Solar Sanity is Restored

With solar power blossoming in the United States and the Biden Administration’s Day One vow to supercharge renewables, it came as a shock to learn in late March that the Commerce Department was throwing sand in the gears.  Based on what turned out to be a largely inaccurate interpretation of data offered by an American solar panel manufacturer, Commerce began an investigation that effectively blocked the importing of solar products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  The impact was immediate and devastating according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):  forecasts for this year and next year being cut by 46%.  The 700 responses from an SEIA survey of industry businesses showed that 318 projects accounting for 51 GW of solar capacity and 6 GWh of attached battery storage were being cancelled or delayed, putting $52 billion of private investment and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.  An independent analysis, from Rystad Energy, found similar catastrophic disruptions as a result. Continue reading

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Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid

I have always said that I’m an environmentalist but not a naturalist.  I’m an environmentalist largely because I had so much pleasure outdoors as a kid:  camp on the ever-magnificent Lake George in New York, climbing and hiking in the Adirondacks, skiing in the Green Mountains, traveling around the American West one memorable summer, playing ball in the fall and spring.  I was blessed that way.  My wife and daughter have imbibed much of that love of the great outdoors.  I have never gained, however, a great deal of a grasp of the inner workings of the natural world.  Birders are all around me in Central Park during migration, but I can’t tell a hawk from a handsaw. The wonders of nature nevertheless never cease to astonish me.  An article from last year absolutely mystified me with this fact:  A species of beetle in South Africa, feeding on animal dung, like others of their cousins which are found on all the continents except Antarctica, roll their dung balls in a straight line at night by orienting with the Milky Way.  Astonishing.  The flash of color from a male Red-winged Blackbird once captivated me so thoroughly hitchhiking at dusk in Wisconsin that I realized it was my totem animal.  When I watch trees waving in the wind, it seems to me that they are dancing in joy at the sunlight and air. Continue reading

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