There is no simple answer to the problem of our future energy resource. Wind, wave, tidal, solar, biogas, etc, are all perfectly viable and proven technologies, but none of these in isolation or even combined has the potential to come even close to replacing our current energy requirement.
Each has its own advantages, and its disadvantages. But there is no 'one size fits all' and there never will be. Each has it's 'knockers' - the NIMBY's, the 'such & such is highly inefficient / not cost effective', etc.
But we have to learn to accept that, though none alone can currently contribute in any significant proportion, we cannot simply dismiss them in the hope that something else will magically appear to solve the impending energy crisis.
Like it or not they are all here to stay, and new ideas are undoubtedly just around the corner. Technologies are improving day by day, and more efficient forms of energy generation (and conservation) will be the result.
That a wind turbine is highly inefficient and not cost effective is no matter. What cost the future of our diminishing energy reserves? The 'knockers' are missing the point - any technology that contributes to our present energy requirement now serves both to prolong our fossil fuel reserves and to promote our understanding and hence our grasp of the future technology that will ultimately replace it.
Other incentives are gathering apace. Whilst tidal generation may be geographically limited, advances in wave powered generation make this a viable contender in years to come. Water companies have for several years fed green electricity to the grid from sludge gas powered generators, now Thames Water is the first UK company to feed Biogas into the national gas network employing technology already used on the Continent. Biogas generation will in future come not just from sewage, but from industry and from agriculture.
Whilst the future is uncertain, it will undoubtedly feature a diverse mixture of all the 'green energies' we are currently seeing, plus many new ones. Add to this eco friendly new homes, and existing ones retrofitted with energy saving and generating technologies such as dedicated wind or water turbines, solar heating and generation, ground source heat pumps, etc.
The Future is Bright ....
The Planet is currently in a delicate state in its development, Human impact has had obvious affects. In 2005 the UK consumed, on average 1.82 million barrels of oil per day. At a conference last year, Exxon Mobil and Shell predicted that wind and solar power combined would account for just 1% of global energy demand by 2030. If they're correct, fossil fuels will remain the dominant energy source, which can not occur without consequences considering the environmental impacts and the levels of fossil fuels left available to man. This outlines the fact we must make a move now, before it's too late.
I have recently completed my first year at university, studying BA Geography. This has allowed me to satisfy my desire to research the subject and gain an improved understanding of various topics contained within the subject. I pay particular attention to Climate change, both the effects and preventions. This is why i am intensely passionate about finding alternative solutions to energy sources.
The tide naturally moves a huge body of water twice daily; this is potentially a huge energy source to tap into. Tidal energy is a form of hydropower, which converts energy produced by the tides into electricity. There are just 3 operating tidal power stations in the world, the largest of which is located in France on the river Rance. With an installed power of 240MW, shows how productive tidal power can be. Just 20 sites around the world have been identified as potential locations for tidal power stations, 8 of which are in the UK, including the Humber, Dee, Solway and Severn estuaries. There are a few disadvantages which hold this technology back, although the energy supply is reliable and plentiful, converting it into electricity is not easy, it can only generate when the tide is flowing in or out - in other words, for only 10 hours each day, however tides are predictable which means there will be no prolonged periods without energy production. I believe the technology could account for 20% of the UK's energy needs, which would make a drastic impact on the UK's energy market.
Tidal barrages are the first method of tidal energy collection, a dam is built, when the tide moves water is forced through holes at the base of the barrage, this in turn spins a turbine which produces electricity. The major disadvantage of this method is the environmental impact; it could affect the local ecosystem negatively. An alternative method, which is currently being researched at the University of Swansea uses offshore turbines, similar to an under water wind farm. They are cheaper to manufacture and install and do not bring the environmental concerns a tidal barrage would, for example the risk Barrages pose to fish are eliminated due to the fact the turbines only spin at around 20 rpm. I believe this is by far the better method and is the key to future energy needs in the UK, Martin Wright of Marine Current Turbines Ltd agrees, he states "We estimate that there is at least 10 gigawatts of power available from tidal power in the UK". This is a huge amount to tap into, which shows the possibility to power over 3 million homes. The turbines can easily be produced within the UK; we have many possible sites around the British Isles to place tidal power stations, a perfect location for one is the river Severn, Clery (2008, pp.1574) states "The River Severn has the second highest tidal range in the world--15 meters between high and low tide" the plan has been proposed many times, but no action has been taken. Up too 200 turbines are possible, which could provide over 8,000MW of power. Production of these sites would take years but could provide 12% of the energy needs for England and Wales. As with all methods of energy production, the initial cost will be high, however the long-term plan will be extremely successful.
Solar power is not particularly successful in the UK; we're falling far behind other countries throughout Europe and indeed the world, with the US, and Japan paving the way forward, utalising the technology. There is simply no excuse, with solar panels currently 90% cheaper than in the 1970's the potential is exciting. The average amount of solar energy available in the UK is 4,000 KJ per square meter, scienceonline.co.uk states "If less than a quarter of the population had solar panels this would save about 30 per cent of our annual energy demand" There are many examples of small scale solar energy projects throughout the UK, larger scale projects are now required to progress. A recent development in the solar power movement is 'thin film' photovoltaic technology, this is a thin layer which is applied to the outside of buildings, measuring 2.2 by 2.6 meters they are perfect for utility-scale applications. A recent example is in Abu Dhabi, with the planned development of a $2 billion Thin Film project, which will be split into two phases, the first will be located in Erfurt, Germany, operational by Q3 2009. A second facility in Abu Dhabi will become operational by Q2 2010. The combined production of power will equate to 210MW, sufficient to power approximately 70,000 households. I propose we take advantage of this technology on buildings located in the south of England where the potential for solar energy is greater. Finding the best possible location for the first project is of vital importance.
The government has recently made clear it supports Wind Energy and has publicly committed to building 3000 turbines throughout the British isles. I personally believe wind Energy is a reasonably effective method energy production, it is however important to ensure they are situated in lucrative locations. In my opinion, wind farms should be located off shore where they are not only more productive but also out of the way. It is obvious people do not want huge 125 meter wind turbines towering over their homes and they are not going to change their mind anytime soon! On-shore wind turbines are also extremely unreliable, on occasions they are even powered so they appear to be productive! At times when the wind is particularly powerful the blades are even locked because of, yup you've guessed it, Heath and Safety which is ridiculous! The health concerns associated Wind turbines are well documented, the flicker effect is one of the major argument against on shore sites. The problem occurs when a strobe like effect is produced as the blades spin, momentarily blocking out the sunlight.
Biomass fuels are widely thought to be a fantastic source of energy, in many ways this is correct. It's a renewable resource, can be extracted from waste and can be used in similar applications to fossil fuels. However, I believe they are no more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels, as they produce CO2 when burned which will further add to the greenhouse effect. Roland Clift agrees stating, "We calculate that the land will need to grow biodiesel crops for 70-300 years to compensate for the CO2 emitted in forest destruction."
When considering the UK's available energy resources I have come to the conclusion Wind and Tidal energy are the integral components of ensuring the UK reaches the target figure, 15% of energy consumption coming from renewable resources. Tidal power is the key method in my opinion, it has the potential to transform the whole energy budget in the UK, with 7 available sites the opportunities are copious. The initial costs will be fairly overwhelming, this is sure to put some people off. We must look into the future, we need to put a stop to this selfish attitude so many people (including me) are guilty of.
Now, there are many "viable" sources of energy that is renewable and very environmentally friendly. Ideas being thrown around as well as executed include wind power, solar power, tidal power, biomass energy, geothermal energy and hydroelectric power. To be honest, not many of these options are really viable.
Wind power at the moment is no where near efficient enough, considering it takes hundreds of wind turbines to generate enough power to heat a medium sized village. If the UK turned to wind power as it's sole source of energy no-one would be able to reach the sea for a seemingly singular mass of wind turbines. So that's a no.
Solar power, once again is simply not efficient enough, and also not reliable enough. Using Solar Power as the majority power generater would lead to the whole countries buildings being fitted with giant solar panels, which are not the cheapest of things in the first place. Then, considering this is Britain, what happens when we hit those months of October through March. Or indeed those months of March through October, this is England after all.
Tidal power, now, we're getting more realistic here. Tidal power is reliable and more efficient than wind power but once again we hit a stumbling block, if we used this as a main energy source all the coastlines of Britain would be covered in turbines used for generating the power, the most efficient locations to place these turbines would be on the big tourist locations due to the most powerful waves, Cornwall for example. So it's basically like a more efficient wind power, with all the other problems remaining.
Biomass energy is also quite efficient, this involves constructing an underground tank to house waste from animals and such, with the gas the waste releases power is generated within the tank. The fully used waste is then transmitted into another tank. The main problems with this method are the initial cost of construction, then the cost to train and employ professionals to keep the process safe and environmentally friendly. Then there's the problem of the tank, if a leak happens this leaks waste into the soil, which can pollute the acquifer and groundwater, this being able to pollute drinking water and become a health risk.
Geothermal energy is a valid sort of way for energy. It involves harnessing heat from the Earth to generate steam and therefore power. It is quite efficient, doesn't release any toxic gases and doesn't cost much to run. The problem is it is only available in certain places, volcanic regions for instance. So this can't work around the World.
Hydroelectric power is another valid way of producing power. This usually involves constructing a dam, and using the water flowing through the dam to generate power. Obviously you wouldn't build dams everywhere just for this purpose but if a dam needed to be constructed then using hydroelectric power along with it is a very efficient way of producing power. Problems are the same as with dams in general, they are high cost to construct, problems can lead to catastrophe, whole towns can be destroyed in the process of creating the resevoir, agriculture can be affected downstream and they are one gigantic eyesore.
So, there we have it, the most viable options for renewable energy broken down and we have to realise that Nuclear power must sustain us until we can figure out a better way. Nuclear power is also very efficient, doesn't damage the atmosphere and there is quite a lot of Uranium left on the planet. Although pollution anrunning costs are high and it can be dangerous. I'm afraid, for the time being, that is the only realistic option we have once coal and oil run out.
Wind power, no. Solar power, No. The answer is simple and yet effective, tidal power. What we need to do is bulid a tidal blockage across the river severn, this would provide lots of energy. The way that this would occur is by slowly letting the water out as it goes from high tide to low tide, using propellers to generate the energy, and when the water rises back you just let it through.
Also this would enable you to have solar and wind power as well as it would not matter as much if it isnt windy. The positioning of the wind turbines should be not inland but offshore. The reason for this is that they will generate more energy than when they are inshore.
Also you should use solar panels, but tell scientists that there is a finanical reward for the person who finds the way to habour the maxium amount of sunlight. If you then got the general public to buy them, then they would be helping and would also lower the cost of the solar panels.
The politicians are always saying that wind farms will save our planet. What a load of old rubbish.
Do they not realise that the wind doesn't always blow and that because of this is doesn't provide a constant supply of energy. Well it doesn't and therefore the power stations fired by coal etc. can never be shut down. They take hours sometimes even days to fire themselves back up again. It's not just a matter of a man hovering above a red button waiting for when the wind stops and then pressing it to give us instant power. No we'd have to spend long periods of time without power until the turbines powered by the traditional fossil fuels were back on line.
Don't get me wrong I'm all for research into alternative power sources. It's a forgone conclusion that the resources we currently have will run out and that the damage they are doing to the planet is nearing irreversible. Its just wind power isn't the answer. It can never produce the energy we need to close down those fossil fuel power stations. We simply need to look for other options.
The government however are as usual reluctant to do so and so keep harping on about how wind power will save the planet etc. etc. The simple matter is it won't and the only reason they are building such huge wind farms is because it's cheap and the energy companies can then make millions of pounds from fresh air.
So what is the answer?
Well, we're an island for starters and it is well known that tidal power is a very good source of power. The tides are moving constantly and so offer the largest possibility for producing renewable electricity.
What am I getting at?
Simply, I'm fed up of being told how getting a small wind-turbine in my back garden will help save the planet and how my local supermarket is so 'green' because it is producing part of its power from a wind farm in the car-park. Why don't people just wake up and realise that the reason wind farms are sprouting up all over the place is because it cuts people's electricity bills not because it saves the planet.
If we want to save the planet we need to look for other options. Or simply everyone needs to change one bulb in their house to energy saving ones. This on its own would enable us to close one power station in Britain. Imagine what we could do if we changed all the bulbs in our house. All of this without the expense nor eye-sore of gigantic wind farms.
RANT OVER J
With the news that Britain is now committed to nuclear energy for the rest of the century, a huge public subsidy written into the small print of the government white paper to encourage massive private tender and funding for the new plants, its fair to say there is still an energy gap looming. These plants won't be ready for ages and the old ones have been run into the ground in a way Homer Simpson would be proud, leaking like a balloon after a fight with a hedgehog. That slow and cumbersome decommission of the old plants to come will also be rather expensive. When you add the cost for waste storage there isn't going to be much money left for the government to invest in alternative energies.
It's clear that oil, petrol and gas are also becoming too expensive for minimum wage families-75 % of the U.K-that economic engine being battered by fixed costs. With the petrol that powers our transport system becoming scarce even quicker than we ever dare contemplate; alternatives are needed to compliment nuclear, nuclear expected to produce between 40-70% of our heat and electricity by 2050. But this is not Back to the Future, our cars can't be powered by plutonium, and if we don't find alternatives soon then there will be huge cost problems on just getting to work. Anyone who works part-time and takes a couple of buses know that's cost is a big chunk of their wage. Apart from using veggie oil in your diesel car there's few options.
I'm all for nuclear as its very safe when built properly. Admittedly the idea that private contractors will build most of the new plants doesn't boost confidence as far as health & safety goes but do we have any real choice? France has the highest nuclear power usage in the European Union but the lowest carbon footprint. They have had no big accidents. Its pretty clear what happens if you do have an accident and the people who build them know they too will come a cropper if they cost cut, nuclear fairly unique when it comes to corporate responsibility. If the green mafia wants the planet to cut carbon emissions then this is the best way to do it. But you just know they are going to be ranting and raving over the next week or so over the decision and, alas, telling us how dangerous the plants are. But let's be honest, the total deaths in the U.K. due to nuclear accidents you can count on one hand, but innocent people slaughtered around the world to secure western oil supply's is well over one million. Every time the green lobby scaremongers over nuclear and oil they are forgetting there are no viable alternatives to fill that energy gap. These nuclear deals have been signed with little thought to the public cost because we have to get on with this. We either invade more Iraq's or build reactors, simple as! The idea that these namby - pamby renewable`s like solar and wind power is somehow going to replace our energy needs is fantasy. For every one barrel of ethylene alcohol based alternative fuel it takes two barrel of normal oil to grow, harvest and ferment that fuel. The only reason it's still popular is because the US farmers get huge subsidies to grow the right crops to make it for political reasons, probably the biggest debate had at the recent primaries in America. This is not a cost effective or green fuel.
Brazil have got their act together on ethylene fuel for cars with 70% of vehicles now running on it, but it takes such a he chunk of their cereal crop that staple foods world prices are now rocketing. We really can't win on this one unless the myth is true that cars really can run on a cup of water, the secret kept by devious oil executives over the years by a Mason like sect. I'm just tired of middle class eco whiners saying they don't want windmills in their back gardens, invasions of Iraq, nuclear dumps...how else do we get our power? Look out the window, solar isn't going to work. The trendy turbines stuck on Cameron and Browns roof will soon come down when he loses the election, the portable windmills taking a pathetic 167 year on average to pay your electricity bills.
January, of course, is when the utility companies whack up the bills, only the water boys holding out until it gets hot. You make you price hikes when you're demand is at the highest, whether it's fair or calculated or not. To be fair the energy companies had no choice but to push up the bills this month-probably not as much as they have, but up a sizable chunk. They buy their gas in the summer when it's cheapest and then store it and then flog it on for a profit, fair enough. What consumers are unaware of is that this round of increases is the first to include Browns erroneous 'green tariffs, tax by any other name, some 50% of this price hike going to the Treasury. The beauty of this one for the chancellor is he can claim the green taxes are doing good, introducing them helping to cut greenhouse gases, but he also knows fuel and gas prices were always going to rise, so getting a nice earn off something people just cant cut back off this time of year. Heating is not like petrol where we can cut back journeys. We need to keep warm and we are deliberately being taxed extra for that, including the old folks who have to beg for their rightful full pension these days.
The utility companies have to pay these three extra levies this year to Gordon Brown, the Emissions Trading Scheme thee most prominent one, bought into to tax pollution, the cost to each household around £28.50 total per year, approximately 50% of the new rises. I'm not asking you to give British Gas a break, far from it, they are crooks and we all know it, exploiting loyal customers who won't change and run the gauntlet of that particularly gruesome exercise. But what I am saying is Brown is suing global warming hype to raise taxes on fuel we can't afford not to use. He targets us with huge taxes to get to work in our cars and now he's taxing us to keep warm, all by scaring us that is we don't pay these taxes then the world will warm up. Hey, we want it to warm up if you are going to stiff us like this pal!
Some canny pensioners who have up-sticked to the likes of Spain and Portugal to get away from the cold weather and high fuel bills to live a life of SKY TV and British pubs have had the last laugh. After being the brunt of these rip off prices some 50,000 pensioners from the U.K on the Costa's are cheekily claiming their winter fuel payments.
Another way we are being stiffed over fuel bills is by Johnny Foreigner, the Euro energy markets currently exploiting the richer gas flow from Russia. The nearer the Russian pipes the cheaper and more available gas is. It's a pretty complex method but apparently any gas the North Sea is producing is sold to the markets, but such is the complexities, British traders have to pay more to buy it back, such is the way the warped European markets work. The likes of Germany and France seem to be behind this. We are pumping it on to the gas grid, if you like, for 40p a therm then and having to buy it back at 50p a therm. We then learn the foreign companies that own our utility firms are benefiting from that rigged trading,
So we know gas is plentiful but also increasingly expensive, security of supply and greedy foreign companies buying up our utilities all too willing to stiff is by artificially pushing up the heating costs. The oil argument is straightforward: it's over $100 a barrel and high be cause of demand and political instability, dwindling supplies to tough to extract, current supply and demand unlikely to See the price fall below $80a barrel for the next ten years. Big business will already be trying to figure out what to replace it with and how they can make some more money, but there are no real signs of how. The oil age is coming to an end and it's a scary time for all that dare to think about it.
Because of those high oil and gas prices the green mafia are having their day, claiming Armageddon is just around the corner if we don't slash our carbon usage, something memorably exploited by Al Gore, now earning 350k a lecture to pay his utility bills on his six properties. Yes the world is choking up on its fumes but can we really stop it with the energy alternatives we have.
I could be flippant. If man-made global warming is so close then surely the rapidly rising sea levels and increasing temperatures will make car journeys shorter and gas bills smaller? It's a paradox guys. If resources are running out and the cost of oil and gas rises testament to, then the fifty year curve will soon tack, only coal being the only pollutant used, giant economies like China and India the main polluters. Human nature demands that when the superpowers run low on resources they invade other countries to get it, what we have seen all too painfully in Iraq. The major economies never cut industry and profits to be less pollutant. If a way can't be found we will go on and on the way we are. The only Armageddon the world is facing is WW3 with China, inevitable if you look at history. The fact is that if current oil usage continues the way it is then just four countries will use half the worlds known supply by 2025, a scary thought indeed, which suggest war will preempt that crisis. You have heard this before but the U.K. would need to be turned off for two years to make any effect on global temperatures .There is nothing we can do so why worry about it.
In recent years we can hear more and more talks about renewable energy solutions because of huge concern that our current ways of energy production will soon become impossible due to extensive exploitation of fossil fuels.
We live in era when this issue has become very important to our generation as we realise that energy resources will no longer be available if exploitation trends continue in current fashion.
Energy crisis become main headlines of the news and that could lead into bigger crisis in the future with unimaginable consequences for humanity.
Our all economy depends about energy and surely without enough power to run industries and households, we would soon be in danger to struggle to live in this world.
So what we have done to resolve this problem and are we aware enough of this issue, or we don't really care when our TV is consuming energy even when we do not watch anything on it?
The fact is that the energy has its value, and we consumers pay for it, so at least that would be enough reason to think about saving money by not to leave lights, heating or TV on when we do not really need it.
But, is it possible to save even more by renewing the energy that we spend?
If we take just as simple example, a bulb that generate light and thermal energy when in usage. There is a probably a small amount of energy that might be captured and accumulated if we place some sort of solar cell near that bulb, but it should definitely not be disregarded. The energy that solar cell could accumulate might be equivalent to few percents of what has been actually spend but could save you a money if there would be a way to reuse that energy.
People who decided to use solar energy have actually done the right thing. The only investment is in solar cell panels system, and sunlight is for free. Just imagine the amount of money saved on a long run by using sunlight in order to heat up your home and power up all equipment in a house.
The main concern for most consumers is still high price of this equipment.
Hopefully this would change as more people decide to reuse the energy they spend, so there will be more energy-reuse products on the market.
Disadvantage of this technology is that sometimes that might not be too many sunny days during the year so it is hard to do sort of a plan how much energy we can produce on domestic basis where one generates and consumes the energy.
Wind power. The idea lives for many years and only in recent decade has been turned into practice. Well, if we exclude the windmills, which started the trend, many hundreds years ago.
Wind is clean, it can produce lots of power and probably requires less investment into appropriate technology that will produce enough energy to meet all needs of one domestic premise.
But again, there might be days with hardly any wind, so again it could get complicated if your energy reserves run low.
Of course the advantage of windy period should be taken into account, when lots of energy can be produced and accumulated so then can be reused later.
What about combining the wind power and solar energy? Would you agree to turn your house into little power plant that will exploit both resources and power up your home with amount of energy you need?
I certainly would once the technology becomes cheaper and proves to be beneficial for both individual and society.
Another a little bit different example;
We are physically active species, and many of use different exercise equipment (this trends start to grows every year after Christmas) in attempt to get nice slim figure. Have you ever think of the amount of energy we spend on treadmill or exercise bike? Well, it is nice to see when number of calories mount up on little digital display and we know that this means less fat trapped inside of our body.
This is actually the energy released that also could be reused. If we try to calculate how much energy could be accumulated when using treadmill and converted into usable form by use of appropriate equipment then it might not be too significant amount and you probably wont even be able to make pizza in your electric oven, but you might be able to recharge mobile phone.
In a gym with number of active members where equipment is used extensively, the amount of energy produced could be considered as decent.
The question again is how feasible would that be for gym management and would they see the benefit of to reuse energy that their members produce in order to get the whole place lit up for example.
Maybe, but it is just an idea that would probably require much more research and hopefully will live up some day.
What about clothes that have in-build accumulators of energy produced when person walks, runs or does any other activity (apart from lifting the pints of beer or watching the television). Apparently some manufacturers already made the attempt to produce this sort of products, which can power up your MP3 player so you don't need power adapter. That could work with mobile phones too and other similar equipment with low energy use.
Maybe that will not make significant change to your energy bill, but will possibly make bigger impact on overall energy consumption when it comes to mass of people.
Just imagine if only 2% of people in this country use this sort of equipment on daily basis. And that is around 1,2 mil. of mobile phones that would not be recharged through normal way of plugging them into your power socket.
There might be lots of ideas how to produce and reuse energy, we just need to put brains together and make technology available to everyone.
It is for benefit for all of us as individuals, our societies and whole planet
too. The way we live is changing rapidly over the years, so why not to change the way we use the energy and start from ourselves as individuals?
I hope that this is the right category to talk about Ecotricity - an energy company, providing an alternative energy source - AKA wind power! I used to get frustrated hearing about all the new forms of alternative energy coming on streat, but fet I wasnt able to join the bandwagon. Ecotricity has allowed me to do my (small) bit for society, and hence computer on which I am writing this review is powered by wind!
Ok I admit, wind will not be able to supply our energy hungry nation with all its power needs. In fact some reports say it will only manage to generate about 5% of total supply. In addition, some people say that the wind turbines are ugly, noisy and kill birds. In addition, it is one of the most expensive ways to produce energy at present, although the price is falling all the time, as new technology makes turbines more efficient, and economies of scale allow more to be built at lower prices. Despite the limited contribution wind will be able to make, we still havent hit that saturation level, and so more efforts should be made to tap this clean way of producing energy. I personally dont think they are ugly at all, in fact I think they are quite graceful. In addition, I have heard that birds learn to avoid their blades (but am not sure that is totally true!)
Ecotricity is a relatively new power company, which specialises in producing energy from wind turbines. It presently it has about 16,000 customers (up from a mere 8,000 last year), and they have a target to hit the 20,000 mark by the end of the year. It isnt a charity, and there is no reason why it should be. However, they say that they will invest several hundred pounds per new customer in new wind technology. Obviously, they do not provide gas (although they are looking into it, so that they could use their profits from gas to fund more wind turbines.)
Ecotricity have two tariffs, Old and New energy. Before I explain further, you need to get your head around the national grid. If you sign up with Ecotricity, it doesnt mean that the exact bit of electricity you use will be generated by wind. Instead, if Ecotricity is your supplier, they need to feed back the exact same amount back into the grid as you took out. I know this is obvious when you think about it, but lots of my friends have asked me if you can only sign up if you live near a wind turbine! Of course not!
New energy involves Ecotricity providing at least 10% of your electricity with wind power. However, they aim to increase this by 10% per year. It doesnt sound like much, but is a start, and is much better than the other so called green tariffs offered by the large electricity companies. In fact, in 2005 they managed 20% per customer.
Old energy involves using energy, which was produced in the past, mainly bought from other green energy suppliers. They can match 100% of your usage to previously produced wind power, but this is OLD energy, bought as a commodity. Therefore the net benefit to the environment is nil.
New energy is cheaper than old, and Ecotricity promise to match your electricity price with that of your local supplier (which may or may not be the cheapest around!)
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SWITCHING
Switching my electricity was very easy indeed. I switched via the website Uswitch, which also confirmed that the switch would actually save me some money compared to my old supplier. The only problem is that you need a separate gas supplier and therefore wont get duel fuel discounts. Still. I use Npower, which is currently one of the cheapest gas suppliers, and my new separate bills appear to be much the same as previously, if not less.
Their customer service has been excellent to date, although I havent had any real problems to challenge them with! They have a freephone call number and their staff are friendly and UK based.
There are other energy companies offering green tariffs, but they are farcical. Most are more expensive, but dont offer any real benefit to the environment. For example, one offers a donation to the RSPB and an energy saving light bulb but no green energy! According to the Ecologist magazine, Ecotricity is the only real green energy supplier.
I feel we are at crunch time with the environment (if you are a doubter about the greenhouse effect, read Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth). We have to make changes, and this is one of the most simple ones we can make. It was easy to switch, and it really hasnt cost me any more money. The only disadvantage is that you have to find a gas supplier (which isnt that difficult through Uswitch). The real first step however should be to reduce energy consumption in the first place!
08000 326 100
Axiom House, Station Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 3AP
(Please note I wrote a similar but different reivew on Ciao under dan_ep)
As a new generation of young people is embroiled in another war that has the stigma as being a war for oil, people are suddenly more inclined to think about alternate energy sources. I am happy to be the first to tell you about a timely Hollywood overture to alternate fuel sources. Tri-Star pictures just announced their plans for a remake of the infamous 1960's comedy program, Gilligan's Island for the Big Screen. Many of you will probably remember the kitschy program featuring the silly antics of the eponymous Bob Denver role of Gilligan and the steamy starlets that left a generation of idiotic reporters asking the oft repeated question "Ginger or Mary-ann". Well this picture is definitely not going to be your father's Gilligan's Island. For starters the story will be a timely investigation into the quest for new sources of energy as the castaways search for energy sources on their proverbial desert island. The big departure from the 1960's formula is manifested in the cast which will more accurately reflect America's changed demographics. Most notably is that the lead role Gilligan will be played by the hip hop star DMX. Fans may remember how Gilligan was a sheepish and bumbling twit forever playing against the straight man of the skipper, with straight being an ambiguous description where the old nuances and innuendo which seemed innocent and innocuous at the time are now flagrant homoerotic patter to a more enlightened audience. Years later many of us who grew up with the program now realize the sexual chemistry between the Skipper and Gilligan and realize that so many situations were metaphors for homosexual lifestyles and their bickering and daily lives were filled with clues that they were in fact a couple. DMX has already addressed the subject on his website, "I read the script and I took the role with them knowing that my Gilligan ain't no kinda faggot, not that there is nothing wrong with that,
but the gayish line in this show will be with them hoes" Maryann will be played by Jennifer Lopez in an unprecedented $10 million payday. Ginger will be played by Renee Zellweger. The Skipper role is slated to be filled by Sean Connery as a reprise of his role he played of Captain Remus in "Hunt for Red October". The Millionaire role was turned down by Jack Nicholson and taken by Clint Eastwood. His wife will be portrayed by Blythe Danner. The role of professor, the true hero of the movie is being filled by Jean-Claude van Damme. Van Damme stated in the dailies that he had been looking for more meaningful and dramatic roles for a few years now and feels that the professor can be a vehicle to showcase his overlooked talent. Originally Arnold Schwartzenegger was picked by the casting director but scheduling conflicts with Kindergarten Cop 2 were in the way. I have heard from some Hollywood insiders that the first 100 minutes of the two hour movie deals with the quest for alternate fuel sources and the last twenty minutes are when "Swiss Family Robinson meets Uncommon Valor" suggesting that the action genre inclined cast may have to defend their island paradise they built from some outsiders, a studio exec from Tri-Star tipped his hand concerning the villains when he said at a State of the Studio press meeting that "I can tell you now this movie will not generate much revenue in the Arab market in 2004" Now about alternate fuels. A friend of mine actually served as an advisor to one of the producers, who had been the creative force behind "MacGyver". He said that in the new Gilligan that alternate energy sources will be highlighted. For instance the castaways will build a device out of bamboo and coconut shells that harnesses the power of the rising tides and creates enough electricity to allow Skipper to build an electric aluminum smelter on the island. There was initially plans to feature windpower of castaway
built windmills. But Mr van Damn made some issue out of Flems treatment of Walloons in his native Belgium and refused to act "Flemish". It is something that you just won't understand unless you have a "van" in your name (like me). A lot of standup comedians like to think they are funny when they muse, "On gilligans island they could make a radio out of a coconut but couldn't fix their boat". Well these critics will be real pleased when they see the professor master table top fusion and create a steamy shower by using solar heated water so that Ginger and Maryann can have a steamy lesbian sex scene following a scene where Maryann bitch slaps Ginger and implore her to get her "act together for us all" since pampered movie star Ginger is enveloped in self pity over being lost at sea. The crux of the film will be that the castaways need to be rescued once they solve the world's energy dilemma despite their being quite content to live together on a paradisal island. No bosses, no taxes, no crime, and that is when the Mujahadeen will show up. Connery's skipper role invites serious questions of what does happen to all these people that betray their countries and flee to the west. In Remus' case he has gone from commanding the finest typhoon class sub to commanding the ?Minnow? with only Gilligan as a crew member, taking people out on a two hour tour. Whereas Connery once mastered the Russian language to play Remus in HFRO, now he has mastered the nuances of a Lithuanian expat who has lived in Florida for 10 years. Remus fits well into the storyline about alternate fuel sources, he makes some anti-nuclear proliferation statements in reference to the Widowmaker submarine movie and the nuclear tragedy that took place in that Harrison Ford movie as well as vague references to the Kursk tragedy. My favorite part of his role is after he manages to use hydropower to generate energy to power a still where he
uses yams to make Vodka. When he gets drunk, early on in the film, in which state he remains throughout, he begins to refer to the others on the island as "Suki" (bitches). Clint Eastwood's role is a cardboard cliché of a stodgy rich man who forever disrespects Gilligan with patent worn old bigoted stereotypes. In response Gilligan incessantly refers to himself as not being his "house" "n-Word". Gilligan does eventually seduce the millionaires wife. The writer's idea of funny is to have Blythe Danner attempting to get DMX to do a certain sex act and DMX to blurt, "Gimme a break Black men don't do that". The millionaire is oblivious to everything going on around him but in one light hearted scene they pay homage to Eastwood's Dirty Harry character when he points a geothermal powered laser weapon made of rocks, wild grass and driftwood at a terrorist and says, "I know what you are thinking, did I discharge 2.745 kilojoules of energy or just 1.745 kilojoules of energy, go ahead make my day" Van Damme has praised the depth of his role and said that he is very proud to play the professor. he did say that he wished that they could have made the professor have a twin and he could have played both roles, that it could have been more challenging that way. I guess the soundtrack of the movie is spectacular. Songs by Good Charlotte, Ozzy Osbourne, 50 cent, and Avril Lavigne. DMX has redone the theme song, the ?Sit right back and you?ll hear a tale and tale of a fateful ship? The song has gotten some airplay in urban markets but I thought it was an emergency broadcasting test when I heard it because all I heard was a long series of bleeps. Overall it is a good movie and I hope that the message about needing to find renewable energy sources touches your heart. When you think about it, the whole world is like a big island and we are all castaways, its just that there are about 5.2 bi
llion assholes on our island instead of just one Gilligan.
First late me say a big welcome to all those that have made it here. You're doing well, but I'm afraid if you are really looking for a social commentary on renewable energy sources then you may have been somewhat misled. Yes I've lured you here under false pretences. So what can you expect? Well I was commissioned to produce a piece on Dutch Ovens, and in the words of the commissioner "You know, those portly things that women on flour advertisements stand around. A Dutch oven." Bizarre as it may sound upon looking up Dutch ovens, on the fantubulous wibe wurgle wib  *Special footnote note: These footnotes will appear at the foot of the opinion * there was actually very little to be found, Dutch-wise, regarding their own ovens. They appear to have been popularly adopted by the Americans, as a sort of barbeque, but let's face it those Americans will adopt anything. So what is a Dutch oven? Well here I'm a little confused, I would have seen a Dutch oven as an oven used by the Dutch. If, indeed, they are used in flour advertisements  then I don't remember seeing them. But I did spend a little time in Holland during my long distant youth  so I may have developed some scarring around the prefrontal cortex , the sort of scarring that leaves an ineluctable impression on a young mind. For some reason, probably the one previously mentioned, I'd envisaged it as a clay oven, but in fact it's  a form of metal saucepan. For cooking with. Usually outside. It's about here my interested waned, I could have rambled on about how they are cast iron, how they are cooked over hot coals, brickets and wood. I could have announced they come in a variety of sizes, and can be used for a variety of things including boiling and deep frying but essentially it's all very dull so I'm going to tell you a little story instead. Ah yes the uselessness of this opinion knows no bounds, perhaps then you could r
ate it on its entertainment value instead? Once upon a time a blue turtle and green penguin decided that it was time to take a trip. After considering their options for some time they decided on a picnic. This wasn't to be any ordinary picnic though. The last of the Mohicans was around and stating his case. He was certain that the sun wouldn't shine more than fifteen minutes if the moon was only at a quarter of its normal size. This represented something of an issue as the last Mohican was particular pedantic and decidedly unhelpful when it came to allowing picnics on the plain that flew above the golden horizon. But the blue turtle wasn't to be deterred. He took to the sea and with two strokes of his powerful paddles was gently coasting, penguin abreast his back, toward the final place of the 20 minute sunsets. As he drifted on the Mohican danced that dance of the summoning. But he was more cautious than ever, events had taken place at the last dance that had taught him a valuable lesson; 'tis better to dance with care than to fall off the edge of a cloud and land in a small puddle of bacon bits. Soon his dance reached fever pitch, and from his position high above the lemon pith he noticed the penguin and the turtle cruising away, cruising toward a better life amongst the mangoes and the papaya. Hidden message that makes no sense: Fingers were just a form of toboggan that was made out of wool on a hot summers drain pipe. If you read this op leave a comment stating what the 10th word of this paragraph was. But his plan was working, the dance was conjuring the spirit of the little drummer boy who had his homework eaten by his pet badger. His mother had told him not to keep the badger, but little boys are as little boys do. That's why they liked to conjure up his spirit. That and he had a nice drum. So on the drummer boy came, he pitter-pattered the skin of his tum, while one of the lives of a stray ca
t  scrabbled about on top of his drum. Soon the drummer boy had picked up full speed and the sky was turning purple. The sun rose to its zenith, turned in to a large multicoloured beach ball and a sea-lion jumped up and plucked it from the keepers hands and span it upon it's nose. The moon, seeing the sun having so much fun, became outrageously jealous and held it's breath until it turned into a ball of marmalade. The penguin was particularly partial to marmalade, and in a moment of madness flapped her wings and took to the air. The air was light, and wind whirled past her head. She looked down and saw the blue turtle looking up. His little mouth opening and closing conveying an important message, that could the penguin have heard it would have most probably sent her crashing to the ground with out so much of a sniff of the marmalade moon. But she flew on, past the seagull that lived at the top of the world, past the sparrow that lived on the seagull, and past the small tabby cat that was sick of eating pilchards. On she flew past a small metal box made out of wood, on she went past the stars made out of cardboard and shiny gold paper. Until, finally, she plunged waste deep in to the moon. The surrounding ripples caused a shift in the space time continuum and the drummer boy became more real than spirit. This caused something of an issue as he had no physical method of propulsion. He dropped like a feather attached to a brick toward the lake of pantaloons he had been searching for these many years. The penguin had her fill of orange shred and turned around, the turtle hadn't got far because the pantaloon delta was overflowing with legs that were running to get a better view of the impending change of the sunsets. But eventually the penguin got back to the turtle. They turned and blew a raspberry at the fruit salad. The fruit salad pleased the Mohican greatly and he stopped his dance. The turtle
and penguin reached the shores of the 20 minutes sunsets, though the drummer boys' progress had meant that it was now an 18 minute and 57 second sunset. They decided not to change the name and they all lived happily ever after.  That has already produced for red squiggles in Word, when will word begin to understand that sometimes imagination is a more powerful tool than the spell checker?  That's something of a disclaimer too, you can't have footnotes roaming around idly. You'd never find them, and if you did it's unlikely they'd be in a suitable condition for reading purposes.  And I say "it's" but in actuality this is just poor language skills, they aren't an "it's", they are indeed a they, as they come in a range but more of that back in the main strip  Although I can't actually remember the last time I saw a flour ad, and if I did it would have likely been accompanied by those men in the black hats from Homepride not women wearing clogs  At 2 I spoke fluent Dutch. Apparently.  The bit of your Brian  that deals with memory   That's a purposeful typo   See this is becoming educational now isn't it?   As opposed to those ones that make reading an opinion difficult.  Why these things are building up like a child with Lego bricks.  And it was knowing that I'd be mentioning the burning of fossil fuels that prompted me to choose this particular subject to clutter with this foolishness.  That was on life 7 of 9
What Is It and Who Controls it? Well, Nuclear Power is created by the splitting and fusing of nuclear atoms (Uranium atoms etc). This process is to an extent safe when completed in the appropriate manner but although this part is safe the after effects are not always. Nuclear power plants in the U.K. are under the operational control of BNFL (British National FueLs) and are protected by the U.K.A.E.A.C. (United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary) who are armed and have more arresting powers than any other Police Force in the U.K.. It is safe regarding security although I?m sure not as safe regarding the nuclear waste and materials. Where is it Used/Processed? Nuclear power is used in the U.K. by 11 powers plants from Bradwell in Essex to Trawsfynydd in North Wales, Gwynedd. Nuclear power is used over the U.K., in Wales, England and Scotland but mostly in the England. These Power plants also need places to recycle the waste which would be at Capenhurst in Cheshire, to store it which would be in Drigg that is 6 miles from Sellafield and if need be dispose of it by waste management at Sellafield (Formerly the Infamous Windscale). Are We the only People who use Nuclear Power? Nuclear power is mainly used in Russia as they have 10 NPP's, Chernobyl being the most Infamous (Nuclear Power Plants) which are operated at higher power levels than ours but this country also has the worst safety record in Europe regarding nuclear material, Russia not only uses nuclear material in its NPP's but also its fleet of corroding Nuclear submarines that are left to rust in the icy waters of Russian harbours. The U.S.A also use it as well as other countries all over the world, I am unsure of the amount of Nuclear power plants that America has but I?m sure their is a lot just to name one, the 3 Mile Island power station which had a partial meltdown in 1979 and as a result many lawsuits followed because of the release of radiation whic
h followed the meltdown. What?s the big Problem with Nuclear Power? Well, I?m glad you asked, nuclear power has had a somewhat 'eventful' and 'problematic' history all over Europe and U.S.A., the meltdown of Power Plants and other dangers posed by these, for example that of the fire at Windscale (Now Sellafield) which released the first substantial amount of any radiation, Polonium Po-210 in this case, in the air from any nuclear incident. Then you have the infamous site of Chernobyl in the Ukraine, this happened in 1986, oddly enough meltdown was more to do with the inadequately trained staff that brake various safety regulations including the turning off of the cooling system, but in terms of Russian safety standards it wasn?t too big a mistake. At Chernobyl today children are born deformed and with various types of cancer and the soil is still radioactive today and at the time the radiation reading was 'off the scale' so to speak, well the Giga Counter. The Russians sacrifice safety for faster and more efficient equipment like in the new movie K19 - Widowmaker where on the submarines liquid metal is used in the reactors as opposed to water, which creates a bigger risk. Many things were done to prevent the radiation from leaking but it did and was felt all over Europe. Nuclear Power has to have material to allow it to work, like coal in a coal power plant, Uranium is used which when mined causes big craters in the land and large environmental destruction as shown in pictures here, (http://ohamill.netfirms.com/sizewell.htm). The recycling of nuclear materials at Sellafield causes the release of toxic radioactive gasses (http://www.bellona.no/en/energy/nuclear/sellafield/25306.html), oddly enough Sellafield is said to be safe although there have been many different incidents since 1950, Plutonium contaminated wounds in 1993 and other Plutonium contaminated wounds throughout its history in 1970's. Sellafield has a
lso had problems with workers exceeding their annual dose of radiation for example in 1986 by 4 times annual limit to bone, and other abnormal exposures like that in 1996 of 2 workers and many other radioactive spillages resulting in worker contamination, this is the industry that the government and others are trying to tell us is safe, Radiation is safe, 'yeh right' what do they take us for. A list of all the accidents at Sellafield are available here, there are a lot of them too, http://www.bellona.no/en/energy/nuclear/sellafield/wp_5-2001/21961.html . Nuclear power also takes many hundreds, even thousands of years to start to become less radioactive, what happens if a terrorist faction gets hold of it or if the land it is buried in becomes contaminated or even if we reach the limit of putting them, where else does it go. Should it Be used? Quite frankly I believe not, they may convince you that the process of nuclear power is safe at the power plants but I can tell you that the process in the waste management plant of Sellafield and other nuclear power plants are not as safe as we are led to believe. I personally believe that we should stop using nuclear power as it means allowing unnecessary risks that we don?t need to take, solar power plants could be used along with tidal power and wind power plants, these are much safer, you tell me when a major incident has happened at a Hydro-electric plant or a wind power plant. The people in charge tell us that the Nuclear Power plants and facilities are safe if operated safely but what?s the point if the people who operate them are inadequately trained like in Chernobyl or when training isn?t the problem like at Sellafield, problems just arise. We should stop using nuclear power. RESOURCES British National Fuels - http://www.bnfl.com United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary - http://www.ukaea.org.uk/ukaeac/ Environmental Foundation
Bellona - http://www.bellona.no (a brilliant nuclear information site) World Nuclear Association - http://www.world-nuclear.org/ Information about the 3 Mile Island Incident - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/tmi.html Information about Chernobyl - http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9604/04/cnnp_chernobyl/index.html Information about Windscale - http://www.nucleartourist.com/events/windscal.htm
I wasn't sure if this was the correct category for this op, but it was the closest i could find... In a few weeks time, a delegation from the government will travel to Johannesburg for the 2002 World Environmental summit. At this event as I’m sure you are aware, the main focus of the discussions will be global warming and ways to try and protect the environment. At this summit the government ministers will showcase how they are helping the environment in their own countries, and ideas will be talked about and targets set. Britain has until 2010, to get at least 10% of all it’s energy from renewable resources, a figure that is in equilibrium with other European countries, depending on their GDP, population and economic state. For reaching this target, Britain will get a large donation from the European Union, to put towards furthering development of renewable energy resources. Now to get to the point. In Yorkshire, there is an energy plant called Arbre. This is one of the world’s most technologically advanced sites for producing electricity from renewable resources. It was set up in 1998 and was partly funded by the government and Yorkshire water, who at the time were reputation re-building after the Yorkshire Drought fiasco, plus many smaller investors. During the four years that have elapsed, Yorkshire Water have changed their name to Kelda, and have invested a reasonable amount of money into the project. However, Kelda have decided to cease giving Arbre their money, because a large proportion of their total donation was spent rashly by the managers of Arbre, making Kelda think twice about investing so heavily. This has meant an innovative and astonishingly futuristic asset to the country is not in use, and may have to be shut down due to a lack of funds. You can understand the view of Kelda who may want to keep their money to themselves now that their reputation is intact and it is bad business for them to
help pay towards the running of Arbre. That is fair enough. The government have not invested as heavily in this project as they may have done, only putting two million pounds towards this ‘Pride of Britain’. The government are now becoming very tetchy about coughing up the cash, because of the pulling out of a major investor. To me this is typical of the way that Labour prioritise. Take the small debacle that was London’s biggest car park…I mean, The Millennium Dome. How much of taxpayer’s money was thrown at that white elephant before it closed? Compare the horrendous figures that the government spent on that, to the feeble amount that Arbre requires to become fully operational. A figure in the region of three million would achieve this goal. The government has yet to step in to help. Now call me cynical, but surely this is the perfect opportunity for Tony, not Mr. Blair he likes it informal, to show the world how wonderful he is… I mean, how the government is dedicated to environmental issues, and saving the world. Pay three million to Arbre, go to Johannesburg and show the European Union that the British government has invested money heavily in producing clean electricity. Tony would get his rewards, Britain would be a world leader in environmental technology, the environment itself would benefit and we could all live happily ever after. Or as I suspect, not. This is another show of how grossly incompetent government ministers can be when deciding what to finance. Thirty million pounds on the Dome, or three million pounds on saving the environment, and investing in technology that Britain has produced. I know what I’d be doing if I was Tony.
This is something I read about in New Scientist a week or so back. It disturbed me, so I thought I would bring it along and share it. There is a good deal of coal below the crust, but most of it is too far down to be mined in any cost effective sort of way. If you do mine coal, it is a less efficient fuel than burning gas or oil, and a more messy one, so largely it has gone out of fashion. However, gas and oil will run out in the foseable future, so most countries are looking for alternatives. The theory is this. Rather than bring the coal to the surface, you burn it underground, feeding oxygen in at one end of a seam, extracting hot gases at the other to power turbines. The Co2 and other unwanted gases can be kept below the surface (methods for doing this are not established by the way), costs would be low and the energy supplies freed up by this would be huge. The hype lables it as 'clean coal'. Many governments are seriously looking into this. America, Australia, and the UK, to name but a few. Our government is apparently looking at sites to try this out, and may well have a trial project under way in the not too dim and distant. I wish I could offer more details on this, but the article was vague and I've not yet tracked down anything hard and solid elswhere. New Scientist's writer clearly felt that the subject was not widely known and that environmentalists would be up in arms when the truth got out. However, given that the resource is a reputable magazine I am inclined to beleive it. So, on the plus side, this method of extracting energy from coal could provide a considerable energy supply that might be less harmful to the environment. The downsides: 1) It would be nigh on impossible to regulate the output or the quality of said. 2)The fires might go out. 3)You'd have to be very sure about the size of a seam, or you could end up with something spreading beyond control. 4)Burning t
hings in confined spaces is not renowned for being a safe thing to do. 5)There is currently no method for making it clean - ie keeping the gases generated blow ground. 6)The fires might well affect the structures above them, breaking open rifts through which gases could escape - if this happened in an inhabited area, the results would be dire. 7)This is also a finite resource and would eventually run out so it isn't a long term solution. 8) This allows countries to carry on with unreasonable levels of fuel consumption rather than trying to find more sustainable solutions. I think this is going to be something to watch very carefuly. If it is indeed marketed as clean coal - a not entirely truthful lable, then it may well sound very convincing. I fear that there might be some ratehr unpleasant side effects to trying this and intend to watch closely for any news on the subject (I will update here if I hear anything.)With a bit of luck, it will turn out to be one of those mad schemes that quietly dies the death, but I don't think we can afford to count on that being the case.
The subject of renewable energy sources has been and will be thrown around over the next ten or so years. It seems there is a growing concern for the implementation of obtaining a larger portion of power from renewable sources. There are many problems which are obvious to engineers but may not seem like huge problems to Managers and such, I will try to go through most of them with you...I will do this by looking at the pro's and con's of each type- SOLAR - A certain type of metal when exposed to sunlight with be able to shift electrons from it's structure and cause a flow of electricity. This is incredibly inefficient and would need about a football pitch worth of metal to light a small town, it is also expensive. There also has to be an abundance of solar exposure (not very good in Britain is it?) There are solar power plants in Calafornia in the desert but still not efficient enough for unassisted generation. Pro's: Very clean Safe Totally renewable Readily available source of power. Con's: Inefficient Expensive Unreliable Affected by weather conditions Large areas of land needed WIND - a Turbine can be equipped with sails to extract the kinetic energy from the wind and turn it into electricity with a dynamo. This is one of the best forms of renewable sources as it is in abundance every where and there doesn't even have to be a huge amount of it for a decent output. BUT each turbine creates a very small amount (about 1MW per turbine) of the required total of power (50 MW for a small town) and so a large number of turbines will be required i.e. large amounts of land. Now this wouldn't be a problem, unless the turbines were undesirable by house owners, which they are as they make a low droning sound. Which limits the land requirements and makes them unfeasible in most places. Saying that we do have a few big wind farms i
n this country and they have worked well. Pro's: Clean Safe Cheapish (well cheaper than most of the others) Pretty reliable doesn't need much wind to generate Con's: Large amounts of land and materials required NIMBY factor (not in my back yard) Noisy (if not particularly loud) Higher maintenance costs than most others HYDROELECTRIC - The perfect power source somebody called it... Well, I wouldn't say that, most hydroelectric plants use a system of two lakes draining one into the other andf then pumping the water back up, this seems an ineficient way of producing power as you have to expend it to keep producing it. Could be very good if we could harness the tide (under experimentation) or a free flowing river (too much variation in flow) so that we can just leave it there and it'll look after itself. Although we could never do that as the wear on the turbines from water is like nothing else. There is at least one hydro plant in this country. Pro's: Cheapish Cleanish Totally renewable Cons: Can cause a danger to the environment Very low output on small flows Extensive Maintenance routine must be followed Expensive to initiate but then very cheap to run. GEOTHERMAL - Works similar to a steam power plant... Get's heat energy to turn water to steam.. pressurise the steam and then pass through turbines to generate the electricity. Don't really know that much about this form of renewable energy but have the resevations about the renewable side (will the earth heat always be there???). There is apparently, one in iceland. Pro's: Clean Very cheap (basically a huge hole bored into the earth and steam generated form the heat removed from the bottom of the hole) Cons: Is it renewable? Will the heat continue to generate heat? possibly S
ometimes have to drill very deep. BIOMASS - The waste from almost everthing in the world will turn to methane at some point (or another flammable gas) due to the decaying process. These gases can then be burnt to heat steam and so on. What a great idea... Methane being a greenhouse gas, this will clean up the athmosphere (a bit). The only problem is that when it's burnt you will get CO2 another greenhouse gas. Also how would we collect it, and store it for a matter of fact. It is a highly flammable gas and requires specialised storage and specialised handling. Plus it may not be able to be called renewable as it depends on the continuation of the matter supply. Pro's: Already there are plants designed for burning natural gas (basically the same) these could be used Very Very cheap (people will probably pay you to remove the waste) Pretty renewable, as long as there are animals to produce the waste. Removes part of the greenhouse gases from the athmosphere Cons: Not very clean, produces CO2 Difficult to store and collect the Methane. TIDAL - This uses the motion of the waves in the sea and the change in level as a source of kinetic energy to create the power. Very experimental and unreliable, but totally renewable and efficient. Limitations are cost of development and varying poower outputs depending on the tide. Projects on the Severn and near Scotland have soo far met with opposition and disaster, outlook not good. Pro's: Very Very Reliable Very Clean Energy source abundant everywhere. Con's: Very expensive Slight danger to environment varying power output (but not as severe as solar) BIOCHEMICAL - This is very experimental, There is a thought that some cells in the presence of certain chemicals release small charges of electricty. Now if we could get a big enough culture we could draw out some of
that power and we would have a limitless supply! Pro's: A clean, self propagating power source! Star Trek is here! Con's: Genetic modification... Morality Very expensive for the chemicals it'll need to live Small output per unit weight Nuclear Fusion - A theoretical method that sounds worse than it is... If we split water into oxygen and hydrogen, the oxygen could be used some other way and the hydrogn put into the fusion reactor. This will then force the hydrogen to fuse and create stable helium, releasing a massive amount of energy which can be collected in the same manner as fission reactors. No radioactive isotopes anywhere. But probably impossible. Pro's: Clean Non-radioactive Abundant Fuel High output Con's: Dangerous due to amounts of energy being handled Probably impossible A lot of opposition In my opinion I have to say that it is difficult to say which option is the most viable because they all have good sides and bad sides. I think a mixture of various power plants, either wind operated or solar or any other, would be the way forward and I know froa a fact that all our energy requirements could not come from one source alone (except possibly Nuclear Fusion). There is a definate trend towards renewable energy sources and this is driven by the need to be able to replace the energy gained from the fossil fuels when they run out. My opinion is not that we are doing untold damage to the environment by burning fossil fuels (I think the fact that there are over 1 billion cars has something to do with that). It is that this power source is going to run out... There is not an unlimited supply and so we should remove our dependance now and be ready for the day when all the mines and drilling platforms run dry. The planet is perfectly safe from us at the muinute and this warming problem is just a natural stag
e in the planets life.. repeatability shows this... the same cooling and then heating of the athmosphere occurs throughout the ages i.e. the last ice age... now tell me did we have anything to do with that? O.k Thanks for reading this long op, I hope I have been helpful, any questions leave a comment and I will reply asap.
Not all wind turbines need be noisy, large and ugly. There is room for small machines which can be owned by the end-users. Iskra WTM is a new business established to manufacture small wind turbines. Read all about them at www,iskrawind.com. It is run by engineers with many years' varied experience, some in the wind turbine industry. Their first model, the AT5-1 Turbine, currently has its prototype spinning happily in Derbyshire, where it will power a farm's holiday cottages. It has a 5kW generator rating, and is intended for farms, small communities, campsites, remote locations and communities in developing countries which have no other access to electricity. The energy capture of the AT5-1 turbine is unusually high at low wind speeds, thus making wind energy generation feasible at locations where the average wind speed is low. Its tower can be lowered to make maintenance easy and the blades are specifically optimised for low wind speed operation. It has an unobtrusive profile and low noise. It would be ideal for places too remote to be on the grid, as well as other small enterprises hoping to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. The prototype is now doing well, and production models should be available soon. See the website for further information.