Renewable-Energy Progress

Serious discussion of science, skepticism, and evolution
No Robots
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Post by No Robots » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:39 am

An amazingly upbeat article from the conservative press in Canada: "Bright future for renewable energy on display at giant solar show," by Diane Francis.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:45 pm

Commercial airliners account for 5% of greenhouse emissions. But small aircraft are beginning to go electric, says this article.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:44 am

Titled link: In 15 years, we could be flying in silent planes that emit zero fumes | New York Post
Electric motors are relatively quiet. But batteries are relatively heavy. And the lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries prevalent today provide only about a tenth the power per pound as aviation fuel.
A halfway approach:
But given the issues with batteries, hybrid electric aircraft may be more practical than all-electric ones for some time to come. Germany’s e-volo plans to add a combustion engine to its Volocopter to power a generator supplying electricity both to the aircraft’s batteries and its electric motor.

Aurora Flight Sciences of Manassas, Va., has a far beefier hybrid concept for a VTOL drone. Its LightningStrike will use a turbine engine to run three 1-megawatt electric generators. With its turbine engine running, the LightningStrike probably won’t be as quiet as a battery-powered electric aircraft, but its generators will give it vastly more power than batteries could provide.
Ideally, one would want some synfuel that:
  1. Is easily made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide
  2. Is liquid at room temperature
  3. Can be used efficiently in a fuel cell
That can make possible the liberation of transport from fossil fuels.

Methanol may be a good one: a (Wikipedia)Direct methanol fuel cell does work.

late
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Post by late » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:13 am

[quote=""lpetrich""]

Methanol may be a good one: a (Wikipedia)Direct methanol fuel cell does work.

[/quote]


The weight of the fuel would double. And it's still a carbon based fuel...

Not so sure that's a good idea.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:24 am

[quote=""late""]
lpetrich;649954 wrote: Methanol may be a good one: a (Wikipedia)Direct methanol fuel cell does work.
The weight of the fuel would double. And it's still a carbon based fuel...

Not so sure that's a good idea.[/QUOTE]
Why would the weight of the fuel double?

Also, I'm proposing that methanol be made by a synfuels process:

Electrolyze water: H2O -> H2 + (1/2)*O2
Synfuels time: CO2 + 3H2 -> CH3OH + H2O

So it will be a carbon-neutral fuel.

late
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Post by late » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:31 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]

Why would the weight of the fuel double?

Also, I'm proposing that methanol be made by a synfuels process:

Electrolyze water: H2O -> H2 + (1/2)*O2
Synfuels time: CO2 + 3H2 -> CH3OH + H2O

So it will be a carbon-neutral fuel.

[/quote]

Methanol has half the btu per pound.

I don't know chemistry, could you explain why it's carbon neutral?

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:49 pm

[quote=""late""]
lpetrich;650056 wrote:
Why would the weight of the fuel double?

Also, I'm proposing that methanol be made by a synfuels process:

Electrolyze water: H2O -> H2 + (1/2)*O2
Synfuels time: CO2 + 3H2 -> CH3OH + H2O

So it will be a carbon-neutral fuel.
Methanol has half the btu per pound.

I don't know chemistry, could you explain why it's carbon neutral?[/QUOTE]

Wait, I thought methanol had more energy than gasoline. Wasn't it used to fuel race cars?

If you extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to synthesize a fuel, then burning it only adds that carbon back. No net CO2 increase.

late
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Post by late » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:38 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]

Wait, I thought methanol had more energy than gasoline. Wasn't it used to fuel race cars?

If you extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to synthesize a fuel, then burning it only adds that carbon back. No net CO2 increase.

[/quote]

Methanol has half the btu/gal of gasoline.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_ ... equivalent

There is going to be some energy used in producing the stuff, so unless we keep produce it with hydro or solar, it won't be completely neutral.

It would be a huge improvement, but I have my doubts as to whether it's a direction we should be going at a national level. Band aid on a cancer..

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Post by plebian » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:04 pm

Corn based ethanol is not even close to carbon neutral it turns out.

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Post by plebian » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:06 pm


late
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Post by late » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:03 pm

[quote=""plebian""]

Corn based ethanol is not even close to carbon neutral it turns out.

[/quote]

That was not done due to environmental concerns. A group of companies got together and pooled their efforts. They poured money into Congressmen for years, until they had the votes they needed.

It was, and is, a terrible idea. The sudden rise in grain prices destabilised weak governments, it even played a role in deepening the problems in the ME.

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/01 ... ends-foes/

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:42 am

[quote=""late""]
Methanol has half the btu/gal of gasoline.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_ ... equivalent
[/quote]
That is, (Wikipedia)Gasoline gallon equivalent, done with
[noparse](Wikipedia)Gasoline gallon equivalent[/noparse]

The article's title surrounded by our "wiki" tag, with the unparsed version being surrounded by the "noparse" tag.
There is going to be some energy used in producing the stuff, so unless we keep produce it with hydro or solar, it won't be completely neutral.
Of course not. The idea is to have a synfuel that can be produced with energy entirely from renewable sources. No fossil fuels -> carbon neutrality.

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Post by late » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:39 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]

Of course not. The idea is to have a synfuel that can be produced with energy entirely from renewable sources. No fossil fuels -> carbon neutrality.

[/quote]

I'd rather have an incremental Carbon Tax.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:30 pm

Republican Politicians Love Oil & Coal Money, Destroy Human Health & Life | CleanTechnica -- coal, oil, and natural-gas businesses have been giving a lot of money to Republican candidates, much more than to Democratic candidates.

Donald Trump's 13-member economic team includes oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm. He has repeatedly bashed wind energy, even objecting to wind turbines being visible from his golf courses, and he has recently bashed solar energy also. He considers global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese, presumably to hold back the Western nations.

South Australia Heralds The Death Of Base-Load Generation | CleanTechnica
Tuesday marks the three-month anniversary of the closure of the last coal-fired “base-load generator” in the South Australia electricity market, and despite the best efforts of many in the Coalition and the Murdoch media, there is nothing to suggest that other states will not follow suit, in time.
Alternatives?
The announcement by AGL on Friday of its plans – supported by the South Australian government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – for an array of 1,000 batteries in homes and businesses to create a “virtual power plant” to address demand peaks and grid stability, is a foretaste of what is to come.
That article has a graph that shows how rooftop solar cells are eating into electricity generation during the daytime, reducing it from 1700 megawatts to 1300 MW -- 400 MW.

How Will The Solar PV Industry Look In 2020? | CleanTechnica
The article described how lots of subsidies for solar energy helped create a lot of demand for photovoltaic cells, demand that led to increasing production and resulting economies of scale. This made PV cells cheap enough to compete in some markets without needing subsidies -- "grid parity".
This positive reinforcement creates a situation in which the cumulative solar PV capacity doubles every 24 months. Since the inception of solar, there has been a total of 320 GWp built. Within the next two years, this total capacity will be doubled. In the next 4 years there will be 4 times as many solar installations.
India Considers Large-Scale Floating Solar Power Projects | CleanTechnica
According to one estimate, if 10–15% area of India’s waterbodies are utilised for setting up solar power projects, the total capacity would be around 300 GW — that is three times the installed capacity target for March 2022 set by the government.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:12 pm

They call this a Sankey diagram. It shows quantities of various sources of energy, and the destination for those forms, in the USA.

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Post by Rie » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:44 am

Off the wall as usual but the one fabulous creator of more is gossip :D
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The fastest production vehicle in the world is now officially an electric.

Post by Val » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:31 pm

https://www.tesla.com/blog/new-tesla-mo ... -car-world

And its been officially confirmed of a variety of motoring publications.
The quickest car in the world? That’ll be the new Tesla Model S P100D – UK specs and pricing confirmed

The quickest car in the world? That’ll be the new Tesla Model S P100D – UK specs and pricing confirmed
More info on Tesla Model S
► New P100D upgrade confirmed by Tesla
► Available on Model S and Model X
► Elon Musk claims 0-60mph of just 2.5sec

With all the inevitability of Moore’s Law, Tesla has announced an upgrade to further boost the performance of its Model S and Model X electric cars. And the new P100D’s spec means that Tesla is, rather incredibly, able to claim dibs to the world’s fastest production car.

The new Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode offers a 0-60mph promise of just 2.5 seconds. Until the Bugatti Chiron’s time is officially confirmed (Molsheim merely says ‘less than 2.5sec, for now) that makes the Tesla EV the quickest car around, the EV manufacturer claims. You have been warned…
And it supposedly offers a 300+mi range.

And it looks fucking ace.

Image

This is their halo model. Even the cheaper and slower "bread and butter" (relatively speaking) Model 3 looks great.

Image


I want one.
We who choose to surround ourselves with lives, Even more temporary than our own, Live within a fragile circle, Easily and often breached.
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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:40 pm

Air Pollution From Coal Single Largest Health Impact In China | CleanTechnica
A recent comprehensive study has concluded that coal combustion is the single largest source of air pollution-related health impact in China, contributing to 366,000 premature deaths in China in 2013 alone.
Haven't they ever heard of scrubbers? ((Wikipedia)Scrubber)

Australian Clean Energy Council Argues For Protecting Renewable Energy Funding | CleanTechnica

New Hampshire Sticks With Solar Net Metering, Which Voters Support | CleanTechnica
The poll numbers also spell good news for Democrats and Hillary Clinton, who have staked out a strong position in support of solar and other renewable energy — and extremely bad news for the GOP, which could generously be called “skeptical” with regard to climate change.
Four Former Coal Sites Are Getting Major Facelifts | CleanTechnica
But dirty energy like coal leaves a big mess when mines are closed and power plants are decommissioned. So what happens to those sites after Big Coal moves out? Sometimes clean energy moves in and, well, cleans things up. Check it out:
Microgrids Are New York's Next Big Thing | CleanTechnica
“If you take a look at the blackouts that were in the New Jersey, New York, Connecticut realm of Superstorm Sandy, the only places that were up and operating were those places that had a microgrid,” said Steve Pullins, Vice President at Hitachi Microgrid Solutions.
Like New York University.

GlobalData Pegs South Africa As New Wind Power Hotspot | CleanTechnica
GlobalData released a new report last week identifying South Africa as “the new hotspot for wind installation” noting it “has great potential for capacity addition over the next four years.” Specifically, GlobalData expects South Africa to install an extra 3 GW by 2020, raising the country’s cumulative installed wind capacity up to 5.6 GW. An impressive achievement on its own, this takes extra meaning considering that South Africa’s installed wind capacity was only 10 MW in 2012 — installed over 10 years. Since then, there were 30 MW installed in 2013, 606 MW installed in 2014, and 483 MW installed in 2015.
From (Wikipedia)Electric energy consumption, South Africa consumes 231 terawatt-hours per year, or 26 gigawatts. That was for 2012, when that nation has only 500 megawatts of installed renewable-energy capacity. Mostly hydroelectric?

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:57 pm

World's 1st All-Electric Sanitation Truck Lineup Launched By BYD & Beijing Environmental Sanitation Engineering Group | CleanTechnica
The recent email provide more: “The 26 models of pure electric trucks — with load capacities ranging from 1 to 32 tons — will be used as sweeping, garbage, and sprinkling trucks, carrying out multiple tasks including sweeping, collecting, compressing and transporting waste, as well as refrigerated transportation for hazardous waste. The truck lineup will cover all operational processes including collection, transportation, and disposal. Amongst the trucks many advantages are low noise, zero emission, efficiency, long driving ranges, and life-time batteries.”

In addition to the use of BYD’s widely utilized iron-phosphate batteries, the trucks make use of the firm’s electric integrated axle assembly technology, which combines the motor with the automatic gearbox and drive axle. The trucks also make use of an independent electric motor for of control the fan, and water, and fuel pumps.
The makers of these trucks don't expect range and recharging to be big problems.
Aside from cutting noise, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution, one key benefit of the electric trucks is that operating costs are projected to be nearly half those of comparable diesel trucks.
Do All-Electric Vehicle Ranges Exceed Those Of Some Gasoline-Powered Vehicles? (Chart) | CleanTechnica
Though electric cars have on average only 1/5 the range of gasoline cars, comparing median to median, some electric cars have longer range than some gasoline ones.

Ukraine Crisis Can Be Solved With Its Own Energiewende | CleanTechnica
Building lots of renewable-energy electricity-generation systems. This would help Ukraine be less dependent on Russian natural gas, Russian uranium, and Russian-controlled-territory coal.

The Race To Clean Energy May Leave Utilities In The Dust | CleanTechnica
Fed up with the glacial pace many utilities have taken in rolling out renewables and facing pressure from both customers and their own sustainability departments, some of America’s largest companies have taken matters into their own hands  — bypassing utilities altogether and inking deals with private wind and solar plant developers to meet their energy needs. The companies include operators of energy-hungry data centers like Microsoft and Amazon, as well as more traditional companies such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

This corporate buying is big business for the renewables industry. In its annual market report, the American Wind Energy Association said over half the wind power on offer last year went to corporations, universities, and other ‘non-utility’ customers. Experts say this buying may finally push utilities to take a more progressive stance when it comes to offering clean power.

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:46 pm

Countries With Pro-Nuclear Agenda Making Slower Progress On Climate Change | CleanTechnica
The new study, published in the journal Climate Policy and authored by researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies, showed that progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources has been higher in countries without nuclear energy or in countries with plans to reduce their existing nuclear capacity.

On the flip-side, countries with nuclear energy or those intending to hold onto their nuclear capacity are making slower progress, and have been lagging behind in implementing wind, solar, and hydropower technologies for the purpose of reducing carbon emissions.
The study's authors divided European nations into three approximately equal-sized groups:
Group 1: No nuclear energy (such as Denmark, Ireland, and Norway)
Group 2: Existing nuclear commitments but with plans to decommission (e.g. Germany, Netherlands and Sweden)
Group 3: Plans to maintain or expand nuclear capacity (eg Bulgaria, Hungary, and the UK)

The resulting analysis found that countries in Group 1 had reduced their emissions by an average of 6% since 2005, and increased their renewable energy sources to 26%. Countries in Group 2 did even better, reducing emissions by 11% and growing renewable energy to 19%. Group 3 countries, however, only managed a 16% renewables share, and average emissions actually increased by 3%.
The study's authors conclude that nuclear energy does not have much of a future in Europe. Nations may keep existing nuclear reactors going, though they are not likely to build many new ones.

Wind & Solar Aren't Alternative Energy Anymore | CleanTechnica
Author Michael Barnard has these definitions, which I'll paraphrase:

Alternative energy is a form of generation that is not in mainstream use or that does not receive much new investment.

Clean energy is a form of generations with relatively little troublesome emissions or effects.

Distributed generation means consumption at or near the point of production.

Sustainability means being able to last indefinitely by human standards, for centuries or more.

I've transcribed his table:
[table]Generation Type | Alt | Sust | CN | Green | Dist
Coal | No | No | No | No | No
Gas | No | No | No | No | No
Diesel generators | No | No | No | No | Yes
Major hydro dams | No | No | Maybe | Maybe | No
Run-of-the-river hydro | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes | Usually
Nuclear | No | Maybe | Maybe | Maybe | No
Utility-scale wind | No | Yes | Yes | Yes | No
Distributed, small-scale wind | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes
Utility-scale solar | No | Yes | Yes | Yes | No
Rooftop solar | No | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes
Utility geothermal | DepWh | Yes | Yes | Yes | No
Tidal | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes | No
Wave | Yes | Yes | Yes | Yes | No
Utility biomass generation | Yes | Maybe | Maybe | Maybe | No[/table]
DepWh = it depends where
Alt = Alternative, Sust = Sustainable, CN = Carbon Neutral, Dist = Distributed

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:14 pm

Clean Energy Is Booming In Historically Conservative States | CleanTechnica
Despite Nevada’s emergence as a national leader on clean energy, Silver State legislators have intervened on behalf of power utilities to slow the growth of solar. In doing so, they have exposed a divide among conservatives when it comes to clean energy.

Recent policy fights have pitted right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. These organizations may hold the upper hand for now, but the growth of renewable energy could shift the balance of power.
All I can say is: rumble rumble rumble! Let them slug it out.

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that planners at the likes of Koch Industries are secretly exploring ways of entering the renewable-energy business.
Deep-red Texas now boasts more wind generating capacity than the next three biggest producers combined, according to the Department of Energy. As a portion of total generating capacity, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa lead the nation. Iowa siphons nearly a third of its power from the sky. Soon, Carbon County, Wyoming, home of the state’s first coal mine, will cut the ribbon on the largest wind farm in North America.

On solar, a similar story plays out. Sun-drenched Arizona ranks second in the country for solar capacity. North Carolina comes in third. Reddish-purple Nevada boasts more solar power per capita than anywhere in the country. There are more solar workers in Clark Country, Nevada — seat of Las Vegas — than in 46 U.S. states.
I think that this split in the Right is due to wind and solar electricity generation starting to win on economics. The Right may not be very impressed by environmental arguments, but it is impressed by economics arguments.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:20 pm

Petrich's table above counts hydro as not sustainable. That must not mean dams collectively, but rather dams case-by-case. I have wondered how big dams will be decommissioned when they have silted up to the brim.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:02 pm

Some dams have been designed for clearing out sediment.

The control of reservoir silting - Carl Barrier Brown - Google Books describes a technique that has been used in Spain since the Middle Ages. When building the dam, make a passageway at its base and put a door into it to stop the water. When the dam gets filled enough with sediment, then the door is removed and a hole dug in the nearby dam sediment. The dam's sediment then gets washed out.

I've found several videos of dam removal on YouTube.

Spectacular Time Lapse Dam "Removal" Video - YouTube
After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History, This River Is Thriving - YouTube
Gold Ray Dam Removal Project in Time-lapse - YouTube
Marmot Dam Removal - YouTube
Nevius Street Dam Removal - Non-Music Version - YouTube
The Removal of Savage Rapids Dam - YouTube
“LA GOTERA” DAM REMOVAL BERNESGA RIVER - YouTube in Spain
Dam Removal on the Calapooia River - YouTube
The Hemlock Dam Removal Story - Columbia Basin Restoration - YouTube
Rockford Dam Removal - YouTube
Branciforte Dam Removal - YouTube
Removal of the Sutton Place HOA dam, Garland Texas - YouTube

I suspect that for a large dam, its removers would make a shallow notch in it, then gradually deepen that notch as the water carves out a channel for itself in the sediment upstream of the dam.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:16 pm

Siemens Lands 147 MW Wind Turbine Order For Grant Plains Wind Project | CleanTechnica -- in Oklahoma. CleanTechnica has lots of articles like this one, articles about specific projects.

The Climate Policy Rift On The Left | CleanTechnica
At least in the US, there is a well-known split between the Left and the Right on this issue, one that has grown worse.
Those battle lines have now hardened to the point where in 2016 the US presidential race pits an unapologetic climate denier against a consistent climate policy badass.
Yet Hillary Clinton is not good enough for some voters on the Left.
A poll of millennials who care most about climate (85% saying it is the most important factor) finds that as recently as early July, only 11% had a favorable view of Clinton versus 9% Trump — while 31% viewed Sanders favorably.

Despite the near identical voting record on climate between Clinton and Sanders, in a four-way race, 33% of Sanders holdouts wouldn’t bother voting, 16% would vote Jill Stein, and 16% would vote Gary Johnson.

When offered a choice between the only two candidates that can realistically become president, 46% wouldn’t vote, while 26% would split evenly between Trump and Clinton at 13% each.
Bernie Sanders is now supporting Hillary Clinton, leaving this left-wing challenge:
Jill Stein’s crunchy green new deal is modeled on Cuba, a back-to-the-land vision of climate solutions. “The only way to do it reliably” is “restoring shorelines, restoring deltas, restoring forests, restoring grazing systems and so on.”
Hillary Clinton has been good on climate-related legislation.
Clinton’s Big Solar–friendly climate plans, including ramping up solar incentives, were covered by Greentech Media in 2015 and won the approval of the solar industry.

Her history of Senate votes earned her an early endorsement by the League of Conservation Voters, which tallies votes on amendments to rate the climate-friendliness of politicians; former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; the first-ever presidential endorsement by the NRDC; and the Sierra Club. And it earned her the ire of the Right.
Yet,
Part of the misinformation may be trolling by the Right, as the New York Times points out in “The Right Baits the Left to Turn Against Hillary Clinton,” which cites social media trolling by America Rising and Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads as two of the conservative groups attacking Clinton from the Left, with the goal of eroding what should be her natural core of support.

“It can diminish enthusiasm for Hillary among the base over time,” Steven Law, president of American Crossroads told the New York Times. “And if you diminish enthusiasm, lukewarm support can translate into lackluster fundraising and perhaps diminished turnout down the road.”
The Republicans seem to have done that back in 2000.
“In the 2000 election, there was a huge campaign, supposedly in support of Ralph Nader, but all their materials basically just attacked Al Gore,” he wrote in an email.

“It was exceptionally well-financed. I worked on the campaign, and one day we got a box of t-shirts: probably 200 of them, for free, that had terrible-looking pics of Gore and Bush next to each other with a slogan that said, ‘Think there’s any difference? There’s not’ or something like that. They got enough infighting going to weaken Gore’s support.”
Then the "climate left" vs. the "crunchy left".

Some environmentalists have objected to solar-energy projects in California and Nevada as possibly destructive to the habitats of desert tortoises living there.
To the “tortoise huggers” in that skirmish, Big Solar was seen as no better than Big Oil. It is the “big” part that offends. Solar and wind are championed only as long as they remain forever the alternative countercultural alternative, never to win as a serious energy option to replace fossil fuel dependency on a civilization level.

To some of those on the crunchy Left, Clinton’s promise to ramp up solar from its current 20 GW to 140 GW is as scary as the previous century of fossil fuel hegemony. And on the Right, this split is being helped along by framing worthy of Frank Luntz.

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