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Posts Tagged ‘energy’

By Sarah Mosko
OC Voice

It’s not much of a stretch to liken America’s relationship with cells phones to a once sizzling romance that ends in good bye.

Given all the environmental costs of cell phones, certainly the most eco-friendly cell is the one you already own.

Given all the environmental costs of cell phones, certainly the most eco-friendly cell is the one you already own.

Fated love affairs typically begin with blind infatuation and fiery passion before reality sets in, cooling the embers enough to allow more guarded, sometimes less attractive aspects of the self to surface. Interest wanes until the love object is abandoned or replaced by an alluring new one.

Americans relate to cell phones in much the same way. An old phone, with once novel features that drew fascination, is discarded with hardly a thought when an updated model makes it seem obsolete.

That consumers replace cell phones about every two years–with Californians purchasing in a single year nearly one new cell for every two state residents–makes this analogy seem less silly.

A parallel can be drawn too between the innards of a cell phone and what is revealed when one person lets another peek inside:  it’s not all pretty. Some nasty materials lurk behind the bright shiny casing, making cell phone disposal a knotty environmental issue, analogous to ending, with minimal damages, a relationship gone sour. (more…)

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By Doug Korthof
OC Voice Columnist

Seldom has a solar proposal drawn such uniform enmity as Proposition 7 that appears on the November

Solar powered mansion in Huntington Beach with near $0.00 in electrical costs.

Solar powered 2,500 sq. foot home in Huntington Beach with near $0.00 in electrical costs.

election ballot. Big utilities, both major political parties, labor unions, solar installers, environmental, business and taxpayer groups all deplore it.

Those responsible for the electric grid must plan for the periods of peak power, which are weekday afternoons, especially in summer. Even one minute of shortage is a brownout, although during off-peak hours demand falls and there’s a surplus of electric. Providing economical power within the daily rise and fall of the electricity usage curve is their problem.

There are two types of electrical power generators: those that run best at constant output (nuclear, natural gas, coal), but require a long time to stop and start, and those that can be easily started when demand rises (hydro). Peak power is so valuable that water is pumped up to reservoirs such as Lake Castaic every night; the next day, the pumps turn into generators to meet daytime peak. (more…)

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