Trump Nominates Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State Environmental Groups Declare War (Updated)

The news that Rex Tillerson (Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil) will be nominated for Secretary of State, prompted an outcry from a broad spectrum of groups including environmental, renewable energy advocates and even some leading republican lawmakers leery of the many conflicts of interest such a move would create.

Rex Tillerson is the head of one of the worst companies on planet earth. Is Exxon Mobil that bad? Exxon knew about Global warming and the impact it would have as far back as 1977, in fact their models from way back then are proving to be quite accurate. Yet Exxon Mobil has spent decades denying the science of climate change while manufacturing and profiting from the very root of the problem. Click here for details. Nominating such a person for Secretary of State would top off one of the most devastating weeks for those of us who want a clean healthy planet for our children to inherit.

Optimism had been building that a Trump administration would not be as harsh on the environment as initially feared after Trump indicated in interviews, he would have an open mind about climate change and followed up that amenable tone with high profile meetings with two climate change activists; Al Gore and Lenardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio has become quite outspoken about the dangers of global climate change and has recently both starred in and produced the National Geographic documentary , “Before the Flood”.

Feelings of good will turned to disbelief and rage after Trump nominated Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, the same Scott Pruitt who had sued the EPA in a bid to undue key legislative elements of President Obama’s protections to rein in pollution from Coal fired power plants.

The position of Secretary of State is one of the most powerful and includes such responsibilities as ; Advising the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance or dismissal of representatives from other nations. Participates in high-level negotiations with other countries, either bilaterally or as part of an international conference or organization or appoints representatives to do so including negotiation of international treaties and other agreements. (Source-Wikipedia)

Such a position demands a representative who is wholly consumed with the highest interests of the people and government of the United States WITHOUT bias toward any single industry. Rex Tillerson cannot be entrusted to represent the interests of the people of the United States when he has been so embedded in big oil for so long. Should his nomination make it through, he will encounter a conflict of interest and logistical nightmare after retiring from Exxon Mobil regarding the handling of Exxon Mobil stock according to Fortune.

President elect Trump cannot pull the wool over the eyes of environmental groups by merely whispering lullabies of environmental open mindedness while nominating people who are clearly going to gut any and all policies that were designed to protect the environment while fostering the growth of renewable energy.  President elect Trump should understand, very clearly that his actions (not his words) and the consequences of those actions will be judged by future generations. (photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 -Unported)


Trump vs the Environment

Many people are discouraged about the election outcome, some are downright scared.  I have watched many of my friends and colleagues agonize and worry about what Trump and a republican majority will do to the renewable energy industry and the environmental protections currently in place.

During this time of uncertainty,  I would encourage everyone to take heart and be encouraged by considering some very positive facts..the renewable energy industry in the US has had 8 years to grow and mature under the Obama administration. Many would argue the result being solar is cheaper than coal. Bringing back coal now, even from a pure free market price perspective would be absurd.

In addition, many of the red states are going green, Texas is installing wind at a record pace, solar is gaining popularity in the heart of coal country and Iowa gets 25% of their power from the wind.

Tesla is maturing as a company and selling record number of cars despite the fact that gas is incredibly cheap. Solar City is launching their solar roof that received broad media acclaim in 2017.

A tipping point has been reached, we are moving forward, the technology and progress will stop for no one and investment in renewable’s and the environment will continue worldwide.

Will Tesla Announce an Apple or Google Merger?

Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla Automotive, Space X and inventor of the Hyperloop, has revealed via Twitter, that he is working on a new “Secret Masterplan Part 2”, for Tesla Automotive. Since that tweet, Tesla shares rose 4%. The new plan is expected to be revealed later this week.

It is well known that both Apple and Google are working on their own car, so it is feasible that Tesla could merge with either company, combining resources and technologies to cement the future of transportation.

Stay tuned, things are getting very interesting.


What Could Have Been and What Could Be

The loss of GE has generated a lot of opinions and  viewpoints on the possible ramifications to our state economy.

Instead of pouring any more energy into the loss of GE,  our state should utilize resources to successfully attract several high profile, innovative companies and projects, focused on solving our transportation and energy problems.

The future of the automobile is electric. With the stunning success of the Tesla model S proving there is a solid market for electric cars, every single auto manufacturer is getting into electric automobiles. The heart of an electric automobile is the battery. Batteries need to be manufactured somewhere, why not right here in CT? There is a lot of media coverage of the giant battery factory (AKA the Gigafactory) being built by Tesla in Nevada. If CT were to successfully attract and build a battery giga factory, we would benefit from similar media buzz and CT would attract the attention of business leaders around the world who might be interested in building one of their high tech projects and or factories here.

Speaking of Tesla, they are not allowed to sell cars in CT.  If you want to buy a Tesla, you have to go to another state. Every time a consumer does this, CT loses jobs and tax revenue. Forcing consumers to buy a Tesla in another state, while CT is suffering from massive budget deficits is completely insane. Allowing Tesla to sell cars on CT will bring in both jobs and tax revenue.

One of the most talked about transportation technologies is the Hyperloop concept originally created by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla automobile. More info about the Hyperloop can be found here. The Hyperloop could relieve congestion throughout our state and by manufacturing and designing the system in CT, we would benefit with jobs and tax revenue.

There is a tremendous amount of media coverage around the world about the Hyperloop and where it will be built. By building the Hyperloop and or manufacturing parts of it here, we would benefit from similar media buzz and CT would attract the attention of business leaders around the world who might be interested in building one of their high tech projects and or factories here.

Solar power is expanding throughout our state and around the world. In fact, most of the new power plants built over the past four years, have been solar. Solar is an expanding market, providing jobs and tax revenue, however, none of those solar panels are manufactured in CT. Why not?

Wind power is steadily gaining ground across the globe providing clean, reliable and affordable power. However, how many wind turbines are made in CT?  Why isn’t the state government working hard to bring wind power manufacturing to our state?

Connecticut was built on manufacturing and our state benefited tremendously with jobs growth. The leaders of our state must realize this and use the loss of GE as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and capitalize on the future by building it here. If we do that, CT will return to prosperity in terms of both job expansion/creation and significantly lowering our budget deficits.

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How to Prepare if Terrorists or a Solar Storm Bring Down the Entire U.S. Grid

Unfortunately, the electrical grid that we have come to rely on is vulnerable to several threats. These include; terrorism, violent storms, cyber attacks, solar storms and simply old age.

Over the past 5 years I have spent a lot of time talking with an expert on the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the grid and the very real possibility our nation could be without power for months, yes months.

The late Martin Fox (PhD, M.D. ) was a friend and mentor. Dr. Fox taught electrical engineering at the University of Connecticut. He was also an avid believer in renewable energy. One of the things he would repeatedly warn me about was the dangerous and scary possibility our grid could go down for months.

I was reminded of these conversations last week when it was revealed that a hacker gained access to the head of the CIA’s private email account.

Why should you care? Simple; if a hacker can get access to the private email of the head of the CIA, you can well imagine the very real possibility a hacker could get access to our nations grid and bring it down.

If the grid were to go down long term because of terrorism or a hacker, it would look something like this..

The lights go out, no big deal, you wait it out, listening to the radio and get all the info you can. At first, there is very little info, the only known fact is the entire U.S. is without power. The nation is told that your local, state and the federal government are doing all they can to restore power as fast as possible. Behind the scenes however, things are not so optimistic. The President and his national security team are reviewing the worst case scenario; the nation could be without power for months. Generators are good for about a week, maybe two, after that things get ugly. Gas stations cannot pump gas. The nations internet and cell phone networks start to fail as the generators run dry and cell phone towers, routers and data centers run out of power. Radio and TV stations start to go off the air. There is no food or fuel distribution as the grocery stores, trucks,  warehouses and refineries run out of fuel. Water and sewage services start to fail as the pumps cannot run without fuel. Our economy would come to a standstill as every business from main street to wall street slowly grind to a halt. The security of our nation will start to unravel as mobs begin to loot stores and gas stations. if it happens in winter, it will be much worse.

The national guard would be deployed to try to restore security and fuel to critical parts of our country.

Our nation could face the very real possibility of being thrown into the dark ages for months.

How can you be prepared? Buy several crank flashlights and a crank radio. You charge them by turning a simple built in crank, they are very easy to use and do not require batteries. Buy a portable solar charger, (make sure it is powerful enough to charge your tablet and or cell phone in direct sunlight in 7 to 8 hours). Buy and stock up on as much canned food and bottled water as possible. Make sure you have a couple can openers. Purchase a medical kit. If you own a pet, stock up on as much pet food and supplies as you can. Purchase a small portable grill that can be fueled using sticks. Buy some walki talkies, this will help your family stay in touch if you have to venture out. Purchase rechargeable batteries and a solar charger to charge them.

Consider building or purchasing a solar or wind system with batteries, that will power a small fridge and some lights. If you have a house that relies on well water, talk to a solar or wind installer about a system that will keep your water pump running during a long outage.

If you already own a grid tied solar PV system, you will not be able to use that power when the grid is down, UNLESS you have a transfer switch. Why? The power company does not want your solar pv to electrocute their line workers when they are working to restore power. Talk to your solar installer about getting a transfer switch that will allow you to use your solar power during an outage.

The scariest scenario is if our planet is hit by a very large solar storm. NASA revealed that nearly happened in 2012 when a massive solar storm just missed our planet. We were very fortunate that Earth was not in the path when the sun erupted. If the solar storm had hit just a week earlier, our planet would have been in the path and it would have destroyed grids all over the world. This would have knocked us back into the 18th century by causing so much damage it would take years to repair.

How can you be prepared for a solar storm? The best way we can avoid this scenario is by upgrading the grid to withstand the hit. This costs a lot of money and is therefore, not very popular. The choice is yours; call your elected officials and urge them to upgrade the grid to withstand a major solar storm OR risk being knocked into the dark ages for years.


Did Tesla Mishandle the Model X Launch?


Did Tesla fumble key elements of the model X launch? Although the Model X has received very favorable reviews from the automotive and world wide press, there are two BIG problems with the way the launch was handled.

There is still no price for the Model X. If you go on the Tesla site, they provide a great deal of info on design, safety, etc..BUT how much does the car cost? Even if you click on the red, “Reserve Yours” button, there is no info provided on the exact cost of the product you are ordering.  The only info on cost is the required $5,000 reservation requirement.

If a customer decides to order a vehicle and plunk down five grand to reserve a car, they have no solid info on how much they will ultimately pay. Customers will have to wait until the latter half of 2016 to even get the car. Why is there such a long wait? Are there production issues? Why is there no price?  Those unanswered questions have invited a LOT of negative speculation from Wall Street analysts.

Elon Musk has a solid track record of delivering incredible products and incredible companies (Paypal, Space X, Powerwall, Solar City and the Hyperloop), making this launch a very strange aberration indeed.

For the sake of both die hard Tesla fans and investors, let’s hope the company addresses these two key issues quickly.

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Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein


Save the Date for an Amazing Meeting!


In partnership with our friends over at PACE..


–Investing successfully in renewable energy NOW!

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This amazing program  will take place  on Saturday night , November 21 in West Hartford  at the Hartford Friends Meeting House.  Wonderful food and beautiful music  begin at 6 PM . The program begins at 7 PM

Note: This event is free to the public! is Your One Stop Resource for All Things Related to Renewable Energy and Conservation