The Vision of Earth team has decided to begin briefly reviewing media that we find compelling, interesting, or useful. A lot of media exists that has enriched our lives immensely. This project is an effort to share that richness with you the reader.
Burning coal releases heat energy, but it also releases many other products. Combustion products such as carbon dioxide, water vapour, nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides, particulate matter, and fly ash are also produced in varying amounts.
The long term supply for nuclear fission fuels on the planet earth is estimated to last several thousand years at current consumption levels, assuming that we adopt reprocessing as well as develop and implement breeder reactors.
The intent of this publication is an ongoing investigation of the progress and potential of renewable energy in our world. Our goal is to collect the best writing and news on the subject of renewable energy projects and policies. We have observed that humanity is innovating rapidly as the energy security of the future becomes a global priority. Current trends indicate that the age of coal will end before we run out of coal.
Photovoltaic solar power is the technical term for solar panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity. This is in contrast to techniques that capture solar energy in other ways, or for different uses. Other techniques include hot water heating, interior temperature control, and concentrated heat for electricity production.
We believe that voluntary collaborative efforts towards SD are more effective than personal or involuntary efforts towards SD, and this article is intended to describe the major reasons why.
The ladder of development is a useful concept that we first found in Jeffrey Sachs’ excellent book ‘The End of Poverty’. This concept provides a useful framework for the discussion of economic development with regards to poverty reduction. This is a conceptual tool, not necessarily a framework for understanding all of economics.
Every country has people living in poverty. Here we will distinguish between people living in extreme poverty, moderate poverty, and relative poverty1 . A person in relative poverty has consistent access to the basic necessities of life, while those in extreme or moderate poverty do not. Extreme Poverty People in extreme poverty are the poorest people in […]
Vision of Earth is the host of the newly created renewable energy review. This is a blog carnival attempting to look at the development of renewable energy in the world today. Submitted articles will be judged on their quality, accuracy, and relevance. Once enough high-quality submissions are accumulated for a publication, our editors will write a brief review piece, linking to these novel contributions. We intend to comment meaningfully on the developments in renewable energy in our world.
Vision of Earth is a WordPress blog. We started out using the Tarski theme for WordPress. Earlier this year we converted the Arras Theme when we did a full update and redesign of the site. We decided to go with more of a website approach than a blog approach to design. Instead of the most recent post and a menu, as in a blog style, we have a large part of the page dedicated to our best and most foundational works.
We have been captivated for a long time by the intriguing possibilities inherent in combining Manitoba’s extensive hydro resources with Saskatchewan’s high-quality wind power. A number of other groups in Saskatchewan have been lobbying for greater interconnection between the two power grids to take advantage of the natural synergy that exists between wind power and reservoir-based hydro power.
Our goal is to keep our physical power infrastructure publicly owned, but gain some of the advantages of the private sector. The key to our recommendation is voluntary public investment from the people of Saskatchewan. In order to stimulate new renewable energy construction, we recommend that SaskPower open up renewable energy projects for direct public investment.
We want the ability to directly support the development of renewable electricity generation. We don’t just mean buying GreenPower from sources that already exist. We want to be able to choose to put our money out there so that these things can actually happen. We want to support projects that haven’t yet been built, or even started.
Nuclear power is a tiny fraction of our total radiation dose. Nuclear power is legally obligated to keep its radioactive emissions incredibly low. Even people who live close to nuclear power plants will receive from them only a fraction of the dose that they receive naturally from their environment. Human-made sources account for about 20% of the dose to humans, with nuclear power composing less than 1% of the total dose. Coal is responsible for a larger portion of radioactive dose than nuclear is. This is a point missed by most people involved in the world discussion about energy sources.
Solar thermal power generation presents a unique opportunity among renewable technologies today. It is well-understood. Prototypes and commercial power plants of this sort exist. It has capabilities for both baseload and peak-matching power generation. It is affordable in locations with lots of sunlight. Costs are in the range 10-15¢/kWh currently, with great potential for the future.
The feed-in tariff is a well known policy mechanism in the area of electricity generation. It has been applied in many countries with the intent of encouraging the development of renewable power generation. Such a policy typically involves guaranteeing to desired types of generation both subsidized long term prices for electricity and guaranteed grid access. This policy has been well utilized notably in Germany and Spain, where residents have seen very stable electricity prices coupled with tremendous growth of the renewable energy sector of their economies.
When wind isn’t blowing hard, use a dispatchable source such as hydro to produce power. Let’s assume that we have 150 MW of hydro on hand to cover the Centennial Wind Farm when the wind isn’t blowing. If we look at entire year of production, we can expect that about 42.4% of all energy will have come from the wind, and that the remaining 57.6% of the energy would have come from the hydro. What is necessary for a system like this to work is to have enough water behind the hydro dam that it can cover a fairly long spell of low winds. This could be as long as several days. If our hydro reservoir is big enough to cover that time, we should be able to cover the intermittent nature of the wind for the whole year. If it isn’t big enough, we will have to get our power from elsewhere. Perhaps importing it from neighboring grids or by using another source such as natural gas.
What people really want is reliable power. We don’t want to end up freezing in the dark. Electricity is important enough to our society that our energy security is of great importance to us. This is a fundamental issue that all technically advanced nations have to face.
It would be a mistake to equate baseload with reliable. Baseload power sources still have to turn off sometimes. In some cases, the downtimes for the big thermal plants such as nuclear and coal can be several percent of their lifetimes. If our power grid were based off of only baseload sources of this type we might see rolling blackouts now and then unless we built extra power plants to cover the downtime.