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Archive for the 'Sustainable Energy' Category

OBAMA’S STIMULUS PACKAGE REWARDS LONG SUFFERING GREENS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Living, Will Wonders Never Cease Department on February 16th, 2009

PACKAGE CONTAINS OVER 60 BILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING ON GREEN INITIATIVES AND ANOTHER 20 BILLION EARMARKED FOR GREEN TAX INCENTIVES

The final stimulus package which President Obama is expected to sign into law today, President’s Day, contains many victories for environmentalists with over $6o billion in direct spending on green initiatives and another $20 billion earmarked for green tax incentives.

While this package is by no means a cure-all, it is a vital he first step into a new green age and is necessary to combat the ever-worsening effects of Global Warming.

That being said, here in no particular order is the breakdown:

$11 billion for the construction of an advanced Digital Smart Grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction, which will enable the renewable energy to be moved from the rural areas that best lend themselves to wind, solar and thermal installations, to the cities where the power is needed;

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable-energy research;

$6.3 billion for local government energy-efficiency grants;

$400 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy for the development of alternative energy sources;

$500 million for green jobs programs through the Workforce Investment Act;

$5 billion to weatherize old buildings;

$4.5 billion to boost the energy efficiency of federal buildings;

$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partners Program to fund energy-efficiency retrofits for low-income housing;

$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program to fund the retrofits of 1 million modest-income homes, saving the families living there an average $350 a year;

$6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. For every dollar spent, such programs are expected to produce about $3 in electricity savings. The legislation also provides tax breaks for higher-income households making similar improvements;

$1.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental cleanup programs, including the long neglected Superfund;

$510 million for energy-efficiency retrofits for Native American housing programs;

$420 million for energy-efficiency improvements at the Department of Defense;

$300 million for Department of Defense research on energy efficiency at military installations;

$6 billion for cleaning up toxins on former military sites;

$6 billion for new loan guarantees for wind and solar;

The package also extends tax credits for wind-energy production for three years where previously they had to be renewed year to year. But more importantly, the legislation allows renewable-energy developers to get cash grants in exchange for the tax credits, which is crucial in light of the current economic downturn and the fact that many companies engaged in renewable-energy haven’t had the profits against which to take a tax credit;

Over $17 billion for public transportation;

$8.4 billion for transit capital assistance programs;

$9.3 billion for high-speed rail, intercity rail and Amtrak;

$27.5 billion for highways though some of that highway money could be redirected to fund public transit, if states and municipalities decide it should;

$300 million in grants and loans for technologies that reduce highly toxic diesel emissions;

$6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems;

A tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids;

The new bill also allocates $300 million for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles.

But perhaps the best of all is what was left out of the final draft of the stimulus package: the $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, as well as all money for coal and for the farce that is clean coal.

Denis

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WIND ADVOCATE, T. BOONE PICKENS DELAYS BUILDING WORLD’S LARGEST WIND FARM

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, News Brief, Sustainable Energy on November 12th, 2008

CITES LOWER COST FUEL ALTERNATIVES AS HIS REASON

The poster child of wind energy, Texas billionaire, T. Boone Pickens, has announced that he is delaying plans to build the world’s largest wind farm. Pickens, famous for his self financed multi-million dollar media campaign extolling the virtues of wind energy as a key part of a national strategy to break our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, cites the fall in natural gas prices as the reason for his decision. At current prices it is cheaper to generate electricity from natural gas than it is from wind power.

Apparently the carbon that this method of energy generation would produce is of little concern to Mr. Pickens. But then, correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t he an oil man until reinventing himself as the guru of the wind turbine?

Pickens is expected to begin taking delivery on $2 billion in wind turbines, starting in 2010.

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ANTIQUATED ELECTRIC GRID HAMPERS THE SPREAD OF WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, News Brief, Sustainable Energy on September 1st, 2008

UPGRADING THE GRID IS A LOGISTIC NIGHTMARE WITH 500 OWNERS AND FIFTY STATES WEIGHING IN.

windturbin11.jpgAs is so often the case when discussing ways to reduce our carbon footprint, there are good and bad issues that need to be addressed.

In this instance, the good news is that wind and solar power are finally being seriously recognized for their ability to generate massive amounts of clean, non-toxic, relatively inexpensive eclectic power.

The bad news, however, is that our nation’s eclectic transmission “grid” – - the superhighway of sorts that you hear so much about and through which energy travels from point of generation to point of use – - is so hopelessly outdated that significant amounts of this clean new power is unable to make its way to the areas that need it the most.

Simple problem you might say. Just build a new one the way T. Boone ‘Windaddy’ Pickens is doing way down yonder in ole’ Texas town. Problem solved, you say with the smirk of one who have merely spoken the obvious, and is sorta’ amazed that others didn’t mention it first.

But my friends, it is not so easy…

The current grid is not only over a century old, and held together with chewing gum and band-aids, but bits and pieces of it are owned by over 500 separate entities.

Before renovations could proceed, all 500 of them would have to agree on the plan that would then have to be approved by the 50 sates that maintain regulatory control over those companies and this system. Then there are the permits – - mountains of state, federal and local permits – - not to mention the battles with the property owners that must approve every addition to the “grid”.

In short, this is one long drawn-out logistical nightmare.

Of course, we could always go in another direction and kiss off the grid altogether and adopt a more localized model. This would differ from our current system in that the power generated in an area would stay in that area and not be parsed out to wherever.

But even this is inferior to the idea that is starting to take hold among independent minded men and women lately, which is for homeowners and apartment owning entities to generate their own electric power through a combination of rooftop wind and solar generating apparatus.

This would be the best scenario, as it would allow individuals and families to get totally off the grid and say goodbye to out of control eclectic bills that will only continue to rise in the months and years to come.

Now I know your going to tell me how expensive going solar or adding wind turbines can be. Here, there is more good news, which is that as the apparatus becomes more mainstream; costs are coming down from previous sky-high levels.

As of this writing, numerous additional manufacturing companies – - both domestic and foreign – - have entered the business of manufacturing the technology for such conversions, meaning not only is their greater flexibility in pricing, but more options in terms of styling and materials used.

These include the introduction of ordinary looking ceiling tiles that are actually photovoltaic panels, as well as numerous styles of low profile wind turbines intended to replace those huge propeller drive assemblies in areas where space is at a premium.

Furthermore, numerous states and the federal government now have financing options – - in the form of tax credits – - available for homeowners seeking to make the switch to wind and/or solar.

Additionally, some of the panel-manufacturing companies have started offering long-term lease/purchase agreements allowing homeowners to install now and pay over time with the money that otherwise would have gone to the power companies.

Now thats a win-win if I ever heard one.

- DENIS

EDITOR’S NOTE! In the coming months we will make it a point to feature some of the latest technological advances in this field.

Continue reading about the “grid”

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