A/N: So this is the second installment of my apparently new A.M series that I didn’t even knew I needed on my blog. You can read Luke’s version here
Summary: Y/N’s and Michael’s hate for each other won’t get any better when they’re paired up for a science project. And when a thunderstorm appears and Y/N isn’t safe to walk home she has to stay at Michael’s dorm against her will
And there’s one country that can claim a huge share of the credit for it.
Solar power is becoming the world’s cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests.
According to Bloomberg’s analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas.
In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels.
Bloomberg reports that 2016 has seen remarkable falls in the price of electricity from solar sources, citing a $64 per megawatt-hour contract in India at the tart of the year, and a $29.10 per megawatt-hour deal struck in Chile in August—about 50% the price of electricity produced from coal.
Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF, attributed much of the downward pressure to China’s massive deployment of solar, and the assistance it had provided to other countries financing their own solar projects.
“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” Zindler said.
When the numbers come in at the end of 2016 the generating capacity of newly installed solar photovoltaics is expected to exceed that of wind for the first time: at 70 gigawatts and 59 gigawatts respectively, according to BNEF projections.
The supercontinent of Ge Plia was originally discovered in the 310th year of the Czar’s Calendar, by a science fleet of Sea Lions and Birds sent out from the confederations of the North Pole to observe a projected solar eclipse. They missed the eclipse, sadly, but the map they brought back made for an excellent consolation prize. News of the discovery spread through Au Gera, until then the only known continent, like wildfire, and the discovered lands were named for the Plia, the gods of legend who made their homes across the seas.
Any sense of reverence was short-lived, however; within four years, the Otter houses had established their first colony in the new lands as part of their race for economic dominance over each other. Further colonies sprung up in the following months, dotted along Ge Plia’s eastern coast- low-lying lands whose rainforests ran rich with crops and meat.
The Hyena Czar at the time was initially slow to grasp the threat; their enemies were finally distracted somewhere else and not bothering them, after all. But her advisors gradually convinced her that the Otters would one day harass them again, and with a stronger fleet if their colonies provided the wealth hoped for.
As a strategic counter, it became clear that the Hyenas would need to establish their own colony in Ge Plia. Open war in the rainforest was not viewed as strategically sound; however, the entire interior plateau of the continent had yet to be significantly explored, due to its height making the approach challenging. The Otters didn’t have the means to establish a feasible route, but the Hyenas were more amenable to asking for help…
And so, in the year 323, the Hyenas partnered with the engineering talents of the Cats to establish Fort Anticode at the top of a waterfall spilling from Platea. Access to the fort, and the lakes and rivers beyond, was provided via a single Cat-built canal lock, spanning a greater elevation than had ever been seen in Au Gera. While the long cycle time needed to fill and discharge it limited access, it was sufficient to keep the fort supplied; the Cats stayed on for the long-term project of operating the lock and engineering a segmented, higher-throughput counterpart.
This move did not go unnoticed; in 325 the local Otter colonies attempted to lay siege to Fort Anticode, blocking supply ships. By then, though, Anticode had established agriculture fields in Toja Plia’s floodplain; furthermore, the rule of high ground proved itself again, as the Fort bombarded the besieging ships with near-impunity.
Despite the successful defense, it was clear that Anticode needed to be able to coordinate its protection- especially if the hopes to leverage a civilian workforce to extract resources were to come to fruition. As such, in the year 327, the Czar appointed Governess Kuva as the empire’s first political office in the hemisphere.
A modern student of Anticode history might be surprised to learn that Kuva’s tenure lasted a mere 9 years, as her policies laid the framework for much of the city’s present form. Fueled by a personal love for civil engineering, she established the Architecture Commission that still maintains Anticode’s distinctive white-adobe construction style, adopted the flood-resistant elevated streets on the Cats’ recommendation, and enforced strict land-use policies that kept the city dense yet fed.
Although the city economy boomed under her watch, this was arguably an accident; her early investments in infrastructure were meant, in the short-term, to merely be productive ways to keep the population employed until the “real” canal lock was completed decades down the line.
While obvious in retrospect, the realization of loggers that lumber from the Skyline Forest to the north could simply be thrown down the waterfall to be collected by ships stationed below gave Anticode a valuable bulk export much earlier than projected. The fort was redesignated as a city before Kuva left office.
The next few decades saw a flood of immigrant workers, particularly Foxes and Wolves, to support the growing logging industry. With migrants passing through Anticode’s port on the way to the northern logging camps, and returning to the city on breaks to spend their coin, many other businesses sprung up, to provide the loggers with tools, food, lodging, culture, and… companionship.
As impressive as Anticode was architecturally, it wasn’t really designed for Birds, a minority group whose flight abilities made them popular to contract as logging and mining scouts and surveyors. When it came time for them to settle down in life, they favored exploring eastwards, where they settled the Ge Shannil Canyon.
North of the canyon was the Selamere Mountains, where Bird scouts who had been employed by the Otters took refuge after their employers refused to return them home. They struck up much better relations with their canyon counterparts, such that the canyon and mountain regions merged culturally.
Before the Grand Canal Lock (better known by its local nickname, The Staircase) was completed in 349, Anticode- only able to take three ships a day- had already become the hemisphere’s premier center of culture. After The Staircase ended its isolation, it became a world power nearly overnight.
The city’s sawmills and carpenters, originally constrained by the fact that detailed carvings and furniture were too delicate to survive a drop over the falls, could now expand their operations and export goods via merchant ships. Likewise, the mining industry’s ability to export caused them to undergo a boom much as the lumber industry had a quarter-century before; a second wave of mass immigration followed accordingly.
The Otter colonies, meanwhile, had not fared as well. Although they had far easier access to both resources and the sea, their development was sabotaged by political infighting and trade restrictions with the rest of the world. They were left to look on in envy as Anticode became the face of Ge Plia to the world.
Starting around the year 355, Otter-backed pirates began waylaying convoys to and from Anticode; although attacks were rare in practice, most traders demanded protective escort, which the Hyena military consented to provide for a fee.
This system lasted for a couple decades; however, as the Otter-Hyena border conflicts began heating back up in Au Gera, the Hyena military had to charge ever-increasing fees to justify diverting valuable ships to escort duty. As the Hyenas’ fees grew burdensome, Anticode raised its own navy in 370, dedicated to merchant escort at more attractive prices.
At the time, this was a win-win situation; merchants had cheaper protection, the Hyena military didn’t have to split its focus across the world, and Anticode had an intoxicating taste of independence. But over the next 40 years, Anticode began to increasingly view its mother nation as unnecessary; they grew their own food and had their own navy, what did the Hyena empire do for them anymore besides tax them and appoint governors?
In 410, Anticode declared independence. The gambit proved successful; after 3 days of naval battles, the Czar admitted the folly of trying to capture a city located on top of a waterfall by sea, withdrew all forces from the city and surroundings, and irately slapped some tarrifs on Anticode.
Of course, the Otters were quick to test the power vacuum; piracy surged over the next few years, and poor-quality rumors flew of an Otter army being raised along the Selamere border.
This motivated the 416 formalization of a defense and trade alliance between the city of Anticode, the logging towns that sprang up north of it, and the Bird settlements of Selamere.
24 years later is the present, 440 Z.C. (Czar’s Calendar)
Platea has not been attacked by Otters yet, despite their posturing. Anticode is starting to crowd, as the frontier opens up.
Serenity came home from school with a solar system project to work on and she brings it out to the backyard and starts to work on. Realizing it might be more fun -not to mention easier too- to ask her dad to help.
In Beijing this week, Chinese
President Xi Jinping highlighted his country’s clean energy efforts at a
meeting of global energy ministers, just days after Trump announced his
decision to withdraw America from the Paris Climate Agreement. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who attended the meeting, told reporters he welcomes China taking “the mantle of leadership on the climate.”
In January, the Chinese
government canceled plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power
plants, in an effort to limit carbon emissions and curb the dangerous
smog choking its cities. China’s energy agency has said it would spend 2.5 trillion yuan, or $361 billion, on clean energy projects by 2020 to help shift the nation away from fossil fuels.
There’s a lot of Brecht about at the moment, this example was rather well done, I thought. As the title suggests, it’s about Galileo, and his conflict with the church over the heliocentric solar system, but really it’s about truth, and the joy of discovering it, and how we can discover it, and how that can threaten authority and the elite. So it feels very current, without having to use political catch-phrases to hit the audience over the head with the parallels.
Played - how else? - in the round, with some audience members seated centre stage on cushions, and an orbital walkway around which action was staged. Images of the solar system were projected onto the domed ceiling above centre stage. Music provided by Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers, with the cast in modern dress to match the hi-tech music and projections. In true Brechtian style the audience is continually reminded of the theatricality of what they’re watching; actors addressed the audience directly before the show, with Brandon Cowell even leading a chorus of Happy Birthday for one of the youngsters sat on stage cushions. Scene numbers are announced and there’s even a gag about a scene being cut. There’s some effective puppetry at the start of each scene. It all livens up what could be some rather dry scenes discussing 16th/17th century religious and scientific debates. At 3 hours it does drag a little as it approaches the interval, but overall the engaging performances and staging hold the attention well.
I’m still not the biggest Brecht fan, though. I prefer theatre that sets out to engage me emotionally, and make me forget (however briefly) that I’m watching a play. Brecht deliberately engages his audience on the intellectual rather than the emotional level. This is one of the more effective examples of that I’ve seen.
Solar Impulse, the fuel-free aeroplane, has successfully completed the second leg of its historic attempt to fly around the world.
Project chairman, Bertrand Piccard, piloted the vehicle from Muscat in Oman to Ahmedabad in India, crossing the Arabian Sea in the process.
Tuesday’s journey took just over 15 hours.
The distance covered - 1,468km - set a new world record for a flight in a piloted solar-powered plane.
The vehicle has another 10 legs ahead of it over the course of the next five months.
Included in that itinerary will be demanding stretches when the craft has to fly over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Piccard is sharing the flying duties with project partner and CEO, Andre Borschberg, who made Monday’s inaugural trip from Abu Dhabi to Muscat.
Solar Impulse arrived in Ahmedabad in darkness, its wings illuminated by LEDs, and its propellers driven by the energy stored in its batteries.
The plane had left Muscat at 06.35 (02:35 GMT) and put its wheels down at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at 23.25 local time (17:55 GMT).
Preparations are already under way for the next leg to Varanasi in northeast India, although mission planners say that will not be for another four days, at least.
The time will be spent carrying a campaigning message on the topic of clean technologies to the local Ahmedabad people, and the wider Indian population.
The Solar Impulse project has already set plenty of other world records for solar-powered flight, including making a high-profile transit of the US in 2013.
But the round-the-world venture is altogether more dramatic and daunting, and has required the construction of an even bigger plane than the prototype, Solar Impulse-1.
This new model has a wingspan of 72m, which is wider than a 747 jumbo jet. And yet, it weighs only 2.3 tonnes.
Its light weight will be critical to its success.
So, too, will the performance of the 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the wings, and the energy-dense lithium-ion batteries it will use to sustain night-time flying.
Operating through darkness will be particularly important when the men have to cross the Pacific and the Atlantic.
The slow speed of their prop-driven plane means these legs will take several days and nights of non-stop flying to complete.
Piccard and Borschberg - they take it in turns to fly solo - will have to stay alert for nearly all of the time they are airborne.
They will be permitted only catnaps of up to 20 mins - in the same way a single-handed, round-the-world yachtsman would catch small periods of sleep.
They will also have to endure the physical discomfort of being confined in a cockpit that measures just 3.8 cubic metres in volume - not a lot bigger than a public telephone box.
The Solar Impulse venture recalls other great circumnavigation feats in aviation - albeit fuelled ones.
In 1986, the Voyager aircraft became the first to fly around the world without stopping or refuelling.
Piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, the propeller-driven vehicle took nine days to complete its journey.
Then, in 2005, this time was beaten by the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, which was solo-piloted by Steve Fossett.
A jet-powered plane, GlobalFlyer completed its non-stop circumnavigation in just under three days.
Andre Borschberg is a trained engineer and former air-force pilot, he has built a career as an entrepreneur in internet technologies.
Bertrand Piccard is well known for his ballooning exploits. Along with Brian Jones, he completed the first non-stop, circumnavigation of the world in 1999, using the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon. The Piccard name has become synonymous with pushing boundaries.
Bertrand’s father, Jacques Piccard, was the first to reach the deepest place in the ocean (a feat achieved with Don Walsh in the Trieste bathyscaphe in 1960). And his grandfather, Auguste Piccard, was the first person to take a balloon into the stratosphere, in 1931.
“We want to keep energy costs down,” a spokesperson for the Abbott government said. “That’s our excuse this time. Take it or leave it. Honestly I don’t even care. I get paid to talk nonsense anyway ribbit fibbit get pumped brah isnack 2.0 was a good brand name idea and it will one day replace the union jack on the flag if Scotland ever separates from the UK. Any questions?”
Borschberg’s 12-hour trip today will end 400 nautical miles away in Muscat, Oman. Piccard will take the second leg–and the first water crossing–when he flies from Muscat to Ahmedabad, India. Subsequent legs will take Solar Impulse to Myanmar, China, across the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Atlantic, Southern Europe, North Africa and finally back to Abu Dhabi. The entire voyage will be completed without a drop of liquid fuel burned. Instead, Solar Impulse will rely upon electricity generated from 17,000 solar cells that cover its dorsal surface. This electricity and battery storage will be enough to power the four electric motors day and night, and to let the plane climb to an altitude of around 30,000 feet.