Generate your own electricity with solar panels and home wind turbines : video

Watch this interesting video about options for home green - renewable energy:


Renewable Energy Advantages Are Huge - New Jobs, Less Cost - Save the World!

Renewable energy advantages will become more and more evident in years to come. Fossil fuels are continually being depleted and reducing the quality of the air that we breath. Renewable energy systems encompass a broad, diverse array of technologies, and the current status of these can vary considerably. Some technologies are already mature and economically competitive, while others are yet to be unveiled.

The term 'Renewable energy' refers to electricity created by energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. These energy sources are considered renewable sources because they are continuously replenished.

Technologies play an important role in the U.S. Government's strategy to respond to the challenges of climate change, energy security and local air pollution. Renewable Energy resources (hydropower, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar) are currently used to generate only about 10 percent of all electricity in America. If you were to back out hydropower, the remainder only represents about 2 percent of our electricity, produced.

The price we pay for energy is not only your monthly electric bill. Behind the charges on the bill, oil, gas and coal reserves are being depleted quickly, and their wastes continue to eat away at our planet. So it is obvious that the issue of energy facing most of us is basically two fold.

Energy cost and environmental deterioration. It is reasonable to say here that each one of us is just as liable to one as the other and is obliged to take our individual measure of responsibility.

There are a variety of ways to tap the earth's free energy. The ones that are the easiest to harness are wind and solar power generation. They can be easily be individualized as stand-alone set-ups whereupon private homes are able to join in on the energy crusade. Yes, any home can put up its very own wind and solar power generators through DIY and it's a lot easier than most people think.

Renewable energy sources and development may very well be the only way the global economy is going to move forward. The risks of not doing all we can today to spark renewable energy implementation have far greater consequences than the cost of borrowing because of the credit crisis.

President Elect, Obama has taken a step in the right direction by proposing $150 billion in spending over 10 years on green energy incentives and job training. This path will lead to many, many new jobs, and God knows, America needs jobs!

The bottom line is that renewable energy advantages are just too great for us to pass up. You can build your own solar system for under $200, and you can really save big on your solar panel cost, and build it yourself! Ready to get that screwdriver out? I'll show you how to put them to make money with it!

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How to Monitor Oil Prices Online

There are a number of reasons why someone would need to easily monitor current oil prices. Monitoring Current Oil Prices for Home Heating When it comes to heating your home, the timing of when you buy your oil fillups is critical. Oil prices change substantially depending on the current temperatures and weather in the market where your buying. When the winter temperatures in the Northeast begin to drop, oil prices are very quick to respond accordingly. This is especially true after a long summer where gasoline consumption has been especially high.

In order to meet this summertime need, refineries put oil production and storage on hold in order to meet that demand. When winter temperatures arrive and the demand for home heating oil rises, so do the associated oil prices. This is why many homeowners could benefit greatly from monitoring current oil prices.

Investing in Oil

Another group of consumers who have a need to monitor current oil prices are investors. While crude oil investors certainly have a tremendous need to know the current state of oil prices, investors who are interested in other related industries also have a need to monitor current oil prices. Oil consumption influences many products across a number of large industries. Petroleum is used in plastic, industrial chemicals, and of course fuel that's used to operate large fleets of vehicles. Anything that depends on petroleum is going to react to changes in market oil prices.

Planning Spending

Anothe reason many consumers may need to monitor oil prices is to plan vacations, create shipping schedules, or to strategically plan any other transportation expenses. Individuals and businesses could potentially save a great deal if they monitor oil prices closely and only conduct significant transportation or travel activities during the time when oil prices are especially low. This can also be accomplished by tracking seasonal trends in oil prices and planning activities accoring to which season traditionally has the lowest oil prices.

How to Monitor Current Oil Prices

The obvious place to monitor current oil prices is online. There are thousands of online sources that display the current market price of crude oil. In fact there are even entire websites devoted to crude oil news and discussing anything that could potentially have an effect on the price of crude oil. To learn more, simply conduct a web search for "current oil price" and you'll find many web pages which offer a realtime display of the price. Another excellent resource is which provides all kinds of information and resources about the current price of crude oil, including realtime display widgets.


Wind Power--The Best Green Energy Source

Electricity produced by wind turbines is green power in that it causes no environmental pollution. No greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change are produced either. Wind power generation can be on a large scale,which is the case with most commercial projects,or on a small scale as with home owner turbines.
Wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy without a doubt. Solar energy is also clean,green,power but is more expensive and limited in output. Solar panels are presently expensive in relation to the power they can produce. Nuclear energy supplies a lot of the power requirements in some countries,notably in Europe.

There is however much public opposition to building new nuclear power plants.

In the USA natural gas is the biggest form of new energy production. Wind power is the next in line. In 2008 wind turbines will produce about 1% of the United States power needs. Around 30% of new energy production installed in 2007 was wind power.

Many consumers now realise that green energy must be our highest priority in future,if we are to minimise climate change and it effects. The trend to building fossil fuel powered generating stations must be reversed.

Home owners and farmers can help with the transition to clean power by installing small wind turbines to supply all or part of their electricity needs. These turbines can be purchased from a number of manufacturers and can be installed as a rooftop wind turbine or on a small free standing tower.

Commercial wind turbines are quite expensive in relation to power output. A better solution for many is to build their own low cost wind turbine. A good turbine can be built from auto parts and a few odds and ends at very low cost. Plans and instructions are available for this project.

Any excess power production can be sold to the power utility in many areas thus reducing the cost even further. Power can also be stored in batteries for use when the wind is too light. Even a light breeze will however produce power.

The average home owner can easily build a small wind turbine or several of them to supply part or all of the power required. All that is needed is simple tools and some auto parts and wood. Several can be built for the cost of one commercial wind turbine.

Not a bad business also for anyone who wants to make them for resale. The demand for a low cost turbine is there and can only grow in years ahead.

Why not build your own wind power turbine now and produce your own free green electricity. You will be doing mother earth a favor by reducing atmospheric pollution. This is an idea whose time has come.


Free Home Energy Savers you May Do

We have learned from our educators that energy is neither created nor destroyed. But, this does not mean that it is free. Well, certainly it is fee but for us to use to safely, we need to pay the right cost. And if paying comes a small over what you have allocated on your monthly houseowner financial plan, there are things that must be done.
You has to realize how to conserve energy.

There are some actions that can be done to significantly lower down your electric bills. All you need are common sense & sensitivity on the things you may replace. It will be discussed below.

No cost home energy savers – As was said, with the use of common sense & sensitivity on your actions, you can cut down your electric bills without buying energy savers. Here are the ways to do it:

· Turn of the stereos, televisions, and lights when you leave the room or if you don't need them

Energy is wasted & money is spent ignorantly if these things aren't practiced. Certainly, some of us are aware that turning off appliances when not using then is important but many would still neglect the practice knowing that it would only price them small amount. Yes, it could be small quantity but if you're doing this in your entire life multiply that to the number of appliances you have in your house, you might be injudiciously spending hundreds of bucks.

· Switch off computer monitor when not in use

Exactly similar to your tv, your computer monitor consumes energy. & like your tv, you can want to turn it off while away from your computer.

· Maximise the use of your washing machine or dishwasher

Full load your cleaning machine and dishwashers. Grab note that you consume the same power without any connection to the amount of your wash loads. If in case you have few dishes you have to wash, you can constantly wash & dry them by hand. In this way, you have saved also energy but not just water and dishwashing soap. This also goes with few pieces of garmentses you have to wash. Another energy saver is the front load washing machine. Using this will save you 50% on water and 50% on energy. You can also wanna air dry your dishes as well as your clothes.

· Use cold water when washing your clothes

Total savings that wouldn’t price you a dime is when you determine to rinse your garmentses without using water heaters. Cleaning machines consume most of their energy warming the water that will be used.

· Refrain from using your microwave to thaw frozen meat

If you practice removing frozen meat from the refrigerator & thawing it in your microwave, you're wasting a big expense. In order for you to save, take out frozen meat hrs before you plan to cook it. You may immerse it in warm water do speed up the process.

· Do not put hot or warm food on the fridge

Let them cool down first. The fridge will consume much power in order that cool down these hot foods where in fact you can constantly avoid them.

· Do not use second fridge if needed

If you may squeeze all your “fridgeable” stuff inside 1 fridge, do so. A second refrigerator doubles your energy using up.

· Ensure that your home is sealed

If you're using warming system or air conditioning to heat up or cool down your home, make sure you that your home is totally sealed. This will make certain that the devices are used efficiently. Leakages will keep the heat from your house therefore will push the warming system for work more & consume more energy. This also goes with air conditioning system.

· Lower down the thermostat by up to the desired amount 7 degrees centigrade while not at house or while sleeping

This will keep your energy using up maximize. Be aware of that you don't need super cool air or extremely hot room while you're away or while you are sleeping.

Creating sure that you maximize this will keep you electric bill in your longed for figures. Follow it and see the difference.


Green Energy-a Great Way to Save Cash

Did you know that you can save up to 80% on your energy bill by going green? In just a month you can start saving hundreds of dollars just by creating your own natural energy source. Now is the best time to start going green with the economy doing very bad. You have better things to spend your cash on than your energy bill.

Making your own natural energy source is relatively easy as well. You can create your very own solar panel or wind generator over a weekend. With the right guide and the right resources, making a natural energy source can be incredibly easy and fun.

Forget spending thousands of dollars on having a solar panel or wind generator installed. You can build your own renewable energy source for less than $50. And with that money you will be able to create an energy source that will pay for itself within a month.

You can even earn money from a reneable energy source by selling unused energy back to your utility company. Think about it. Energy is constantly being produced throughout the day. Do you really think you are going to need all of it? Making a natural energy source is a great way to save cash and earn it!

Once you get things going you will have yourself an automated source of income! For a cheap and effective guide on how to create your own natural energy source click the link below. The market of green energy is about to explode. Don't get left behind and pay the price. Go green and get cash right now!



Peak Oil and the '08 Election

The headlines this month have been taken by the most insidious of America's vices: black gold. Oil futures are now projected to exceed $100 a barrel until 2016, and continue to sit comfortably near the $115-120 a barrel mark. Many different causes have been blamed for rising prices at the pump, ranging from massive speculation to supply instability in some oil-producing nations. However, one factor must surely be worrisome to most every American: oil companies haven't been getting enough of the stuff out of the ground.

Exxon Mobil's $11 billion quarterly profit disappointed Wall Street and investors alike, their shares falling 4 percent on May 1st. The largest oil company in the US has seen stagnant margins in most quarters since 2005 without being able to increase production. In fact, their overall production fell 10 percent. Demand in the US has also contracted 2 percent since the beginning of the credit crunch last summer, so Exxon's profits have been reaped in large part because of increasing price pressure on consumers, many of whom have looking to Congress for some relief. They may be looking for a while, as representatives have been less than forthcoming on bipartisan measures since they passed the economic stimulus package into law in February. 

The two Democratic candidates running for President have sharply contrasted on how to address record oil inflation. Both Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton and Republican Senator John McCain have endorsed the idea of temporarily removing the federal gas tax over the summer months. Their reasoning is that consumers will feel the pinch of driving costs most over the summer, which means some offset in price would be more appreciated. However, there is no guarantee that the tax break will reach consumer directly, as many other secondary industries besides the oil companies price their profits into gasoline. Senator Barack Obama has also criticized the two candidates, stating that they were "reading from the same political playbook." However, he hasn't offered forth an alternative.

It is therefore difficult to project how difficult it will be for hard-hit US consumers in the near term, much less come November. Ethanol conversion and use is another issue that will continue to influence price inflation, as greater demand for alternative fuels increases. Many economists already believe that the globe has reached peak oil, or the zenith of possible oil production. This means that energy will only become scarcer and more expensive, and the 18.5 cent federal gas tax will only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to government intervention. Oil prices aren't going down by much even if such a tax break is implemented, primarily because demand from developing countries like China and India continues to grow. Indeed, their combined oil consumption outpaced that of the US for the first time in 2007. Some type of initiative between oil-producing nations will eventually have to be made to move towards more sustainable levels of consumption, but growing divisive political sentiments make it unlikely for anything major to happen until someone new is in the Oval Office.


Global Warming As A US Election Issue

Heat waves, wildfires, droughts and flash floods are among the weather phenomena that will become more intense and frequent due to global warming. There is more in store, as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, primarily flowing from our tailpipes and smokestacks, build up in the atmosphere.

The consequences of not doing anything about global warming pale in comparison to the costs. It will cost the world less economically, in the long run, to wean itself from fossil fuels. It will prevent costly epidemics, natural disasters and possibly even wars spurred by the migrations of people fleeing climate-ravaged regions.

Potential solutions range from asking industry to reduce pollution, as President Bush did to little effect, to taxing carbon, as only a handful in Congress favor. In between are various strategies to encourage the use of renewable energy and 'clean coal',popularize efficient vehicle technology, boost building efficiency, manipulate the market to drive down the level of pollution, and prepare the nation's infrastructure for the changes to come.

Worldwide, emissions in 2050 must drop below 1990 levels by at least 50% - likely much more. That means the decisions made by the next president will be critically important, since industrialized nations will have to make steeper cuts to meet the goal. Until recently, the United States was the world's top carbon polluter (China now pollutes more), and it remains the world's per capita leader and the nation with the longest legacy of pollution.

What is a future president to do? Both Senators Barack Obama and John McCain agree that global warming is real, that humans are largely responsible, that unabated it is likely to have serious consequences and that the federal government should take an active role to reduce the threat. Both support a cap-and-trade regulation that would set nationwide limits on the amount of carbon that could be emitted and allot pollution allowances to individual plants and industries so that those that exceed their limits must buy credits from those that do not.

Here's where they differ:

Senator Barack Obama's Position on Global Warming is that he would aim to cut emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, in line with the scientific consensus for avoiding the worst consequences of global warming. His cap-and-trade regulation would also include an auction of all pollution credits (so no polluter retains the right to pollute for free), and he plans to use the money generated to pursue aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals that would also, he says, create millions of new 'green collar' jobs.

Senator John McCain's Position on Global Warming McCain was an early champion of cap-and-trade in the Senate and last supported a 60% cut below 1990 levels of pollution, short of the goal articulated by the world's scientists. He would allot credits to existing polluters, rather than auctioning them off.


The Conservation Policies Of Presidential Candidates

We all know our Earth is in serious trouble. If there is one person who can really turn around things in our country it is the president. With elections round the corner and a line-up of presidential candidates, don't all of us want to know who truly supports the green movement? Here's a run down on the top candidates and their perspective of the environment:

Hillary Clinton

She has been known for citing serious environmental hazards in all of her speeches. However, it wasn't until late 2007 that she actually drafted a comprehensive solution to the problem. This plan is essentially more like a cap trade mechanism which aims at reducing emissions by as much as 80%! A two-pronged approach focusing on investment and efficiency seems to be the primary strategy as of now. While the efficiency focus deals with elevating standards on vehicles, buildings etc. investment would focus on aspects like hybrids that are pluggable and also ensuring carbon seizures. Plans are also in the initial stages to form a NEC (National Energy Council) of sorts in order to segregate the responsibilities amongst agencies of the federal government. Clinton's plan is pretty similar to the other presidential candidate lineups. However, it remains to be seen if any real implementation happens.

Barack Obama

Barack has been seen touting the usage of liquefied coal at one point which earned him a black mark amongst the green movers. Throughout his campaign he did not really devote time to focus on aspects about the environment or energy. It was only later during October 2007 that he finally released a detailed plan on energy conservation. In addition to the cap trade system promoted by Clinton, Obama also cited an investment of 150 billion to facilitate more green employment opportunities. His detailed plan also enlists aspects on improving efficiency creating a smarter electricity grid system and promoting public transportation.

John McCain

John McCain has been one of the few presidential candidates to truly voice his opinion on global warming issues. In 2003 he brought out the Climate Stewardship Act which was produced in 2005 and yet again in 2007. This proposal also focused on cap trade mechanisms while also cutting down emissions by 65%. He believes fuel efficiency must be raised in a gradual fashion instead of taking dramatic steps to change the existing system.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is an Independent but has managed to carve a name for himself as far as environment protection measures are concerned. In the initial days of his career he started a movement that aimed at getting consumer protection and environment laws passed in parliament. He was also instrumental in getting acts such as Clean Water and Clean Air passed. Till date Nader has voiced his opinion strongly against the funding in favor of nuclear supplies. In addition Nader is also strongly against industries that pollute the environment. He believes aspects like imposition of carbon tax will help protect the environment to a certain extent. He also advocates the usage of solar power as an alternative fuel source.


We Can Break Oil Addiction Permanently

Oil prices have begun their rise into the sky. OPEC knows that oil reserves are falling and that demand is rising. OPEC has cornered the petroleum market. OPEC's prospects for jacking up oil prices without opposition are unlimited. Or are they?

Consumers cannot expect any help from drilling for oil on US soil. US oil companies have been raising prices in lockstep with OPEC.

Two onerous facts are still annoying the energy industry. OPEC must make sure that world economies do not collapse under the burden of excessive oil prices. The goose that lays the golden eggs must be kept alive. OPEC will carefully manage supplies and petroleum prices to maintain optimum cash flows coming, but will avoid studiously the collapse of world economies. Then there is another, more serious threat, which is more difficult to control by OPEC. It comes from the battered fuel users.

People are slowly awakening to the fact that the world is overheating and that the accelerating combustion of fossil fuel is the culprit. Combustion of fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Only a small amount of this carbon dioxide is absorbed in oceans, lakes, and rivers. Most of it is accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is a very stable chemical compound and stays for very long times in the atmosphere. It is also optically active. This means that it absorbs and emits thermal radiation. Heat transfer processes between Sun and Earth and Earth and Outer Space are being altered. As a result, the Earth is heating up.

Governments across the world must get together and make plans to stop fossil fuel burning as soon as possible. After all, ice melting is already leading to an unstoppable rise in sea levels and climate changes are being reported increasingly from all quarters of our world.

What can enlightened governments do to prevent unavoidable damages by coming climate events, which are caused by the overheating of our planet?

Modern energy supplies are exclusively based on three energy forms; electric power, heating gases, and liquid fuels. The technology for converting fossil fuel fired power plants and making them emission-free is widely available. Sufficient nuclear fuel can be mined or reclaimed and will last at least for another century. Windmills and submerged turbines can generate electricity from wind power and marine power. Substantial amounts of electricity can be produced by photovoltaic and thermal conversion of sunlight.

The future outlook for replacing coal and natural gas energy with renewable energies for electric power generation is bright. Costs of future electric energy supplies can likely be kept from escalating due to the low cost of nuclear fuels and the complete lack of energy costs for sunshine, wind, and moving water.

The outlook for suitable replacements of liquid fuel energy, on the other hand, is quite dismal. At present, there is one, and only one, potential replacement technology for liquid fuels on the horizon; the conversion of biomass into petroleum substitutes. Nature has converted biomass into petroleum before. We must now learn to imitate this process. We know how to apply heat, high pressures, catalysts, and chemicals. However, we do not know yet, how nature succeeded in converting carbohydrates in the form of biomass into clean and highly concentrated hydrocarbons.

The past history of converting biomass into viable motor fuels shows many failures. We have just witnessed another misstep. The US administration elected to subsidize the large-scale production of ethanol from corn. The energy yield from converting corn into ethanol is exceptionally low. Driven by a substantial subsidy of $0.51 per gallon of ethanol and by skyrocketing gasoline prices, demand for ethanol was artificially driven up and made ethanol competitive with gasoline at fueling stations.

Increased ethanol demand drove up the price of corn. Increased corn prices drove up the prices of many foods. Escalating food prices led to protests and riots worldwide. The apparent lesson is that the world cannot tolerate the direct competition between food and biofuel substitutes based on market prices. Instead, we must keep the growing of food crops completely separated from the farming of biomass for the production of liquid fuels.

Most importantly, the US must establish a new, autonomous agency that will develop processes for producing petroleum substitutes from biomass in less than a decade. Only by producing a high quality petroleum substitute can the world expect to stop global overheating and to contain skyrocketing oil prices. The production of an affordable petroleum substitute at $50 per barrel will preserve our fleets of automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes. It will also preserve oil refineries. Inexhaustible liquid refinery feedstocks from biomass will give the oil industry an opportunity to replace high priced fossil petroleum reserves and to halt global overheating.

There is an excellent chance that the US can take the lead in developing this novel technology and reap unique benefits. But we must be vigilant about one fact; OPEC and energy industry interests across the world will fight such endeavor with all their unrivaled might.


Effects Of Global Warming on Agriculture

The earth's climate has been relatively stable for thousands of years. We know intuitively that it is hot, humid, and rainy in the Amazon, and that corn grows well in the US Midwest. We know that at a particular altitude we should plant a crop during a certain week of the year because conditions for it are just right then. For most of our memory as humans, our climates have closely oscillated around predictable patterns, and this has allowed us to feed ourselves and flourish.

When a stable climate system is modified beyond its "tipping point," it gets out of balance and loses its equilibrium. While the system searches for a new set of patterns to stabilize around, variability and uncertainly are the norm. This, in essence, is the nature of the challenge that we are now facing.

Agriculture is one of the most weather-dependent of all human activities. It is ironic, then, that a significant percentage of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. Fossil fuel-intensive agriculture is contributing to the creation of the unpredictable weather conditions that all farmers will need to battle in the not-too-distant future.

The Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s allowed us to increase yields by "borrowing" solar energy from the past in the form of fossil-fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides. When one adds in the oil used for processing and packaging foods and for refrigerating and shipping them long distances, it's easy to see how the food industry consumes about 20% of all the oil used in the US.

About 1% of the world's annual energy usage goes into the production of fertilizers. This might not seem like much, but it ties the price of food to that of natural gas, and will make food prices shoot up once energy supplies start to dwindle.

In the UK, food production and distribution account for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The 18% is split fairly evenly between "on-the-farm emissions" (from farming activities) and "beyond-the-farm emissions" (from transportation and processing activities, etc.).

While we've all gotten used to carbon dioxide being the bad boy on the global warming block, agriculture's greenhouse-gas contributions include healthy shares of methane and nitrous oxide, both of which are more potent than CO2.

Finally, while production and transport of chemical fertilizers and pesticides lead directly to creation of greenhouse gases, use of these chemicals also does so indirectly by reducing farm soil's capacity to store carbon.

So, what to do? Go organic! United Kingdom's Environment Secretary notes that, in many cases, organic agriculture produces fewer greenhouse gases than conventional equivalents. There's a catch, though. Organic food transported long distances is NOT helpful. So, go organic AND local.

We are already seeing some climate changes that may be indicative of what's to come for agriculture:

1) Maple syrup production in the American northeast is suffering. The climate in which maple trees thrive is expected to move about two degrees (of latitude) north to Canada. Maple syrup production is already down by about 10% because of warmer and shorter winters.

2) The southwestern United States is already experiencing a lack of water - without water for irrigation, this area is too dry for large-scale agriculture - and serious desertification is expected to happen within the next few decades. Conditions similar to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s are expected to be the norm in the area by the 2030s.

3) All over the country, we are seeing earlier bird migrations and northward shifts in the ranges of crops and pests.

4) We're also seeing increased peaks in spring run-off from glacier melt and snow-fed rivers.

Global-warming-related changes will affect the future of farming in myriad ways. Here are some examples:

1) The snow pack in California's Sierra Mountains has been gradually declining for the last 50 years, and the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says that it could ultimately be reduced by 60% to 90%. This will result in a very serious lack of water for Central Valley farmers during the summer months. Southern California will be particularly hard hit.

2) A Colorado State University study shows that warming will cause Colorado's grazing lands to become less productive.

3) Florida is expected to get heavier rains and flooding, which will be hard on citrus and other crops.

4) Most importantly for the US economy and for the "mainstream" industrial food system, which is primarily "corn-fed," the latest climate models predict that it might become too hot and dry to grow corn in what is now called the Corn Belt.

Scientists believe that higher carbon dioxide levels and temperatures may actually increase yields slightly - as long as the temperature increase is no more that a few degrees C. Beyond that, the warming effect dominates and crop yields decrease. Keeping in mind that, so far, observed global warming effects keep surpassing scientists expectations (in a bad way), it seems likely that rising temperatures in farming regions will wreak havoc on crop yields.

Less availability of irrigation water due to warmer temperatures will also be a big negative for dry areas. Many of our most productive farming areas depend heavily on irrigation. Further, there is a local cooling effect in irrigated areas (from evaporating water) that moderates temperatures, helping crops survive withering summer temps. Thus, less irrigation will exacerbate global-warming-driven temperature increases in water-short areas. And remember - 40% of the world's food supply comes from the 2% of land that is dependent on irrigation.

On the other side of the water issue, global warming is expected to increase "severe weather events." That will be another blow to global agricultural output.

Globally, yields for many of the world's main staple crops are bound to decline. A study by researchers at the Lawrence picture of parched corn Livermore National Labs and Stanford University compared yields for the world's six main staple crops - wheat, rice, corn, soybeans, barley and sorghum - and found a 3% to 5% decline for every one degree of temperature increase. Those six crops account for at least 55% of non-meat calories consumed by people, and more than 70% of the world's animal feed. The IPCC's latest report estimates an average warming of between 3 and 11 degrees by the end of the century.


Electric Cars: Plug in Today!

Call it an electric vehicle (EV) or call it a battery electric vehicle (BEV), but a rose by any other name would still smell sweet if it utilized green technology. Electric cars flourished in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but limitations like low top speeds helped seal their fate. Advances in manufacturing processes of internal combustion engines, the starter motor, increased mileage ranges, and cheaper gasoline production methods all helped to nudge electric cars off the road. Of course there are those who say that big oil was behind the defeat of electric cars. There has been some credence given to these sorts of claims by the fact that GM had developed an electric cars in the 1980's only to have it shelved after pressure from oil companies. With emissions from 600 million vehicles contributing to global warming, hybrid electric cars are the probably the next best alternative we have. Yet companies like Tesla have put pure electric cars back on the map. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are a pleasure to ride. As time goes on more and more car companies will move first to hybrids, but then ultimately to fully electric cars.

Where are all those electric cars?

A completely electric car doesn't yet exist for mainstream commercial use. There is a neighborhood class of electric cars, or personal electric vehicles (PEVs). While the battery can recharge overnight while you sleep, a 30 to 40 mile range isn't likely to sit well even with the little ole' lady from Pasadena.

What about Hybrid Electric Cars?

The practical solution for now is electric hybrids that utilize two fuel sources. Gasoline-electric cars are a cross between a gasoline-powered car and an electric car, and a mild electric hybrid has enhanced performance as a first priority and fuel economy second. 

The Chevrolet Volt, scheduled for production in 2010, is an extended-range electric hybrid car that will use gas or E85 ethanol. Its battery can be recharged while driving, and its estimated driving range is 640 miles. A full electric hybrid pursues optimal fuel economy, and cars like the Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Honda Civic Hybrid fall within this latter category. Since all electric hybrids use some gasoline, it is a compromise, but reduced emissions and minimized shortcomings of the electric car are a start, yet far from the ideal vision of a complete clean fuel car.

Hybrid electric cars also allow for the transition in terms of infrastructure to fully electric propulsion system. Hybrids just might be around until enough electric and /or battery stations are around in order to keep charging the fleet of electric cars. Ultimately as new sources for primary energy (like wind and solar) come on board a greater incentive for manufacturers and consumers to develop and buy pure electric cars may in fact occur. One can only hope as the world faces dire predictions of peak oil and global warming that these vehicles and infrastructure can be developed and built quickly and inexpensively.


Do You Have The Proper Tools to Build An Electric Car?

There are many places that you can find electric car conversion kits. What is an electric car conversion kit? Well, it is a set of equipment and parts that will allow you to make your gasoline powered car into an electric car. Many specialty car places carry electric car conversion kits or you can find them readily available online.

You will first have to make sure that having an electric car will fit your needs. Before you go out and spend a lot of money on an electric car conversion kit, you will want to be sure that an electric car will mesh with your lifestyle. There are a lot of things to consider before you go green.

The average conversion for an electric car has a realistic range of 30 to 100 miles in everyday driving conditions depending on the type of batteries you have and the weight of the vehicle. If your commute is more then 35 miles one way in very hilly terrain an electric car may not be a good idea. However, if your commute is on average terrain and is about 20 miles each way an electric car is perfect. If you are a two car family and one car is usually used for short trips you may want to consider an electric car.

You will want to have easy access to be able to charge your car. When you charge an electric car, you will plug it in at night and then be good to go in the morning. Do you have an acceptable electrical outlet in or near your garage? If so, then an electric car will be very good for you.

Do you have the proper tools to build an electric car? With conversion kits available today most people with basic hand and power tools can do the work themselves. Some tasks can be contracted out such as welding. The only special tools you will need are a torque wrench, cable crimpers, and an engine crane, all of which can be rented.

However, if you are not really good with engines and mechanics, once you get your electric car conversion kit, you may want to contract the services of an experienced mechanic. These people know all the components of a car and are able to accurately determine where changes need to be made in order to convert your vehicle to an electric car.

Once you know that you want to make the change, go out and buy your electric car conversion kit. Then, once it is done, you will know that you are doing your part for the environment as well as for yourself.


Will Ford Produce A Fully Electric Car Instead of Hybrid Cars In The Near Future?

While the Ford Motor Company is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, they have long been reluctant to get into the electric car market. However, they did manufacture, market, and sell an electric car in an attempt to meet the consumer demands for a cleaner car that will produce less pollution and emit no greenhouse gases. Ford responded with their own version of the electric car.

The Think City electric car was produced by Ford several years ago, and many people took advantage of this pollution free, energy efficient vehicle. However, the United States has very strict standards when it comes to the safety of the vehicles on Americas roads. Unfortunately, the Think City electric car did not meet those rigorous standards so Ford ceased production and actually crushed the cars when they were returned at the end of customers leases. There are still some Think City cars out there, but they are no longer being marketed by Ford.

Ford has, however, started exploring and implementing the production of hybrid electric cars that run mostly on battery power and have the ability to switch over to gasoline power. In fact, there are many of these electric vehicles on the road today. Ford is a leader in the industry and they did not want to limit their production of electric vehicles to just cars. You can now find electric Ford trucks, SUVs, and mini vans.

Electric cars made by Ford are now mostly of the hybrid version, but there also are Ford brand electric cars that you can find overseas. Because other countries do not have as stringent safety standards, people in countries like England and France have taken the advantages of the electric car and are driving them en masse.

Some people are disappointed that Ford has made the move from a totally electric car to a hybrid vehicle, but without being able to meet safety standards, the companys hands essentially were tied. It was not cost efficient for them to take the electric cars already on the road and meet the set standards, so they had to do what they could to meet the demands of their customers for a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

Being an industry leader in the car field, Ford is doing what they can to meet the requests of their customers for an electric car. Perhaps in the future, a fully electric car with the Ford name on it is possible. But for now, Ford enthusiasts will have to settle for hybrid versions.


How to Research Alternative Energy Stocks

Let us say you have decided to look into the possiblities of alternative energy.
Perhaps even put some money into it, but you don't know where to start?
Perhaps you have even started researching this field and want to get further information on alternative energy stocks.
Or you may be doing some writing on the topic.
In any of these cases, you want to access good information quickly.
These stocks are going through the ceiling.

Even though 2007 was a static year for most investments, alternative energy stocks such as solar energy have grown. This growth outpaced the stockmarket indices last year, and, though growth is expected to slow,it is still expected to be substantial. The technology for alternative energy is still in its infancy and great developments are still expected. The problems of fossil fuels makes more and more peope realize that alternatives need to be found.

Recently, we have seen weather changes, shortages in oil, increases in prices at the pump and many other problems that make the public think more and more about alternative energy. Investments in this technology will alleviate these problems while bringing a profit to investors.

Invesing in alternative energy stocks is investing in an unlimited resource, since you are investing in the technology, not the resource itself.

How do you get the information you need about alternative energy stocks? The best single place is the internet. Information changes daily, so new information is made available constantly.

There are websites that can give you comparative performances between the various alternative energy stocks.

Look at all of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these stocks and decide.

Just be alert to the fact that some websites are sponsored by the stock they are touting.

In other words, trying to influence you to buy their stock.

And receive your investment.

Even if you see a strong expected growth pattern, you need to be careful that it is not a stock that will fizzle out quickly. You're in this market to make money, not lose it.

So don't just examine the fact sheet about a stock; make sure you know the history of the company and its principals.

There are even some mutual funds that specialize in alternative energy stocks. That makes the decision easier for you.

In theory, if you found the right start up alternative energy company, you could be investing in the next Microsoft.

It has become clear that alternative energy is going to be the primary source of energy for the future.

We know now that we cannot continue to power the earth by poisoning it.

Or help our economies by destroying them.

Alternative energy is the investment for today.


Explaining the Difference between Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy Credits

You think you understand renewable energy credits. You're sure you understand Carbon Offsets. You are fuzzy on the details about how they differ and when the purchase of one or the other might be appropriate. Never fear! This article explains the key differences, and similarities, between the two.
The first difference is the way that offsets and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are measured. Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of C02 or C02 Equivalent. Renewable Energy Credits are measured in kilowatt hours, which are a standard electricity measurement metric. A kilowatt hour is the amount of work that can be performed by one kilowatt of energy in one hour.

Picture a lonely, dim lightbulb hanging from the ceiling that turns on for one hour each day by which you feverishly darn socks in a carbon constrained world; that's a watt, and for the privilege of its use, you'll be charged for 1/1000 kwh of electricity each day. These days, you probably use a several kwh per day.

The second difference between carbon offsets and renewable energy credits is that renewable energy credits only come from renewable energy projects (solar, wind geothermal, biofuels, etc.) while carbon offsets can come from all different kinds of projects, including renewable energy generation, that reduce the level of greenhouse gases that are entering the atmosphere.

To put it another way, RECs are primarily concerned with promoting the generation of clean energy, while carbon offsets are primarily concerned with preventing the emissions that enter the atmosphere.

They are both systems that have developed to deal with global warming systematically, but they have different approaches. RECs are forward looking, focused on building a clean energy economy and providing an extra incentive for the creation of renewable energy, while carbon offsets are oriented in the present, dealing with preventing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere right now.

Because of these different measurement systems and the different foci of the two programs, RECs and carbon offsets have different precision rates when it comes to carbon. Carbon offsets are all about exactitude, and many of the discussions about the efficacy of offsets center around the degree of certainty a buyer has that the exact amount of carbon s/he has paid for is actually being prevented or captured. RECs, on the other hand, are measured in kilowatt hours, and the carbon content of that 'saved' kwh differs depending on the location of the project and the quality of the local electricity.

The dirtier the local electricity, the more carbon an REC 'saves.' Different utilities around the country use different mixes of energy sources, from coal to natural gas to renewables, to create electricity. These sources vary widely in their carbon content. To make matters even more confusing, a utility might even change the mix it uses depending on the time of day- when peak load sets in they might have to rely on dirtier power sources than they would otherwise.

So, it's impossible to say exactly how much carbon a clean kwh of renewable energy 'offsets.' The closest we can get is to use the 'emissions factor' for energy from the local utility, which is the average emissions for the mix of sources that the utility uses to create power, and multiply it by the number of kilowatt hours to produce an estimate of the carbon saved per kilowatt. But it will always be an estimate.

This is not to say that RECs are no good. They are an extremely effective way to promote clean energy because they give the providers and extra incentive to keep creating clean energy and we need all the incentives we can get to move toward a clean energy economy. RECs just aren't the most accurate way to offset carbon. I highly recommend using RECs to offset electricity use, because your electric bills will have a record of the exact number of kwh you used, and you can buy RECs to account for all the dirty emissions your plugged-in Macbook caused. Then, you can buy carbon offsets to cover all your driving and flying.

'But what about renewable carbon offsets?', you say. 'Those seem like the best of both worlds!' I'm getting there. Those are good to, and if you really value the promotion of clean energy despite some of the accuracy issues, you can buy renewable energy offsets. Many times offsets will actually come from the exact same projects as the RECs, but the nice thing about buying the offset version instead of buying RECs and doing the calculations yourself is that someone else, hopefully a third party verifier, is determining how much carbon each kwh of clean energy replaced. So you don't have to! Rest easy, and lay off the carbon guilt.

About the Author:

James Nash is a climate scientist with Greatest Planet ( Greatest Planet is a non-profit environmental organization specialising in carbon offset investments. James Nash is solely responsible for the contents of this article.


Dummies Guide To Green Living

What is Green Living - Green Living is a life philosophy. Proponents of green living aims to conduct their lives in such a way that they have an all encompassing awareness of saving the earth and its environment.

As a supporter of Green living, you carry out your life in an eco-friendly and responsible manner, an attempt to minimize the size of your ecological footprint. Green living includes the conservation of resources, recycling, sustainability, green construction, alternative energy, organic food choices and other environmental topics.

Green Lifestyle - Each choice you make requires a consideration of the consequences of the choice, and the way that the decision will affect the environment and all living things within it. Ecological consciousness and care for the earth are of paramount importance in the decision-making process.By minimizing their "ecological footprints" - the extent to which they create an environmental impact, proponents of green living hope to preserve the earth for future generations of human beings and other life.

Green Technology - Green technology is essential for the conservation of energy, soil health, green building, environmentally preferred purchasing, green chemistry and green nanotechnology.Developing green technology includes toxic-waste-eating trees, smart electricity grids and floating environmental sensors. Then there is the alternative-energy home fueling station that could jump-start the long-awaited hydrogen economy. This technology may seem far out-but it will probably be here a lot sooner than we think.

Green Building - Green building is basically the practice of using eco-friendly building materials and designing homes and offices to be more energy efficient.A zero-energy building has no net energy consumption when measured across a year's time. It uses alternative energy sources like solar and wind power. Both zero- and low-energy buildings are great for green living.

Green Energy - Green technologist aims produce energy without burning all the world's coal and using all the world's fossil fuels and natural resources. Alternative energy is related to green living as it includes energy alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. The main drive behind alternative energy is to find renewable, eco-friendly sources of energy like solar or wind power.

Organic Food - Organic food refers to food items that are produced, processed and packaged without using chemicals. Organic food is increasingly becoming popular due to its perceived health benefits over conventional food. Droves of people are turning to organic produce as a way to feel safer about the foods they eat. People are worried about the foods they put into their bodies. With all of the reports of food poisoning from fruits and vegetables, many people are worried about what they are eating.

Renewable Energy - Strictly speaking, renewable energy is energy that is replenished at the same rate it's used. As the center of green living, renewable energy encourages use of solar, wind, and other alternative forms of energy.

Solar Energy - Solar energy is the conversion of the sun's rays to energy, very good for green living. Active solar technology uses electrical or mechanical equipment to convert the sun's rays into usable energy for heating or whatever. Passive solar technology does not use any outside non-solar energy.

Sustainablility - Sustainability, central to green living, is about preserving the environment and natural resources for years to come. It is the process of maintaining a small ecological footprint so that one's life has no permanent detrimental effect on the earth. There are specific fields within it like sustainable architecture, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable development.Green living habits are worthwhile no matter what our circumstances - privileged or not.
About the Author:

Paul Hata is active in various social and community programs aimed at providing equal access to education,health and jobs to all.Paul has over 10 years experience in managing a multi-million dollar advertising company.Paul can be reached at -


Fuel Economy-a Beginners Guide

What is Fuel Economy?

According to Wikipedia, fuel economy in cars is the amount of fuel required to move a vehicle over a given distance. It is usually measured by the amount of fuel used per unit distance i.e. the number of litres of fuel used to travel 100 kilometres. The lower the value, the better the fuel economy as it takes less fuel to drive the same distance.

Why is Fuel Economy important?

With petrol prices at an all time high, a few simple steps to improve your fuel economy can save you money, which is always good. Plus, burning fossil fuels adds to pollution and climate change, and adds to our dependence on oil which, as we know, is a non-renewable source of energy.

What can I do to improve Fuel Economy?

Hybrid cars are considered to be extremely fuel efficient. A hybrid car is powered by petrol and electricity, so doesn’t burn petrol all the time. The Toyota Prius model, for example, is rated as the Top Performer on the Green Vehicle Guide from the Australian government with a fuel consumption of 4.4L per 100km.

Can I improve Fuel Economy without spending money?

Yes! The good news is there are lots of ways in which you can improve fuel economy without buying a new car or gadgets.

On the Road

  • Watch Your Speed - Higher speeds use more fuel. Most cars run at a maximum efficiency around 95kmph (60mph). Website shows how driving speed affects gas mileage.

  • Drive smoothly – Avoid stopping and starting your vehicle as it takes more fuel to get a vehicle moving than it does to keep it moving. Aggressive driving like rapid acceleration and braking also wastes fuel as when you do it, you send more fuel to the engine.

  • Using Cruise Control can help save fuel as you travel at a constant speed

In the Garage

  • Look after your car – regular maintenance will avoid fuel economy problems like dragging brakes or transmission problems. A well lubricated engine reduces friction and takes less fuel to run. Also, keeping your car clean and waxed improves aerodynamics and fuel economy!

  • Correct tyre pressure is vital for fuel efficiency. Properly inflated tyres have less contact with the road, encounter less friction so the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move the car.

  • Check your air filters – dirty air filters restrict air flow to the engine which reduces performance and economy.

  • Clean out the boot! Added weight reduces fuel economy.

Some other tips

  • Plan your trips so you make one big trip instead of lots of small ones – a warm engine is more efficient than a cool one.

  • Buy fuel on Tuesdays when it’s cheapest!

  • Keep an eye on cheap fuel prices in your area. Check out for Sydney.

Favourite Tip

While researching this piece, I came across one tip that most people would probably be willing to try – work a four day week! By driving to work one day less a week, you can save on fuel costs and help the environment. Now that’s one idea I will be pitching to the boss…


Eight Green Gift Ideas

Copyright (c) 2008 Virginia Ginsburg
Giving green gifts is increasingly popular, as it provides an opportunity for your gift to stand out from the crowd and make a positive impact on the Earth.
When giving a green gift, you have to consider several elements, including the gift itself, its source, its packaging, and the company providing it. These elements all make an impact on the Earth, and thus deserve careful consideration.

First of all, the gift itself must be considered. Ideally, its contents should be organic, or at least have a minimum impact on the Earth. For example, paper products should be recycled; cloth products should be made of organic fibers like cotton, bamboo or hemp. Wooden products should be made of fast-growing woods or recycled hard woods.

Second, the packaging of the product should be minimal to reduce waste. Seek zero packaging when possible. Next best is recycled paper packaging. The least desirable packaging is plastic, which takes significant energy to produce and is difficult to recycle. If the only option is plastic packaging, seek minimal amounts of plastic.

Third, the source of the gift is important based on both human rights considerations and transportation costs. It's no secret that most U.S. companies manufacture their products outside of the U.S. This is sometimes the only option when it comes to economy, but you can be a conscious consumer by researching the country of origin to determine how likely it is that they frequently are cited for human rights violations. The fuel costs involved in shipping products from foreign countries vary, but can make a significant impact on the product's overall cost to the environment.

Finally, consider the company itself. It may surprise you to discover that some companies that sell green products are actually not green at all. They may actually be less than green companies. Other companies that use less sustainable products may in fact be greener overall when you consider product sourcing and packaging. The best thing to do is to think beyond the label on a product and do a little bit of research. Consider the concepts above and apply them to all of your green purchases for more conscious consumption.

Eight Easy Options For Green Gift Giving

1. Gift Certificates - require almost no transportation resources or packaging, and ensure the recipient will get exactly what he or she wants. Choose local, environmentally-conscious companies from which to secure the certificates.

2. Organic Products - are often sourced from environmentally-conscious companies that minimize their impact on the world. Consider clothing, accessories and beauty items.

3. Charity Donation - requires no transportation resources or packaging, and directly make a positive impact on the world. Check out organizations that benefit global resource initiatives, focusing on something meaningful to the recipient like water or air quality, or wildlife protection.

4. Local Home-Made Products - buying locally-made products supports the local economy and minimizes transportation impact. Look for hand-made gift items like bags, decorative boxes and children's toys.

5. Massage - a hands-on gift requires almost no waste, and the only products required are a little bit of massage oil.

6. Eco Spa Day - while many spas use treatments that are tested on animals and contain ingredients that don't meet the green standard, eco spas specialize in treating guests to luxury without negatively impacting the Earth.

7. Home-Made Food - if you like to cook, select the best organic and locally-grown products available and prepare a home-made meal that you can either share or drop off. Don't live nearby? Bake organic cookies and send them in the mail.

8. Week of Groceries - take the task of grocery shopping off their to-do list by visiting the local farmer's market or responsible grocery store. Remember to include some recipes for how they can cook the food!


How Green Are Green Cars?

With the issue of global warming taking on international importance in recent years, unsurprisingly the focus has fallen on car drivers, with cars seen as one of the major contributors towards global warming. Green cars have been held up as a potential solution, one that motorists should be embracing.
But are green cars actually 'green'?

Firstly, let's take pure electric cars. Unfortunately these electric cars are anything but good for the environment. The electricity that they run on is produced in power stations, where only 30-40% of the energy is converted into electricity. Transferring this electricity along electric cables then results in a further 30% being lost to heat energy. So by the time this electricity reaches an electric car a huge amount of the energy has already been lost. Good for cutting down inner city pollution but efficient it certainly isn't.

Recently hybrid cars have been preferred, cars that contain both an electric motor and a petrol engine. The battery for the motor is powered by the energy generated from braking. When it comes to being 'green' these cars in theory offer many more environmental benefits.

In practice this isn't necessarily the case. Consumer magazine Which? tested four hybrid cars by driving them throughout London. The results were disappointing, as mentioned by George Marshall-Thornhill, senior researcher for Which?, "Some of these should have performed much better." And this is all without mentioning how to dispose of troublesome electric batteries.

Then there's the cost of hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car and can be purchased for around £17,000. However, with fuel economy claims in doubt and 55% of people believing that green cars are too expensive, there is still some way to go before green cars arrive on a large scale.

The facts are that green cars use more energy to produce, are harder to dispose of, their fuel economy claims have been doubted, and they are simply too expensive. The age of the green car has not arrived yet.

About the Author:
Charles Cridland founded the car parking site, where you can rent a parking space or find a parking space or garage to rent.


Wave and Tidal Power to Generate Electricity

It’s not a new idea, but until now technology was insufficient to realize wave energy projects in industry sizes. Long stretches of western coastline open to energy-laden North Atlantic waves and tides make Scotland a very good place for developing wave and tidal power generation systems. The long-lasting marine renewables industry is booming right now, or it will for sure in the coming years. These investments are very capital-intensive they depend on building large wave and tidal power systems on enormous territories that connect into a grid... This is one of the reasons why progress has been limited.

Estimations show that systems built on the west coast of Scotland could produce up to 20 gigawatts and an average of 80 terrawatt-hour per year! Holy cow, that is 1/5 of UK’s total electrical consumption! Hydro and wind take up large portion of installed renewable power sources, including biomass to electricity and biomass heat, Scottish Renewables states in a recent statistic publication.

Major companies invest in wind and solar farms instead of wave and tidal plants. Private investors and large multinational companies don’t like to risk: they stick with something that is working already, no matter what developers of marine renewables demonstrate (like the aforementioned study that would guarantee 1/5 of UK’s consumption from renewable source without the need to sacrifice croplands or meadows!).

It is good to know though, that there are already future plans and alternatives to current-alternatives like wind and solar power (no matter how odd this may sound). These last ones are available for end consumers also like you and me, and if you want to know how to harness them to eliminate your power bill, click on the link found at the end of this article!


Wind Power Battery Storage System

There is a new Canadian technology could make wind power a much more reliable source of energy with their new wind power battery storage system. VRB Power Systems Inc. ( is a company in Vancouver that has developed a large-scale storage unit which allows it to a hold significant amount of power.

These batteries could be the solution to the main problem that we have with wind, the fact that it is unpredictable. Five percent of the electricity produced in Saskatchewan comes from wind. Wind power would be a great alternative to using coal if they could only predict the amount of wind they would be receiving.

Hydro offers a dependable power supply to meet basic industrial and residential needs. Wind adds to the mix of hydro and gas however it does not do it consistently. Wind can decide to blow at night when there is no demand for it at all, or it may decide to be unavailable when people actually need it.

Although coal is a much more dependable resource, it has a huge downside and that is the amount of pollution that it sends off into the atmosphere. To use clean coal technology would be very expensive. The new power plant that might be built in Saskatchewan will cost roughly $1.5 billion to produce 300 MW of power that we could actually use.

If they decided to spend the same amount of money on wind the plant would be able to give off 1,000 MW of power. However unfortunately for the reasons that have been already stated they can not rely on wind power to satisfy the people’s basic needs. It would be wonderful if we could store large amounts of wind power and then use it when it is necessary. Although storing wind power in batteries is not feasible, the VRB wind power battery storage system technology just may allow it to be possible of us to do so.


Green Electricity is Here…why Aren’t You Going Green ?

After long wait, the supposed energy “crisis” just might force politicians to finally get us off the Middle Eastern tit of oil. I am going to put myself out on a limb here and say that I actually think the high gas prices are a good thing. While they do leave a pain in the wallet of most American families - mine included - the reality is that the way we Americans seem to learn best is through the wallet.

Take cigarettes, for example. When the cost of a pack of cigarettes became so high that buying them became more than a thoughtless expense, the consumer demand for smokes started going down. How many remember all those surgeon general warnings and studies showing that smoking was bad for us? All the warnings in the world weren’t enough to get people to put out their smokes. It wasn’t until the cost started to rise that people finally took notice. The point is that money talks when it comes to getting us to make a change, and I firmly believe that the same holds true when it comes to making an energy change.

It didn’t take the Japanese long to figure out that Americans make decisions with their wallets. That is precisely why they are building more economical automobiles while providing the level of quality American consumers demand. Thanks to the better leadership of Japanese companies and their desire to invest in energy saving technology, a growing number of Americans are making better energy choices with their wallets. While it may take awhile for us to make the transformation from gas to hybrid technology to sensible ethanol, biomass or hydrogen technology for our transportation, there are choices that Americans can already be making right now in their own homes that can help with the “crisis” we are currently facing.

The facts are simple. The vast majority of electricity comes from coal fired plants, followed by natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants. In the future, we can hope that biomass technology will also contribute substantially to electrical production. At present, there are also many wind and solar projects in the works, but there is still a need for a greater amount of change.

Experts agree that most consumers realize global warming is occurring and are at least somewhat aware of the importance of shrinking their carbon footprints. Most think this involves having solar panels on their house and using fluorescent light bulbs. While both are certainly helpful, getting green power is an easier and more effective step to take.

Unfortunately, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that only 700,000 out of 122.5 million American households are buying green power. While it is true that not all households have access to green energy sources, only about 1.8% of those with access to green energy are participating in these programs. Some areas of the country, such as Palo Alto, California in Silicon Valley, are ahead of the curve when it comes to switching to green energy. In fact, the participating rates in this part of the country are at about 20%. Palo Alto is somewhat of an anomaly in that the city is home to a highly educated affluent populace that is receptive to change and innovation. Nearby Santa Clara also has stellar participating rate of about 8.7%.

But, the real question is why aren’t more people taking advantage of these programs? The answer is simple: many are not aware that they can actually buy green power.

The Green Power Network, which is run by the department of energy, makes it easy for you to see whether or not you can purchase green power through your local utility company. While there is a small premium for choosing green power, most can easily make up for the extra cost by foregoing their daily super latte from the coffee shop.

Currently, 44 states offer green electrical power to their customers. In order to participate in one of these programs, you simply buy and pay for green power from your usual supplier. For most Californians, this would be either Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison. Your supplier then applies the amount of power you purchase to the grid system.

Most power companies also sell green “renewable energy certificates,” or RECs, separately. RECs represent one megawatt hour( MWh) of renewable energy, which may be produced from solar, wind or other renewable sources. Each MWh you purchase means that one less MWh of the polluting coal variety needs to be produced.

Excluding hydroelectric energy, only about 3% of our nation’s energy currently comes from renewable energy sources. In California, the figure is more like 11% and new legislation mandates that utility companies produce 20% energy of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. As you can imagine, the companies are scrambling to sign contracts with renewable energy producers. The reality is that there may not be enough capacity for them to meet the goal by 2010 but, if you ask me, the goal should be higher and the state should be shooting for having 33% of its energy being from renewable sources by 2020. Now, that is a goal that can make a real difference.






The Investment Into Green Energy

In the United States, Canada and Australia both commercial and residential consumers can buy green energy from their standard local utility provider of from a provider that specializes in green energy. Many third party suppliers of energy provide green energy electricity that is produced from renewable resources. This energy is delivered to consumers by way of their local electric utility company. The consumer who opts for this green energy course pays a small premium each month on her or his utility bill as the additional cost of the green energy they are getting. The other option is to buy directly from the green energy supplier.

Of course, when a consumer buys the green energy via the local utility company he or she can not know its really green energy in other words, they do not know that they truly got what they paid extra for. It is a matter of trust. The local electric company buys the electricity from the various producers. These can be nuclear, coal, hydroelectric power on a large scale or green energy providers such as solar and wind energy producers.

Must electricity from the local utility company in any country comes from fossil fuels or nuclear power that is not renewable and or pollutes the environment to a high and dangerous level. Green energy is the current provider of a minimal percentage of our worlds electricity. In fact, when utility companies buy green energy for the consumers that request it they generally only buy 25 percent of what they ultimately provide to all.

Consumers who sign up with their local utility provider to pay a premium each month for green energy are not only helping to save their environment but they are also sending a message to the utility companies and the legislature that they are willing to pay extra for healthy air for us all.

There are environmentally conscious, forward thinking countries such as the Netherlands that have committed themselves to matching their consumers purchase of green energy with an equal amount of green energy buy for governmental use. The government of Holland exempts green energy producers and users from its pollution tax. This exemption brings the cost of green energy consumption down considerably.

Several organizations in Europe promote the consumption of green energy, and there are a number of green energy providers, although the high cost of electricity in those countries has kept the use of the less expensive gas and oil the majority provider.

At work now are efforts to distribute cheap renewable electricity in these countries so the average electrical consumer can afford to support the environment and clean air efforts with the use of green energy products. Consumers can install their very own renewable green energy system, based locally.

This may be solar, wind or even water power. Geothermal heat pumps also provide green energy by tapping a few feet into the earths temperature.

Many U.S. states now offer monetary incentives for those who want to use the more costly green energy electricity sources.


Electric Cars: Plug in Today!

Call it an electric vehicle (EV) or call it a battery electric vehicle (BEV), but a rose by any other name would still smell sweet if it utilized green technology. Electric cars flourished in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but limitations like low top speeds helped seal their fate. Advances in manufacturing processes of internal combustion engines, the starter motor, increased mileage ranges, and cheaper gasoline production methods all helped to nudge electric cars off the road. Of course there are those who say that big oil was behind the defeat of electric cars. There has been some credence given to these sorts of claims by the fact that GM had developed an electric cars in the 1980's only to have it shelved after pressure from oil companies. With emissions from 600 million vehicles contributing to global warming, hybrid electric cars are the probably the next best alternative we have. Yet companies like Tesla have put pure electric cars back on the map. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are a pleasure to ride. As time goes on more and more car companies will move first to hybrids, but then ultimately to fully electric cars.

Where are all those electric cars?

A completely electric car doesn't yet exist for mainstream commercial use. There is a neighborhood class of electric cars, or personal electric vehicles (PEVs). While the battery can recharge overnight while you sleep, a 30 to 40 mile range isn't likely to sit well even with the little ole' lady from Pasadena.

What about Hybrid Electric Cars?

The practical solution for now is electric hybrids that utilize two fuel sources. Gasoline-electric cars are a cross between a gasoline-powered car and an electric car, and a mild electric hybrid has enhanced performance as a first priority and fuel economy second.

The Chevrolet Volt, scheduled for production in 2010, is an extended-range electric hybrid car that will use gas or E85 ethanol. Its battery can be recharged while driving, and its estimated driving range is 640 miles. A full electric hybrid pursues optimal fuel economy, and cars like the Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Honda Civic Hybrid fall within this latter category. Since all electric hybrids use some gasoline, it is a compromise, but reduced emissions and minimized shortcomings of the electric car are a start, yet far from the ideal vision of a complete clean fuel car.

Hybrid electric cars also allow for the transition in terms of infrastructure to fully electric propulsion system. Hybrids just might be around until enough electric and /or battery stations are around in order to keep charging the fleet of electric cars. Ultimately as new sources for primary energy (like wind and solar) come on board a greater incentive for manufacturers and consumers to develop and buy pure electric cars may in fact occur. One can only hope as the world faces dire predictions of peak oil and global warming that these vehicles and infrastructure can be developed and built quickly and inexpensively.


How Solar Power Makes a Difference

Solar power is one of those phrases you hear a lot of these days. But what is solar power, and how does it benefit you to use it? While the term "solar power" is often used interchangeably with the term "solar energy," solar power refers specifically to the converting solar energy into electricity. How can it be stored so that it can be used at night, or during adverse conditions?

 In a nutshell, solar power is created one of two ways: Active solar techonolgies work by "collecting" solar energy. Sunlight shines on special panels, called solar panels, that transform the light into DC electricity. This electricity is converted to AC power and is either used in your home during the day, stored in a thermal storage system, or fed into the local utility grid. At night, electricity is drawn from either the storage system or the grid for use in your home. Passive solar technologies include things like designing a building relative to the way it faces the Sun, and the use of solar design packages, which tie together solar lighting, heating, and ventilation systems forming a complete residential solar power system.

Active solar technology can boost the effectiveness of these passive systems. Thermal storage systems use materials with high specific heat capacities, like water, stone, and earth, which are generally readily available. Solar energy advantages include energy and money savings, less reliance on conventional power systems which can be at the mercy of varying weather conditions, especially during the storm season and external influences over which we have no control. Another advantage which is quite important is the fact that solar power energy is a totally clean power source producing no harmful emissions.

One of the earliest major scientific applications of solar power was on commercial satellites. Solar power is not, however, a new idea. The ancients used systems of lenses and mirrors to concentrate solar energy for various purposes. Due to natural and economic fluctuations in the supply of oil, natural gas, and other resources, the call for solar power is increasing rapidly, and is likely to continue to do so as technologies develop that make harnessing it and using it more viable and less expensive. Read more


The Wind Farm Debate

Wind power is proportional to the cube of the wind's speed, so relatively minor increases in speed result in large changes in potential output. Individual turbines vary in size and power output from a few hundred watts to two or three megawatts (as a guide, a typical domestic system would be 2.5 - 6 kilowatts, depending on the location and size of the home).

Uses range from very small turbines supplying energy for battery charging systems (e.g. on boats or in homes), to turbines grouped on wind farms supplying electricity to the grid.

In Saddleworth, near Greater Manchester, an eco-war about wind turbines is waging. United Utilities want to build seven 350 foot wind turbines.

These will generate enough power to supply the average electricity needs of 8,500 homes in the local area. This wind farm is not situated out to sea but in the picturesque hills of the Saddleworth Moors and would be visible for miles around. Government targets state that 10% of the UK's energy should be supplied by renewable resources by 2010 and developments like the Saddleworth Moor turbines would contribute towards that total. Leading environmentalists from across the country have previously convened in Saddleworth for the first ever National Forum opposing the creation of wind farms on rural beauty spots.

World renowned TV botanist, Professor David Bellamy, joined former Downing Street press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham and hundreds of activists at the National Wind Farm Group Conference. There were a total of representatives from over 50 environmental groups from across the country attending this event. It aimed to raise awareness about the perceived dangers of wind farms and bring environmental groups closer together in their fight against the government.

The Saddleworth Moors Action Group says the turbines would have a negative impact on a unique landscape. The group also insist their campaign is not prompted by "not in my backyard" sentiments, but through a genuine desire to preserve the character of the local area.

One could argue that the government is not bothered about the environment then they are continually financing the construction of coal fired power stations in the third world and building more airports and more motorways in Britain? As tensions are mounting in Iran and Nigeria leading to increased oil prices, is now not the ideal time to exploit wind power both on land and at sea via grants to companies? With labour slipping up at the local elections in 05/06 and the Conservatives pushing the eco argument, is not in Labours interest to follow the Conservatives lead and not to pay lip service to wind farms as they currently do?


Will the people that have to live near wind farms and see the things every day change their minds and believe that wind farms form a concerted effort to save the environment or just another commercial money making scheme for the companies involved?

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Working With The Power Of Wind

Wind power is growing in popularity as an alternative to fossil fuel and one of the best of the renewable energy sources. The use of wind power requires wind turbines. Wind turbine generators do little to harm the environment and are far preferable in this regard to fossil fuel. The only disadvantage is that they cannot be used everywhere. In order to effectively use turbines to generate wind power you would need an average wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour. Obviously, that is not found everywhere.

Palm Springs California is ideal for wind turbines that generate power and as you pass through there along highway 10 you will see these wind turbines in various sizes. Called a wind farm, This San Bernadino Mountain area has over 4000 windmills in its San Gorgonio Mountain Pass. These turbines provide enough wind power to provide electricity to all of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley area as a whole. Most of the current wind power generation in the U.S. resides in California.

The largest of the wind power windmills is 150 feet in height with blades that stretch halfway across a football field. There are compartments at the windmills top that house its generators, its hub and its gearbox. These weigh at least 30,000 and as much as 45,000 pounds. At this size the turbine for wind power may cost more than 300,000 but will provide 300 kilowatts each hour. This amount of wind power is enough to keep one typical household in electrical power for an entire month.

The American Wind Energy Association AWEA is a U.S. - wide non-profit organization promoting wind power as a clean electrical source for consumers the world over. AWEA represents developers of wind power projects, those who are in the business of supplying wind power equipment, wind power service providers, manufacturers of wind power parts, utilities that provide wind power for electrical power, scientists researching green energy resources that include the use of wind power and others involved in any way in the wind power industry. Hundreds of advocates of wind power are also members of AWEA.

The American Wind Energy Association provides the latest information on the operation of current or potential wind power projects, the ongoing development of new wind power projects, companies who work in the burgeoning industry, the development of new wind energy technology, and government legislation and policies that pertain to the use, production and funding of wind power and other renewable energies.

AWEA acts as a clearing house for the wind power industry, and as such communicates the pertinent statistics, facts and news. From AWEA consumers and others can find out the latest legislative decisions and efforts, including the best information on grants and loans to aid in the implementation of residential, commercial and governmental wind power projects.

AWEA publishes and disseminates the only weekly wind power newsletter that exists anywhere. It also hosts an annual wind power conference, with presentations on the latest technological developments and trends as well as access to businesses offering help in its implementation.


How Wind Energy in Los Angeles Helps the Environment

In 2006, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in an alliance with General Electric, went forward with a 120 megawatt wind farm, named the Pine Tree Wind Project. It is hoped that it will one day satisfy 20 percent of the utility's energy requirements.

Back in 2004, wind energy in the whole state of California produced more than 4,200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, approximately 1.5 percent of all electricity generated. More than 90 percent of all of the state's wind generating apparatus is located in three regions: Altamont Pass, San Gorgonio and Tehachapi.

Wind power plants are comprised of turbines that take advantage of the energy in wind motion to make mechanical energy, which is then converted into electrical energy. Wind turbines can be placed near farms, homes and businesses in breezy locations, such as along the Los Angeles coast. Turbines are deployable in areas where it isn't cost-efficient to place power lines.

The parts of a wind farm include turbines, which feed through an underground power conduit and a connection from the farm to the closest power grid. Wind power is more accessible in certain seasons because the climate affects wind speed. In Los Angeles, speeds are highest in the scorching summer period. An estimated three-quarters of all yearly wind energy is generated during the spring and summer.

Though power created by older wind turbines is not as cost effective as some other forms of energy generation, new generation wind turbine designs should be able to compete with power costs from nuclear and coal plants.

Some advantages in utilizing wind energy include: replacement of polluting conventional power plants; no pollution in the air, soil or water; it is completely renewable; the installment is relatively swift; and energy production not swayed by gas and oil price increases.

However, there are some issues with wind power, such as: the required use of extensive tracts of land, albeit the fact that simultaneous land uses are available for such tasks as agriculture and cattle grazing. Other potential concerns are that it can cause erosion in desert areas, and disrupt wildlife habitats.


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