Friday, May 23, 2014

Mass Fish Deaths: Millions Have Been Found Dead All Over The World In The Past Month

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Michael Snyder

Mass Fish Deaths - Photo by Mats HagwellMillions of fish are suddenly dying all over the planet.  In fact, there have been dozens of mass fish death events reported in the past month alone.  So why is this happening?  Why are fish dying in unprecedented numbers all over the world?  When more than six tons of fish died in Marina Del Ray over the weekend, it made headlines all over the United States.  But the truth is that what just happened off the southern California coast is just the tip of the iceberg.  In 2014, mass fish die-offs have pretty much become a daily event globally. Individually, each event could perhaps be dismissed as an anomaly, but as you will see below when they are all put together into one list it truly is rather stunning.  So is there a reason why so many fish are dying?  Is there something that connects these mass fish death events?  Has something about our environment changed?  The following are just a few examples of the mass fish death reports that have been coming in day after day from all over the globe…

*In April, 500,000 carp were found "floating belly-up in Kentucky's Cumberland River".

*Over the weekend, thousands upon thousands of fish died just off the southern California coastline

California Fish and Wildlife workers are still scooping dead sea life from the surface of the harbor Monday after thousands of dead anchovies, stingrays and even an octopus died and floated up over the weekend.

So far officials have cleaned up 6 tons of dead fish, and they still have a long way to go.

*The death of approximately 35,000 fish up in Minnesota is being blamed on a "lack of oxygen".

*The recent die off of thousands of fish in the Shark River near Belmar, New Jersey is also being blamed on "oxygen depletion".

*Officials in Menifee, California are still trying to figure out what caused the death of thousands of fish in Menifee Lake a few weeks ago…

Authorities continued testing the water in Menifee Lake Friday after thousands of dead fish have been seen floating since last weekend.

Menifee city officials first heard reports Saturday of floating fish at the lake, which is located on private property about a half-mile east of the 215 Freeway.

*In the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins and sea turtles are dying "in record numbers".

*Maryland officials are still puzzled by the death of 7,000 Atlantic menhaden last month…

State environmental scientists are investigating the cause of a fish kill that left about 7,000 dead Atlantic menhaden in waters that include the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.

Jay Apperson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said that biologists went by boat on Tuesday to the area of Monday's fish kill. He says the area extended from the mouth of the Patapsco River, up the Baltimore Harbor to Fells Point and Fort McHenry.

*Mass fish die-offs in Lake Champlain up in Vermont are being called "the new normal" by government officials.

*Along the coast of northern California, seals and young sea lions are dying "in record numbers".

*Three months ago, farmers in Singapore lost 160 tons of fish to a mass die-off event.

*Back in September, approximately 40 kilometers of the Fuhe River in China "was covered with dead fish".

*Also during last September, close to ten tons of dead fish were found floating on a lake near the town of Komotini, Greece.

The following are some more examples of mass fish death events from just the past several weeks that come from a list compiled on another website


17th May 2014 – Masses of fish turn up dead in a marina in Pultneyville, New York, AmericaLink

16th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Aragatsotn, ArmeniaLink

15th May 2014 – Hundreds of fish dying off 'due to pollution' in the wetlands of Rewalsar, IndiaLink

14th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing ashore in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, CanadaLink

13th May 2014 – Tens of thousands of dead fish wash up along coast of Tasmania, AustraliaLink

12th May 2014 – Mass death of fish in the river Eden 'is a mystery' in Cumbria, EnglandLink

11th May 2014 – Thousands of dead Puffer Fish, also dead turtles washing up on various beaches in Colombia and Costa RicaLink and here

11th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond is 'a mystery' in Southborough, EnglandLink

10th May 2014 – Thousands of fish dead due to pollution in spring in Sikkim, IndiaLink

9th May 2014 – Die off of Fish 'causes panic' in the Luda Yana River in BulgariaLink

8th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake 'shock residents' in Mangalore, IndiaLink

8th May 2014 – 12 TONS of dead fish removed from lakes in Chisago County, Minnesota, AmericaLink

7th May 2014 – Massive die off of fish in reservoirs in Quanzhou, ChinaLink

7th May 2014 – Thousands of fish found dead on the shores of Roatan, HondurasLink

5th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish wash up on a beach 'a mystery' in San Antonio Oeste, ArgentinaLink

5th May 2014 – Mass death of fish found in lakes in Almindingen, DenmarkLink

4th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Fujian, ChinaLink

3rd May 2014 – 1,000+ dead fish wash ashore along a lake in Ontario, Canada.Link

2nd May 2014 – 40,000 fish die suddenly in a dam in Piaui, BrazilLink

30th April 2014 – Mass fish kill 'worst I've seen in 26 years of working here' in Iowa, AmericaLink

30th April 2014 – Large amount of dead fish found floating along a river in Xiasha District, ChinaLink

29th April 2014 – Dozens of sea turtles are washing up dead in South Mississippi, AmericaLink

29th April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing up along the shores of Lakes in Wisconsin, AmericaLink

28th April 2014 – Turtles and other marine life continue to wash up dead in Bari, ItalyLink

28th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in the Mogi River in BrazilLink

25th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in a reservoir in Nanchong, ChinaLink

24th April 2014 – Large amount of fish wash up dead along a river in La Chorrera, PanamaLink

23rd April 2014 – 2 Million fish found dead in a dam in Tehran, IranLink

23rd April 2014 – Mass die off of fish in Island lake in Ontario, CanadaLink

23rd April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake in Mudanjiang, China.Link

22nd April 2014 – 1,000 fish found dead in Oona River, County Tyrone, Northern IrelandLink

21st April 2014 – Large amounts of fish washing up dead along the Panchganga River in IndiaLink

19th April 2014 – MILLIONS of dead fish found floating in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Sri LankaLink


And remember, this list represents events that have happened in just a little over the past month.

So what is causing all of these mass fish death events?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

Michael Snyder is the Editor of End of the American Dream.

KWS Mona Lake dead fish 6.JPG

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An almond farm and a âbig ass batteryâ show the future of energy in California


Drive about a hundred miles east of San Francisco, and you’ll hit the heart of the Central Valley, Stanislaus County, where agriculture is king, trucks have four-wheel drive, and the temperature commonly creeps up into the nineties in the summer. The county’s larger towns were founded in the late 1800′s as stops on the railroad. The biggest city, Modesto, was forever immortalized in the movie American Graffiti as the backdrop for cruising teenagers, diners and late 1950′s Americana.

Twenty miles off of one of the county’s main highways, past miles of almond orchards, grape vineyards and dairy farms, sits a symbol of the future of energy technology, and a demonstration of how California is becoming ground zero for such energy innovations. It’s the world’s largest battery of its kind — made of iron and salt water — and it sits on a sprawling almond farm next to a bunch of solar panels. The battery bottles up the energy from the sun for use when it’s needed later on, like at night, and helps power an irrigation pump that waters about 300 acres of the almond farm.


The technology was developed by a five-year-old Silicon Valley startup called EnerVault, which is backed by venture capitalists and corporate energy investors and is one of a handful of startups tackling the newly emerging market for hooking up energy storage to the U.S. power grid. On Thursday I made the trek out to the official opening of EnerVault’s big new project, where a small but passionate group gathered to celebrate the milestone, including EnerVault employees, construction partners, policy makers and investors. An investor from 3M flew in from Munich to glimpse the site; a former NASA scientist who invented the basics of the battery tech back in the 1970′s attended just to see his theoretical dream become a reality.

A small step for energy storage

If you want to make sure you stand out in Turlock, the city which the battery project officially sits in, drive a bright red Mini Cooper emblazoned with a City CarShare logo through the back roads of the farm land. In the early afternoon, the time I arrived at the site, every other car on the road was a truck with a pickup compartment so large it could fit my entire car in the back.


Glimpsing EnerVault’s battery project for the first time, it doesn’t look like much. It’s made up of four large tan tanks, connected to a big box of industrial equipment, and surrounded by grid infrastructure including a transformer and a metering system. The battery project sits next to a dozen or more solar panels that rest on trackers that follow the sun throughout the day. The entire project sits behind a wire fence to keep out anyone that might mess with it.

If you were hoping for the equivalent of a Tesla car on the power grid, you’d be out of luck. Of course it doesn’t look sexy. It’s industrial power equipment. The real technology magic is what’s happening quietly inside the big box behind the tan tanks. It sound cooler than it looks.

Almond grove

EnerVault has built a “big ass battery,” as CEO Jim Pape jokingly called it at the event, using iron-chromium redox flow technology…say what?

A “flow battery” stores energy like the basic lithium ion battery in your laptop, but flow batteries have their electrolyte (the substance that acts as the medium for the charging and discharging of the battery) separated out of the battery cell in liquid-filled tanks. These are the four big tan tanks at EnerVault’s site. It’s as if you broke open a lithium ion battery, and separated out its parts — then you could watch it weirdly and slowly charge something.

EnerVault engineer Jeremy Meyers

EnerVault engineer Jeremy Meyers

While it might sound awkward, the benefit of a flow battery is that it can be cheaper than traditional lithium ion batteries (EnerVault says it can eventually get down to $250 per kWh), it can be more flexible (you can add more tanks and electrodes to that type of open system), it can last many more years (the electrolyte doesn’t degrade as fast) and it can provide a longer burst of sustained power (about four hours for EnerVault’s battery).

Perhaps most importantly, the chemistry of EnerVault’s is pretty safe. The electrolyte is made of 95 percent water, and it doesn’t use a inflammable material like lithium oxide. In a world where lithium ion batteries occasionally display significant fire hazards, the biggest safety hazard at the EnerVault site are just the basic issues at any grid connection spot, said Jeremy Meyers, an EnerVault electrical engineer who helped build the project and gave me a tour of it on Thursday.

Wrapping it all together, pumps flow the mostly-water electrolyte from the tan tanks over to the black box containing the “cascades,” and push it across the battery cells inside the cascades. Inside the cells is the proprietary secret sauce of the project. The company asked people on the tour not to take pictures of the details inside the fence, and mostly it’s about these cells. Namely they’re using a design in which multiple cells are arranged to allow the electrolyte solutions to flow from one cell cluster to another along the same path — along the way the electrolyte moves up in an electrical state, like the way a bicycle changes gears. Yeah, it’s a little complicated, but hey, we’re not all engineers.

A big step for the California power grid

The most important thing to know about the site is the application — it’s enabling a new type of long-lasting low-cost battery that can be coupled with clean power.


If you step back from the company’s hype, the EnerVault Turlock project is really quite small. It’s a demonstration-scale system that’s meant to help prove the characteristics of the technology and collect data about how it works. The California Energy Commission provided a $500,000 grant to help deliver those findings, as did the Department of Energy, with almost $5 million in support. The entire project cost about $9.5 million to install.

EnerVault Turlock provides just 1 MW-hour of energy from the 250 kW battery — the irrigation pump sucks in about 260 kW. But the core technology at the Turlock site is meant to prove that it can scale to hundreds of MWhs, many times bigger than this latest one. All eyes are on what EnerVault will be able to do with the tech going forward now that it’s reached this important step.


The project is happening in California because state regulators had the foresight (unusual for state bureaucrats) to incubate a market for energy storage there. Late last year, California regulators approved an ambitious plan to install a large amount of energy storage projects by 2020 to help the state meet its renewable energy mandate, which is 33 percent clean energy by 2020. Both the chairman of the CEC and the energy storage lead at the DOE were at the event, showing how dedicated the groups are to these early projects in California.

Clean power projects like wind and solar are variable, which means they only provide power during certain times of day (when the sun shines and the wind blows). But energy storage can capture wind and solar energy and keep it ready for when it’s needed during the dark and windless times. Thus these projects make clean power a lot more viable.


EnerVault as an exception

A handful of startups are trying to tackle grid energy storage — some include Ambri, Fluidic Energy, and Aquion Energy. But in the grand scheme of tech startups, they’re still pretty rare. EnerVault has raised just $30 million to get to this point, including funds from early backers like Oceanshore Ventures, but also later funds from oil company Total, Japanese giant Mitsui, conglomerate 3M and the investment arm of Tokyo Electron, among others. Still, that’s a tiny amount of money for a battery startup, particularly a grid battery startup.


EnerVault now needs to raise significantly more money to help it move from this demonstration phase to a larger commercial scale. The main job of EnerVault’s  30-or-so employees this year, besides fundraising, is to secure more and larger projects going forward and to show how the tech can scale into large commercial projects. Many of these deals have very specific needs about why, when and how they need energy storage — like an almond farm that has a solar system that needs backup storage.

If startups like EnerVault are able to get more storage projects like this on the grid, they can show how clean energy — paired with energy storage — is a lot more robust than critics want to admit. Storage can help make solar and wind into much more impactful energy resources, and can be deployed at a reasonable price. If EnerVault is able to succeed from a startup perspective, it would help show how clean tech startups can make money, given enough time, patience and the right customers.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

High-Tech Farming: The Light Fantastic


An indoor farm in an Illinois warehouse.Indoor farming may be taking root.

A grey warehouse in an industrial park in Indiana is an unlikely place to find the future of market gardening. But it is, nevertheless, home to a pristine, climate-controlled room full of eerily perfect plants.

They grow 22 hours a day, 365 days a year in 25-foot towers, untouched by pests and bathed in an alien pink light.

Critical to this $2.5m techno-Eden, run by a firm called Green Sense Farms, are the thousands of blue and red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) supplied by Philips, a Dutch technology firm. The light they give off is of precisely the wavelength craved by the crops grown here, which include lettuce, kale, basil and chives.

The idea of abandoning the sun's light for the artificial sort is not new. It offers plenty of advantages: no need to worry about seasons or the weather, for instance, not to mention the ability to grow around the clock (although a couple of hours a day are necessary, says Gus van der Feltz of Philips, for the plant equivalent of sleep).

Moving plants indoors allows them to be coddled in other ways, too. Water can be recycled continuously, and sensors can detect which nutrients are missing and provide them in small, accurate bursts.

However, LEDs offer a host of benefits over traditional, fluorescent growing lights. For one thing, they are far more efficient, which helps to keep electricity bills down. High efficiency means less heat, which makes air conditioning cheaper.

Being cooler, the lights can be placed closer to the plants, so the crops can be planted more densely. The wavelengths of the light can be fine-tuned so that lettuce is crisper, or softer, says Robert Colangelo, the president of Green Sense Farms. Your correspondent tasted soft, sweet kale nibbled straight off the plant. It was delicious.


The crops grow faster, too. Philips reckons that using LED lights in this sort of controlled, indoor environment could cut growing cycles by up to half compared with traditional farming.

That could help meet demand for what was once impossible: fresh, locally grown produce, all year round. Hydroponic, naturally lit greenhouses, such as those built by BrightFarms, a firm based in New York, are already supplying produce to cities such as Chicago and New York.

Green Sense Farms is not the first to try growing under LEDs, and despite their efficiency, energy costs have been a challenge for its predecessors. But Mr Colangelo is confident. LEDs are becoming cheaper all the time, and the involvement of Philips, which has invested heavily in the technology, suggests that costs can fall further.

Farms such as these are unlikely to be suitable for heavy crops like corn and potatoes--which grow pretty efficiently in vast fields. But if Green Sense Farms can prove its commercial worth, this form of farming could become widespread for leafy greens and other high-value crops.

A new national climate assessment, published on May 6th, sets out the threats that American agriculture is facing, such as growing numbers of insects and other pests and a rising incidence of bad weather. Indoor farming is, happily, immune to both.

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For A Brief Moment Last Week, Electricity Prices In Germany Dropped To Zero



It didn't last long — maybe an hour or so — but for a brief, electrifying moment, the price of energy in the German electricity markets dipped below zero.

The reason is demonstrated in a fascinating chart created by Bernard Chabot, a French renewable energy consultant, and published by Renewables International.

Germany is one of the world leaders in renewable energy. Wind and solar power vary with the weather — and it's relatively rare for both to be cranking out full power at the same time — but May 11 was one of the exceptions: A rare windy day with glorious sunshine. As a result, in the early afternoon, the total amount of renewable power entering the grid (which also includes a bit of biomass and hydropower) met nearly three quarters of demand.

Screen Shot 2014 05 16 at 3.43.04 PM

Due to regulations designed to encourage investment in clean energy, the grid is obliged to purchase every kilowatt produced by renewable sources. This creates certain challenges, since the yield varies over time. But there tends to be around 24 hours of warning before a surge from renewable power, in which case the system's operators tell the producers of conventional energy to slow production. 

As Chabot explained in a Skype chat, while it's a relatively simple procedure to lower production at a natural gas plant, doing the same for a coal or nuclear plant can be difficult. So last week, rather than ramp down energy production, those plants opted to unload the extra power at firesale prices, which even briefly dipped into negative territory. 

Interestingly, most of the wind farms and solar arrays in Germany are owned by private citizens, cooperatives and independent contractors. The big power compan! ies have maintained a commitment to fossil fuels — a decision they are coming to regret. 

The ability of Germany to produce so much power from renewables —  an average of 27% for Q1 of 2014 — would seem to be good news for the planet, since fossil feul has been definitively linked to climate change.

Just one little problem: With America suddenly up to its armpits in natural gas due to the fracking boom, Chabot explains, "The U.S. is now exporting low-cost coal to Europe and Asia."

According to Bloomberg, "Eight hard-coal power plants are scheduled to start in the next two years" in Germany.

Meanwhile, the other leader in renewable energy, China — America's chief economic and geopolitical rival — just announced an ambitious plan to triple production of solar power by 2017, and to increase wind capacity by 50% in the same time frame. 

Chabot points out that both Germany and China owe their success to so-called feed-in tariffs, or FITs, which offer producers of clean energy long-term contracts that guarantee a fixed price, based on costs, designed to reward investment. 

The U.S. would benefit from something similar, though Chabot proposes a more politically palatable name, such as "advanced renewable rates." 

But don't hold your breath. On Thursday, the Senate struck down an $85 billion tax bill because Republicans objected to a provision that would have renewed an expiring tax break for the wind industry. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BEFORE AND AFTER: Photos Show How Climate Change Is Already Melting The World's Glaciers


climate change

While climate change is affecting every corner of the planet in different ways, the most striking evidence of a warming world is often captured by images of shrinking glaciers and the widespread disappearance of snow and ice.

Scientists are most concerned about how the dramatic loss of Antarctic land ice contributes to global sea level rise.

Researchers reported on Monday that the West Antarctic ice sheet is now in a state of irreversible collapse and could raise sea levels by as much as 4 feet by the end of the century.

The rapid retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet is anecdotal of climate change-related impacts on ice around the world. Most glaciers have thinned and retreated during the last century. Some of this change is the result of natural ice dynamics, but warmer water flowing up from the deep ocean speeds up the rate of melting.

The comparison images that follow show significant changes to glaciers that have occurred over times periods that range from months to decades. The photos were collected by NASA for their "State of Flux" series and generally document effects that are related to increasing temperatures.

Pine Island glacier is one of the fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica. Scientists worry that this will have a major impact on sea level rise. A 2012 image shows a major break forming along the western edge of the glacier.

Source: NASA

The crack continued to widen over the next year and in November 2013 a chunk of ice six times the size of Manhattan finally broke off. These calving events happen about every five or six years but this iceberg was about 50% larger than previous ones in the area.

Source: NASA

A series of images shows the retreat of the terminus of Bear Glacier in southern Alaska between 1980 and 2011. As the glacier has melted, chunks of ice have broken off the main mass and formed icebergs in the water.

Source: NASA

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


Monday, May 5, 2014

This Insect Farm Grows Fly Larvae For Your Dinner


This Insect Farm Grows Fly Larvae For Your Dinner

They're safer than fish, healthier than beef, and cheaper than chicken—bugs: they're what's for dinner. To help get a few more of these insects into our diets, a forward-looking designer has built the Fly Factory, a system for breeding fly larvae for human consumption.



Five out-there energy projects that are moving closer to reality


Some newer clean energy sources, like solar panels and wind turbines, are becoming mainstream industries, with low prices and established financing models. But even in this era of emerging predictable clean energy, there are some pretty weird, experimental and ambitious energy projects under development. And they’re (sometimes surprisingly) trying to move out of the lab and off of research papers, and into actual production.

Many of these projects won’t make it to market on time and on budget, but kudos to the crazy energy entrepreneurs who are trying new things. Here are five weird and wacky energy projects that are trying to become reality:

Outta This World: Japan Firms Seek 1GW Solar Station in Space 1. Space-based solar: For decades, Japanese scientists have explored the idea of building a huge solar collector in space that can beam microwave energy down to Earth and produce “space-based solar” electricity. But the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is starting to take the idea more seriously in the wake of the country’s decision to move off nuclear power. The IEEE Spectrum reports that JAXA has now developed a technology road map, with planned demonstration projects and milestones, and a goal of building a 1 GW (the size of a large coal or nuclear plant) commercial system in the 2030′s. While that might seem far off, it leaves just a little over a decade or two to figure out all the logistics that such a far-out space-based system would need.

2). A hot air power station: Over the years, a few researchers have been looking into using the equivalent of manufactured dust devils to create power. The idea is that the sun can heat a thin layer of air that can whip up into a wind vortice, and can then potentially be tapped for energy. Solar Wind Energy TowerBut now a company called Solar Wind Energy Tower is trying to take the idea of a solar-induced column of air to a commercial level. Bloomberg reports that Solar Wind Energy Tower has gotten approval from the city of Yuma, Arizona to build a $1.5 billion, 2,250-foot-tall tower that could generate 435 megawatt-hours a year of the solar-induced air column. Of course, city approval is only the first step — the company still needs a utility to commit to buy the energy and investors to finance the tower, and then needs to build it.

3). Clean coal power plant: Capturing carbon emissions from coal plants might not be a “crazy” idea, but the technology has long been so expensive that it’s been far from commercialization. However, two carbon capture plants in North America — one in Saskatchewan and one in Mississippi — are close to actually being completed, reports MIT Tech Review. The Mississippi plant is five times bigger than the Saskatchewan one, and it’s also using more controversial technology (it gasifies the coal). Still, it’s an important breakthrough. China also has GreenGen, a massive carbon capture and storage coal plant in Tianjin, which will soon start storing its carbon emissions underground miles from the plant.

A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for NIF experiments. Target handling systems precisely position the target and freeze it to cryogenic temperatures (18 kelvins, or -427 degrees Fahrenheit) so that a fusion reaction is more easily achieved.

A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for NIF experiments.

4). Nuclear fusion: Scientists have spent 60 years pouring money into trying to crack open nuclear fusion tech. But earlier this year, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers announced that they had reached an important milestone: the fuel used to create fusion in their reactor was capable of producing more energy than required to initiate fusion. They published their work in Nature. Startup General Fusion says its own nuclear fusion tech is on THE verge of a breakthrough, and is about two to three years from being used in a power plant. That idea is backed by venture capitalists, showing THAT some VCs are still willing to fund big energy ideas.

Fluidic Energy5). Air batteries: This one’s not in energy generation, but storage. Batteries that use air and metal have been under development for years. A metal air battery uses a metal — like lithium or zinc — for the anode, air (drawn in from the environment) as the cathode, and usually a liquid electrolyte. Using air can make these batteries ultra lightweight and inexpensive (since air, of course, is free). The Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program has a whole bunch of projects working on batteries that use air as a key component (for electric cars and grid storage), including bigger companies like Fluidic Energy, which I wrote about last year, and PolyPlus, which I covered a couple years ago.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Build a Colossal Energy Skyscraper In Arizona


The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Build a Colossal Energy Skyscraper In Arizona

This week, a small town near the U.S.-Mexico border gave an unusual company the right to build a 2,250-foot-tower, destined to become the tallest structure in the U.S. The company, Solar Wind Energy Tower Inc, is only three years old. But the idea it's hocking dates all the way back to the 1960s.