A Greener America

The Path of Beneficial Electrification

California Geo 4-3-20 Electricity has operated stationary devices and equipment for much of its history.  Until the development of Lithium-ion batteries for hand tools, plugs and cords were necessary to run equipment not already hard-wired to circuit breakers in an electrical box.  Aside from a brief, 1950s residential trend toward the “gold medallion” all-electric home, […]

2019 Year-End Reflections

CaliforniaGeo 12-27-19 Hello.  I’m Bill Martin, your leader at the California Geothermal Heat Pump Association.  We always push a consistent message— how renewable energy can replace fossil fuel use and the emissions they cause that threaten our health in the near term and our survival as a species in the long term. Geothermal heat pumps […]

Carbon divestment is the latest version of the boycott

CaliforniaGeo 12-11-19 The economic boycott as a means to achieve desired ends goes back to colonial America’s Stamp Act of 1765.  The better-known 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott was initiated by the arrest of Rosa Parks and it lasted 381 days until it equalized bus riders’ rights in the Jim Crow south.  Between these two […]

What the Levelized Cost of Electricity Tells Us

(Why we should care about that) CaliforniaGeo 8-13-19 The Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is a numerical value that tells us what a particular generating technology will cost over 20 years to create a unit we are all familiar with—a Kilowatt hour.  It’s the same quantity that might be expressed as a 100 watt light […]

The environmental mistake at Folsom Ranch

CaliforniaGeo 8-1-19  Recent developments in California municipalities (Folsom & Berkeley) have been both good and not so good for the environment and the overall thrust of this state’s emissions and related policy.  Some years ago, the City of Folsom annexed an adjacent southern parcel and masterplanned it for some 10,000 residential dwellings, built out over […]

Where is coal and carbon today?

Economics are the ultimate policy driver CaliforniaGeo, 7-12-19 On a trip through central and western Montana this summer I spied a couple of long, westbound coal trains, and a switchyard full of them in Missoula (like the ones below).  Wondering where they were headed I consulted a RR map of Montana and concluded they were […]

What is the Green New Deal?

(It blossomed long before the U.S. mid-terms of 2018) CaliforniaGeo 2-1-19 Social movements have power.  The best of them use slogans and imagery that captivate a wide public audience to make change.  Currently, this phenomenon has surfaced as a “Green New Deal” (GND).  It borrows a phrase from the 1930s Roosevelt program to rebuild the […]

California Reeling from Record Wildfire

Deadly “Camp” fire burns after close of normal fire season  CaliforniaGeo 11-19-18 A fire season like no other before it in northern California has lapsed into November and produced a new record for loss of life and property destruction that’s still being tallied.  One town (Paradise) was effectively obliterated by this fast moving fire and […]

Wind Turbine Electricity Powers Western Washington

It complements the mighty Columbia River’s hydropower CaliforniaGeo 9-28-18  In 2015, hydropower electricity provided 8.6% of our nation’s total requirements.  However, the pace of hydropower construction has dropped to nearly nothing, and increased drought conditions are challenging some of our largest facilities to operate at their capacity.  Puget Sound Energy (PSE) of Bellevue, Washington has […]

What’s A Full-time Renewable Energy Resource?

CaliforniaGeo 7-2-18 All renewable energy sources aren’t created equal, sometimes even the most popular ones.  Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences once we understand what renewable really means. A renewable resource is something that doesn’t run out, ever.  Our sun, the center of our solar system is the main source of all […]