Thursday, November 29, 2007
Another is Ferreira Construction's 45,000 SF solar powered warehouse that might be the first U.S. net zero commercial building (net zero: producing more power than used). Pair these buildings with the Plug In Hybrid movement, put outlets in their parking spaces, and you start to get a picture of the marriage that might be made between cars and buildings.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Using current technology, we can't build nearly enough renewable technology to replace coal and oil. That's true for us, and it's true for China and India. So in most cases, either/or choices don't exist. We've got to build both sustainable new sources to push those capabilities to the next level, even if we don't get much from it yet. But we've got to build real capacity too, and since there's a choice, we shouldn't make the worst one, i.e., traditional coal or oil fired power. New nukes keep us in the game long enough to discover, design and build what we're all looking forward to: what comes next.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I was just pawing through the current version of Popular Science and noticed their first Best of What's New (BOWN) Green Tech category. The winner of which this year is Silicon Valley based NanoSolar. Ironic, perhaps, in that there ain't no silicon required in their design, and that's the beauty of their creation. Far cheaper to make and move and install, this stuff is a true green energy game changer. Check out the PopSci article here, and here's NanoSolar's site.
Here's a nice write-up on the recent Presidential Forum on Global Warming at the group blogging site, Celsias. Personally, I'm in the better-safe-than-sorry mode on the human contribution to global warming. We not be able to change a thing through our actions. Or we make it worse if we don't change our ways soon ... or soonish. We are working with lots of partial information on this problem, and we may never understand all the mechanisms that are playing a part. But if the draft solution to the perceived problem involves getting us out of oil and into better means of energy production fast, I'm all for it. Seems like each of candidates know how to articulate bold visions for bringing new energy online with urgency. Got to keep an eye on this, and that that connection alive.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I mentioned to my PT blog buddy the other day how we wouldn't need or want to talk about the why's that are the catalysts for talking about new and better forms of power. Said that would all be obvious to anyone thinking about this stuff so by the time they got to this address there'd be no need for persuasion, on that topic of the need at least. So, I'm sorry, but a recent series of articles in the WSJ and Wired have caused me to reverse and link to More Evidence We've Entered the End of Oil here. The point I took away isn't about the fundamental drivers involving rising demand and stagnating if not declining supply. It's about urgency. About how little time may be left to grow up some of these new technologies. You think solar can go large scale in 10 years? How fast can we double or quadruple nuclear capacity? Wind/water ... what else is there that's going to be ready to stand in when oil just isn't dependable any more.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I wonder which way this will play out. While Bush might have revived his image and salvaged his historical reputation by crafting aggressive policies to deal with climate and energy in his second term, and while he did appear to be moving in this direction if the last two State of the Union addresses, and made moves towards investment in hydrogen tech and biofuels, he still seems to be largely tied to the status quo mast. That means that US inaction to date is all his fault. So what happens when he's gone? What if we learn that a President Giuliani or Clinton or Obama can accomplish little more than their tongue tied, oil industry predecessor?
A charismatic leader can sometimes unite a nation into swift and unified action (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), and we may get such a leader. But the scope of the challenges is so enormous ... this is such a very large ship to turn ... that it may take more than one or two 4-year terms before progressive thinking get implemented as tangible action. How much time, from a climate change perspective, from an energy security perspective, from an economic perspective, do you think we really have? Do you know which candidate would do the most? Do you know which candidate could to the most? The clock is ticking ... and it's twelve months till November ...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We have adequate resources to make the transition. It is as if we are trapped in the wilderness with enough food to get out, but only if we grasp that we are trapped and without infinite supplies, and therefore act decisively to get out.
The carbon energy economy offered a wonderful stepping stone to a better place. We need to step. The viable technologies of wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear power and others need to be evaulated in a broader financial model than the marketplace, considering the significant external costs related to health, energy dependence, climate change, and other issues, and the exacerbation of the impacts of these issues with the passage of time. If we do, it will be easy to develop the will to use the extraordinary discretionary wealth we now have (but do not have indefinitely) to use the stepping stone and avoid being trapped to wither and die.