Non-renewable energy: Part 2

GREEN HOME SHOW #36: Non-renewable energy: Part 2 Thumbs up and Thumbs down,Green News, Audience Going Green Questions is pleased to offer our members and website visitors original content that helps all of us save money and the environment. In addition to our ongoing research and writing on energy saving and home remodeling, we have partnered with THE GREAT GREEN HOME SHOW to offer you content like this that includes script excerpts from the weekly radio show. offers the exclusive world-wide on-demand access to the audio files, so you can now read and also listen for FREE to any of the shows at anytime. You can also learn about the show’s co-hosts Paul and Doug. Click here to listen to the show of your choice: Green and Home Improvement Radio Shows

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The following content is from THE GREAT GREEN HOME SHOW #36.

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Overall Segment #2 – 12:00

Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down – 3:00 Sponsored by: Option Insurance Group

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The company that owns China's problem-stricken Three Gorges Dam is expected to sign a pact with the Nature Conservancy to conduct a feasibility study on reducing the dam's impact on downstream flood plains. The hydroelectric dam was built partially for flood control, but making that difficult duty less of a priority could generate more money from electricity generation, which could then be put toward warning systems, flood insurance, and flood-plain protection downstream, says the Nature Conservancy. The dam owners and the green group have also agreed to cooperate on researching eco-minded management of four more dams that are planned to be built upstream on the Yangtze River. The conservancy says it doesn't support dams, but nonetheless, "These dams will be built," says the group's Yangtze River project manager. "We must use our experience and knowledge to reduce their ecological impact."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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The U.S. Department of Energy has told lawmakers that it plans to pull funding for FutureGen, its ambitious and crazily expensive "clean coal" demonstration plant. The feds had planned to cover some three-quarters of the $1.8 billion price tag, and cited ballooning costs as its reason for backing out. The announcement pissed off lawmakers from Illinois, where the plant would have been sited and was expected to create 3,000 construction jobs. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) pledged that the state delegation "is going to make the case for FutureGen directly to the president," while Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a statement saying the DOE had "deceived the people of East Central Illinois who spent time and resources competing for the project."

Sources: Associated Press, Reuters, Chicago Tribune

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Tech giant Intel has announced that it will buy 1.3 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits a year, making it the biggest U.S. buyer of alternative energy. Previous record-holder PepsiCo is bumped into second place with a purchase of 1.1 billion kilowatt hours annually -- but if Pepsi's advertising is to be believed, every sip gets them closer.

Sources: Financial Times, Reuters, The Oregonian

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Leaders from the world's major economies will fly big planes to Honolulu this week for a chat about reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions. Ironicalicious! Even better, the Bush administration, which is hosting the meeting, isn't expecting much out of it. "I think these will be iterative discussions, which the initial goal will be to lay out a variety of options without holding any country to a particular proposal," says James Connaughton of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "We're trying to do this in a collaborative way, rather than in the more classic 'You bring your number, I bring my number, and we start kicking them around.'" Did he just effectively say, "Specific goals are unnecessary"? The mind boggles.

Source: Reuters

Green News - 5:00 Sponsored by: Suntrust Mortgage

An update and report on the ever changing face of future Transportation

Okay so let's talk about autos. It is second or third largest industry in America somewhere behind “Beef, Pork and Poultry”… go figure…

We’ve already told you that the amount of money that flows into the beef, pork and poultry industry in this country in terms of cash and natural resources expended on the industry is about one third of all the natural resources used in our country in a year.

Just thought I'd drop that one on you again, the total cost far exceeds the monetary expenditures and consumption of oil, coal, gas combined. Beef is big money it is all so big waste... but I digress.

Okay let’s see... we talked about the Tesla sports car coming out of California that was going to cost $90,000 to $100,000... as we said before, the electric car industry is really changing on whether they can come through with a reasonably priced battery that delivers range, ease of recharge, and sufficient torque to satisfy the average American and consequently the worldwide population. The industry has been very hopeful that they can make money selling stock in these companies and they're already taking deposits on cars, as in the case of Tesla. The range of the Tesla was supposed to get about 200 miles on a battery charge and as we said it cost about $90,000, with a significant part of the cost being the battery...

So I did more research on Tesla I found out that the CEO is stepping down and the company has acknowledged that it may face more delays in bringing the Tesla roadster to market. Last July, he was aiming to have a vehicle ready in about a year, Then later, shifted that date to fall 2007. Now looks like another postponement could be in the offing and so you really need to keep your eye on this one.... they say they're still planning for a fall release but it looks like they need a little more time to gear up for competing with the big boys and expanding a little bit to keep up with demand and the challenge for mass manufacturing. I would also keep an eye on this one in terms of battery technology because I don’t think they're quite settled on the final product yet.

Another company to lookout for is one called Wrightspeed. These guys are the makers of an electric drive train for trucks that they plan to sell to establish manufacturers. They have electric sports car already but they want to get into pickup trucks. And according to research the top three selling vehicles last year in America were Pickup trucks: the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram. So if you're looking for something to follow, keep an eye on this company. They do truck conversions. And trucks put out an awful lot of emissions and don't get great mileage. Of course, as always, the big issue is battery life... if the Tesla only goes 200 miles on a charge, how far can a truck hauling a full load of battery parts go on its electrical power?

There's a good electric truck story in Europe... go out to the web and Google “Smith Electric Trucks”... these guys are going to up the ante... they’re already operating in Europe and are vowing to invade America soon...

A good electric truck would be a welcome “British Invasion”!

To add fuel to the fire, Nissan is less excited about ethanol and biodiesel and more excited about electric cars. Nissan is going to come out with more hybrid cars and some completely electric vehicles in a few years. An interesting comment by one of the vice presidents and managers of the technology development division was that he thought that both bio-diesel and ethanol costs were more than regular gas, once changes in mileage and other factors are calculated in. The most important thing is the availability of fuel.

I love this guy! And I quote, “there are also the political and societal questions”, he added. “You have to use cropland that might be better used in growing food do, you have to cut down tropical forests. It's the opposite with cars that run on electricity. The societal questions are easy… the tough part is coming up with a battery that is small enough and cheap enough to put in your car.”

It looks like Nissan is betting on battery powered cars as a second car until they can get batteries to give people enough range and at a price they can afford. Just some food for thought…

I guess if I was investing in any the new technologies now, I might hone my searches down to battery manufacturing companies that have been in business for more than 25 years, have an upswing in their outside investment, and are tied to some of the larger companies like Nissan. I would also look into companies that supply the battery manufacturers with their components.

On the other hand looks like Honda's coming out with more diesel cars, trying to get their MPG up to around 60 or 65 miles a gallon. And the scuttlebutt for the hybrid, which is a car that runs on battery and gas intermittently, is that the 2009 models, which will be offered in 2008, are going to be able to get somewhere between 80 and 90 miles to the gallon. But while we applaud this... again, we need to see where and how the batteries will be recycled. That is key. So as an investor and I would certainly be investigating companies that were gearing up to process used auto batteries and how they were faring.

We'll continue our investigation and updates on the trends in the auto industry, hydrogen is next, and we will try to do our best to keep up with his ever-changing field and hopefully it will be smooth driving for the rest of us. By the way if you've ever been an electric powered vehicle and you know that they are thrilled to drive and much faster more torque than our gas powered cars

Listener Letters – 3:00 Sponsored by: CMI Solar Electric

Our first Letter comes to us from Ed Smothers of Broadkill Beach, DE. ED asks: Is there any new technology coming along for solar and should we wait before installing it?

The simple answer is; “no you shouldn’t wait”.... we have states with rebates and some online rebates going on right now that are excellent and there’s no guarantee that those will remain in effect indefinately… DE is a great place for solar right now and both PA and MD rebate programs are coming along... i.e. - write your representatives…as to NEW TECH?…well CMI just installed a solar system on the roof of the roof of the U of D. professor who oversees energy systems research and Design at U of D....... what that tell you… The Experts are installing now....with present crystal panels... Oh yeah…and all the hype about SunSolar and solar shingles is great.... except for 1 thing….that they are much more expensive than regular solar panels and do not presently qualify for the DE rebate program… probably wont qualify for a lot of other states rebates also… nice product though if you have the extra cash...

Our last letter is from Ben Durbin of Oxford, PA. Ben is unhappy and wants to know: Where can I find good “green” news? I’m trying to stay optimistic by finding hopeful news. Any suggestions?

Ben! Good news is everywhere! You just ain’t tryin’ hard enough. First of all, listen to this show. We always have good news. Secondly, you can go to any of a number of websites out there that will give you the straight skinny on a lot of great green topics. I just read this morning in the Grist that four tech companies have partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to introduce the Eco-Patent Commons, which will offer the rights to eco-friendly technologies for free. IBM, Sony, Nokia, and Pitney Bowes have together donated 31 patents into the public domain, including one for a shock-absorbing cardboard tray that would replace the need for Styrofoam peanuts and another for a way to recycle cell phones into new devices. "Innovation to address environmental issues will require both the application of technology as well as new models for sharing intellectual property among companies in different industries," says IBM Senior Vice President Dr. John E. Kelly III. "IBM is excited to bring its patent resources to bear in service of the environment. We strongly urge other companies to contribute to the Eco-Patent Commons." So you just have to look for it. It’s there!

Thanks to CMI Electric for sponsoring this weeks Listener Letters.

The Language of Green – 2:00 Sponsored by:

Today’s Green Glossary

Renewable Energy: Renewable energy effectively uses natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation. About 13 percent of primary energy comes from renewables, with most of this coming from traditional biomass like wood-burning. Hydropower is the next largest source, providing 2-3%, and modern technologies like geothermal, wind, solar, and marine energy together produce less than 1% of total world energy demand.[2] The technical potential for their use is very large, exceeding all other readily available sources.[3]

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are tradable environmental commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. These certificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy. While traditional carbon emissions trading programs promote low-carbon technologies by increasing the cost of emitting carbon, RECs can incentivize carbon-neutral renewable energy by providing a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources

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