Sunday, November 30, 2008

Governor Ritter: Denver in Running for Nonstop Tokyo Flight

Now it's a deceiving headline but Governor Ritter's Asian business tour also addressed renewable energy and the prospect of the Japanese and Chinese bringing renewable energy operations here to the state. Hopefully those business leaders recognize that Colorado is going to be the renewable energy capital of the world. "You're either on the bus or off the bus."

Western Governors: 'Obama, Act Quickly on Energy'

Kudos to these Western governors for speaking their minds about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully, President Obama is listening.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NREL, Petrobras Partner to Research Biofuels

Petrobras is the biggest Brazilian biofuel producer. Brazil is a global leader in biofuel production (albeit ethanol created from food crops). NREL is a research leader. This partnership will allow for the sharing of research on second generation biofuels (extending the amount of biofuel that can be produced sustainably by using biomass comprised of the residual non-food parts of current crops, such as stems, leaves, and husks.). Let's hope their collective minds will come up with a way to utilize the unused portions of our crops. The Italians made grappa out of stems, leaves, and skins, so why not biofuel!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why Not Geothermal Energy as Base Load Power?

This Colorado Energy News article ponders the question of using geothermal energy as base load power. Base load is the power necessary to provide electricity 24 hours per day. As much as we would like them to, the sun doesn't shine 24 hours per day and the wind doesn't blow consistently. So we need a reliable power source (currently burning coal) that will provide a constant flow of electricity. According to the article, the United States has an abundance of geothermal resources underneath. So why not geothermal? Read the article and find out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Better Wind Turbines

New invention by ExRo Technologies which works well with the sporadic nature of wind and allows the generator to run more efficiently. Lets hope this gives a big boost to the wind turbine industry.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nuke Site Converted Into Green Data Center

This is a great idea. Converting old nukes sites to data centers and generating the electricity that data center with renewable sources. This just confirms to me that there is plenty of opportunity out there to make good from bad. We just need to start thinking a little bit smarter.

Plasma Plants Will Vaporize Trash While Generating Energy

Cool. Reduce garbage in the landfills and generate 60 megawatts of electricity? Sold.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama Likely to Boost Alternative Energy

I know it hasn't been a week since Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, but I can already feel a buzz throught the renewable energy community. I hope that we aren't let down this time. I trust that President Obama understands how promising renewable energy is for the future of the United States and the world.

Aspen’s Renewable Energy Program Gains Steam

The city of Aspen, Colorado is really pushing electricity generation from renewable energy to the limits, with such technologies as hydroelectric, solar and wind. Beyond the typical renewables they are also using the not so common geothermal and hydrogen fuel cells to provide power or heating and cooling. Perhaps it's time for a field trip to beautiful Aspen to check out their forward thinking?

Op-Ed: The Climate for Change

Al Gore writes an op-ed in the New York Times letting us know that our economic crisis and the climate change crisis can both be alleviated using the same methods. Whatever your understanding of global warming, I think that we can all agree on some of the basic things that need to happen in order for the U.S. to remain competitive in the world. Read his op-ed and let me know what you think.

How to Save the Coal Industry

This a great diary by a writer over at the Daily Kos. It is brutally honest and fair. The coal industry must adapt or perish, especially with renewables such as wind and solar nipping at the heals of the coal industry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Under Obama, Dark Days Seen Ahead For Fossil Fuels

Pardon me for refraining from shedding a tear for the fossil fuel industry, but the dark days for fossil fuels should have happened back in the 1970s. How long must we remain at the mercy of Middle East oil or continue to dig/drill coal/oil/natural gas just to burn it and increase CO2 emissions? I'm ready for a dramatic and intelligent change in our national energy policy and I hope that President Obama will provide that change. I'm fully aware that we can't just flip a switch and blamo! renewable energy displaces fossil fuels and we all live happily ever after. But I'm also fully aware that the petroleum and coal industries are going to whine and complain loudly while never giving up a penny of their profits for the betterment of mankind. It's completely ridiculous that we listen to their horse manure of an excuse about lost jobs or that the coal industry is the backbone of our country. These are greedy individuals who only care about their profits. And until we stop listening to them and start thinking about other ways of producing energy, this country will continue to swirl the toilet drain of myopia.

Pheeww. Thanks for letting me vent.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Splash of Green for the Rust Belt

I do believe that renewable energy has the potential to save the U.S. from it's burgeoning demise at the hands of the financial sector. Don't ask me how I know this. It's just a gut feeling. We are about to go into a deep dark hole of a recession/depression/whatever you want to call it. Oil is a finite supply. Wind and solar are not. We can either reinvent ourselves as a country and fully embrace and build a clean tech economy or we can keep our heads in the sand (literally and figuratively) and watch ourselves swirl down the proverbial toilet.

Just read about the folks in Newton, Iowa who watched their jobs building Maytag washing machines migrate across the Pacific. It's been happening all over this country. Year after year adn decade after decade. The smart and determined ones adapt and find new sources of employment. In the Times article, Mr. Versendaal is an example of the smart and determined ones. Here's a line from this optimistic local in Newton, Iowa who works at the new wind turbine plant and whose dose of common sense towards clean technology is quite refreshing:

“Life’s not over,” Mr. Versendaal says. “For 35 years, I pounded my body to the ground. Now, I feel like I’m doing something beneficial for mankind and the United States. We’ve got to get used to depending on ourselves instead of something else, and wind is free. The wind is blowing out there for anybody to use.”

Let's hope that there are more Mr. Versendaal's out there in all of the decimated manufacturing towns across this country. We are in trouble if there's not.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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