Tag Archive | renewable energy documentary

Wind, Water and Sunlight – Renewable Alternative Energy Sources by: Paul Person

We all know about it. Wind, water and sunlight are three of the best renewable alternative energy sources that we have–in abundance and for free! But one fact remains, we’re not utilizing them to their full potential.

Energy is a very big deal. We use a lot of it, and we get most of it by burning fossil fuels. The world has a limited supply of fossil fuel. It takes millions of years for oil, coal, and natural gas to form in the depths of the earth. Fossil fuel is NOT a renewable energy source. It’s finite. We WILL run out.

Burning fossil fuel for energy is not a good thing for either our health or our planet’s health. The emissions caused by burning fossil fuel are polluting our air – that’s the air we breathe! We’ve got to do better. We have simply got to come up with a way to harness renewable energy sources like wind, water, and sunlight that will provide the energy we need and none of the pollution that we don’t need.

Using wind, water, and sunlight to provide power isn’t a new concept. People have been using wind, water, and sunlight for thousands of years. Wind, water, and sunlight are renewable energy sources; there’s plenty of all three, and none of them add anything bad to the air we breathe. There’s no toxic waste, either.

Refineries must buy crude oil to produce the gasoline and diesel that we use in our cars and trucks. Utility companies must buy the gasoline and diesel that’s used to create much of the electricity that powers our homes. But if we just put the technology that’s already been developed to use to power our cars, our trucks, our homes, and all of the thousands of little conveniences that we rely on and improve on the technology, we can have our power and our clean air both. We won’t have to choose. And wind, water, and sunlight are all free!

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But unless we make a step towards that direction, we will always rely on the fossil fuels to power our lives. Plans have been laid out, technologies are being created, all that’s missing is our will and determination to keep at it until we accomplish our goal.

Click here to see : http://www.environmentalsciencedegree.com/terrific-renewable-energy/

How to convert US to 100 percent renewable energy

It’s technically possible for each state to replace fossil fuel energy with entirely clean, renewable energy, experts say. A new report is the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

The new plan calls for no more than 0.5 percent of any state’s land to be covered in solar panels or wind turbines. The upfront cost of the changes would be significant, but wind and sunlight are free. So the overall cost spread over time would be roughly equal to the price of the fossil fuel infrastructure, maintenance and production, authors say.
Credit: © kuzmafoto / Fotolia

One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world’s entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy.

This is a daunting challenge. But now, in a new study, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and colleagues, including U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, are the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” said Jacobson, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and at the Precourt Institute for Energy. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”

The study is published in the online edition of Energy and Environmental Sciences.

Jacobson and his colleagues started by taking a close look at the current energy demands of each state, and how those demands would change under business-as-usual conditions by the year 2050. To create a full picture of energy use in each state, they examined energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation.

For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed — coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables — and calculated the fuel demands if all fuel usage were replaced with electricity. This is a significantly challenging step — it assumes that all the cars on the road become electric, and that homes and industry convert to fully electrified heating and cooling systems. But Jacobson said that their calculations were based on integrating existing technology, and the energy savings would be significant.

“When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050,” Jacobson said. “About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity.”

The next step involved figuring out how to power the new electric grid. The researchers focused on meeting each state’s new power demands using only the renewable energies — wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tiny amounts of tidal and wave — available to each state.

They analyzed each state’s sun exposure, and how many south-facing, non-shaded rooftops could accommodate solar panels. They developed and consulted wind maps and determined whether local offshore wind turbines were an option. Geothermal energy was available at a reasonable cost for only 13 states. The plan calls for virtually no new hydroelectric dams, but does account for energy gains from improving the efficiency of existing dams.

The report lays out individual roadmaps for each state to achieve an 80 percent transition by 2030, and a full conversion by 2050. Jacobson said that several states are already on their way. Washington state, for instance, could make the switch to full renewables relatively quickly, thanks to the fact that more than 70 percent of its current electricity comes from existing hydroelectric sources. That translates to about 35 percent of the state’s all-purpose power if Washington were 100-percent electrified; wind and solar could fill most of the remainder.

Iowa and South Dakota are also well-positioned, as they already generate nearly 30 percent of their electricity from wind power. California, which was the focus of Jacobson’s second single-state roadmap to renewables after New York, has already adopted some of his group’s suggestions and has a plan to be 60 percent electrified by renewables by 2030.

The plan calls for no more than 0.5 percent of any state’s land to be covered in solar panels or wind turbines. The upfront cost of the changes would be significant, but wind and sunlight are free. So the overall cost spread over time would be roughly equal to the price of the fossil fuel infrastructure, maintenance and production.

“When you account for the health and climate costs — as well as the rising price of fossil fuels — wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”

Jacobson said that if the conversion is followed exactly as his plan outlines, the reduction of air pollution in the U.S. could prevent the deaths of approximately 63,000 Americans who die from air pollution-related causes each year. It would also eliminate U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases produced from fossil fuel, which would otherwise cost the world $3.3 trillion a year by 2050.

An interactive map summarizing the plans for each state is available at http://www.thesolutionsproject.org.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length

How can we save energy?

Saving energy means decreasing the amount of energy used while achieving a similar outcome of end use. Using less energy has lots of benefits – you can save money and help the environment. Generating energy requires precious natural resources, for instance coal, oil or gas. Therefore, using less energy helps us to preserve these resources and make them last longer in the future.

Why is it important to save energy?
If people use less energy, there is less pressure to increase the available supply of energy, for example by constructing new power plants, or by importing energy from a different country.
(SOURCE: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_conservation)

What does “life-cycle” mean? What does it have to do with energy use?
Nearly all everyday products have an impact in terms of energy, especially when you consider their energy requirements across the whole life-cycle: production, use and end-of-life. In many cases the use phase is dominating. Plastics, for example, are one of the most resource-efficient materials available. In their use phase, plastics products help to save more energy than is needed to produce them: For example, when you choose a bottle of water packaged in a light weight material such as plastic, remember that lighter packaging requires less energy for transport. Thus, less fuel was used to power the truck that delivered those plastic bottles.

What can I do to save energy?
There are many sources on the web that give you ideas of what you can do to save energy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Change your travel behaviour, think more in terms of public transportation, if possible, walk or ride your bicycle instead of taking the car
Reduce your house heat by 1C, keep the windows closed while heating, dress warmly
Choose products that come with lightweight packaging
Turn off lights and appliances when you are not using them, use energy-saving light bulbs
Reuse plastic bags for shopping and storage
Use a microwave instead of a stove to reheat food
Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries
What effect do materials have on the environment?
In our daily life, we rely on many materials. Wood, metal, glass and plastics all have environmental consequences. Think about the impact of every product you use. For example, the lighter an object, the less fuel is required to transport it. A heavy suitcase in the boot of a car will require the car to consume more fuel during its journey. The same goes for all product packaging. Therefore, buying food wrapped in lightweight materials thus helps the environment.