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'Bright Spots' Worldwide Show 100% Renewable Can and Must be Done


'Bright Spots' Worldwide Show 100% Renewable Can and Must be Done

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

As a new UN report finds that emissions pledges made by governments for the upcoming climate talks in Paris represent just half of what they need to be to keep warming under the 2C threshold, places around the world are proving themselves to be "bright spots" in the transition to a clean energy.


I think I would be more excited if the list of "renewable" didn't always include "biomass" , i.e. wood, and other plants. These can be much more polluting than coal...yet coal is "bad" and wood is "good" to burn. Go figure.


Demand that your classroom, office building or store be solar heated at night. Solar thermal heat storage should be dirt cheap. If I can build it your grandmother can build it too.

Demand that your nighttime electricity by stored energy from a renewable source. Again, if I can build it (except for the electrical connections, I'm not an electrician but I'm a good conductor) you can build it.


Well, M, because coal is 3 or 4 times more efficient than wood...i.e. it would take the burning of 3 or 4 tons of wood to generate the same energy as a ton of coal.


Burning wood efficiently is renewable is some circumstances. For example, my cabin is surrounded by acres of mature trees which drop their branches during storms. Clearing the debris and burning it when dry is obviously more sustainable than hauling coal 200 miles and burning it is a stove. It also limits the spread of wildfires.
Additionally, growing a fast maturing crop like willow can fuel a CHP ( combine heat and power) electric power station where the 65% 'waste' heat is used for building and process heating - drying crops for example.If managed properly a CHP can sink the very nearly same amount of carbon in the summer growing months as it releases in the winter heating months. Looked at this way, the wood is an organic, safe and simple battery, or energy storage unit.
The figure for waste heat comes from the laws of physics, which dictate that only a certain maximum % of thermal energy can be transformed into mechanical and then electrical energy. We can be proud that within these limitations human ingenuity often achieves 90% or more of what is theoretically attainable.
I hope this helps explain some of the ways in which biomass can be used to help us in the future, sustainably.


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2045? 2050?

With apologies to Jerry Ragovoy

Time ain't on our side.


Unless a huge number of people, a plurality if not a majority, of the citizens (now turned into consumers) were to "demand" the same things, we can demand till our faces turn green and nothing will change enough for the better to set the global thermostat back a single notch. It would be great if most of the billions of homeowners in the electricity powered world had the time, skill set, and motivation to cobble together solar or wind or tides or a geothermally powered ways of generating their own electricity, and if some of that could run a computerized system to replace the current grid with a "smart" one that could draw only the electricity needed and, if one's home system was producing more than the dwelling needed, the juice would be fed back in for others to draw on.

But there isn't time for enough people to 1) become fully aware of the deadline driven seriousness of the earth's energy situation; 2) asses their personal situation to decide what sort of generator best fits their circumstances; 3) begin gathering the materials needed to construct their personal power producing contraption; 4) construct it and test it to make sure it's delivering as many kilowatts of power as the home requires and with the capacity to increase output as needs change; 5) network with others engaged in similar projects to hook into the new " smart grid."

Then there is the question of those who remain disadvantaged by the criminal inequalities of the economic system and have been left behind, who live in tenements they don't own, or in shanty towns hooked into the prevailing power producing systems, or the hospitals and other institutions who have back up generators but not enough fuel on hand to keep them running permanently

Everything would have to be assembled and ready for that moment when the switch is thrown and power draw switches from the old heat producing grid to the new green grid without blowing a big fuse and frying both old and new, bringing on the Big Brownout as the whole population hopes the technicians have enough batteries for their flashlights to be able to find and fix the problem.

No, I don't think growing awareness and speeded up cultural evolution are going to be able to slow global warming in what looks to be the limited amount if time left, even if there is more time left than worst case worriers like me feel is the case,

First off, all those who don't believe it really is a human productivity produced crisis will have to be persuaded that they're wrong. Then trustworthy leadership (no charlatans allowed) would have to appear who could motivate, organize, and coordinate a mass reorganization and re-engineering of the people support systems -- food supply, transportation of needed materials, heating and cooling, medical care including the ability to deal with the microorganism caused pandemics likely to break out. Not to mention keeping the huge backlog of weapons -- many if not most capable of providing mass destruction -- out of the hands I'd opportunistically emboldened psychopaths who could easily see the ongoing chaos of the complex series of changes as a chance to either obtain power or go out in a Big Bang.

Maybe I'm overthinking the problems and making things seem worse than they are, and perhaps humankind can surprise itself and me by finding ways to cooperate creatively and get the job done,

I may be too old to see how it all plays out, or maybe the tipping point is closer than even I think and I'll go over the falls at any moment in both barrels with me and most of the rest of the folks in the rapidly upscale developing countries, hanging on for dear life and hoping against hope it all can work itself out somehow.


It is interesting that the focus is on the ability of 'renewable' energy systems (made of irreplaceable materials) to supply electrical energy during their limited life times. What about the continuing provision of liquid fuels (of concentrated chemical energy) for the engines of land, sea and air vehicles as oil gets beyond reach?.


I just read in our local Michigan News Paper that many Coal Fired Steam freighters on Lake Michigan are not only still burning coal, but dumping their waste coal ash into the lake- (and these dinosaurs have been around for A long, long time)
Little wonder the DNR says that eating one fish out of this lake will give A person A lifetime dose of Mercury, not to mention arsenic and other poisonous chemicals.....
It is high time to pull all of the brain dead out of Government oversight Agencies and those of Industry and put them under lock and key for our own safety- Shit like this has been going on far too long-
And then there are STILL those two 34 inch large diameter Enbridge dilbit Tar Sands Pipelines that were built during the Eisenhower Administration, bouncing around with crusty old cement anchors, at the bottom of the Mackinaw Straits of the Great Lakes, which hold A minimum of 75% of our Nations above ground fresh water supply- It is just like British Petroleum's customary procedure- RUN TO FAILURE-
For those of you who may not know or forgotten, Enbridge is the company responsible for that HUGE Oil spill into the Kalamazoo River on July 25, 2010, when a ruptured pipeline spewed a million gallons of crude oil into a nearby creek.
Five years and billions of cleanup dollars after the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history, the river remains polluted despite Enbridge spending nearly $1 billion on the cleanup.
If 5 years and 1 billion dollars won't clean up 35 miles of river, how will they clean up those massive lakes when their 60 year old+ lines rupture????


Haroldus wrote (to MHunter):

'...The figure for waste heat comes from the laws of physics, which dictate that only a certain maximum % of thermal energy can be transformed into mechanical and then electrical energy. We can be proud that within these limitations human ingenuity often achieves 90% or more of what is theoretically attainable....'

And that maximum, of course, is 100%.


Trees collect carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Coal is basically geological remnants of forests that existed millions of years ago, thus, when we burn coal we release all of the trapped carbon dioxide that was around in the atmosphere back then into the present day atmosphere thereby increasing its percentage of it generally. When we burn wood we are only releasing the carbon dioxide that was in the atmopshere in the last 50 years or so (unless we burn very old trees) and so, in that respect, it is not contributing to the overall increase in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In that respect wood is sustainable whereas coal is not.


Coal may burn more efficiently than wood, but it is not carbon neutral like wood. Plus coal contains much more pollutants than wood.
There is just no comparison. To claim that there is amounts to a false equivalency.


Irreplaceable materials can be recycled, so your argument is without merit.


Haroldus wrote (to MHunter):

'Burning wood efficiently is renewable is some circumstances. For example, my cabin is surrounded by acres of mature trees which drop their branches during storms. Clearing the debris and burning it when dry is obviously more sustainable than hauling coal 200 miles and burning it is a stove. It also limits the spread of wildfires....'

But the fuel value of hardwood is about two-thirds that of anthracite coal, so 50% more wood is required for a given amount of heat energy. And wood is very polluting when combusted; it produces much fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which is very unhealthful.


Some materials are being recycled but others cannot. there are comprehensive lists of materials that cannot and have not been recycled.Many of the eighty odd materials used by the technological systems of industrialized civilization are already depleted as they have been transformed into waste in providing goods and services for society.
Your quote just does a disservice. How can 'irreplaceable materials can be recycled' is meaningless.


I've just reviewed the infographic and the underlying spreadsheet for the "roadmap" to get the state of Ohio to 100% WWS energy, and I'm less than impressed with the presentation. This pile of data does not support the concept that such a goal is achievable, nor does it directly address the enormous costs of attempting it.

The spreadsheets that support the infographic indicate that well over $4T in infrastructure costs are required to even attempt this conversion, and that infrastructure will require nearly 9% of the total land area of the state. Leaving aside the construction jobs "created" since they can be ephemeral, just the labor required for operation of the new infrastructure will add nearly $4B per year in additional costs for energy.

Then we get to the postulated 40% reduction in energy demand. Where's that going to come from? Or is there some anticipated government program to totally replace the residential heating and air conditioning for the entire state? Is someone going to come take my 18 year old F-250 away from me? Who's going to subsidize purchase of electric vehicles for everyone in the state?

All of this presupposes that the system of models being used to predict this garbage are accurate. I've lived in Ohio off and on for nearly 20 years. Starting in a couple of weeks, usually around Thanksgiving, the sun goes behind clouds and won't be seen again in any quantity until April. You're not going to convince me that solar is going to generate nearly enough electricity to power this state through the winter.

100% conversion of our energy economy to WWS just isn't feasible, and this program to convince people it is possible is just a hoax to take advantage of the ignorant masses.


Where do you get this nonsense? Admittedly Germany's greenhouse suffered an upward bump, since Kyoto, because that country concentrated on eliminating that other environmental scourge, radioactive waste, by aiming to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2022, but it was in 2013 still 23% below 1990 levels, which serve world wide as a guide.
See: http://preview.tinyurl.com/nmlbkcc

Once the reactors are shut down, the deceleration of GHG emissions will again increase. The target for 2020 is 78% of all electric energy to be renewable in that country, despite shutting down all these reactors


Well, I guess wood is carbon neutral if get your pollution now but have it offset in 40 years by a new tree is carbon neutral.

I need to borrow $ 1000 bucks now, I'll pay back 1000 bucks in forty years...any takers? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller... ?


I'm not a doctor but after a misspent youth and over drawn middle age, I ended up with shorter breath and thus a shorter life ahead. Asthma and allergies plus smoking and occupational pollutants and the result?

A TrueHEPA air filter which removes the dust and allergens from my city apartment air. In short, my air purifier is a breath of fresh air (literally since I filter outside air into my apt. 24/7.

I've tried many except the really big expensive ones. If you are interested >> Only a "TrueHEPA" ( that is the legal classification) filter works. 'HEPA- like and other variations are only substitutes and not what you want.). All the big expensive units all use TrueHEPA filters.

The trick was finding the best one that was cheaper. I wholeheartedly recommend the Honeywell 1700 series (about $120. approx) It has the biggest TrueHepa filter for the money. It is made to run continuously and the filter cylinder is made to be vacuumed periodically. Very important because you don't have to keep buying new filter elements.

A smaller $50 -70 + True HEPA is okay for the bedroom but this 1700 air purifier is big and can handle the main rooms of the house.

I add a prefilter (simple air conditioner foam filter) to trap household dust and that makes the whole thing more efficient.

You will breathe better. It actually has a handle so that you can carry it into the bedroom at night. It's like a big hatbox but not heavy.