, capped energy costs and froze a lot of programs. Read more here: Politics and Recession Fears Hurt European Energy Investment

November 6, 2014Permalink

Shining A Light On Light-bulb Cartels

Have you ever thought how strange it is that in the last twenty or so years there was a huge jump in bulb technology, but before then it hadn’t changed since its inception? How could they have made so many leaps and bounds from the beginning, then just sort of stalled out where they were? Would you believe there was a light-bulb cartel?
This is no conspiracy theory. Once the bulb was developed, the big names in electrical technology colluded together, confirmed a designed, and sold it to the public despite the fact that they could make bulbs cheaper, better, and more efficient! They knew that they could make them, but they didn’t see the bottom line in it. In fact, they even set the number of hours the bulbs should last!
The only reason the bulbs started development again- absent the brilliant minds that made them- was because of WWII. The war disrupted the cartels ability to coordinate on a dime, and so they could not longer set prices and development as they had before. It still took a long time for the companies to shake their dependence on old habits however.
Read more about the cartel here: Lightbulb Cartel a Dark Spot in Lighting History.

November 6, 2014Permalink

Veteran Value

The Helmets For Hardhats program helps veterans get jobs in the trades. Members of this program who became tradesmen then took their training and applied to a charity for kids- The Children OF Mine Center- it’s a pay it forward started by the trade unions that keeps on giving. Read the details here: Lending a Helping Hand in Washington, DC.

November 5, 2014Permalink

Big Business Dropping Off The Grid

While being “off the grid” is still a long way away, it seems big businesses have found a way to make microgrids of their own.
It’s starting in Silicon Valley. Apple’s new headquarters will be one of the first using this “off the gird” system. Basically they are going to be developing enough solar and wind energy to be “off the gird” and then are relying on another company- Imergy Power Systems- who will store the excess energy produced that can provide the power in low or absent production times. This is the microgrid system that a lot of businesses are aiming to establish and they say, as soon as it’s more affordable, individuals can start making this kind of system work for them as well.
The company providing this microgrid service is says that this new system will break the hold that utilities have on people and businesses. Of course, if we still have to rely on storage companies, it seems like trading one grid for another.
For more about the new system read the full article here: Why Electricity May be the Biggest Opportunity on the Planet.

November 5, 2014Permalink