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Articles by Biodiversivist

My real name is Russ Finley. I also have my own blog called Biodiversivist, which contains articles in addition to those submitted to Grist. I live in Seattle, married with children. Suffice it to say that although I am trained and educated as an engineer, my passion is nature. I very much want my grandchildren to live on a planet where lions, tigers, and bears have not joined the long and growing list of creatures that used to be.

Featured Article

The continued existence and expansion of human civilization is wholly dependent on affordable sources of energy. The latest study just released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (an organization that exists to study and promote the viability of renewable energy) suggests that it may be possible to get 80% or so of our electric power from renewable sources by 2050. The study also (inadvertently) provides evidence that renewable energy will be a minority player in humanity’s energy portfolio.

The results may disappoint my fellow solar enthusiasts because it suggests that only 13% of our electric energy will come from solar. Distributed solar enthusiasts (who favor photovoltaic solar panels on rooftops) will be further disappointed because half of that 13% will come from water-sucking centralized concentrated solar thermal power plants, many located in desert ecosystems, leaving only about 6% for solar panels on rooftops, of which many will probably not be on rooftops but in centralized power plants, probably displacing ecosystems or crops.

But electricity represents only 40% of our energy needs. If we hog up all renewable energy sources for el... Read more

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  • Hydropower: Dammed If You Do

    No, that is not a picture of cooling ponds inside a nuclear reactor. Those are dust covers on the turbines at the Grand Coulee dam. According to the photographer, you have to pass through a metal detector to get this far into the power plant. Come to think of it, the nuclear power industry could […]

  • First Vehicle to Home Power System in North America

    A version of this article originally appeared at Consumer Energy Report Nissan issued a press release earlier this month to announce that Power Stream will be using the V2H system with its fleet of Leafs in Canada. This device acts as a charger and as a power inverter, allowing 4 hour charges instead of 8 […]

  • Nissan Leaf Orphan Finds New Home

    You can read my earlier Leaf posts here, here, here, and here. The Leaf I ordered is not due to arrive for another two months. Another engineer that I work with called me up (while he was on vacation) to tell me that he had just test driven an orphaned (the ordering party decided not […]

  • Electric Car Purchase Update

    Just got an email from Nissan:   Hi Russ, congratulations! Your vehicle is scheduled to arrive at your Nissan Dealer in the month of September 2011.   As your Nissan LEAFTM is being built and shipped, we will continue to update your vehicle’s status. So make sure to sign in to “my account” to stay […]