Today’s unemployment numbers out of Washington affirm what the country’s experiencing on Main Street: a grinding climb from a devastating pandemic that’s taking a continuing toll on the economic security of our people. It’s great news that unemployment is falling. But 9.3 million Americans remain out of work.
President Biden has proposed the right remedy — the American Jobs Plan, a comprehensive package of strategic public investment that weds climate action to equitable recovery and puts people back to work in every community.
This is a bold vision for strong, lasting, and broad-based recovery. It sets the table for a generation of prosperity and progress. It means cleaner, healthier communities, both urban and rural. As the plan makes its way through Congress, it’s time for all of us to rally around it.
The American Jobs Plan is a stirring vote of confidence in the nation’s future. It’s built on the belief that U.S. workers can out-compete anyone in the world when given a fighting chance. That’s what this plan does.
It sets us on the path to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 — wiping out nearly a third of the dangerous carbon pollution that’s driving the climate crisis — by helping to clean up the nation’s power sector.
It speeds the transition to electric cars and trucks with zero tailpipe emissions, expands sustainable transit options for those who need them most, and reconnects urban neighborhoods divided for decades by misguided highway routes.
It protects our communities from the risks and toxic pollution from more than 3.1 million abandoned oil and gas wells and coal mines, by capping and cleaning up these idled fossil fuel sites as we shift to cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.
And it ends the ongoing and unacceptable exposure to hazardous drinking water in as many as 10 million American homes, by replacing lead pipes and service lines with safe and modern alternatives, while upgrading wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater systems nationwide.
These are essential national priorities. Cleaning up our dirty cars, trucks, and power plants. Capping abandoned wells and mines. Getting the lead out of our drinking water.
Combined with other vital work, such as rebuilding aging bridges, roads, and ports, this investment will create or sustain 15 million jobs over the coming decade, a Georgetown University analysis shows, including 8 million for workers that require only a high school education or less.
These are good-paying jobs for welders, carpenters, truck drivers, electricians, steelworkers, and others, including those who want the collective bargaining opportunities that come from belonging to a union.
The clean energy sector offers multiple advantages: It pays 25 percent more than the average job for some 3 million workers who help to make our homes, cars, and workplaces more efficient; it builds electric and low-emission cars, trucks, and parts; it gets more clean power from the wind and sun; and it modernizes the grid and storage system we depend on for reliable power.
That’s core work in the American Jobs Plan. It’s how we roll up our sleeves and make good on Biden’s pledge to cut the U.S. carbon footprint in half by 2030, so we can stop adding carbon pollution to the atmosphere altogether by 2050.
That’s what the science tells us must happen — at home and abroad — if we’re to avert the worst of a climate crisis that last year alone inflicted more than $95 billion in damage nationwide, while combining with fossil fuel pollution to impose another $820 billion in health-care costs on our people.
Confronting this costly crisis will be the economic play of our lifetime, with clean energy investments set to attract more than $11 trillion in global capital in the space of this generation alone.
The American Jobs Plan will help make the United States a clean energy superpower — and make U.S. companies and workers the winners in the global clean energy sweepstakes.
The plan includes investments to plus-up research and investment in critical new technologies; support innovation to make U.S. factories more efficient; strengthen the domestic supply chain for the next generation of wind, solar, and battery technology; and expand training for workers looking to transition out of fading industries like fossil fuels and into more promising opportunities elsewhere.
Strengthening our economy. Putting our people back to work. Cleaning up toxic pollution that threatens our health. Standing up to the mounting costs and growing dangers of climate change.
These are the pillars of the American Jobs Plan — strategic investment that’s paid for by asking fossil fuel companies, other corporations, and those earning more than $400,000 a year to pay their fair share to support the kind of progress that’s enabled them to thrive. Investing in efficiency, meanwhile, will enable us to do more with less waste in our homes, workplaces and cars, cutting energy costs for our families and businesses.
Small wonder, then, that the plan is supported by nearly two-thirds of the country.
The American Jobs Plan accomplishes one thing more: It addresses what the pandemic has made all the more urgent.
A modern plague that has killed 600,000 people across the United States alone, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of us all. No one is surprised to learn who’s suffered most: primarily the same low-income communities and people of color for whom the pandemic has only worsened long-festering inequities in education and employment opportunities, housing, and health care.
The American Jobs Plan is designed to address those inequities head-on. It’s tailored to deliver 40 percent of the economic, environmental, and health benefits of this strategic climate and clean energy investment to the same historically disadvantaged communities that bear a disproportionate share of the burden of environmental hazard and harm.
The American Jobs Plan is the grand strategy the country needs — and we need it now. The 2022 federal budget Biden proposed last week includes a down payment on this eight-year investment plan, with early investment to jump-start the progress it’s meant to ensure.
Now, it’s our turn to rally around this hopeful vision of a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future for a nation united behind the climate action that can power a strong, just, and equitable recovery for every family, in every community, across this land.
Switzerland put vertical solar panels on a roadside retaining wall
A canton in Switzerland commissioned a project in which solar panels were attached vertically to a roadside retaining wall.
The canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden in northeastern Switzerland is aiming to generate at least 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2035. So, it exercised a little creativity and covered a roadside retaining wall with 756 glass-glass solar panels.
The panels have an output of 325 kW and an energy yield of around 230,000 kWh annually. This is equivalent to the consumption of about 52 Swiss households. The energy will be fed into the grid of energy supplier St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke, and the canton will get a feed-in tariff in return.
German mounting system provider K2 Systems and Swiss contractor Solarmotion installed the vertical system on the 75-degree retaining wall. The panels were anchored on a mounting rail with HUS screw anchors, and Lichtenstein-based Hilti provided mechanical dowels.
The PV system was anchored on and in the masonry using an adhesive technique. An anchoring depth of a maximum of 90 mm could not be exceeded so that the retaining wall would not be adversely affected.
Due to the close proximity to the asphalt, the solar panels’ components are subject to exceptional corrosion requirements and are anodized for protection. Indirect components are made of aluminum – only the screw anchors are made of stainless steel.
K2 Systems says that “especially in the winter months (when consumption and dependence on foreign electricity imports are at their highest), the vertically aligned modules will achieve a very good electricity yield.”
This isn’t a big project, but it’s a delightfully creative one, which is why it caught my eye. A retaining wall is dead space, and snow will slide off the panels in Swiss winters.
We at Electrek love it when solar is installed in intelligent and inventive ways. Warehouse rooftops? Cover them. Highway medians? Canal covers? Box stores? Put solar on them. It just makes sense.
Photo: K2 Systems
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Doroni’s all-electric flying car gets flight certified in the US
Flying electric cars are not just for sci-fi movies. Miami-based Doroni Aerospace announced Friday its all-electric flying car, the Doroni H1, received official FAA Airworthiness Certification. And the best part – it’s designed to fit in your garage.
Doroni’s all-electric flying car gets FAA-certified
Doroni claims to be the first company to test manned flights with a 2-seater flying electric car in the US. The Doroni H1 took flight earlier this year.
CEO Doron Merdinger successfully piloted the personal electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) this summer. Merdinger said receiving the flight certification “is not just a milestone for our company, but a leap forward for the entire field of personal air mobility.”
He says the electric flying car “is poised to redefine urban transportation.” Doroni’s aircraft has already received over 370 pre-orders as the startup wraps up funding efforts.
Powered by ten independent propulsion systems, the all-electric flying car has a claimed top speed of 140 mph (100 mph cruising speed) and 60 miles range. Its unique design ensures stability during flight.
It includes four ducts containing two e-motors with patented ducted propellers. Eight are for vertical flight with an additional “two pushes.”
The two-seater aircraft is designed to fit inside a two-car garage at 23 ft in length and 14 ft in width. It also features fast charging (20% -80%) in under 20 minutes.
Electric flying cars coming to a dealership near you
Doroni’s all-electric flying car is semi-autonomous, meaning you can guide it to different levels. A controller stick is used to push you forward, backward, or to the side.
Who would buy one of these? Doroni says one of its customers is a doctor who wants to use the aircraft to skip traffic on their way to work. However, you will need a certification. It requires at least 20 hours of experience, 15 inside the aircraft and another five solo.
Merdinger says the biggest use case for eVTOLs will be for air taxis or ride-sharing. Doroni aims for a different market though.
The company says there is enough space to fly everywhere, especially in suburban areas. Doroni’s all-electric flying car is designed for more than just getting you from point A to point B. It allows you to “enjoy nature,” according to Merdinger.
Doroni expects to build about 120 to 125 units by 2025 or 2026. Eventually, the Miami-based startup plans on scaling to produce 2,500 eVTOLs annually. You can learn more about the electric flying car on Doroni’s website.
The company is the latest to receive the flight certification. Alef’s Model A was the first electric flying car to get certfied in June.
Alef said it had 2,500 pre-orders in July. The orders include 2,100 from individuals and 400 from businesses, including a California car dealership.
Are electric flying cars going to take over road transportation? Not necessarily. At least not anytime soon.
Doroni and Alef are both working on niche markets, which makes the most sense for the time being. At the same time, the companies are pushing forward another sustainble means of transport.
As Merdinger explained “this is just the beginning,” as the technology advances.
Rivian already has a patent on Tesla’s Cybertruck ‘range extender’
Tesla delivered the first Cybertrucks yesterday, and with that delivery event came the revelation that in order to get the range it promised, the Cybertruck needs a separate battery pack in the bed. But a similar battery pack system was already patented years ago, by one of Tesla’s competitors in the electric pick-up space.
Tesla’s Cybertruck website included a revelation about a feature that wasn’t mentioned in its presentation: a “range extender,” in the form of an additional battery pack in the truck bed which expands the truck’s range.
It’s an interesting solution, and we don’t know all the details of it yet. We don’t know the cost, the weight, how it will be installed and uninstalled, or whether it even can be uninstalled.
The battery pack is intended to be used “for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains,” according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. It takes up about a third of the truck bed, as can be seen in a photo posted on Tesla’s Cybertruck site.
So, there’s still room for cargo, just not the full 6 feet of bed length that Tesla says the Cybertruck has.
But the fact that it was described as being used only “for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains” suggests that it will be removable, since most people don’t do that sort of thing every single day.
Making it removable is actually a good solution, because it can lower prices, make packaging easier, and improve efficiency for vehicles that simply don’t need a ridiculously enormous 470-mile battery – and most drivers don’t need that.
And if it is removable, well, there’s already a patent on that.
In 2019, electric truck maker Rivian filed a patent for a “removable auxiliary battery” that would fit into the front third-or-so of the truck bed. This patent was granted in 2020, so Rivian currently has a patent on this technology.
The patent is described as:
An electric vehicle system for transporting human passengers or cargo includes an electric vehicle that includes a body, a plurality of wheels, a cargo area, an electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle, and a primary battery for providing electrical power to the electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle. An auxiliary battery module is attachable to the electric vehicle for providing electrical power to the electric motor via a first electrical connector at the auxiliary battery module and a second electrical connector at the electric vehicle that mates with the first electrical connector. The auxiliary battery module can be positioned in the cargo area while supplying power to the electric motor, and can be removable and reattachable from the electric vehicle. The auxiliary battery module includes an integrated cooling system for cooling itself during operation of the electric vehicle including a conduit therein for circulating coolant.
We aren’t patent lawyers here, but this sounds awfully similar to Tesla’s “range extender.” The obvious potential differences we can find are if the range extender doesn’t have integrated cooling, which is unlikely, or if the range extender isn’t removable, which doesn’t seem to jive with the statement that it is only for long trips or with the marketing showing it as an optional add-on (if that were the case, why not just offer different battery sizes?).
Tesla itself has many patents (and is still pursuing more of them), but has pledged not to “initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use its technology.” It announced this in a 2014 blog post, and followed up by saying that it thinks several companies are using its patents.
So next, the question is: is Tesla’s solution different enough to avoid Rivian’s patent protection? Has Tesla licensed the idea from Rivian, and we just haven’t heard about it yet? Or will Rivian return Tesla’s “good faith” and not initiate a patent lawsuit against Tesla, if it does feel like it has a good enough case to say that Tesla’s range extender infringes on its patent?
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