Sunday Train: Hobbling & Liberating Renewables with Markets

A concept that has been percolating into debates over the feasibility or desirability of moving to an all-renewables, no/low carbon energy supply system is the ceiling on what percentage share of our total energy supply we can take from variable renewables. At The Energy Collective, in the second of a two part May 2015 series on Wind and Solar energy, Jesse Jenkins looked at the question of Is There An Upper Limit To Variable Renewables?. Now, as the Sunday Train has covered many times, there is an upper limit, and so an all-renewable no/low carbon energy system requires dispatchable renewables as well as variable renewables ... and all cost-optimizing models of all-renewable energy systems that I have seen confirm this.

However, Jesse Jenkins proceeded to mis-characterize the policy question at hand, when he wrote:

First, as a growing body of scholarship concludes, the marginal value of variable renewable energy to the grid declines as the penetration rises.

Indeed, where renewable energy earns its keep in the energy market — and is not supported outside the market by feed-in tariffs — the revenues wind or solar earn in electricity markets decline steadily as their market share grows.

Well, not so fast. There is a fundamental flaw in the assumptions behind this claim. It turns out that kind of market situations that allow market prices to measure a resource's "ability to earn its keep" quite clearly exclude this particular situation he is talking about.

So it makes a difference how markets are put together, which is what this week's Sunday Train takes a look at.

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Hooper: The film industry has a problem with transgender actors

Tom Hooper spoke with the Guardian prior to the premier of The Danish Girl at the Venice Film Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Access for trans actors to both trans and cisgender roles is utterly key. In the industry at the moment there is a problem: there is a huge pool of talent of trans actors, and access to parts is limited. I would champion any shift where the industry embraces trans actors. and celebrates trans film-makers.

--Tom Hooper

Without explicitly acknowledging the controversy surrounding the casting of Eddie Redmayne, a non-trans actor, in the lead role of Einar Wegener – the real-life Danish painter who underwent a series of operations in the early 1930s to become Lili Elbe – Hooper said:

There’s something in Eddie that is drawn to the feminine; he’s played women before, most notably Viola in Twelfth Night. In our film, Lili is presented as a man for two-thirds of the movie, and her transition happens quite late on, so that played a part in coming to a decision.

--Hooper

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The Breakfast Club (Fearless)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault. 

 

 

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Ashley Diamond: I want people to recognize that I am human

 photo diamond_zpsmbsd3ijf.pngWhen I first heard that Ashley Diamond had received early parole from the Georgia Department of Corrections, like many observers, I was quite confident this was a cynical attempt by the GDOC to moot Diamond's pending lawsuit.

Diamond is at her mother's home in Rome, GA now.

It’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve just been taking it day [by] day, really.

--Diamond

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9th Circuit: Convention Against Torture applies to transgender deportees

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled an immigration judge and the US Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of transgender woman Edin (Carey) Avendano-Hernandez's deportation.

Born in a small town in southern Mexico, Avendano-Hernandez started identifying herself as female at age 5 or 6 and was beaten by her father and schoolmates, and raped by her older brothers and cousins, the court said. She dropped out of high school at 16 and moved to Mexico City, where she was harassed by customers of a nightclub where she worked. After she returned home to care for her dying mother, an older brother threatened her with death.

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Parents try to have their adult child declared to be incompetent to prevent surgery

 photo Kitzler_zpstv9dbpmm.jpgPennsylvania Judge Theodore Fritsch, Jr. yesterday dismissed an effort by the parents of a 48-year-old transgender woman to block her gender reassignment surgery. The parents of Christine Kitlzer claimed that their child was mentally incompetent and asked the judge to appoint a legal guardian for her.

Judge Fritsch determined that Ms. Kitzler showed a clear understanding of the procedure she had been scheduled to undergo and the attendant risks involved. He then voided the temporary injunction that had prevented the surgery on Tuesday.

Kitzler's lawyers and Philadelphia-area surgeon were trying to schedule the operation for this week. The surgeon, Dr. Christine McGinn, said she would cover the cost. The operation had been set for Tuesday before Klaus and Ingrid Kitzler won a temporary injunction.

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South Dakota's Genital Police

 

 

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This intelligent-looking gentleman is South Dakota State Rep. Roger Hunt (R-Brandon). He's really pissed that the South Dakota High School Activities Association had a policy whch allowed parents to notify schools of their child's gender identity.

From there the school collects information from pertinent individuals and sources including family members, friends, and teachers. In addition to the testimonials the association also requires written verification from a health care professional attesting to the child’s professed gender expression.

This is South Dakota. We haven’t adopted the East Coast culture. We haven’t adopted the West Coast culture. We maintain our own culture.

--Rep. Hunt

And by God, in Roger Hunt's South Dakota, transgender people don't deserve to be treated equally!

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Ashley Diamond paroled early in Georgia

I first reported about Ashley Diamond in April when the US Department of Justice intervened in the the Georgia transgender inmate's federal lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections. In Ashley Diamond v. Owens, et. al, Ms. Diamond sought to have the GDC provide her with the hormones that she began taking the age of 17 and had been denied by prison officials and to protect her from being repeatedly sexually assaulted.

Because of the failure to provide hormones, Ashley changed from looking like the first picture below to the appearance she had in the second.

 

 

 

 

This had a profound physical and emotional impact on Ms. Diamond. Terminating her hormone therapy created painful side effects, including chest pains, heart palpitations, clinically significant depression, and increased thoughts of suicide, hopelessness and anxiety. According to Ms. Diamond, her gender dysphoria is so severe that she has attempted suicide and self-castration on multiple occasions during her incarceration.

Ashley, in prison for theft, probation violation, escape and obstruction of justice, was sentenced to a maximum of 11 years and has since been shuffled from Georgia male prison to Georgia male prison.

Filing the lawsuit earned her a transfer to the Georgia State Prison in retaliation. GSP has had more sexual assaults between 2009 and 2014 than all but one other state prison.

Since her arrival there, Ms. Diamond has survived an attempted rape in a stairwell, dealt with inmates exposing themselves and masturbating in front of her, and faced relentless sexual coercion, she said last week in an emergency motion seeking an immediate transfer to a safer institution.

Ms. Diamond was not scheduled to have a parole hearing until November. But out of the blue she was paroled on Monday after serving less than a third of her sentence.

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HHS settles discrimination complaint with The Brooklyn Hospital Center

The HHS office of Civil Rights and The Brooklyn Hospital Center have announced a landmark voluntary settlement agreement that establishes a "new standard for appropriate policies and procedures to ensure privacy and appropriate care of transgender patients.

OCR’s agreement with The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) was prompted by allegations that it violated an antidiscrimination provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it assigned “a transgender female who presented as a female at the hospital…to a double occupancy patient room with a male occupant.”

Under the terms of a two-year settlement, TBHC agreed to adopt, and train employees, on new policies and procedures tailored to transgender patients that address everything from admitting and rooming to documenting patients’ “legal and a preferred name” and their “gender and/or transgender status, if the Patient has identified that status and agrees that it should be recorded.” Employees also are to become familiar with terms such as “gender non-conformity” and “sex assigned at birth.”

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Sunday Train: Can Nuclear and Renewable Energy Be Friends?

There is an ongoing general discussion in the field of sustainable energy that does not carry the risk of the destruction of our current industrial society and economy about variable renewable energy.

Renewable energy includes a range of low or no carbon sources of energy - but not all renewable energy is sustainable, and not all is low or no carbon. And not all low or no carbon energy sources are from renewable energy resources.

Among the sustainable, no/low carbon renewable energy resources, the most abundant involve the harvest of variable renewable energy, with windpower and solar PV being the most notable. So one obvious strategy for a no-carbon-emitting energy system is to base it on collecting as much of these affordable variable renewables as practicable, and then use other no/low carbon sources to fill in the gaps.

However, in some quarters, this elicits a counter-argument. The most "successfully de-carbonized" economies of the world today are either those with a very high reliance on reservoir hydropower ... which while very useful in the United States offers nowhere near a large enough economic resource to meet any large fraction of our current consumption ... or those with a very high reliance on nuclear power.

Indeed, near the beginning of this month, Stephen Lacy briefly reported on a report from the Breakthrough Institute that raised an alarm that the new Clean Power Plan may in fact oversee a net increase in GHG emissions. The final plan does not include measures to avoid the decommissioning of substantial numbers of nuclear power plants. And the numbers are stark:

  • The 30 nuclear plants at risk by 2030 avoid over 100 MMT of CO2 emissions
  • New non-hydropower renewables are expected to avoid 60 MMT of CO2 emissions by 2030
  • New nuclear plants under construction are expected to avoid under 30 MMT of CO2 by 2030

So where retention of those 30 nuclear power plants would find us over 80 MMT of avoided CO2 ahead, and in a position to accelerate that in the following decade ... their closure could leave us over 10 MMT below where we are now.

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