Perhaps there is no more important question we can ask. Power is the heartbeat of our global system. Like our own hearts that keep us alive, it is vulnerable to shut down any time. Then what?
This article from Bloomberg gives some positive grades for grids in the US. We agree. Too often we take for granted the excellent work done by our energy experts. We can't push so hard, so fast to change the infrastructure we have in place in our quest to permanently change the energy mix. Our evolution of reshaping the grid must bring cleaner power and more resilience.
Note, as with all levels of sustainability, the high level of collaboration within the industry.
As if there job is not hard enough, now those same experts must be anti-terrorist strategist as well. We like seeing a lot more local power and micro-grids coming on line. We love the addition of renewables and large storage capacity. Add elements of digital smarts and our system starts to meet the needs of today and tomorrow. Our heartbeat should be strong and long-lasting.
The ocean is loud: Ship propellers, sonar, oil and gas drilling and other industrial work make sounds, even if, like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, no one can hear it.
But marine animals can, and all that noise has been shown to interfere with their behavior, since many of them, from whales to invertebrates, use sound for all kinds of activities, including to communicate, to find food or each other, to avoid predators and to migrate.
Various tools for exploring potential oil and gas deposits — a seismic air gun and an echo sounder — making noise underwater. John Hildebrand, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.And while the ocean was never a quiet place — full of natural rumblings, clickings and chatterings — the problem has grown worse over the last 100 years or so, and significantly increased over the last 50 years in some places, much of it from commercial shipping, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.So the agency, which manages and protects marine life in United States waters, released on Wednesday a draft for a strategy to reduce the effects of ocean noise, and invited public comment.
At this point, the oceanic administration’s road map includes more research on the cumulative effects of noise on ocean animals, and outreach to other governmental, military, environmental and industry groups. The administration, the Navy and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a review of the cumulative effects of sound on marine mammals, and the administration has already started to reduce its own impact by using quieter research vessels.
While the agency has been collecting information on ocean noise and its effects on certain species for several years, the full range on marine animals is not completely understood, though the symptoms are often striking.
Sea mammals, in particular, have evolved to take advantage of how well and far sound can travel under water, and to compensate for poor visibility in the dark deep. Whales and dolphins have extraordinary hearing and the ability to communicate in widely varying voices.
But sound produced by human activity can get in the way. In the waters off Massachusetts, oceanic scientists have observed that many whales no longer seem to register the sounds of ships, said Richard Merrick, the chief scientist for the oceanic administration’s fisheries service. They don’t necessarily associate the sounds of ships with danger, he said, so they don’t always move out of the way.
Greeting calls among North Atlantic right whales, an endangered species off the East Coast, with a declining population now at about 500, according to Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Christopher Clark, Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program
Elsewhere, other species of whales, he said, “just shut up” when ships pass by, in part because many species communicate using sounds in the same range of frequency as the noise produced by ship engines.
And some studies have demonstrated that cod and haddock populations in the Atlantic, both of which are considered or are becoming overfished, can hear and also avoid low-frequency sounds, though it’s not clear what the effects might be on their behavior, said Jason Gedamke, an acoustics expert with the oceanic administration and a lead author of the road map. Cod, in particular, also make lots of noise when they spawn, but the implications of human sound on that behavior isn’t fully known, either, Dr. Gedamke said.The sound of a sonar system on the U.S.S. Shoup, a Navy destroyer traveling through the Haro Strait between Washington and Canada. Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research.
Michael Jasny, the director of the marine mammal protection project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the plan marked a big change in how the oceanic administration sees ocean noise: as a problem that needs to be addressed more broadly instead of case by case.
Mr. Jasny added that he was disappointed that the announcement lacked a concrete plan or a schedule for being carried out.
But unlike other ocean pollutants, this problem can be solved, he said: “Once you stop making noise, it goes away.”