Nebraskans Install First Solar Panels Inside the Keystone XL Pipeline Route

‘Solar XL’ project breaks ground along Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, highlighting clean energy solutions over the fossil fuel industry
 
Silver Creek, NE — On Saturday, July 29th, the “Solar XL” project placed its first solar panels along the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, on the farm of Nebraska landowners Jim and Chris Carlson near Silver Creek. The Carlsons, who rejected a $307,000 offer from the pipeline company TransCanada to build Keystone XL through their backyard, partnered with Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO, and Oil Change International to put renewable energy directly in the pipeline’s path. Solar XL underscores the need to center solutions to climate change while rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and resisting the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. 

“Build Our Energy Barn” built in 2013 on the Hammond family’s land inside KXL route near York, Nebraska — one of the many signs of resistance to Keystone XL. Photo Credit: Mary Anne Andrei / Bold Nebraska

Source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/albums/72157686827119456

“While we are dedicated to Keep It In The Ground efforts to stop new fossil fuel development, we are also deeply committed to the Just Transition. Solar and renewable energy can provide a sustainable transition away from fossil fuels and provide job growth in areas traditionally left behind, like rural America and our Indigenous communities. By placing solar projects in the route of Keystone XL, we are demonstrating how vital it is to not just stop dangerous and unnecessary projects like KXL but to also show that there are alternatives to the fossil fuel industry that do not put communities at risk and sacrifice Indigenous Peoples and land. We are excited to be a part of this resistance that also highlights the solutions that are needed,” commented Joye Braun, organizer from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Solar XL project is being supported through an ongoing crowdfunding campaign launched earlier this month. The solar panels, which will be installed in at least two other locations along the pipeline route, will serve not only as a form of clean energy, but as a symbol of the urgent need for a just transition away from fossil fuels toward a 100% renewable energy economy. The panels will help power the homes of Nebraskans resisting Keystone XL, and are being installed by the family-owned rural solar business, North Star Solar Bears, run by Jim Knopik.

Jim Knopik (left) and North Star Solar Bears solar installers with farmer Rick Hammond (right) and his 25 kW solar array near Benedict, NE. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)
Jim Knopik (left) and North Star Solar Bears solar installers with farmer Rick Hammond (right) and his 25 kW solar array near Benedict, NE. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)
‘Solar XL’ project breaks ground along Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, highlighting clean energy solutions over the fossil fuel industryThe Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil a day from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and then on to the export market. The pipeline would pass through farms, ranches, and Indigenous land, posing a threat to the Ogallala Aquifer and other water sources that would be contaminated by spills and leaks. Landowners continue to fight eminent domain for private gain knowing this would be the first time the Public Service Commission (PSC) grants those powers to a foreign corporation. Lastly, all along the route, local economies are connected to agriculture, and climate change is a serious issue. Keystone XL would significantly add to climate risks for farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations.

The first installation took place just over a week before the Nebraska Public Service Commission holds hearings in Lincoln on whether to grant a construction permit for Keystone XL through the state. One day before the hearings on August 6th, people from around Nebraska and surrounding states will converge for a march through the streets of Lincoln urging the Commissioners to reject the permit. If permits are granted for Keystone XL construction in Nebraska, TransCanada will have to tear down homegrown clean energy in order to build, galvanizing people across the country to fight back.
  

Jim Carlson, Nebraska landowner who placed solar in path of Keystone XL on his family’s farm: 

“I am vehemently opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline mainly because of the properties of the contents of the tar sands oil it will carry — this is not your Mother’s crude oil, it is the Devil’s, and it can kill. We must be focused on clean, renewable energy and America can get along just fine without this foul concoction they call bitumen that TransCanada wants to pipe across our precious soil and water.”
Jim Knopik, North Star Solar Bears. LLC:

“Our family-run company is based in Nebraska — and by installing solar projects, like the ones to stop the Keystone XL pipeline — my kids are able to stay on the farm. It’s time for our country to start the transition to clean energy now.”

More information on the “Solar XL” project:

http://boldnebraska.org/solarxl

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Sustainability and pallets: Making change for the long haul

Roger Ballentine and Adam Pener – Thursday, June 8, 2017 

Maybe it’s time for corporate sustainability to get a bit more boring. Rightfully so, bold commitments by leading companies to 100 percent renewable energy or zero waste garner headlines. But the durability (or perhaps the sustainability) of sustainability comes from business practices that reduce environmental impacts while saving money.

Sometimes these measures are not especially sexy. Consider the lowly shipping pallet. Millions of times a day, companies receive and send goods loaded on pallets. Overwhelmingly, these pallets are made of wood and weigh about 50 pounds. 

Logisticians know that space + weight = cost; sustainability experts know that space + weight = emissions. 

What we have, therefore, is an opportunity for durable, sustainable change. Each year an estimated 10 billion loaded wood pallets are shipped just in the United States. In pallet weight alone, swapping out wood for corrugated pallets could reduce the amount of annual U.S. trucking weight by as much as 400 billion pounds, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) by millions of metric tons annually. 

As sustainability leaders such as IKEA have demonstrated, companies can direct suppliers to ship on lightweight, recyclable corrugated cardboard pallets. Doing so will save money, protect employees, reduce carbon footprints and advance zero waste goals. 

Pulling their weight 

Before 2009, IKEA used almost exclusively wood pallets. Today, more than 98 percent of its global inbound and outbound shipments are on corrugated pallets, cutting CO2e by more than 550,000 metric tons since 2012. Based on public and company reports, we estimate that IKEA has saved billions of dollars through its global “Handling Material — No Wood” program, largely by shipping an estimated 1.44 billion fewer pounds each year, eliminating wood pallet disposal and realizing corrugated recycling revenue. 

From 1991 to 2010, General Motors required suppliers to ship to its facilities on corrugated pallets. The program ended in the United States (but continued in Mexico) when a multinational wood pallet company convinced GM to switch to extra-heavy (70-pound) wood pallets. It seems that GM did not pay close attention to the impact the change would have on emissions — it was a different time — and/or failed to calculate the true enterprise cost of switching back to wood pallets.   Fortunately, the precedent- and game-changing numbers remain intact: 62 GM facilities achieved

From 1991 to 2010, General Motors required suppliers to ship to its facilities on corrugated pallets. The program ended in the United States (but continued in Mexico) when a multinational wood pallet company convinced GM to switch to extra-heavy (70-pound) wood pallets. It seems that GM did not pay close attention to the impact the change would have on emissions — it was a different time — and/or failed to calculate the true enterprise cost of switching back to wood pallets. 


Fortunately, the precedent- and game-changing numbers remain intact: 62 GM facilities achieved “zero waste” status during this time frame. GM also reported more than $2 billion in recycling revenue; revenue that surely has dropped off since the program’s termination. 

Most important, as GM proved for 19 years, America’s companies (and universities, hospitals and government agencies) have a choice when it comes to what pallets are delivered to their facilities. In many cases, turning the switch to corrugated requires little more than a letter to suppliers, or adding a few words to a supplier protocol or similar guidelines. 


The case against corrugated 

Leading U.S. retailers have argued that corrugated pallets are not sufficiently strong. It is true that corrugated pallet quality can vary and some applications are not suitable, but those issues are easily handled in spec-writing. The fact that IKEA ships and receives substantial loads on 36 million corrugated pallets per year — spanning five continents — belies the “sturdiness” argument. 

Others cite the costs that come with changes to materials handling and racking practices. This is often true, and IKEA can attest that making such changes was a prudent investment. 


Companies often point to per-pallet cost comparisons of wood versus corrugated, but a more complete analysis would factor in fuel savings, space optimization, recycling revenue, reduced injuries, operational efficiencies, less product damage, disposal costs and perhaps even carbon value. 

Finally, major retailers fairly point out that they reuse wood pallets for shipments downstream. But that does not change the fact that it requires one truck to deliver 1,800 corrugated pallets to their point of use, but 4.5 trucks to deliver the same number of wood pallets; that it takes one truck to move 400 wood pallets away from the store post-use versus tossing corrugated pallets into the bailer; and that pallets remain one of the largest components of landfill waste. 

Who needs retail? 

A disappointing but honest appraisal is that even leading sustainability retailers such as Whole Foods are committed to systems that force Seventh Generation, General Mills and other sustainability leading suppliers to ship on wood pallets — and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. But beyond retailers, sustainably minded companies can look upstream to advance carbon reduction and zero-waste initiatives. 

“Even leading sustainability retailers such as Whole Foods are committed to systems that force Seventh Generation, General Mills and other sustainability leading suppliers to ship on wood pallets — and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. But beyond retailers, sustainably minded companies can look upstream to advance carbon reduction and zero-waste initiatives.”

Could Tesla revive the GM supplier directive? Could General Mills direct that the tens of millions of empty corrugated cereal boxes delivered to its factories each year be shipped on corrugated pallets? Could Seventh Generation ask that empty plastic containers come on corrugated pallets? 

And, maybe even easier, could sectors such as hospitality and medical facilities that rarely ship downstream save money and reduce upstream footprints by similarly requesting that suppliers use lightweight, recyclable pallets? 

Change is hard. It’s also the essence of corporate sustainability. Leading companies literally are changing the world through responsible sourcing, clean energy use, process efficiencies and many other innovations in business practices that yield social, environmental and economic benefit. There is still much low-hanging fruit to be harvested, and the lowly pallet is still hanging on the tree, ready to be picked. 

Adam Pener

President

Green Ox Pallet Technology 

Original article link: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/sustainability-and-pallets-making-change-long-haul
Roger Ballentine President
Green Strategies, Inc. 

 

Tesla Model 3 Production Unveiling — What To Expect & How To Watch from CleanTechnica

July 28th, 2017 by Kyle Field

The Tesla Model 3 reveal in 2016 was the most anticipated vehicle reveal in history, and perhaps the most anticipated product reveal of any kind. More recently, production launch has been the most anticipated production launch of any vehicle since perhaps the Ford Model T.

The Tesla Model 3 reveal in 2016 was the most anticipated vehicle reveal in history, and perhaps the most anticipated product reveal of any kind. More recently, production launch has been the most anticipated production launch of any vehicle since perhaps the Ford Model T.
Humanity (and perhaps AI) will look back on the Model 3 as an iconic vehicle. Before the 3 launch, electric vehicles were merely niche products for fanatics. After the 3 launch, electric cars were mainstream. The inflection point was not a single moment in time but a progression, a gradual transition from black to white, but it is safe to say that the catalytic drop into the market that started the reaction was the initial Model 3 reveal event on March 31st, 2016, when the world saw the Model 3 for the very first time.

Before that moment, people wondered, people hoped, people hated (haters gonna hate), and skeptics scoffed. After the reveal, the haters were silenced as hundreds of thousands of reservations attempted to break the internet in parallel to the livestreaming of the event from the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California.
Before that moment, people wondered, people hoped, people hated (haters gonna hate), and skeptics scoffed. After the reveal, the haters were silenced as hundreds of thousands of reservations attempted to break the internet in parallel to the livestreaming of the event from the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California.

For the entire story on CleanTechnica

More Amazing Photos from my Test Drive Story of the Tesla Model S P90D. 

What I am a car porn freak for Tesla. What do you want from me?!  All these other websites flaunting their love and admiration. I just love that it is an electric car with balls that’s sexy as F.

It’s been a while since I test Drive the Tesla Motors Model S. The last time was in 2014 and was a single motor P85. Yet as I wrote:   If words could really describe the intensity of the the performance, speed and efficiency of the 2014 Tesla Model S P85 (for performance based 85 kilowatt hours), then they would be listed. Yet this all electric car is beyond words. Of all cars. That’s why the Tesla Model S P85 is not just simplicity, luxury and overall performance.
You Have to Press a Button to Make a Tesla Go Ludicrous!

As I wrote back then in 2014, “No questions asked this car performed better than expected. One could think there would be more problems that occurred but no. This car performed. While it is not affordable to the tester one thing is for sure. Tesla Motors will be bringing cars all electric to market for generations to come. Each generation and edition of car will only get better. This is part of the greatness of the electric car, technology and the class of engineering from Tesla Motors.”


Now fast forward to present day. Same amazing looking Model S but dual motors which I call Quattro (as with an Audi) on Steroids! Folks this is fast! It’s so fast it’s ludicrous and to paraphrase the movie by Mel Brooks called Spaceballs:  

Tesla model s

The fastest speed imaginable…light speed is too slow! It is extremely dangerous to go to ludicrous speed. It may result in you going to plaid. Also, going from ludicrous speed to a dead stop will result in you being launched across your ship, flying straight into a wall. 

Prepare ship…prepare ship…for LUDICROUS SPEED!!!!
For my entire story on the Huffington Post

Tesla Gigafactory Pumps Out 1,500 Model 3 Batteries, Tesla Model S 75 Discontinued says CleanTechnica

From CleanTechnica

July 24th, 2017 by Steve Hanley 

This story about Tesla and the Gigafactory was first published on Gas2.

If it seems like there is more news about Tesla than any other car company, that’s only because it’s true. More new stuff swirls around the Land of Tesla every day than at most companies in a month — or a year! As the Model 3 nears its first public showing later this week, Tesla is making one move designed to further separate the Model S from its lower priced sibling. It is discontinuing the entry level Model S 75 with rear-wheel drive.Tesla Model S. If it seems like there is more news about Tesla than any other car company, that’s only because it’s true. More new stuff swirls around the Land of Tesla every day than at most companies in a month — or a year! As the Model 3 nears its first public showing later this week, Tesla is making one move designed to further separate the Model S from its lower priced sibling. It is discontinuing the entry level Model S 75 with rear-wheel drive.

Tesla Model S

You can still order the car for September delivery, but you better act fast. Once the factory pulls the plug on that car, every vehicle in the Model S and Model X lineup will be built with dual motors. The decision means the base price of a Model S will climb to $74,500 — more than double the base price of the Model 3. Only rear-wheel-drive versions of Tesla’s new midsize car will be available at first, as the factory seeks to limit the number of options available to make production as simple and efficient as possible.

Genscape is a company that tracks hundreds of industrial enterprises using drone videos and other proprietary tracking techniques. You can view footage of the progress at the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, in its new video. The place is starting to look really huge, and construction continues at a rapid pace. It reports that 1,500 Model 3 battery packs have left the Gigafactory and are on their way to Fremont, California, where they will be installed in Model 3 sedans.

For the entire story on CleanTechnica