Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two Reasons Why Sun and Wind Don't Work

One may ignore all the fluff about the talented comedian (but energy clueless) Jimmy Fallon and go straight to the second page of this article in Forbes for the reasons why sun and wind energy is unsuitable and often counter-productive. The numbers from the heavily invested in sun and wind Germany are startling.  One can't run an industry, city or country with such swings in energy supply!
Sometimes sun and wind in Germany can cover 25% of the demand for electricity.  Other times they supply only 2.5%.  Overall in a year these renewable sources of energy can be "dependent upon" to produce only about 5% of the country's needs despite the hundreds of billions invested.  In fact Energiewende is expected to cost close to $1.4 billion by 2040!

Monday, November 24, 2014

America's Infrastructure: Roads are Crumbling, Congress is Fiddling

America's transportation infrastructure, once an engine of mobility and productivity, has fallen into such disrepair that it's become an economic albatross.
From the article Shoddy U.S. roads and bridges take a toll on the economy in LA Times.

A comprehensive summary with startling video by 60 Minutes is titled Falling apart: America's neglected infrastructure where Steve Kroft reports on why roads, bridges, airports and rail are outdated and need to be fixed.

All along the American Society of Civil Engineers has been providing biannual assessments of American infrastructure with overall grades typically ranging between D- and D+. Here's is ASCE's 2013 report card for the American infrastructure.

Ironically, Congress and States "cannot find" monies to fix and improve what we have, but they do find (pork barrel) billions for boondoggles such as the California High Speed Rail and the Honolulu Snail Rail.

Much like Nero, the roads are crumbling while Congress is fiddling (and misappropriating.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Honolulu Rail -- Who Pays for the Electric Power?

Gina Mangieri's investigation at Channel 2 News:  People close to the Honolulu rail project including federal advisers have flagged electricity as a major unresolved matter and cost risk for rail. Whether HART or HECO end up paying, either way folks on Oahu are picking up the tab.

“If we don’t have a new power plant,” Prevedouros said, “HECO is not ready to handle all this additional demand, period.”

 MidWeek's Roy Chang accurately depicted the situation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PANOS 2050 O'lelo Shows

Between 2011 and 2013 I produced 18 thirty-minute shows on Hawaii’s O’lelo public television titled “PANOS 2050: Solutions for a Sustainable Hawaii.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Surprising Downward Trends

What do golf, convertible cars, crime, American journalists and infant mortality have in common?
The answer is in my recent article in the Honolulu Civil Beat.

The article describes some downtrends. Our world is obsessed with up and more, whereas down and less are equally important but rarely discussed...unless there is a major recession or a downed aircraft!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Driverless Cars. What's Really Possible?

I was pleasantly surprised to see so many views and comments on my brief article on driverless cars: Driverless Cars. What's Really Possible?  The best and brightest are working on this subject, largely under wraps.

[Sample photo by BMW.]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

As the Nation Turns, Hawaii is Still Driven

As the Nation Turns, Hawaii is Still Driven is an comprehensive and detailed article in the November 2014 issue of Hawaii Business Magazine, by Carlyn Tani. I am quoted extensively throughout the article as follows:
  • “Hawaii’s driving never really went down – it just flattened out and then started going up again as opposed to the mainland, which made a U-turn,” observes Panos Prevedouros, who teaches civil engineering at UH-Manoa and chairs the freeway operations simulation subcommittee of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Research Council. He projects that Hawaii’s thriving economy and tourism sector will buoy VMT even higher.
  • Prevedouros cites three economic forces driving Hawaii’s trend toward more vehicle miles driven per capita: a rebound in tourism, which puts more visitors on the roads; the construction boom on Oahu, which stimulates the transport of people and materials; and the large number of Hawaii residents who hold more than one part-time job and drive between workplaces.
  • According to Prevedouros, the general tolerance threshold for congestion is 75 minutes for a one-way trip by car. When commute time exceeds that, people are more likely to move, change jobs or relocate to another region or state.
  • But what does Hawaii’s transportation future look like? Prevedouros predicts that cars will continue to dominate because of the state’s tourism-dependent economy, high private-schools enrollment and large number of people holding more than one job.
    “We don’t have mass transit that is flexible and quick enough to take you to drop off your kids or take you to your multiple jobs. You cannot be a resident in Kailua with kids at Punahou and try to do these things by bus,” he explains. “The only mode that can deliver that is private transportation.”

    Prevedouros predicts we will see more cars on the road in the future, but says traffic congestion will eventually be reduced by autonomous cars that drive better than people-driven cars, while more energy-efficient cars will ease environmental concerns.