Tag Archives: energy

Doha Dreaming

Doha Dreaming

“There is surely a correspondence between an exhausted culture and a populace devolved so far into mental dullness that it can’t recognize its predicament. We don’t seem to get how much the industrial production spree of the past 200 years has just plumb worn us out, not to mention the ecosystem we were designed to dwell in” writes James Howard Kunstler under the title “Modernity Bites” this November 26, 2012.

James’ thesis is that we are at the end of the industrial era and that the economic structures it has spawned are imploding around us.

What if we just accept the reality that the industrial spree was a self-limiting adventure and now we have to move on?

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Community Based Renewable Energy Programs

City of Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor South Australia

I’ve been inspired recently by genuine grass-roots community initiatives to regain control of their energy security as a buffer against increasing costs and supply disruptions through investment in cooperative style renewable energy.  The City of Victor Harbor in South Australia in particular has made an impressive start – more below, but first some background.

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Doing the dishes?

The Question: (from Europe)

Within a business / home environment what should be considered to be the least environmental pressing way of doing the dishes:

  • washing dishes by hand?

  • automated cleaning of dishes?
  •  buying disposable tableware, plates and cups?

My Answer:

There are so many variables here that no single answer will be the best choice. The impacts of each option above could be large or small depending upon context.

We need to dig a little deeper to find the best approach

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Base-load Solar Power?

The Question:

What steps are needed to make solar energy a cost-effective, base-load energy source?

(from North America)

My Answer:

Broad definitions of ‘solar’ and ‘baseload’ are necessary to best answer the question. Solar is not limited to photovoltaic panels and base-load (demand) is not necessarily a given, it can also be managed through increased systems efficiency. Continue reading

How Clean and Green is Coal Seam Gas?

There are conflicting claims about the greenhouse friendly nature of coal seam gas in Australia. In this article, Colin Hunt finds that the differences turn on assumptions about the quantity of gas that escapes to the atmosphere from coal seam gas operations and the gas’ global warming potential. He argues that both better measurement of the fugitive emissions of coal seam gas and an official update of its greenhouse potency are required. These recommendations have important implications not only for meeting Australia’s greenhouse targets but for the tax rates on emissions under the Clean Energy legislation.

via The Brisbane Institute » November 2011 Issue.

World Wide Washing Machines?

Hans RoslingHans Rosling is fast moving up my list of inspirational thinkers and influencers.  Not only does he have some of the best graphical data representation to be seen, he is also a highly entertaining and very compelling speaker.

His thesis on population really opened my eyes to another perspective on that question.

This TED Talk is yet another unique perspective on some of the issues and challenges of our times:

“What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.” Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010, in Washington, DC.

On cars and neighbourhoods – parallel universe reprise

Last year in my post “parallel universe number one” I wrote about an imaginary world where the maximum speed of any powered road transport device is 30-km/h within urban areas.  As a consequence the urban experience there is surprisingly different to that of our universe.

The post was never intended to be a learned discourse, rather I use a narrative style to make the points.  A recent question on sustainable transport caused me to revisit it and I’m pleased to report that even after nearly a year the scenario still looks like a valid alternative to me!

I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts, if you can spare the half hour or so to read the original post.

Keep an eye out for Peda Pods too:

100% people power

Investing in Solar Panels?

The Question: (from California)

What are the pros and cons of buying and installing your own solar panels, vs. leasing them through a company such as Solar City?

I am considering installing solar panels on my house. There are a lot of attractive sounding offers from leasing companies out there (such as “pay nothing – we will install and manage your panels for you, and you just keep paying your regular electricity bill amount to us instead”). I would appreciate advice from anyone who understands true pros and cons of each option.

My Answer: Continue reading