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

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Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed

Three years ago, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) rebutted arguments that occurrences of negative prices at nuclear plants in Illinois were frequently caused by wind energy. That “compelling” data led FERC Commissioner John Norris, who had previously discussed his concerns about negative prices, to affirm that “the focus on negative prices is a distraction.”
More recently, we have documented that many instances of negative prices are caused by conventional power plants.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.
The results, which we are releasing today for the first time, confirm that any instances of renewable policies like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and state renewable standard credits being factored into market prices have a trivial impact on retiring power plants.

Across more than 1.8 million data points, which cover all 2016 pricing intervals in the day-ahead electricity market for all retiring power plants in those regions, only 55 instances of negative prices were found that could have been set by a wind project receiving the PTC. The analysis includes market price data for all power plants that have retired since 2012 or have announced plans to retire.

Our analysis focused on the day-ahead electricity market (the results bolded below), as that is where nuclear and coal generators sell most if not all of their generation. However, the results show that wind plants almost never set prices for an additional 2.4 million data points in the real-time electricity market as well. For more background on electricity markets and how prices are set, see the last section of this post.

In PJM and MISO, which account for a large share of all power plants in wholesale markets that are retiring nationwide, only 0.003 percent of day-ahead market prices at retiring power plants were in a range that could be set by a wind project receiving the PTC, as shown on the left side of the table. Occurrences of negative prices that could be wind-related were even less frequent in SPP, at 0.0017 percent of day-ahead market price intervals. Those occurrences were slightly more common at retiring plants in ERCOT, at 0.06 percent of price intervals, but it should be noted that there is only one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT.

To underscore the trivial impact of the PTC in setting market prices, the right side of the table shows how prices would change if wind projects receiving the PTC no longer received the credit. In PJM and MISO, conservatively assuming that all negative prices in that range were set by wind projects receiving the PTC, Day-Ahead Market prices at retiring power plants would increase by an average of $0.0007, or 1/13th of a penny per megawatt hour (MWh), if operating wind projects no longer received the PTC. Retiring power plants in SPP saw an even smaller impact at 1/25th of a penny, while the one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT saw an impact of around one penny per MWh.

It is important to clarify that the PTC does directly reduce consumer electricity costs outside of the electricity market. The PTC and other incentives allow wind projects to offer lower long-term contract prices to customers and the utilities who serve them, which translates into lower electric bills for consumers on a 1:1 basis.

However, those contract payments are outside of the wholesale electricity market, so they are not directly factored into the wholesale electricity market prices received by other generators.

The facts about energy incentives

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.    Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.  Market dynamics are driving retirements  Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.  The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.    Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly
Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.

Market dynamics are driving retirements

Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.

The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.

Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly lower than the fuel cost of coal power plants, explaining why utilities in those regions are moving from coal to natural gas generation.

For the entire story on the AWEA blog, MICHAEL GOGGIN, JULY 18, 2017

Elon Musk Tells Governors About Solar Power plus US Gigafactories

Speaking to the National Governors Association summer conference in Rhode Island last week, Elon Musk gave the state solons their money’s worth. He told them that it would be possible to supply every electron needed to keep America humming by covering just 100 square miles with solar panels.

“If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah. You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States.”

July 19th, 2017 by Steve Hanley   Speaking to the National Governors Association summer conference in Rhode Island last week, Elon Musk gave the state solons their money’s worth. He told them that it would be possible to supply every electron needed to keep America humming by covering just 100 square miles with solar panels.  “If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah. You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States.”
Of course, some grid storage capability would need to be included. Musk has an answer for that, too. “The batteries you need to store the energy, to make sure you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square mile. That’s it.”
For the entire story from CleanTechnica on July 19th, 2017 by Steve Hanley 

How to Select a Green Lodge when Traveling, Part 1

You are a person who puts active thought into eco-practices at home, but what happens when you go on vacation? Do you ever wonder “Where Can I Find a ‘Green’ Hotel or B&B?” or “How Can I Tell the Difference Between an Authentic Eco Lodge and One That Is Not?” or “Is There a Reliable Directory I Can Use?” If you have asked those questions, you’re in good company. But the answers are surprisingly complicated.

Here’s the reality: there is no one universal authority or definitive tool that eco-conscious consumers can turn to for sourcing “green” vacation accommodations.


With hundreds of countries around the world – all with different government agencies, infrastructure, politics, regulations, and living standards – it is a most difficult task to devise a uniform platform.

In a pinch, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that the ecotourism industry is relatively young and evolving quickly. More consumers are demanding “eco-friendly” travel options, so there will be a response in kind from the industry. More information will become available via online directories and useful apps ready to download to your smart phone or tablet.——————————————————————————————————

Costa Rica is a top-ranked destination for “green” vacations. Click here to learn more about a jungle lodge and rafting adventures down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica – https://www.ecotourlinq.com/blog/spotlight-interview-with-rios-tropicales

Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River  Photo credit: Rios Tropicales
Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River Photo credit: Rios Tropicales

What does a green lodge look like? Well the facility can be any number of things – a working ranch or farm, a seaside hotel, a mountain inn, a jungle lodge (on the ground or in the trees), a small village B&B, a desert bunker, a campground, or a dormitory-style hostel. Frequently these accommodations will be located inside or near a national park or possibly a World Heritage Site.
Coming up in Part 2 – Tourism Bureaus and Ecotourism Associations

Guest Writer Bio: Deborah Regen is the publisher of a website directory and blog dedicated to consumer information about ecotourism and sustainable travel. She also sends out a free monthly e-newsletter to subscribers including notices of giveaways. https://www.EcoTourLinQ.com and her email = admin@ecotourlinq.com

Two Steps Closer to Abating Global Mercury Damage

This summer, the world is taking two essential steps toward abating the damage caused by dental mercury fillings. Actions by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to restrict the use of dental mercury are being commended by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a network of dentists, scientists, and other professionals. They have been researching the deleterious effects of dental mercury since 1984 and began calling for a complete ban on mercury fillings in 1985.

Now, the IAOMT is calling for the next steps needed to fully protect the globe from the adverse effects of dental mercury on human health and the environment. All silver-colored dental fillings, often called “amalgams,” contain approximately 50% mercury. Dental mercury is known to pollute waterways and wildlife, and it is the predominant source of mercury exposure to people who have these fillings in their bodies. This creates an array of potential health risks for these patients.

WORLD WILL BE TWO STEPS CLOSER TO ABATING MERCURY DAMAGE  EPA dental effluent rule effective July 14; UNEP mercury treaty enters into force August 16Amalgam separators reduce mercury released from dental offices into the environment. For this reason, the EPA utilized measures in the Clean Water Act to develop standards requiring that dental offices install amalgam separators. This requirement will go into effect on Friday, July 14, and the EPA has estimated that it could reduce the discharge of mercury by 5.1 tons annually. 

However, the IAOMT notes that the EPA should also require routine maintenance for amalgam separators so that they do not fail and so that additional releases of mercury do not occur. It should also be remembered that amalgam separators only reduce dental mercury in wastewater and do not address the impact of mercury/silver fillings on human health.

A number of countries have already banned or strictly limited the use of dental mercury. Shockingly, the use of mercury in dentistry continues in the US without any restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that pregnant women, children, and all other American populations are still having mercury fillings placed in their mouths. Subpopulations in the US known to have higher rates of mercury filling placement include Black/African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives/Asians/Pacific Islanders, and members of the United States Armed Forces

“The world is getting healthier this summer with these latest actions against dental mercury,” IAOMT President Tammy DeGregorio, DMD, ND stated. “But to truly protect people and the environment, the use of dental mercury must completely end for all patients, all dental offices, and all global regions.”

Source:  International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)