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Renewable Energy’s Role in the Stimulus Package

By Ted Nelson
February 9, 2009
File under: Energy Sources, Green Economy


The proposed economic stimulus package looks to have turned the final corner and be approaching the finish line: the Senate put in an extra day’s work on Saturday and cut around $110 billion to make the bill more palatable to its detractors.

Unfortunately those cuts hit education especially hard, but education still makes up a large portion of the proposed spending.

On the whole the bill seems to advance President Barack Obama’s agenda of rebuilding the essential elements–education, transportation infrastructure, health care, security/law enforcement, and energy infrastructure–of a public sector that has long been allowed to fall-short using the mantra “hey, we’re the government we’re supposed to waste money.” …read more of Renewable Energy’s Role in the Stimulus Package here

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Getting Started

By B. Adrian White
February 2, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Biofuel, Energy Sources, Research and Development


A funny thing about people is we don’t like change. And we sometimes feel guilty about not liking change. A lot of younger people say they love change. Can’t get enough of it. But try making veggie burgers instead of turkey for Christmas dinner and the kids may not love change as much as they think. Often, change means moving away from something we are good at and being good at something makes us feel comfortable.

Moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources can elicit the same feelings of moving away from something we are good at to something we might need to learn how to do. For instance, most of us know how to keep the lights on. Pay the electric bill. We aren’t born knowing how to pay bills but we learned. Putting solar panels on your roof and generating your own electricity means learning a new set of skills.

If you live in the north east it might mean figuring out how to get snow off the panels after a foot of the white stuff falls during one of our winter storms. It might mean figuring out how to put them on the roof without creating leaks. And there are other details that we know we would have to learn to run our own solar power plant. …read more of Getting Started here

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Should Renewable Energy be Subsidized?

By Ted Nelson
January 26, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Electric Sources, Energy Sources, Green Economy


The most powerful argument you hear against renewable forms of energy is that they don’t make economic sense. These forms of energy cannot compete with traditional forms of energy on price and rely on heavy government subsidies.

Most forms of renewable energy do need continued technological development to bring their prices down before they can really compete; however, there is more to the story. For one thing, traditional forms of energy also receive heavy subsidies from the government and, for another, there is a strong argument for government assistance of renewable energy based on textbook economics.

James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, estimates that American oil companies get more than $250 billion per year in various forms of government assistance. This is almost the amount of each installment of the TARP program, every year. As far as direct federal subsidies, the coal industry received more subsidies in 2007 than any other single energy source besides corn ethanol (which is, of course, a whole other story). …read more of Should Renewable Energy be Subsidized? here

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A case of IPA and a quick charge for my Prius?

By Eytan Krasilovsky
January 19, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Energy Sources, Waste Reduction


While hydrogen based fuel cells remain in the popular imagination as a potential technical fix to solve the climate change problem, there exists a slew of hydrocarbon based fuel cells already in action.

So should we invest in and support these market ready energy sources? Even if they need to be “filled up” with natural gas, methane, or ethanol — knowing they will emit greenhouse gasses?

For stationary applications this may actually make sense. As electricity sources diversify and the old fashioned grid (de)evolves, institutions, hospitals, hotels, and factories may have several sources of electricity. …read more of A case of IPA and a quick charge for my Prius? here

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Are Fusion Reactors “Green?”

By B. Adrian White
January 8, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Energy Sources, Research and Development, Waste Reduction


Let’s start with the term “green”; what does it mean? I don’t know exactly. When I searched for a definition on Yahoo they returned 2,290,000 results and Google returned more than eight million. This post will explore the term just a little bit. “Green” is a term that is used a lot and my concern is that it will be turned into a tool to con consumers out of their hard earned money. And because people are not stupid, they will figure out that have been taken advantage of by the “green” industry and will experience a backlash against the spirit of the environmental movement. So let’s look at this term a little bit shall we?

Plasma Fusion Reactors are being touted as green technology. Well how about if we take a look at that. A plasma fusion reactor, if I am understanding correctly, is you have to smash Deuterium and Tritium together because when you get these two positively charged particles to come into contact with each other, they produce Helium and a neutron and a great deal of energy.  As the reaction produces 3.5 MeV. To quote Professor Ron Parker of MIT, “To generate 1000 MW in one day requires 9000 tons of coal and generates 30,000 tons of CO2 (plus other noxious gases, e.g., SO2 and NO2). …read more of Are Fusion Reactors “Green?” here

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