Sunday, April 20, 2014

Two Days in April

There are two days in April that are very important to my spirit. One is, of course, Shakespeare's  traditional birthday on April 23 and, April 22, which is Earth Day.

How do you celebrate a birthday for a man who “shucked his mortal coil” 393 years ago? Well, you can as the (one time) Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley suggested have a "Talk like Shakespeare Day." Me thinks that this may be achiev'd by adding a few Shakespeare quotes to your daily discussion. Brush Up Your Shakespeare! By Michael Macrone is a good source for quotes and the meaning.

It is also fun to keep an ear out for Shakespeare quotes or paraphrases. I often hear Shakespeare quotes used on television programs. You may like to celebrate by adding Shakespeare to your movie night. My two favorites are Kenneth Branagh’s Henry the Fifth because of the realistic battle scenes and the stirring musical score, and his Hamlet, which is the only full filmed version that I know about. To tie Shakespeare to Earth Day watch a performance of  As You Like It a comedy about folk that leave the "public haunts"  to seek  "Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

Earth Day. On this day I have heard a lot about renewable energy, which of course photovoltaics are, I believe, the best option of all the many technologies that are being held up as an answer to climate change.

I would like those who support renewable energy sources to know one undeniable fact. That is, we are not going to get to that beautiful future of clean energies--hydrogen-powered transportation and silicon rooftops making sun-fueled electrical power--without fossil fuel centralized grid power. Those in the green power movement who talk of a revolution and call for immediate development are fooling you and themselves. To make the changes that they want we will need to increase our electrical generation to meet the demand and the only way that can be achieved in the short time constraints call for is with the existing dirty technologies.

What we need are programs of sustained solar development based on home and office Utility InterActive PhotoVoltaic systems. This means you. You make the change to develop this energy resource. When home and office UIAPV sources are developed the grid power can be used to power larger and more PV manufacturing sites.

Grid power will be with us for a long time. If we smartly develop green technology and use it to replace older technologies, we can build a sustainable future without disrupting the great electrical energy system that got America to the 21st century.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Other than the alliteration there is no connection between Solar (the conversion of the sun's rays into electrical power) and Shakespeare (the greatest writer--in any language--of all time) save that I have an interest in these subjects. I have studied literature most of my life and I have been working with Solar Photovoltaic for the past seven years. Take a look at the article "Sun and Shakespeare" in Home Power Magazine Issue #90 Aug./Sept. 2002. So how am I going to combine these two subject in an interesting and informative post? I do not know. With readers' input I can only try and see what happens.

Retirement from Shakespeare Springs Utilities

Upon the event of the retirement of Henry LeRoy--Prometheus is free.

The Charles Dickinson novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” starts with this line: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” This could also start the story of my career at Prospero Power Plant. I will remember the best of times and forget the coal dust, the fly ash, the heat, the cold.

I will remember the times when operators, mechanics, electricians, I &C, management, admin, building services, engineering, planning, and stores all came together to solve a problem. Or those start-ups that, because of teamwork, went on without any problems and the generator breaker was closed in and load was dispatched when requested.

Then the bosses tell you “good job.”

I will remember those long nights when the machines would operate without a hitch. We would arm ourselves against the siren of sleep with stories and even though we had told each other the same story a hundred times before, we all still listened because it was a well told tale.

I will remember the funny hour--usually around 4 o’clock in the morning of the fourth nightshift—when everything anybody said seemed funny and we would laugh and get through another shift.

Some of us remember people like Bottom the Weaver and the late John Falstaff they were both such characters that we smile when we think of them.

My wife Diane and my son Reed will remember that I always came home safe.

I will remember summer nights--the plant being so un-godly hot I would go out on the roof to catch some cooling air and see the city lights. Those shining lights always inspired me. Because of what we do here, our city’s lights glow across the horizon.

Because of the power Prospero Plant generates, people are eating hot meals. They are reading and writing, watching television and computing. They will be having parties, listening to music, singing and dancing. Babies are being born and someone will be dying.

The design of a power plant is to burn coal to make steam to make electricity. The goal of all the men and women who work at Prospero Plant is to bring light to the city of Shakespeare Springs. That is the important job that you all do.

I thank the operators that I supervised. Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

Our goal was to generate safe, clean and economical electrical power. I like to think that we did some good towards that end, and if we did it was because of their hard work.

I will remember those who were with me during the best of times and those that stood by me in the worst of time. I will remember all of you warmly.

After nearly 21 years working for Shakespeare Springs Utilities at Prospero Power Plant, I can say that the last two years have been the Best of Times.

Adios, good luck, Prometheus is free.

Why Solar?

When I speak of solar I speak of power,
Of atomic actors on a silicon stage.
Electric power produced on photovoltaic panels.

The panels take the sun for fuel and convert it to electricity—bringing light to a dark world.

No different in its purposes than the coal fired power plant where the sons and daughters of Prometheus combine the elementary elements--earth, wind and fire—to bring light to a dark world.

I believe that photovoltaic power systems are the safest, cleanest and most economical way to generate electrical energy.

Shakespeare Springs Sustained Solar Development Project (Part I)

Shakespeare Springs is a fairy tale--it is a mid-size city on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The City is powered by two coal fired power plants and two modern hydro-generating stations. Here is a plan for it future power needs.

Part 2
Part 3

The sun is shining--shining 1000w/m2 of full sun power on Shakespeare Springs. One large solar photovoltaic array could collect this energy and supply a city’s electric needs. This could be viewed as environmentally friendly; however it would only create another eggs-in-one-basket energy system, requiring many acres of undeveloped land and leaving useless the great generating system that helped build this community.

Still, a Sustained Solar Development Project can give citizen safe, clean and economical electrical generation. Solar development will give value, improve customer relations and contribute to the community

A Utility InterActive PhotoVoltaic solar grid could be built on the many acres on south-facing rooftops on residential and commercial buildings across this city. These systems could be co-owned by Shakespeare Springs Utilities with home and business owners. It has been shown that a residential site UIA PV system will return a minimum of 30% of its daily generation to the grid. (Strong and Scheller 1993). Larger Utility-Scale Photovoltaics can also be part of this distributed system. A Utility-Scale Generating PV station will send all its power to the grid.

Utility Interactive Photovoltaic Systems include panels, inverter, distribution panel and a meter. No batteries needed. The panels and inverter supply and control power to the home. When excess power exists it is sent to the grid. During low sun conditions or during high demand periods grid electricity is taken into the home

A 2.5 kW Utility Interactive Photovoltaic will generate 13 kW a day. During daylight hours, generally peak demand times, the UIA PV system will be putting power on the grid. A common configuration for this machine can consist of 24, 120w PV panels and a 2.5 kW utility interactive inverter. The UI inverter turns the DC voltage of the panel into AC voltage and conditions it to synchronize with and match the power quality of the grid.

A Net Metering device is essential; this allows electricity flowing to and from the grid to be metered. The meter must be able to measure power in and out thus allowing the UIA PV Partner to be paid for the power that is put on the grid. To receive maximum power from this machine, it would need 300 sq. /ft of rooftop oriented within 14 degrees east or west of south and get 5.5 sun hours a day. Wiring components, mounting bracket and safety equipment are needed in the complete system for a total cost of $30,000.

The citizen of Shakespeare Springs will benefit greatly from a project of Sustained Solar Development, a program with annual goals in which a set amount of UIA PV generation goes online each year. As the return of investment is realized on earlier systems money will be freed up for more solar development. A ten-year development program should easily yield 10 mw of generation. This will supply over 30,000 energy-efficient homes and small businesses

Part 2

Part 3

More Solar Energy information

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm Henry V I am!

Shakespeare Reading Challenge

First let me thank Elena at   for hosting this reading adventure.  I enjoyed reading and watching the plays . Let's see how I did.  This was the reading challenge and rules.
1. Puck: Read 4 plays over the year, 1 of which may be replaced by a performance
2. Desdemona: Read 6 plays, 2 of which may be replaced by a performance
3. Henry V: Read 12 plays, 3 of which may be replaced by a performance
Now, the Rules:
1. All plays must be read between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Anything begun before that cannot be included.
2. Audio versions are also acceptable but all plays must be unabridged.
3. You don't need to list your plays ahead of time but you may, if you'd like.
4. Review pages for each month will be created but are optional.

I read:

Two  Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Noble Kinsmen

King John

Measure for Measure

Timon of Athens

Pericles Prince of Tyre

The Life of Henry VIII

King Richard II

The Tragedy of Coriolanus

And viewed;

King Henry  as an online you tube video mash–up of available clips from the Branagh and Olivier films. I liked the Branagh film for its rousing score and its realistic  battle  scenes.  I liked the Olivier film for the historical portrayal of the Elizabethan stage at the start of the film.

Romeo and Juliet at Adams State College,  Alamosa, Colorado

The Merchant of Venice at Theatreworks, Colorado Springs, Colorado

That is 12 works--I am a Henry V and a  member of a band of brothers and sisters that joined with me in this merry challenge. I enjoyed all the reading but I truly think I get the most from seeing a play or movie.  The conceit that I take from  these plays  are  that they were written for all seasons  This is why when  Adams State’s performance  of Romeo and Juliet has the actors in modern street dress--riding skateboards and fighting with chains and knives-- the contemporary set design works because the story of young forbidden love is truly a timeless tale.  In the history plays you see kings fall because of taxes and in Coriolanus we see the Occupy Movement in the Roman citizens taking it to the streets. And in Measure for Measure we see a corrupted government telling people how to live their private lives.

We see sitcoms in Two Noble Kinsmen and Two Gentlemen of Verona and in  Pericles we have a latter-day action hero. I believe that Shakespeare is the beginning of modern writing and that his works will always exist throughout all time.

Congratulations to all those who met their Shakespeare Reading Challenge goal.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why Shakespeare?

In as much that literary criticism is an art and not a science, then the statement -- Shakespeare is the greatest writer of all history -- can be said to be a subject fact. Among the urban literary critics of today it is often fashionable to say that Shakespeare is just a dead old white man who no longer has anything to say. I would disagree with this theory. It can be shown that no other writer has informed what we are as Americans and really all the peoples of this planet. Or as Harold Bloom wrote in his book, The Invention of the Human Being,We need to exert ourselves and read Shakespeare as strenuously as we can, while knowing that his plays will read us more energetically still.”

When we think of young love we think of Romeo and Juliet.

In his inaugural speech President Obama said, “this winter of our hardship." Shakespeare had Richard III say in his opening lines, "Now is the winter of our discontent." President Obama is educated in Western thought and he would know this line and he used it the same way Shakespeare used it.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

The House of York has regained the throne. The House of York is now the shining sun. Long live the King. President Obama and the Democrats are bringing warmth to the dark cold season of the Bush administration. A historian or future playwright will speak to the validity of this allusion.

So again. Why Shakespeare? Because--if we know Shakespeare then we can understand what motivates people.

If we read Macbeth, Richard III or Henry the VI then we can understand the evil of corrupt and weak governments.

In watching Henry V we will see the duality of war in our culture and understand that it is both heroic and devastating. We can gain knowledge of leadership and motivate ourselves and others to higher goals. “Once more into the breach, dear friend, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead.”

Our role in nature from As You Like It--“and this our life, exempt from public haunts, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

How we relate to race and religion can be seen in Othello and The Merchant of Venice.

And I will say in Shakespeare’s plays the battle of the sexes was fairly fought and not always won by a man.

Perhaps as in the last words of Prospero from The Tempest, “let your indulgence set me free.” If it is time to set the old guard free, then let that last old dead white man that you listen to be Shakespeare--hold on to him as long as you can.