Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Biophotons Show That We Are Made of Light

The Spirit Science, Becky Barnica, April 18, 2014

A biophoton or Ultra-weak Photon Emission, (UPE) is a kind of light particle that is emitted by all living things.  Though it exists in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum, in order for us to see it, our eyes would have to be about 1,000 times more sensitive.

While we can’t see them with our eyes alone,  technology has given us a glimpse and what it’s shown us may have a profound impact on us all.

Biophotons were first thought to be merely the byproduct of metabolic chemical reactions.  That idea is being challenged with an exciting theory that claims biophotons have a much larger role to play when it comes to our physiology and quite possibly our consciousness as well.

Experiments are showing that biophotons (UPEs) can be captured and stored inside of cells and  can even travel through our nervous system; suggesting that biophotons might provide a way for cells to transfer energy and communicate information.  It’s has also been suggested that UPEs might even have properties which help us to visualize images.

This makes sense considering how we’re creating computers. All computers are is silicon crystal chips which we pass light through to relay 0′s and 1′s. (Light on, Light Off). The first computer was literally built with a lightbulb and these punch-cards which had holes in them, which is how we would program computers.

Today, our computers are far more advanced, and yet at the core, the electrical information we are passing through computers today is still a form of light. Now our sciences are revealing humans work the same way, and Light carries information through our brain, nervous system, and even our DNA.

Yep! Scientists are finding that our DNA is a strong source of UPEs, it communicates with and is created from light itself!   It’s been observed that DNA produces extremely high biophoton emissions and has excimer laser-like properties.   Excimer lasers (or exciplex lasers)  are special lasers consisting pseudo-molecules that only exist in a highly excited state and emit light in the ultraviolet range.

If that wasn’t cool enough already, scientists have also discovered that not only do we emit light, we have the ability to effect it with our thoughts alone.   In a recent study, participants were placed in a darkened room and asked to visualize a bright light.  When they did this, they were able to increase their levels of biophoton emissions significantly, showing that our intentions have an influence on light itself!

In conclusion, Light appears to be a fundamental part of our being. It’s hard-coded into our very bodies to function directly with, and through – light. On top of that, the fact that we can affect light with our intentions alone… outstanding!  It would appear those new age hippies are right when they say we are all beings of light. 

Related Article:

"The Mysterious Innate" – Aug 31, 2013 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text version)
"... Innate

The word innate is part of Human consciousness. All of you have this at the corporeal level and we are going to discuss that today in a way we've never discussed before. We will be telling you only a little bit about it, but hopefully enough to tweak your interest and make you understand that there is more to you than you think - much more.

Innate has been described in the past as the smart part of your cells. Now, that might indicate that there's also a non-smart part, but let us say that it's a more ignorant part, and believe it or not, that ignorant part is your brain. Now the brain perceives many things and it's a most excellent calculator. It's the best memory and relational computational instrument on the earth today. Everything that you have experienced is in your brain. It tempers how you behave, what you do, how you act, what you believe, and how you perceive things. But let me tell you where it falls short. It doesn't know anything about what's going on within your cells or your emotional body. It may send signals to operate your body, but it is blind to what happens after that. It is also easily confused.

Your Brain is Not "In The Loop"

You can intellectualize this for a very long time, yet you will never find out from your brain how your cells are doing. Do you have an allergy to something that your body has not experienced yet? Perhaps it is a food you have never tasted or a chemical you have not seen. How would you know? As you begin to eat the food, or ingest the chemical, shouldn't the brain yell, "Don't do that! You are allergic to it! You will pay the price!" But it does not. It is not connected to cellular structure. But the innate is.

The innate is the smart corporeal body. It knows everything about your overall system. It actually is as smart as your brain, but in a different way. So, what can a Human Being do to find out if he/she is allergic to something? Let's say that is you, so you can ask your brain, but it has no idea. So instead, you place the food or chemistry in your hand and muscle-test it. That is called kinesiology, a big word for something very simple. Muscle-testing is using the body's innate to give you a "yes or no" signal about something it knows about, but that your brain does not.
So in the process of kinesiology, do you understand that you have acknowledged that there is a part of your body system that knows more than your brain? Indeed, this is a process that has been used for centuries, and it's very accurate.

This innate knows a lot more than what you're allergic to, my friend. It is also tuned in completely to the quantum parts of your DNA that know everything about your spiritual and cellular evolvement. Innate handshakes with your Higher-Self at all the three Human group levels, and that is difficult to describe. If you put this information in a circle chart, you can draw the lines between the groups and you'd see what I mean. It's your smart body, and it's connected to everything.

Let me ask you a question, dear one: Don't you find it odd that there are certain kinds of diseases that can lurk within your cells, that can attack you, yet you only know it through your discomfort or through your death! What kind of brain do you have that would not tell you about this? You never have the signal through your brain about any of it except discomfort and pain! But innate knows about it the moment it happens. Innate knows when it entered your body. As your white blood cells go to the places they need to fight, your entire immune system goes into alert! Yet you have no idea about it, since your brain is just doing what it always does - it computes and remembers. But, in this case, it does a very poor job helping you survive.

About Innate

What is innate? Where is it? This is difficult to explain. We told, you dear Human Being, that the elusive Akash information is not in your brain either. You cannot go to your brain to find out who you used to be in a past life. The innate is the same. It's not in your brain, but instead it's in every cell of your body and every molecule of your DNA. The difference between innate and the Akash is that innate is on top (a linear concept for you), and it is always broadcasting, always there. If you know how to listen to it and where it is, you can tune in. Muscle-testing is one way of knowing, a very basic way. Some of you also know that innate responds to acupuncture. Did you know that? Your brain does not.

The Merkabah - Innate's Quantum Field

Innate is aware of all things at the cellular level and is broadcasting all the time. It broadcasts so well that it flows into that which you call the Merkabah of the body. Now, the Merkabah is a quantum field around your body that pulses very strongly with esoteric information, including corporeal health. Many have the ability to see and read this field.

A medical intuitive can stand before you in various degrees of success and read the messages from your innate. This intuitive person does not have to muscle-test to know you've got something going on within your cells. They can see it or sense it within the field around your body. Now, you may have thought that a medical intuitive is looking at your liver or your heart, doing some kind of analysis. That's very linear thinking and is not what is happening. That's your box of belief working overtime. Instead, the medical intuitives are sensing the quantum energy within your field that your innate is broadcasting about your health, of what's going on in the chemistry, and of what might be developing inside you. It's different than you thought, isn't it? That's the innate and that's only one of the things that innate does. ..."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sustainability delivers Unilever €380m in cost savings since 2008, Monday 28 April 2014

Earth 2017 - Sustainable Strategies
Food to detergent group Unilever said on Monday it had 'avoided costs' of €350m since 2008 by reducing raw material usage and introducing water, waste and energy efficiency measures.

In addition, a new packaging technique using plastic injected with gas bubbles had the potential to save 27,000 tonnes of plastic when fully rolled out.

Unilever launched a 'sustainable living plan' three years ago to try to expand sustainability throughout the company.

Agricultural products

'We've learned that sustainability drives business growth and a much deeper connection with our employees and consumers,' Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said in a statement.

The aim of the plan is to halve the 'environmental footprint' of Unilever's products by 2020.

Almost half the agricultural raw materials used by Unilever now come from sustainable sources, compared with 14% in 2010, the company said.

Related Articles:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spanish island to be fully powered by wind, water

Yahoo – AFP, Katell Abiven, 28 April 2014

Wind turbines are pictured near the upper reservoir of the Gorona power
station on El Hierro island on March 28, 2014

The smallest and least known of Spain's Canary Islands, El Hierro, is making a splash by becoming the first island in the world fully energy self-sufficient through combined water and wind power.

A wind farm opening at the end of June will turn into electricity the gusts that rake the steep cliffs and green mountains of the volcanic island off the Atlantic coast of Africa.

Its five turbines installed at the northeastern tip of El Hierro near the capital Valverde will have a total output of 11.5 megawatts -- more than enough power to meet the demand of the island's roughly 10,000 residents and its energy-hungry water desalination plants.

The lower reservoir and hydropower station
 at the Gorona power station on El Hierro
 island on March 28, 2014. (Photo by
Desiree Martin/ AFP)
Although other islands around the world are powered by solar or wind energy, experts say El Hierro is the first to secure a constant supply of electricity by combining wind and water power and with no connection to any outside electricity network.

Surplus power from the wind turbines will be used to pump fresh water from a reservoir near the harbour to a larger one at volcanic crater located about 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level.

When there is little or no wind, the water will be channelled down to the lower reservoir through turbines to generate electricity in turn.

"This system guarantees us a supply of electricity," said the director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero who is supervising final tests before the plant starts functioning in a few weeks.

Emplyees work in the pump room at
 the Gorona power station on El Hierro
\ island on March 28, 2014. (Photo by
Desiree Martin/ AFP)
The plant will account for 50 percent of the island's electricity demand when it is officially inaugurated at the end of June, a figure that will rise to 100 percent over the following months.
The scheme will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 18,700 tonnes per year and eliminate the island's annual consumption of 40,000 barrels of oil.

El Hierro will maintain its fuel oil power station as a back up, just in case.

'World pioneer'

The island is cited as a pioneering project by IRENA, the international organisation for renewable energy, and other experts such as Alain Gioda, a climate historian at France IRD science research institute.

"The true novelty of El Hierro is that technicians have managed, without being connected to any national network, to guarantee a stable production of electricity, that comes 100 percent from renewable energy, overcoming the intermittent nature of the wind," he said.

A Turbogenerator set (L) and a lubrication
 (blue) at the Gorona power station on
 El Hierro island on March 28, 2014.
(Photo by Desiree Martin/ AFP)
El Hierro's wind power plant has sparked interest from other islands seeking to follow its example.

Officials from Aruba, Hawaii, Samso in Denmark, Oki in Japan, and Indonesia have all shown interest.

"It is a project which is considered at the world level as a pioneer and it is one of the most important in the production of renewable energy," said the president of island's local council, Alpidio Armas.

"El Hierro can be a sort of laboratory," he added, providing an example to other islands around the world which are home to around 600 million people.

El Hierro, the westernmost of Spain's Canary Islands, has also been invited to present its project at several international conferences, including in Malta and South Korea.

Electric vehicles

El Hierro wants to extend its environmental credentials even further by ensuring that by 2020 all of its 6,000 vehicles are run on electricity thanks to an agreement with the Renault-Nissan alliance.

A recharging point for electric vehicles at
 the Gorona power station on El Hierro
 island on March 28, 2014. (Photo by
Desiree Martin/ AFP)
The wind power plant cost 80 million euros ($110 million) to build.

The island authorities own 60 percent of the plant, with 30 percent held by Spanish energy company Endesa -- a subsidiary of Italian group Enel -- and 10 percent by a local technology institute.

"We wanted to be the owners of the majority of the plant. That means that the profits as well as the possible losses, that is the destiny of Gorona del Viento, is the responsibility of the residents of the island," said Armas.

Revenues from the plant will boost the island's budget by about one to three million euros per year, he said.

"These are revenues that can go to the local residents, to subsidise water prices, infrastructure, social policies," he said.

El Hierro, designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve with 60 percent of its territory of 278 square kilometres (107 square miles) protected to preserve its natural diversity, also hopes its green energy drive will draw visitors interested in nature and science.

"We cannot turn down the benefits that tourism brings, but we don't want mass tourism," said Armas.

Related Article:

KMT to halt fourth nuclear plant construction

Want China Times, CNA 2014-04-28

Anti-nuclear activists rally in front of the Taipei Main Station to urge the government
 to stop the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant, Apr. 27. (Photo/
Wang Chin-ho)

The Ma Ying-jeou administration and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) agreed Sunday to halt construction of the country's controversial fourth nuclear power plant with immediate effect.

Construction of the plant's nearly completed No. 1 and No. 2 reactors will be halted. The No. 1 reactor, which is currently undergoing safety inspections, will not be brought online once the inspections are complete, announced Fan Chiang Tai-chi, head of the KMT's Culture and Communication Committee.

The Executive Yuan, the country's cabinet, has also promised to convene a national energy conference as soon as possible "to ensure there will be no cause for worry over future power supplies," he said.

The two-point consensus was reached during a two-hour meeting among president Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, premier Jiang Yi-huah and KMT mayors and magistrates, including Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin, New Taipei mayor Eric Chu and Taichung mayor Jason Hu.

Shortly after the meeting, the premier visited a church in Taipei where former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin Yi-hsiung was staging a hunger strike to protest the plant. Jiang asked the pastor of the church to deliver the two-point consensus to Lin, who has been declining to receive visitors during his fast.

Whether the plant will be put into operation in the future will be decided by a national referendum, Fan Chiang said, adding that the timetable for the referendum should be decided by the public.

As for whether the KMT will agree to relax the threshold for the referendum, Fan Chiang said the issue is "not a part of the conclusion" of the meeting, although the participants gave their own opinions on it.

In the meeting, New Taipei's Chu told Ma he does not have confidence in the current fourth nuclear plant, said Lin Chieh-yu, head of New Taipei city's Information Department.

Even so, Lin said, the New Taipei mayor does not support a DPP-proposed special referendum statute solely for the plant and believes that discussions should return to the revision of the Referendum Act.

Chu told Ma that Taiwan's Referendum Act is stricter than international standards and has room for adjustment, Lin said.

The DPP proposed the special statute April 21 to bypass the current Referendum Act, which was put into force in 2006. The act requires the participation of more than half of Taiwan's eligible voters for a referendum to be valid. Because of this threshold, six referendums that have been held so far on various issues have all failed to pass the barricade.

Other KMT mayors and magistrates, including Taichung's Hu, declined to offer their individual opinions on the issue after Sunday's meeting.

DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang said earlier that day that his party is changing its proposal for the special referendum statute to make the validity threshold "a yes vote by at least 25% of the total number of (adult) citizens in Taiwan."

This means that the proposed referendum to scrap the project would pass as long as 25% of all Taiwanese citizens of voting age, or nearly 5 million people, cast a yes vote.

Many saw the Sunday meeting as a change in attitude of Ma on the fourth nuclear plant, although some in the KMT believe that the results of the meeting were consistent with the party's previous stance.

Related Article:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Philippines puts safety first in nuclear power issue: envoy

Want China Times, CNA 2014-04-27

Antonio Basilio during an interview, April 26. (Photo/CNA)

Safety should be the top priority in nuclear power policy, as is the case in the Philippines, which has opted not to put a nuclear power plant into operation after its completion, according to the Philippines' representative to Taiwan.

Antonio Basilio made the remarks during an interview earlier in the week when he was asked to comment on the current uproar in Taiwan over the fate of the country's fourth nuclear power plant.

According to Basilio, nuclear power remains a hotly debated issue in the Philippines, with some people deeply concerned about its safety, just as is the case in Taiwan.

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the only such facility ever built in the Philippines, was never fueled because it is located in an earthquake zone and has been determined as unsafe by geologists, he noted.

The plant has instead been turned into a tourist attraction that draws many visitors, he said.

Amid the controversy over the fourth nuclear power plant, the administration of president Ma Ying-jeou is planning to put the plant's operation on hold after it is completed.

If the plant passes safety inspections, a referendum will be held before fuel rods are installed at the plant to make it operational, the government has said.

Related Articles:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vermont passes bill to require warning labels for genetically modified foods

Governor Peter Shumlin says 'I am proud of Vermont being the first state to ensure Vermonters will know what is in their food', Associated Press in Montpelier, Vermont, Thursday 24 April 2014

The use of GM food has stirred concerns about the dominance of big agribusiness and the effect on the environment. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods, underscoring a division between powerful lobbyists for the US food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly says it approves of the idea.

The Vermont House approved the measure Wednesday evening, about a week after the state Senate, and Governor Peter Shumlin said he plans to sign it. The requirements would take effect July 1, 2016, giving food producers time to comply.

Shumlin praised the vote. "I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food," he said in a statement.

Genetically modified organisms — often used in crop plants — have been changed at their genetic roots to be resistant to insects, germs or herbicides. The development in Vermont is important because it now puts the US on the map of governments taking a stance against a practice that has led to bountiful crops and food production but has stirred concerns about the dominance of big agribusiness and the potential for unforeseen effects on the natural environment. Some scientists and activists worry about potential effects on soil health and pollination of neighboring crops.

Twenty-nine other states have proposed bills this year and last to require genetically modified organism — or GMO — labeling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two other New England states have passed laws to require GMO labeling, but the legislation takes effect only when neighboring states also approve the requirement. They are Maine and Connecticut; neither neighbor Vermont.

The European Union already has restricted the regulation, labeling and sale of GMO foods. Several credible polls have found that Americans overwhelmingly favor the notion of labeling genetically modified foods. Organic farmers and others are praising Vermont's move, while the Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food producers, called it a step in the wrong direction.

As farmers, Katie Spring and her husband are proud of how they grow their greens, carrots, potatoes, peppers and herbs and raise their chickens and pigs at their Worcester, Vermont, farm and are willing to answer questions from customers. As eaters, Spring feels like she and her customers have the right to know what's in their food, whether it's saturated fat or genetically modified organisms, which they don't use on their farm.

But the industry is opposed.

"It sets the nation on a costly and misguided path toward a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling policies that will do nothing to advance the safety of consumers," the grocers' association said in a statement.

The association is disappointed that Vermont is going at it alone and had hoped for a regional approach. Trying to have 50 different state rules about what goes on food packaging "gets very costly, very confusing and very difficult for the entire food industry to comply with," said the association's president, Jim Harrison.

But others are praising Vermont as a leader, even though they expect the law to spark lawsuits. The bill includes a $1.5 million fund to be used to implement the law and provide legal defense against lawsuits expected to be brought by food and biotech industries.

"Every Vermonter has a right to know what is in their food," said Shap Smith, speaker of the Vermont House. "Genetically engineered foods potentially pose risks to human health and the environment. I am proud to be the first state in the nation to recognize that people deserve to know whether the food they consume is genetically modified or engineered."

But the federal Food and Drug Administration and an industry group known as BIO, for Biotechnology Industry Organization, say there's no material difference between food produced with genetic engineering.

The Vermont legislation says there is a lack of consensus among scientific studies on the safety of genetically modified foods, and no long-term epidemiological studies in the United States examining their effects. Genetically modified foods "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment," the legislation says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association is urging policymakers to support federal legislation that would require a label on foods containing such ingredients if the FDA finds there is a health or safety risk. But many farmers see it as a David v Goliath victory.

"This vote is a reflection of years of work from a strong grassroots base of Vermonters who take their food and food sovereignty seriously and do not take kindly to corporate bullies," Will Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, said in a statement Wednesday after the House approved the bill.

Related Article:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Going solar with SunPower

Google Blog, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just because Earth Day is over doesn’t mean we’re done doing good things for the planet. Yesterday we announced our biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy.

Today, we’re taking another step towards a clean energy future with a major new investment. Together with SunPower Corporation we’re creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar. Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money.

A home sporting SunPower solar panels

SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels.They’re known for having high-quality, high reliability panels which can generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area, with guaranteed performance and lower degradation over time. That means that you can install fewer solar panels to get the same amount of energy. And SunPower both makes the panels and manages the installation, so the process is seamless.

This is our 16th renewable energy investment and our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities to make more renewable energy available to more people—Earth Day and every day.

Posted by Rob Parker, Renewable energy team

Related Article:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eight major UK renewable energy projects receive government backing

Five offshore windfarms and three biomass projects will provide millions of homes with clean power

Burbo Bank windfarm is one of the projects given backing under the
new deal Photograph: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

The UK government has agreed deals to financially support eight major new renewable energy projects that will power millions of homes.

Five of the schemes are offshore windfarms, which the Conservative party plans to back in its general election manifesto over cheaper but more controversial onshore wind power.

The projects will create 8,500 jobs and add 4.5GW of electricity capacity to the national grid, around 4% of the UK's generating capacity, or enough to power more than 3 million homes. The projects were worth up to £12bn in private sector investment, the government said.

The combined projects are expected to add 2% to an average household electricity bill by 2020, or £11 per household, but energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, said the government's "whole package" on energy reforms would ultimately lower consumer energy bills.

Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom. By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy."

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers."

The agreements are part of a transition to a new subsidy regime, with the old one being phased out in 2017. The deals agreed today are known as investment contracts and are an early form of the new "contracts for difference", which offer low-carbon generators a guaranteed price for their electricity. A similar contract for difference was agreed last year for the first nuclear power plant in the UK in decades, at Hinkley point in Somerset.

Industry welcomed the deals but said the UK needed more onshore windfarms, which the Tories are considering capping.

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said: "We’re pleased to see this vote in confidence for these five offshore wind projects, which will make an important contribution to keeping the lights on, and create much-needed growth in coastal areas."

"However, we need far more onshore and offshore wind projects over the next decade if we’re not to find our energy security threatened, and the UK further exposed to price shocks from imported fossil fuels, so it’s important that the contracts for difference regime works for all renewable energy projects, not just those that have secured early contracts."

The offshore wind projects include Dong Energy's 250MW Burbo Bank extension in Liverpool Bay, Statoil/Statkraft's 400MW Dudgeon off the coast of Norfolk, a consortium-backed 1.2GW windfarm off the coast of Yorkshire, Dong Energy's 660MW extension off the coast of Cumbria. 1.7m, and the 664MW Beatrice windfarm in the Outer Moray Firth in Scotland.

Three biomass projects have also been given the green light, including a conversion of one part of Britain's biggest coal power plant, Drax in North Yorkshire, plus Lynemouth Power Station in Northumberland and MGT's Teesside plan at Middlesborough.

A contract for a second unit at Drax was turned down, however, leading its owner on Wednesday to announce legal proceedings against the government.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, said: "Whilst we are pleased to have been offered an investment contract for our third unit conversion, we are disappointed by today’s decision on the ineligibility of our second unit. Sustainable biomass provides a very reliable, flexible and cost effective renewable power source for the UK consumer."

Drax's AGM in London was met by anti-biomass protesters on Wednesday, with three campaigners being removed from the meeting after unfurling a banner.

Oliver Munnion, a campaigner at the group Biofuelwatch, said: “Drax’s conversion actually allows it to burn more coal long into the future. Even after the conversion they’ll be burning some 3.7 million tonnes of coal every year from opencast mines in the UK and imported from places like Colombia, where communities have been forced off their land for expanding mines. Biomass isn't about renewable energy, it's about keeping old, polluting power stations running, when they should be closing down.”

Davey took a shot at the previous Labour government's record on renewable energy, saying: "Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

He also said the contracts announced today were part of the government's package of measures that would lead to lower household energy bills.

Davey told the Today programme: "You've got, for example, energy efficiency, product standards, which are all reducing the amounts of energy that people need and therefore cutting their bills. If you see something in isolation, yes, you can say 'well, that's putting up costs a bit' but actually, if you take the whole package, not only are we reducing people's bills overall but we're getting the secure, clean energy that we need to make sure our consumers and our businesses get the energy they need."

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at comparison website, said: “While delivering secure, clean energy is an important part of the government's energy market reforms, it is imperative that affordability and keeping household costs to a minimum remain at the heart of its policy. Although 2% over the next six years may not sound like a significant increase, with the average household energy bill now at an eye-watering £1,265 a year many consumers will be left feeling concerned by this announcement."

Green groups welcomed the agreements but called on the government to do more on renewable energy and offer greater clarity to the industry.

Alasdair Cameron, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "The government must prioritise cutting energy waste and further increasing renewable power, and abandon its reckless pursuit of fracking – which is dirty, unpopular and will not deliver for years."

Jimmy Aldridge, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, welcomed the commitment but said: "If ministers are serious about shaking off our chronic addiction to volatile, dangerous fossil fuels, they should drop their good cop, bad cop routine on clean energy and get on with the job of making Britain's energy cleaner and safer."

The government also said on Wednesday that more than £30bn had been invested in renewable electricity generation since 2010, creating thousands of jobs. Last week, the third part in a trilogy of reports from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would not "cost the world" financially.

An Earth Day treat: lots of renewable energy for our Iowa data center :Google

Wildlife at the data center
We’ve been talking to MidAmerican Energy, our energy supplier in Iowa, about renewable energy since we started building our Iowa data center in 2007. Just in time for Earth Day, we now have a freshly inked agreement with MidAmerican Energy to supply our Iowa data center facilities with up to 407 MW of 100% renewable wind energy, as tracked by renewable energy certificates. This agreement will not only cover our current facilities but will allow for future expansion supplied by renewable energy as well.

This is our seventh and largest renewable energy commitment to date, bringing the total amount of renewable energy we’ve contracted for to over one gigawatt (1,000 megawatts).

We’ve entered into a few different kinds of agreements over the years - sometimes signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind farm developers and sometimes working with our local utility partners. This agreement is similar to our 2012 agreement with our Oklahoma utility, the Grand River Dam Authority. In this case, MidAmerican Energy will sell energy to our Iowa data center bundled with and tracked by renewable energy certificates generated by projects that are part of its Wind VIII program.

PPAs and agreements like this one are a big part of the commitment to carbon neutrality we made back in 2007, and we’re working to make this whole process easier for other companies by advocating for renewable energy tariffs. Depending on the circumstances, any of these approaches can make sense, and we’re always on the hunt for new and creative ways to power our operations with renewable energy. But it’s not just our own operations we want to green: Google has also invested over $1B in 15 renewable energy investments around the world in an effort to put more renewable energy on the grid and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

We’ll continue working with MidAmerican Energy and all of our utility partners to find diverse ways to deliver clean, renewable energy to our data centers. Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Neha Palmer and Sam Arons, Wind Ninjas

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ornamental plants loaded with pesticides, including illegal ones, Tuesday 22 April 2014

Pesticides and Bee mortality. (
Ornamental plants sold in Dutch garden centres are often so full of pesticides they are extremely dangerous to bees, according to research by environmental organisation Greenpeace.

Illegal pesticides were found in over half the plants and shrubs tested by scientists, some of which have been banned for over eight years because of the danger to health.

Greenpeace bought 69 plants, bulbs and shrubs covering 31 different varieties at the biggest Dutch garden centres: Intratuin, Groenrijk and Boerenbond/Welkoop. The focus was on garden plants which are attractive to bees.

The plants were tested at a specialised laboratory and all but one was found to contain poisonous substances. In total, scientists found an average of seven different pesticides a plant. And 38 of the 69 plants had the residues of pesticides which have been banned.


Research has shown that pesticides are one of the reasons for the decline in the global bee population.

‘Some of the plants we tested were sold at garden centres as being bee friendly,’ Greenpeace spokesman Kees Kodde said in a statement.

‘But the poison used on these plants spreads out in nature and in the water supply and kills bees and other insects. This can only be stopped if growers stop using these pesticides, the government bans them and enforces that ban.’

Related Articles:

Question: Dear Kryon: I would appreciate a perspective on the following: There seems to be two opposed schools of thought with respect to pesticides and their use. One group categorically states that they are very dangerous and that they are responsible for causing cancers etc... (there's a very long list!!) The other group naturally claims that they are perfectly safe with today's technological advances etc. 

Answer: The chemicals you are using today are dangerous to your health. The more they are used, the more it will be seen over time. We have indicated before that there are far better natural scientific solutions to protecting your crops. Use biology to balance biology. It is non-toxic and simply an alteration of what already exists.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fears grow over safety of North Korean reactor

Deutsche Welle, 21 April 2014

Shut-down of the reactor at Yongbyon indicates that Pyongyang is having trouble cooling the plutonium production plant and that a failure in the cooling system could trigger 'the release of radioactivity.'

Atomic energy experts are expressing concern over the problems that North Korea appears to be experiencing at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, which has been reportedly shut down earlier this year when the supply of cooling water from a nearby river was halted.

Analysis of satellite images by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, released on the 38 North website, suggest that extensive rainfall and flooding in July 2013 dramatically altered the course of the Kuryong River away from the facility and may have filled collection cisterns and ponds with sand or river silt, as well as destroying pipes to deliver the cooling water to the reactor.

Images show that steam was released from the turbine building in February, suggesting that the turbines had been halted down ahead of the reactor shutdown, while snow had collected on the normally warm roof of the reactor building.

North Korean engineers were quickly called in to carry out excavations and the construction of a new dam, the institute confirmed, but the repairs appear to be insubstantial.

Short-term fixes

"Despite these short-term fixes, the danger posed by an unreliable supply of water for the Yongbyon reactors remains, particularly since the channels and dam constructed are made from sand and could be washed away by future floods," the US-Korea Institute warned. In the event that the secondary cooling system for the five megawatt reactor was to fail, it added, the result would be a fire in the graphite core and the release of radioactivity into the surrounding environment.

There has been no reaction from Pyongyang
to the international concerns
Even a minor accident could cause a leak, given North Korea's lack of experience in dealing with such problems, while an incident involving the experimental light-water reactor that is presently under construction would be potentially far more dangerous.

"Pyongyang has no such experience operating the new facility, the first indigenously built reactor of its kind in North Korea," the institute pointed out. "The rapid loss of water used to cool the reactor would result in a serious safety problem."

There has been no reaction from the North Korean government to the analysis, although the concerns that are raised ring true to those monitoring the regime and its activities.

"I have talked to officials and experts from other countries who have been to Yongbyon and they told me they were just nervous to be there," Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea analyst with The International Crisis Group in Seoul, told DW.

Little attention to safety

"North Korea is not famous for its labor standards or its attention to safety, and it is all pretty shoddy," Pinkston said. "And once it has been built, the same sort of technology conflicts will be in play, with safety standards at Yongbyon unlikely to be anywhere near as stringent as they would be in the rest of the world."

And if a disaster such as that which struck Japan's Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in March 2011 can happen in a heavily regulated and closely monitored atomic energy sector, it is hard to imagine the potential impact of an accident at Yongbyon, he added.

"This is absolutely cause for concern," Pinkston added. "Made worse by the fact that there is no monitoring by the [International Atomic Energy Agency], no international assistance to the nuclear sector, no transparency in what they are doing there, no oversight and very little likelihood they are operating according to international safety standards."

Developments at the site are being monitored by the South Korean authorities, which would be the neighboring country that would bear the brunt of any leak of radioactivity.

In her speech to the recent Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, South Korean President Park Guen-hye stated that a nuclear accident at Yongbyon could cause more devastation than the meltdown of the reactor at Chernobyl in 1986.

'Worse than Chernobyl'

And while analysts say that is unlikely, given the relatively small scale of the reactor in North Korea, it would cause serious concerns in north-east Asia, trigger panic in local populations, and heighten already elevated military tensions.

"Ideally, North Korea would be willing to open the plant to international observers and accept advice and help with running the facility, but that is clearly not going to happen," Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo's Meiji University, told DW.

Park Guen-hye fears a nuclear accident
at Yongbyon could be a huge disaster
"There has to be concern in Japan and all the other nations in the region if something did go wrong at Yongbyon," he said, adding that the facility is around 30 km from the west coast of the peninsula and about 60 km from the Chinese border.

There is also evidence that the people of North Korea themselves are increasingly aware of the danger posed to their health by the regime's commitment to developing both nuclear energy and atomic weapons.

A study of defectors carried out by the UK North Korean Residents Association showed that while Pyongyang insists that the people are firmly behind its development of a nuclear capability, the truth is very different.

Defectors say they fear wells they used for drinking water have been contaminated with radioactivity.

"Which ordinary North Korean would oppose the idea of using the vast sums of money spent on nuclear tests to resolve their food shortages?" asked author Kim Joo-il, secretary general of the organization. "Who would ever welcome the spread of birth deformities and a host of other diseases caused by radiation exposure?"