During the recent heat wave on the East Coast, heavy power users throttled back during peak times, in response to price incentives and an "intelligent network" for electrical power delivery. "Demand Response" takes the place of "spinning reserve" power sources and significantly reduces CO2 emissions and the capital and running costs of additional power plants. An example of using price signals to improve the efficiency of the power grid.
Articles linked to in the following post in Knowledge Problem detail the short-term economic advantages of using Demand Response methods, on the theory that "bytes are cheaper than iron." Knowledge Problem: Demand Response in the Recent East Coast Heat Wave (Lynne Kiesling, Aug. 27, 2007).
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports statistics on the increased percentage of U.S. energy usage coming from renewable energy sources. The report includes data and analysis on the impact of ethanol subsidies upon the rising price of corn, as ethanol production increased 25% from 2005 to 2006. Wind energy production was a bigger gainer, though from a much smaller base, at 45% growth from 2005-2006, with Texas being the biggest gainer, followed by Washington and California.
Renewable USEIA: Energy Consumption and Electricity Preliminary 2006 Statistics - Data for 2006, released August 2007
(read more below the fold)
From the EIA's Overview:
"Preliminary data indicates that total renewable energy consumption increased 7 percent between 2005 and 2006 (Table 1). In contrast, total U.S. energy consumption declined 1 percent, mainly due to decreased consumption of fossil fuels (including decreased natural gas consumption in the residential sector and decreased coal and petroleum consumption in the electric power sector)."
"Renewable energy’s market share stood at almost 7 percent in 2006, slightly greater than for 2005 (Table 1 and Figure 1). Total renewable consumption stood at 6.844 quadrillion Btu. Consistent with historical patterns, the electric power sector consumed the majority (56 percent) of renewable energy (Table 2). The industrial sector consumed 28 percent, with the transportation and commercial sectors using the remainder. Hydroelectric conventional power had the largest absolute year-to-year change at 186 trillion Btu, but this represented only a 7 percent increase, while biofuels consumption increased by 164 trillion Btu or 28 percent, and wind increased by 80 trillion Btu or 45 percent."
Editor Sara Skiff and Publisher Neil Squillante of TechnoLawyer have released this year's compendium of selected legal weblog postings in BlawgWorld 2007. A June 2006 posting from Unintended Consequences, "Flood Insurance Managers Facing Inconvenient Truth," is included.
The 366-page "E-Book" PDF is supported by advertising content and accessible through this link.
A report this month released to the public by the Secretary of State's office of the State of Florida found continued flaws in the leading optical-scan e-voting system used by that state. The flaws would allow vote tampering by poll workers, according to the report. beSpacific: Florida State Univ. Security Lab Report on Diebold Voting Machine Software
This study followed efforts to fix flaws identified in earlier years that some have linked to a commitment by management of such systems to "deliver" votes to certain political parties or candidates. Such commitment was revealed in the inadvertent disclosure of certain internal documents and later publication of those documents despite efforts to suppress the information. See, e.g. "E-Voting Issues at Wired.com" (March 30, 2004) at http://www.dougsimpson.com/blog/archives/000305.html and "Vanity Fair Floodlights E-Voting Politics" (March 13, 2004) at http://www.dougsimpson.com/blog/archives/000291.html