Russell's Blog

New. Improved. Stays crunchy in milk.

Smog in your heart

Posted by Russell on July 26, 2007 at 3:09 p.m.
Just in case you didn't have enough reasons to hate smog, researchers at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine have announced the results of a study concluding that exposure to diesel and coal exhaust causes heart disease. Many people live for years with elevated cholesterol without developing heart disease, and many people live with smog without developing heart disease. However, it appears that the combination of elevated cholesterol and exposure to fine particles from hydrocarbon combustion activate the genes that lead to the hardening of arteries.

So, if you live in the city, then you really need to listen to your doctor if she tells you to lower your LDL/HDL levels.

Anyway, I suppose PG&E is moving in the right direction by building the world's largest solar plant in Southern California -- a 6000 acre, half-gigawatt solar thermal plant in the Mojave desert. PG&E has contracted Solel, and Israeli company specializing in solar energy, to build the plant. There are already nine solar thermal plants operating in the Mojave desert, totaling 354 megawatts in capacity. When the new plant comes online, Mojave will have nearly a gigawatt of solar thermal generating capacity.

According to LADWP, the city's peak demand is 5.7 gigawatts, and a little more than half of that demand, or about 2.97 gigawatts, is met by burning coal. Assuming LADWP substitutes the new solar thermal capacity for coal capacity, LADWP could reduce its utilization of coal generating capacity, and thus emissions from coal, by about 18%. That's a significant chunk, but not nearly good enough.

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