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The Energy Crisis and Lyophilization

By Thomas A. Jennings, Ph.D. It was just a few months ago (August, 2000 - see INSIGHT Vol. 3 No. 8) that I addressed the question of the impact that a shortage of electrical energy may have on the field of lyophilization. My major concern was directed to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries because it is here that the impact would have its greatest effect on the health and welfare on people throughout the world. It seemed illogical to me to write another INSIGHT related to this topic after such a short time but the recent energy crisis that affected the entire state of California has driven me to once again address this issue of the relationship between a shortage in electrical power and the lyophilization process. I feel very strongly that the events of last summer in the state of Washington and that which has happened recently in California will serve as a warning flag that an energy crises is upon us and we simply can no longer ignore it or say it wont happen here. I would like to use this INSIGHT to make the reader aware as to some of the major causes for such a crises and possible solutions to the problem. While I will mainly address problems facing the United States, these global effects and other industrial nations may soon find themselves in the very same position sometime in the future. Volume 4 No. 2 February 2001

About Local Energy Solutions.....

We are a group of concerned private citizens who have followed the issue of Peak Oil over the last 2 years. The response of our political leaders to looming energy crises has been nothing short or negligent. They continue to promote an unsustainable life style failing to take on the task of educating and informing people of the repercussions of an energy shortage. As patriotic loyal concerned American Citizens we have undertaken this effort to inform the public about the situation and present possible solutions that will alleviate the stress people will find themselves under in the coming years. American's have pulled together before and worked in a cooperative effort during World War II This insured our success in that tumultuous time. We believe with the same perseverance and determination they can successfully navigate the challenges of a situation similar in scope .

Sources from which energy can be obtained to provide heat, light, and power. Sources of energy have evolved from human and animal power to fossil fuels, uranium, water power, wind, and the Sun. The principal fossil fuels are coal, lignite, peat, petroleum, and natural gas; other potential sources of fossil fuels include oil shale and tar sands. As fossil fuels become depleted, nonfuel sources and fission and fusion sources will become of greater importance since they are renewable. Nuclear power is based on the fission of uranium, thorium, and plutonium, and the fusion power is based on the forcing together of the nuclei of two light atoms such as deuterium, tritium, or helium-3. See also Coal; Natural gas; Nuclear power; Oil sand; Oil shale; Petroleum. Nonfuel sources of energy include wastes, water, wind, geothermal deposits, biomass, and solar heat. See also Biomass; Geothermal power; Solar energy; Wind power. Fuels which do not exist in nature are known as synthetic fuels. They are synthesized or manufactured from varieties of fossil fuels which cannot be used conveniently in their original forms. Substitute natural gas is manufactured from coal, peat, or oil shale. Synthetic liquid fuels can be produced from coal, oil shale, or tar sands. Both gaseous and liquid fuels can be synthesized from renewable resources, collectively called biomass. These carbon sources are trees, grasses, algae, plants, and organic waste. Production of synthetic fuels, particularly from renewable resources, increases the scope of available energy sources. Energy management includes not only the procurement of fuels on the most economical basis, but the conservation of energy by every conceivable means. Whether this is done by squeezing out every Btu through heat exchangers, or by room-temperature processes instead of high-temperature processes, or by greater insulation to retain heat which has been generated, each has a role to play in requiring less energy to produce the same amount of goods and materials.

sources of energy, origins of the power used for transportation, for heat and light in dwelling and working areas, and for the manufacture of goods of all kinds, among other applications. The development of science and civilization is closely linked to the availability of energy in useful forms. Modern society consumes vast amounts of energy in all forms: light, heat, electrical, mechanical, chemical, and nuclear. The rate at which energy is produced or consumed is called power, although this term is sometimes used in common speech synonymously with energy. Types of Energy

Chemical and Mechanical Energy An early source of energy, or prime mover, used by humans was animal power, i.e., the energy obtained from domesticated animals. Later, as civilization developed, wind power was harnessed to drive ships and turn windmills, and streams and rivers were diverted to turn water wheels (see water power). The rotating shaft of a windmill or water wheel could then be used to crush grain, to raise water from a well, or to serve any number of other uses. The motion of the wind and water, as well as the motion of the wheel or shaft, represents a form of mechanical energy. The source of animal power is ultimately the chemical energy contained in foods and released when digested by humans and animals. The chemical energy contained in wood and other combustible fuels has served since the beginning of history as a source of heat for cooking and warmth. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, water power was used to provide energy for factories through systems of belts and pulleys that transmitted the energy to many different machines. Heat Energy The invention of the steam engine, which converts the chemical energy of fuels into heat energy and the heat into mechanical energy, provided another source of energy. The steam engine is called an external-combustion engine, since fuel is burned outside the engine to create the steam used inside it. During the 19th cent. the internal-combustion engine was developed; a variety of fuels, depending on the type of internal-combustion engine, are burned directly in the engine's chambers to provide a source of mechanical energy. Both steam engines and internal-combustion engines found application as stationary sources of power for different purposes and as mobile sources for transportation, as in the steamship, the railroad locomotive (both steam and diesel), and the automobile. All these sources of energy ultimately depend on the combustion of fuels for their operation. Electrical Energy Early in the 19th cent. another source of energy was developed that did not necessarily need the combustion of fuelsthe electric generator, or dynamo. The generator converts the mechanical energy of a conductor moving in a magnetic field into electrical energy, using the principle of electromagnetic induction. The great advantage of electrical energy, or electric power, as it is commonly called, is that it can be transmitted easily over great distances (see power, electric). As a result, it is the most widely used form of energy in modern civilization; it is readily converted to light, to heat, or, through the electric motor, to mechanical energy again. The large-scale production of electrical energy was made possible by the invention of the turbine, which efficiently converts the straight-line motion of falling water or expanding steam into the rotary motion needed to turn the rotor of a large generator. Nuclear Energy

The development of nuclear energy made available another source of energy. The heat of a nuclear reactor can be used to produce steam, which then can be directed through a turbine to drive an electric generator, the propellers of a large ship, or some other machine. In 1999, 23% of the electricity generated in the United States derived from nuclear reactors; however, since the 1980s, the construction and application of nuclear reactors in the United States has slowed because of concern about the dangers of the resulting radioactive waste and the possibility of a disastrous nuclear meltdown (see Three Mile Island; Chernobyl). Environmental Considerations The demand for energy has increased steadily, not only because of the growing population but also because of the greater number of technological goods available and the increased affluence that has brought these goods within the reach of a larger proportion of the population. For example, despite the introduction of more fuel-efficient motor vehicles (average miles per gallon increased by 34% between 1975 and 1990), the consumption of fuel by vehicles in America increased by 20% between 1975 and 1990. The rise in gasoline consumption is attributable to an increase in the number of miles the average vehicle traveled and to a 40% increase in the same period in the number of vehicles on the road. Since 1990 average fuel efficiency has changed relatively little, while the number of vehicles, the number of miles they travel, and the total amount of fuel consumed has continued to increase. As a result of the increase in the consumption of energy, concern has risen about the depletion of natural resources, both those used directly to produce energy and those damaged during the exploitation of the fuels or as a result of contamination by energy waste products (see under conservation of natural resources). Most of the energy consumed is ultimately generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas, and the world has only a finite supply of these fuels, which are in danger of being used up. Also, the combustion of these fuels releases various pollutants (see pollution), such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, which pose health risks and may contribute to acid rain and global warming. In addition, environmentalists have become increasingly alarmed at the widespread destruction imposed on sensitive wildlands (e.g., the tropical rain forests, the arctic tundra, and coastal marshes) during the exploitation of their resources. The Search for New Sources of Energy The environmental consequences of energy production have led many nations in the world to impose stricter guidelines on the production and consumption of energy. Further, the search for new sources of energy and more efficient means of employing energy has accelerated. The development of a viable nuclear fusion reactor is often cited as a possible solution to our energy problems. Presently, nuclear-energy plants use nuclear fission, which requires scarce and expensive fuels and produces potentially dangerous wastes. The fuel problem has been partly helped by the development of breeder reactors, which produce more nuclear fuel than they consume, but the long-term

hopes for nuclear energy rest on the development of controlled sources using nuclear fusion rather than fission. The basic fuels for fusion are extremely plentiful (e.g., hydrogen, from water) and the end products are relatively safe. The basic problem, which is expected to take decades to solve, is in containing the fuels at the extremely high temperatures necessary to initiate and sustain nuclear fusion. Another source of energy is solar energy. The earth receives huge amounts of energy every day from the sun, but the problem has been harnessing this energy so that it is available at the appropriate time and in the appropriate form. For example, solar energy is received only during the daylight hours, but more heat and electricity for lighting are needed at night. Despite technological advances in photovoltaic cells, solar energy has not become a more significantly more financially competitive source of energy. Although several solar thermal power plants are now in operation in California, they are not yet able to compete with conventional power plants on an economic basis. Some scientists have suggested using the earth's internal heat as a source of energy. Geothermal energy is released naturally in geysers and volcanoes. In California, some of the state's electricity is generated by the geothermal plant complex known as the Geysers, which has been in production since 1960, and in Iceland, which is geologically very active, roughly 90% of the homes are heated by geothermal energy. Still another possible energy source is tidal energy. A few systems have been set up to harness the energy released in the twice-daily ebb and flow of the ocean's tides, but they have not been widely used, because they cannot operate turbines continuously and because they must be built specifically for each site. Another direction of research and experimentation is in the search for alternatives to gasoline. Possibilities include methanol, which can be produced from wood, coal, or natural gas; ethanol, an alcohol produced from grain, sugarcane, and other agriculture plants and currently used in some types of U.S. motor fuel (e.g., gasohol and E85, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline); compressed natural gas, which is much less polluting than gasoline and is currently used by a 1.5 million vehicles around the world; and electricity, which if ever practicable would be cheaper and less polluting, especially if derived from solar energy, rather than gasoline. Bibliography See G. R. Harrison, The Conquest of Energy (1968); F. Barnaby, Man and the Atom: The Uses of Nuclear Energy (1971); W. G. Steltz and A. M. Donaldson, AeroThermodynamics of Steam Turbines (1981); T. N. Veziroglu, ed., Alternative Sources of Energy (1983 and 1985) and Renewable Energy Sources (Vol. 4, 1984); G. L. Johnson, Wind Energy Systems (1985). Sponsored Links Renewable Energy Solution Guide To Eliminate Your Power Bill & Pocket The Savings For Yourself !

Good Vibes with B and K Free ezine Tips to change your life Clear bad energy Lift your spirit Essay: Alternative energy sources Most scientists believe that Earth's atmosphere is warming as a result of the greenhouse effect induced by carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power stations and cars as well as other atmospheric gases. The major alternatives to fossil fuels now in use are waterpower and nuclear power. Waterpower, since the introduction of efficient turbines during the last century, is still the most important energy source that does not use fossil fuels. Although waterpower contributes little to global warming, its main environmental problem has been interference with the natural ecology of rivers (for instance, salmon spawning). Nuclear power, only slightly behind waterpower in terms of total energy production, creates problems with waste disposal and raises the possibility of extensive radioactive contamination if disaster occurs at a plant. Researchers and engineers have been looking at alternative energy sources that do not tax the environment or deplete natural fuel reserves. Between 1986 and 2000 the use of alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and renewable biofuels, has increased from 370,000,000,000,000 Btus to 2,990,000,000,000,000 Btus, but it still is not quite 1 percent of all energy. Wind power, one of the oldest energy sources, has undergone a strong revival since the 1980s. In the Netherlands the sleek rotating blades of modern wind turbines are now as much a mark of the landscape as the traditional windmills. The largest wind turbines can generate more than 2 megawatts of power. More commonly, smaller wind turbines producing about 50 to 100 kilowatts each are grouped in so-called wind farms. Wind supplies a much smaller fraction of electrical energy than nuclear or hydroelectric power. All the wind power generated in 2001 around the world was about the equivalent of ten ordinary nuclear power plants. Solar energy also supplies a small fraction of the world's total energy demand. There are two main ways to collect solar energy. The most common solar method since the 1970s has been to let the Sun heat water in tubes mounted in special panels on roofs. During the winter water from these solar collectors heats the building and supplies hot water. In some versions, daytime heat is stored in a large insulated tank of water from which it is recovered at night. The other solar energy method, the use of photovoltaic cells, converts solar energy directly into electricity. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, scientists developed experimental solar cells that convert more than 35 percent of sunlight falling on them into electricity, but practical solar cells available to consumers range from 8 percent to 20 percent efficiency. Solar cells are still too expensive for large solar power stations, but they are now used to supply energy to devices at remote sites. Tax breaks have also made solar cells practical for home use, where the solar cells are on the roof. Home solar systems usually have backup from a conventional power grid and may also sell power to the grid when production of energy exceeds use.

Another alternative source that has increased in usage since the 1970s has been geothermal power, which is already cost effective, although the initial capital investment may be high. Geothermal power taps the interior heat of Earth to produce steam or expand compounds such as ammonia (which does not require as high a temperature as steam does). The expanded gases drive turbines to generate power without pollution. By 2000 geothermal power in the United States was already replacing the energy that would require 60,000,000 barrels of oil to produce. Sponsored Links Fossil Fuel Alternative A clean burning liquid fuel from forest and agricultural residue Alternative Energy Store Solar, Wind, Hydro, and more. Great Prices, Friendly Staff! Wikipedia: energy development It has been suggested that future energy development be merged into this article or section. (Discuss) Energy development is the ongoing effort to provide sustainable energy resources through knowledge, skills, and constructions. When harnessing energy from primary energy sources and converting them into more convenient secondary energy forms, such as electrical energy and cleaner fuel, both emissions (reducing pollution) and quality (more efficient use) are important.

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Dependence on external energy sources

Technologically advanced societies have become increasingly dependent on external energy sources for transportation, the production of many manufactured goods, and the delivery of energy services. This energy allows people, in general, to live under otherwise unfavorable climatic conditions through the use of heating, ventilation, and/or air conditioning. Level of use of external energy sources differs across societies, as do the climate, convenience, traffic congestion, pollution, production, and greenhouse gas emissions of each society. Increased levels of human comfort generally induce increased dependence on external energy sources, although the application of energy efficiency and conservation approaches allows a certain degree of mitigation of the dependence. Wise energy use therefore embodies the idea of balancing human comfort with reasonable energy consumption levels by researching and implementing effective and sustainable energy harvesting and utilization measures.

Limitations to energy development

A key limit to the development of any particular energy source is availability of the underlying resource. Most of the world's main energy sources are based on the consumption of non-renewable resources (petroleum, coal, natural gas, and uranium). While still a small segment of the energy supply, renewable sources such as wind power and solar power are growing rapidly in market share. Closely linked to energy development are concerns about the possible environmental effects of energy use, such as climate changes. Energy development issues are part of the much debated sustainable development problem.

Primary energy sources

Primary energy sources are substances or processes with concentrations of energy at a high enough potential to be feasibly encouraged to convert to lower energy forms under human control for human benefit. Except for nuclear fuels, tidal energy and geothermal

energy, all terrestrial energy sources are from current solar insolation or from fossil remains of plant and animal life that relied directly and indirectly upon sunlight, respectively. And ultimately, solar energy itself is the result of the Sun's nuclear fusion. Geothermal power from hot, hardened rock above the magma of the earth's core is the result of the accumulation of radioactive materials during the formation of Earth which was the byproduct of a previous supernova event. Fossil fuels Main article: Fossil fuel Fossil fuels, in terms of energy, involve the burning of coal or hydrocarbon fuels, which are the remains of the decomposition of plants and animals. Steam power plant combustion heats water to create steam, which turns a turbine, which, in turn, generates electricity, waste heat, and pollution. There are three main types of fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Another fossil fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is principally derived from the production of natural gas.


Because it is based on the simple process of combustion, the burning of fossil fuels can generate large amounts of electricity with a small amount of fuel. Gasfired power plants are more efficient than coal fired power plants.[citation needed] Fossil fuels such as coal are readily available and are currently plentiful. Excluding external costs, coal is less expensive than most other sources of energy because there are large deposits of coal in the world.[citation needed] The technology already exists for the use of fossil fuels, though oil and natural gas are approaching peak production and will require a transition to other fuels and/or other measures. Commonly used fossil fuels in liquid form such as light crude oil, gasoline, and LPG are easy to distribute. LPG can be transported, stored and used virtually anywhere. It does not require a fixed network and will not deteriorate over time. As a result, it is particularly useful in regions which are not connected to fixed energy networks.[citation needed] LPG is clean burning and has lower greenhouse gas emissions than any other fossil fuel when measured on a total fuel cycle.[citation needed] In fact, by 2010, all buses and taxis in the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou will be LP Gas fueled. The city will host the 2010 Asian games and has taken the step in a bid to reduce air pollution in advance of the games.[1] LPG is also non-toxic and will not contaminate soil or aquifers in the event of a leak.[citation needed] LPG can be accessible to everyone everywhere today without major infrastructure investment.[citation needed] There are enough reserves to last many decades.[citation needed] LPG can be up to 5 times more efficient than traditional fuels, resulting in less energy wastage and better use of our planets resources.[citation needed]


The combustion of fossil fuels leads to the release of pollution into the atmosphere. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a typical coal plant produces in one year:[2] o 3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming. o 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the leading cause of acid rain. o 500 tons of small airborne particles, which result in chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, in addition to haze-obstructed visibility. o 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), leading to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs, burning lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness. o 720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), resulting in headaches and additional stress on people with heart disease. o 220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone. o 170 pounds of mercury, where just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat. o 225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion. o 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium. Dependence on fossil fuels from volatile regions or countries creates energy security risks for dependent countries. Oil dependence in particular has led to monopolization, war, and socio-political instability. They are considered non-renewable resources, which will eventually decline in production and become exhausted, with dire consequences to societies that remain highly dependent on them. Fossil fuels are actually slowly forming continuously, but we are using them up at a rate approximately 100,000 times faster than they are formed.

The Moss Landing Power Plant burns natural gas to produce electricity in California. Extracting fossil fuels is becoming more difficult as we consume the most accessible fuel deposits. Extraction of fossil fuels is becoming more expensive and more dangerous as mines get deeper and oil rigs go further out to sea.[3] Extraction of fossil fuels can result in extensive environmental degradation, such as the strip mining and mountaintop removal of coal.

Gas flare from an oil refinery. The drilling and transportation of petroleum can result in accidents that result in the despoilation of hundreds of kilometers of beaches and the death or elimination of many forms of wildlife in the area.[citation needed] Safety measures are necessary in order to use LPG without incident. [citation needed] The storage of these fuels can result in accidents with explosions and poisoning of the atmosphere and groundwater.[citation needed] Biomass, biofuels, and vegetable oil

Sugar cane residue can be used as a biofuel Main articles: Alcohol fuel, Biomass, Vegetable oil economy, vegetable oil as fuel, biodiesel Biomass production involves using garbage or other renewable resources such as corn or other vegetation, to generate electricity. When garbage decomposes the methane produced is captured in pipes and later burned to produce electricity. Vegetation and wood can be burned directly, like fossil fuels, to generate energy, or processed to form alcohols. Vegetable oil is generated from sunlight and CO2 by plants. It is safer to use and store than gasoline or diesel as it has a higher flash point. Straight vegetable oil works in diesel engines if it is heated first. Vegetable oil can also be transesterified to make biodiesel which burns like normal diesel.


Biomass production can be used to burn organic waste products resulting from agriculture. This type of recycling encourages the philosophy that nothing on this Earth should be wasted. The result is less demand on the Earth's resources, and a higher carrying capacity for Earth because non-renewable fossil fuels are not consumed. Biomass is abundant on Earth and is generally renewable. In theory, we will never run out of organic waste products as fuel, because we are continuously producing

them. In addition, biomass is found throughout the world, a fact that should alleviate energy pressures in third world nations. When methods of biomass production other than direct combustion of plant mass, such as fermentation and pyrolysis, are used, there is little effect on the environment. Alcohols and other fuels produced by these alternative methods are clean burning and are feasible replacements to fossil fuels. Since CO2 is first taken out of the atmosphere to make the vegetable oil and then put back after it is burned in the engine, there is no net increase in CO2. So vegetable oil does not contribute to the problem of greenhouse gas. It has a high flash point and is safer than most fuels. Transitioning to vegetable oil could be relatively easy as biodiesel works where diesel works, and straight vegetable oil takes relatively minor modifications. The World already produces more than 100 billion gallons a year for food industry, so we have experience making it. Algaculture has the potential to produce far more vegetable oil per acre than current plants. Infrastructure for biodiesel around the World is significant and growing.


Direct combustion without emissions filtering generally leads to air pollution similar to that from fossil fuels. Producing liquid fuels from biomass is generally less cost effective than from petroleum, since the production of biomass and its subsequent conversion to alcohols is particularly expensive.[citation needed] Some researchers claim that, when biomass crops are the product of intensive farming, ethanol fuel production results in a net loss of energy after one accounts for the fuel costs of fertilizer production, farm equipment, and the distillation process. [22] Direct competition with land use for food production. Current production methods would require enormous amounts of land to replace all gasoline and diesel. With current technology, it is unfeasible for biofuels to replace the demand for petroleum. Growth in vegetable oil production is already resulting in deforestation. Converting forest land to vegetable oil production can result in a net increase in CO2. Demand for vegetable oil used as a fuel may drive up prices of vegetable oils in the food industry Costs to modify existing engines may outweigh fuel cost savings

Hydroelectric energy Main article: Hydroelectricity In hydro energy, the gravitational descent of a river is compressed from a long run to a single location with a dam or a flume. This creates a location where concentrated

pressure and flow can be used to turn turbines or water wheels, which drive a mechanical mill or an electric generator.


Hydroelectric power stations can promptly increase to full capacity, unlike other types of power stations. This is because water can be accumulated above the dam and released to coincide with peaks in demand. Electricity can be generated constantly, so long as sufficient water is available. Hydroelectric power produces no primary waste or pollution. Hydropower is a renewable resource. Hydroelectricity assists in securing a country's access to energy supplies.


The construction of a dam can have a serious environmental impact on the surrounding areas. The amount and the quality of water downstream can be affected, which affects plant life both aquatic, and land-based. Because a river valley is being flooded, the delicate local habitat of many species are destroyed, while people living nearby may have to relocate their homes. Hydroelectricity can only be used in areas where there is a sufficient supply of water. Flooding submerges large forests (if they have not been harvested). The resulting anaerobic decomposition of the carboniferous materials releases methane, a greenhouse gas. Dams can contain huge amounts of water. As with every energy storage system, failure of containment can lead to catastrophic results, e.g. flooding. Hydroelectric plants rarely can be erected near load centres, requiring large transmission lines.

Nuclear energy

Diablo Canyon Power Plant Nuclear power station. Main article: Nuclear power Nuclear power stations use nuclear fission to generate energy by the reaction of uranium235 inside a nuclear reactor. The reactor uses uranium rods, the atoms of which are split in the process of fission, releasing a large amount of energy. The process continues as a chain reaction with other nuclei. The heat released heats water to create steam, which spins a turbine generator, producing electricity. A relatively small number of nuclear

power plants (about 50) has the potential to supply the entire U.S. (or other nation) with relatively clean electricity.

Higher electricity use per capita correlates with a higher score on the Human Development Index(1997). Developing nations score much lower on these variables than developed nations. The continued rapid economic growth and increase in living standards in developing nations with large populations, like China and India, is dependent on a rapid and large expansion of energy production capacity.

Developing nations also use less total energy per capita. FSU/EE stands for Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Source: EIA.

Developing nations use their energy less efficiently than developed nation, getting less GDP for the same amount of energy. One important cause is old technology. Notable is the very low energy efficiency in the former communist states. Source: EIA.

An increasing share of world energy consumption is predicted to be used by developing nations. Source: EIA. Depending on the type of fission fuel considered, estimates for existing supply at known usage rates varies from thousands of years for uranium-238 to several decades for the currently popular Uranium-235. At the present use rate, there are (as of 2007) about 70 years left of known uranium-235 reserves economically recoverable at an uranium price of US$ 130/kg.[4] The nuclear industry argue that the cost of fuel is a minor cost factor for fission power, more expensive, more difficult to extract sources of uranium could be used in the future, such as lower-grade ores, and if prices increased enough, from sources such as granite and seawater.[5] Increasing the price of uranium would have little effect on the overall cost of nuclear power; a doubling in the cost of natural uranium would increase the total cost of nuclear power by 5 percent. On the other hand, if the price of natural gas was doubled, the cost of gas-fired power would increase by about 60 percent.[6] Another alternative would be to use thorium as fission fuel. Thorium is three times more abundant in Earth's crust than uranium,[7] and much more of the thorium can be used (or, more precisely, converted into Uranium-233 and then used). Current light water reactors burn the nuclear fuel poorly, leading to energy waste. Nuclear reprocessing [8] or burning the fuel better using different reactor designs would reduce the amount of waste material generated and allow better use of the available resources. As opposed to current light water reactors which use uranium-235 (0.7 percent of all natural uranium), fast breeder reactors convert the more abundant uranium-238 (99.3 percent of all natural uranium) into plutonium for fuel. It has been estimated that there is anywhere from 10,000 to five billion years worth of Uranium-238 for use in these power plants[9] . Breeder technology has been used in several reactors. However, the breeder reactor at Dounreay in Scotland, Monju in Japan and the Superphnix at CreysMalville in France, in particular, have all had difficulties and were not economically competitive and have been decommissioned. The People's Republic of China intends to build breeders.[10] The possibility of nuclear meltdowns and other reactor accidents, such as the Three Mile Island accident and the Chernobyl disaster, have caused much public fear. Research is being done to lessen the known problems of current reactor technology by developing automated and passively-safe reactors. Historically, however, coal and hydropower power generation have both been the cause of more deaths per energy unit produced than nuclear power generation.[11] [12] Various kinds of energy infrastructure might be attacked by terrorists, including nuclear power plants, hydropower plants, and liquified natural gas tankers. Nuclear proliferation is the spread from nation to nation of nuclear technology, including nuclear power plants but especially nuclear weapons. New technology like SSTAR ("small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor") may lessen this risk. The long-term radioactive waste storage problems of nuclear power have not been fully solved. Several countries have considered using underground repositories. Nuclear waste takes up little space compared to wastes from the chemical industry which remain toxic indefinitely.[13] Spent fuel rods are now stored in concrete casks close to the nuclear

reactors.[14] The amounts of waste can be reduced in several ways. Both nuclear reprocessing and fast breeder reactors can reduce the amounts of waste. Subcritical reactors or fusion reactors could greatly reduce the time the waste has to be stored.[15] Subcritical reactors may also be able to do the same to already existing waste. The economics of nuclear power is not simple to evaluate, because of high capital costs for building and very low fuel costs. Comparison with other power generation methods is strongly dependent on assumptions about construction timescales and capital financing for nuclear plants. See Economics of new nuclear power plants. Depending on the source different energy return on energy investment (EROI) are claimed. Advocates (using life cycle analysis) argue that it takes 4-5 months of energy production from the nuclear plant to fully pay back the initial energy investment.[16] Opponents claim that it depends on the grades of the ores ,the fuel came from, so a fully pay back can vary from 10 to 18 years.[17] Advocates also claim that it is possible to relatively rapidly increase the number of plants. Typical new reactor designs have a construction time of three to four years.[18] In 1983, 43 plants were being built, before an unexpected fall in fossil fuel prices stopped most new construction. Developing countries like India and China are rapidly increasing their nuclear energy use.[19][20] However, a Council on Foreign Relations report on nuclear energy argues that a rapid expansion of nuclear power may create shortages in building materials such as reactor-quality concrete and steel, skilled workers and engineers, and safety controls by skilled inspectors. This would drive up current prices.[21]


The energy content of a kilogram of uranium or thorium, if spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed and fully utilized, is equivalent to about 3.5 million kilograms of coal. The cost of making nuclear power, with current legislation, is about the same as making coal power, which is considered very inexpensive (see Economics of new nuclear power plants). If a carbon tax is applied, nuclear does not have to pay anything because nuclear does not emit toxic gases such as CO2, NO, CO, SO2, arsenic, etc. that are emitted by coal power plants. Nuclear power plants are guarded with the nuclear reactor inside a reinforced containment building, and thus are relatively impervious to terrorist attack or adverse weather conditions (see Nuclear safety in the U.S.). Because of the fear of a nuclear disaster, nuclear safety has become a major issue. Nuclear power does not produce any primary air pollution or release carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Therefore, it contributes only a small amount to global warming or acid rain.

Coal mining is the second most dangerous occupation in the United States. [22] Nuclear energy is much safer per capita than coal derived energy. For the same amount of electricity, the life cycle emissions of nuclear is about 4% of coal power. Depending on the report, hydro, wind, and geothermal are sometimes ranked lower, while wind and hydro are sometimes ranked higher (by life cycle emissions).[23] [24] According to a Stanford study, fast breeder reactors have the potential to power humans on earth for billions of years, making it sustainable.[25]


The operation of an uncontained nuclear reactor near human settlements can be catastrophic, as shown by the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine (former USSR), where large areas of land were affected by radioactive contamination. Waste produced from nuclear fission of uranium is both poisonous and highly radioactive, requiring maintenance and monitoring at the storage sites. Moreover, the long-term disposal of the long-lived nuclear waste causes serious problems, since (unless the spent fuel is reprocessed) it takes from one to three thousand years for the spent fuel to come back to the natural radioactivity of the uranium ore body that was mined to produce it.[citation needed] There can be connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapon proliferation, since both require large-scale uranium enrichment facilities. While civilian nuclear facilities are normally overseen internationally by the IAEA, a couple of countries with such facilities refuse oversight.[citation needed] Large capital cost. Building a nuclear power plant requires a huge investment and the costs of safe disassembling (called decommissioning) after it reaches end of usable life must be factored into the full lifecycle budget (see Economics of new nuclear power plants).[citation needed] Nuclear fuels are a non-renewable energy source, with unknown high concentration ore reserves.[citation needed] There is a large amount of trace concentration nuclear material in seawater and most rocks; however, extraction from these is not currently economically competitive.[citation needed] The limited liability for the owner of a nuclear power plant in case of a nuclear accident differs per nation while nuclear installations are sometimes built close to national borders.[26] Waste heat disposal becomes an issue at high ambient temperature thus at a time of peak demand the reactor may need to be shut down or have reduced output [27]

Fusion power

Fusion power could solve many of the problems of fission power (the technology mentioned above) but, despite research having started in the 1950s, no commercial fusion reactor is expected before 2050[28] . Many technical problems remain unsolved. Proposed fusion reactors commonly use deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, as fuel and in most current designs also lithium. Assuming a fusion energy output equal to the current global output and that this does not increase in the future, then the known current lithium reserves would last 3000 years, lithium from sea water would last 60 million years, and a more complicated fusion process using only deuterium from sea water would have fuel for 150 billion years.[29] Wind power

Wind power: worldwide installed capacity and prediction 1997-2010, Source: WWEA Main article: Wind power This type of energy harnesses the power of the wind to propel the blades of wind turbines. These turbines cause the rotation of magnets, which creates electricity. Wind towers are usually built together on wind farms.


Wind power produces no water or air pollution that can contaminate the environment, because there are no chemical processes involved in wind power generation. Hence, there are no waste by-products, such as carbon dioxide. Power from the wind does not contribute to global warming because it does not generate greenhouse gases. Wind generation is a renewable source of energy, which means that we will never run out of it. Wind towers can be beneficial for people living permanently, or temporarily, in remote areas. It may be difficult to transport electricity through wires from a power plant to a far-away location and thus, wind towers can be set up at the remote setting. Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines. Those utilizing wind power in a grid-tie configuration will have backup power in the event of a grid outage.

Due to the ability of wind turbines to coexist within agricultural fields, siting costs are frequently low.


Wind is unpredictable, therefore wind power is not predictably available. When the wind speed decreases less electricity is generated. Wind farms may be challenged in communities that consider them an eyesore or view obstructor.[30] Wind farms, depending on the location and type of turbine, may negatively affect bird migration patterns and may pose a danger to the birds themselves. Newer, larger wind turbines have slower moving blades which are visible to birds.

Solar power

The CIS Tower, Manchester, England, was clad in PV panels at a cost of 5.5 million. It started feeding electricity to the national grid in November 2005. Main articles: Solar power, Photovoltaics Solar power involves using solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity, using sunlight hitting solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air, using sunlight hitting a parabolic mirror to heat water (producing steam), or using sunlight entering windows for passive solar heating of a building. It would be advantageous to place solar panels in the regions of highest solar radiation. In the Phoenix, Arizona area, for example, the average annual solar radiation is 5.7 kWh/m2/day [31], or 2080.5 kWh/m2/year. Electricity demand in the continental U.S. is 3.7*1012 kWh per year. Thus, at 100% efficiency, an

area of 1.8x10^9 sq. m (around 700 sq miles) would need to be covered with solar panels to replace all current electricity production in the US with solar power, and at 20% efficiency, an area of approximately 3500 sq miles (3% of Arizona's land area). The average solar radiation in the United States is 4.8 kwh/m2/day [32], but reaches 8-9 kWh/m2/day in parts of Southwest. The monetary cost, assuming $500/meter, would be about $5-10 trillion dollars.


Solar power imparts no fuel costs. Solar power is a renewable resource. As long as the Sun exists, its energy will reach Earth. Solar power generation releases no water or air pollution, because there is no combustion of fuels. In sunny countries, solar power can be used in remote locations, like a wind turbine. This way, isolated places can receive electricity, when there is no way to connect to the power lines from a plant. Solar energy can be used very efficiently for heating (solar ovens, solar water and home heaters) and daylighting. Requires no fuel. Coincidently, solar energy is abundant in regions that have relatively largest number of people living off grid - in developing regions of Africa, Indian subcontinent and Latin America. Hence cheap solar, when availabile, opens the opportunity to enhance global electricity access considerably, and possibly in a relatively short time period. [33]


Solar electricity is expensive compared to grid electricity. Solar heat and electricity are not available at night and may be unavailable due to weather conditions; therefore, a storage or complementary power system is required for most applications. Limited power density: Average daily insolation in the contiguous U.S. is 3-7 kWh/m [34][35] (see picture) Solar cells produce DC which must be converted to AC (using a grid tie inverter) when used in currently existing distribution grids. This incurs an energy loss of 412%.[36] A photovoltaic power station is expensive to build, and the energy payback time the time necessary for producing the same amount of energy as needed for building the power device - for photovoltaic cells is about 1-5 years, depending primarily on location.[37] Solar panels collect dust and require cleaning. Dust on the panels significantly reduces the transfer of energy from solar radiation to electric current.

Geothermal energy Main article: Geothermal power

Geothermal energy harnesses the heat energy present underneath the Earth. The hot rocks heat water to produce steam. When holes are drilled in the region, the steam that shoots up is purified and is used to drive turbines, which power electric generators. When the water temperature is below the boiling point of water a binary system is used. A low boiling point liquid is used to drive a turbine and generator in a closed system similar to a refrigeration unit running in reverse.


Geothermal energy does not produce air or water pollution if performed correctly. Geothermal power plants run continuously day and night with an uptime typically exceeding 95%. Once a geothermal power station is implemented, the energy produced from the station is practically free. A small amount of energy is required in order to run a pump, although this pump can be powered by excess energy generated at the plant. Geothermal power stations are relatively small, and have a lesser impact on the environment than tidal or hydroelectric plants. Because geothermal technology does not rely on large bodies of water, but rather, small, but powerful jets of water, like geysers, large generating stations can be avoided without losing functionality.


Geothermal energy extraction is only practical in certain areas of the world, usually volcanic, where the heated rock is sufficiently close to the surface such as to be reached by current drilling technology . [citation needed] Enhanced geothermal technology uses deeper drilling and water injection to generate geothermal power in areas where the earth's crust is thicker.[23] Drilling holes underground may release hazardous gases and minerals from deep inside the Earth. It can be problematic to dispose of these subsidiary products in a safe manner.[citation needed]

Energy transportation
While new sources of energy are only rarely discovered or made possible by new technology, distribution technology continually evolves. The use of fuel cells in cars, for example, is an anticipated delivery technology. This section presents some of the more common delivery technologies that have been important to historic energy development. They all rely in some way on the energy sources listed in the previous section.

An elevated section of the Alaska Pipeline. Fuels Shipping is a flexible delivery technology that is used in the whole range of energy development regimes from primitive to highly advanced. Currently, coal, petroleum and their derivatives are delivered by shipping via boat, rail, or road. Petroleum and natural gas may also be delivered via pipeline and coal via a Slurry pipeline. Refined hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and LPG may also be delivered via aircraft. Natural gas pipelines must maintain a certain minimum pressure to function correctly Electric grids Electricity grids are the networks used to transmit and distribute power from production source to end user, when the two may be hundreds of kilometres away. Sources include electrical generation plants such as a nuclear reactor, coal burning power plant, etc. A combination of sub-stations, transformers, towers, cables, and piping are used to maintain a constant flow of electricity.

Electric Grid: Pilons and cables distribute power Grids may suffer from transient blackouts and brownouts, often due to weather damage. During certain extreme space weather events solar wind can interfere with transmissions. Grids also have a predefined carrying capacity or load that cannot safely be exceeded. When power requirements exceed what's available, failures are inevitable. To prevent problems, power is then rationed. Industrialised countries such as Canada, the US, and Australia are among the highest per capita consumers of electricity in the world, which is possible thanks to a widespread electrical distribution network. The US grid is one of the most

advanced, although infrastructure maintenance is becoming a problem. The electrical power industry is one of the most heavily subsidized.[citation needed] CurrentEnergy provides a realtime overview of the electricity supply and demand for California, Texas, and the Northeast of the US. African countries with small scale electrical grids have a correspondingly low annual per capita usage of electricity. One of the most powerful power grids in the world supplies power to the state of Queensland, Australia.

Energy consumption from 1989 to 1999

Energy production from 1989 to 1999

Energy consumption per capita (2001). Red hues indicate increase, green hues decrease of consumption during the 1990s.

Energy storage
Main articles: Energy storage, grid energy storage Methods of energy storage have been developed, which transform electrical energy into forms of potential energy. A method of energy storage may be chosen based on stability, ease of transport, ease of energy release, or ease of converting free energy from the natural form to the stable form. Battery-powered Vehicles Main articles: battery, battery electric vehicle

Batteries are used to store energy in a chemical form. As an alternative energy, batteries can be used to store energy in battery electric vehicles. Battery electric vehicles can be charged from the grid when the vehicle is not in use. Because the energy is derived from electricity, battery electric vehicles make it possible to use other forms of alternative energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, or hydroelectric.


Produces zero emissions to help counteract the effects of global warming. Batteries are a mature technology, no new expensive research and development is needed to implement technology. Current lead acid battery technology offers 50+ miles range on one charge. [38] The Tesla Roadster has a 200 mile range on one charge. Batteries make it possible for stationary alternative energy generation such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, or hydroelectric. Electric motors are 90% efficient compared to about 20% efficiency of an internal combustion engine. [39] No new major infrastructure is needed to charge battery electric vehicles. Battery electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, thus improving the reliability of the vehicle. Battery electric vehicles are quiet compared to internal combustion engines. Multiple electric vehicles sold out including the General Motors EV1 and the Tesla Roadster proving the demand for battery electric vehicles. Operation of a battery electric vehicle is approximately 2 to 4 cents per mile. About a sixth the price of operating a gasoline vehicle. [40] The use of Battery Electric Vehicles eliminates the dependency on foreign oil.


The energy used in electric vehicles needs to be derived from other sources. Current battery technology is expensive. Battery electric vehicles have a relative short range compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.

Hydrogen economy Main article: Hydrogen economy Hydrogen can be manufactured at roughly 77 percent thermal efficiency by the method of steam reforming of natural gas [41]. When manufactured by this method it is a derivative fuel like gasoline; when produced by electrolysis of water, it is a form of chemical energy storage as are storage batteries, though hydrogen is the more versatile storage mode since there are two options for its conversion to useful work: (1) a fuel cell can convert the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process, produce electricity, or (2) hydrogen can be burned (less efficiently than in a fuel cell) in an internal combustion engine.


Hydrogen is colorless, odorless and entirely non-polluting, yielding pure water vapor (with minimal NOx) as exhaust when combusted in air. This eliminates the direct production of exhaust gases that lead to smog, and carbon dioxide emissions that enhance the effect of global warming. Hydrogen is the lightest chemical element and has the best energy-to-weight ratio of any fuel (not counting tank mass). Hydrogen can be produced anywhere; it can be produced domestically from the decomposition of water. Hydrogen can be produced from domestic sources and the price can be established within the country. Electrolysis combined with fuel-cell regeneration [24] is more than 50% efficient.


Other than some volcanic emanations, hydrogen does not exist in its pure form in the environment, because it reacts so strongly with oxygen and other elements. It is impossible to obtain hydrogen gas without expending energy in the process. There are three ways to manufacture hydrogen; o By breaking down hydrocarbons mainly methane. If oil or gases are used to provide this energy, fossil fuels are consumed, forming pollution and nullifying the value of using a fuel cell. It would be more efficient to use fossil fuel directly. o By electrolysis from water The process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen using electrolysis consumes large amounts of energy. It has been calculated that it takes 1.4 joules of electricity to produce 1 joule of hydrogen (Pimentel, 2002). o By reacting water with a metal such as sodium, potassium, or boron. Chemical by-products would be sodium oxide, potassium oxide, and boron oxide. Processes exist which could recycle these elements back into their metal form for re-use with additional energy input, further eroding the energy return on energy invested. There is currently modest fixed infastructure for distribution of hydrogen that is centrally produced,[42] amounting to several hundred kilometers of pipeline. An alternative would be transmission of electricity over the existing electrical network to small-scale electrolyzers to support the widespread use of hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen is difficult to handle, store, and transport. It requires heavy, cumbersome tanks when stored as a gas, and complex insulating bottles if stored as a cryogenic liquid. If it is needed at a moderate temperature and pressure, a metal hydride absorber may be needed. The transportation of hydrogen is also a problem because hydrogen leaks effortlessly from containers. Some current fuel cell designs, such as proton exchange membrane fuel cells, use platinum as a catalyst. Widescale deployment of such fuel cells could place a strain on available platinum resources. [43] Reducing the platinum loading, per fuel cell stack, is the focus of R&D.

Electricity transmission and battery electric vehicles are far more efficient for storage, transmission and use of energy for transportation, neglecting the energy conversion at the electric power plant. As with distributed production of hydrogen via electrolysis, battery electric vehicles could utilize the existing electricity grid until widespread use dictated an expansion of the grid.

Energy Storage Types Chemical Some natural forms of energy are found in stable chemical compounds such as fossil fuels. Most systems of chemical energy storage result from biological activity, which store energy in chemical bonds. Man-made forms of chemical energy storage include hydrogen fuel, batteries and explosives such as cordite and dynamite. Gravitational Dams can be used to store energy, by using excess energy to pump water into the reservoir. When electrical energy is required, the process is reversed. The water then turns a turbine, generating electricity. Hydroelectric power is currently an important part of the world's energy supply, generating one-fifth of the world's electricity. :[25]. Electrical capacitance Electrical energy may be stored in capacitors. Capacitors are often used to produce high intensity releases of energy (such as a camera's flash). Mechanical


Energy may also be stored pressurized gases or alternatively in a vacuum. Compressed air, for example, may be used to operate vehicles and power tools. Large scale compressed air energy storage facilities are used to smooth out demands on electricity generation by providing energy during peak hours and storing energy during off-peak hours. Such systems save on expensive generating capacity since it only needs to meet average consumption rather than peak consumption. Flywheels and springs Energy can also be stored in mechanical systems such as springs or flywheels. Flywheel energy storage is currently being used for uninterruptible power supplies.

Future energy development

World energy consumption. Extrapolations from current knowledge to the future offer a choice of energy futures. Some predictions parallel the Malthusian catastrophe hypothesis. Numerous are complex models based scenarios as pioneered by Limits to Growth. Modeling approaches offer ways to analyze diverse strategies, and hopefully find a road to rapid and sustainable development of humanity. Short term energy crises are also a concern of energy development. Some extrapolations lack plausibility, particularly when they predict a continual increase in oil consumption. Existing technologies for new energy sources, such as renewable energy technologies, particularly wind power and solar power, are promising. Nuclear fission is also promoted, and each need sustained research and development, including consideration of possible harmful side effects. Jacques Cousteau spoke of using the salinization of water at river estuaries as an energy source, which would not have any consequences for a million years, and then stopped to point out that since we are going to be on the planet for a billion years we had to be looking that far into the future. Nuclear fusion and artificial photosynthesis are other energy technologies being researched and developed. It should be noted that between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.[44] The peaking of world hydrocarbon production (Peak oil) may test Malthus critics.[45]

See also

Main list: List of basic energy development topics Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Comparison of power plants Energy planning Environmental concerns with electricity generation List of environment topics Nuclear energy policy Renewable energy development

World energy resources and consumption

1. ^ Zhan Lisheng, Date set for LPG-fueled buses, taxis China Daily, July 6, 2007. Retrieved September 7 2007. 2. ^ 3. ^ 4. ^ [1] 5. ^ [2] 6. ^ [3] 7. ^ [4] 8. ^ [5] 9. ^ [6] 10. ^ 11. ^ [7] 12. ^ [8] 13. ^ [9] 14. ^ [10] 15. ^ [11] 16. ^ [12] 17. ^ "World Information Service on Energy" 10-18 years for payback on nuclear energy 18. ^ [13] 19. ^ [14] 20. ^ [15] 21. ^ [16] 22. ^ 23. ^ s/ 24. ^ 25. ^ John McCarthy (2006). Facts From Choen and Others. Progress and its Sustainability. Stanford. Retrieved on 2006-11-09. 26. ^ Schwartz, J. 2004. "Emergency preparedness and response: compensating victims of a nuclear accident." Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 111, Issues 1-3, July, 89-96. 27. ^ "TVA reactor shut down; cooling water from river too hot" 28. ^ [17] 29. ^ [18] 30. ^ [19] 31. ^ 32. ^ 33. ^ Solar Revolution, by Travis Bradford 34. ^ DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar FAQ 35. ^ [20]

36. ^ Renewable Resource Data Center - PV Correction Factors 37. ^ [21] 38. ^ ml 39. ^'s %20Web%20Project%20Folder/EICE%20-%20Main.htm 40. ^ Idaho National Laboratory (2005) "Comparing Energy Costs per Mile for Electric and Gasoline-Fueled Vehicles" Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity report at accessed 11 July 2006. 41. ^ 42. ^ 393598d7f3b85256baf000827be?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,hydrogen 43. ^ Study: World May Run Out of Copper 44. ^ Eating Fossil Fuels | 45. ^ Peak Oil: the threat to our food security


Serra, J. "Alternative Fuel Resource Development", Clean and Green Fuels Fund, (2006). Bilgen, S. and K. Kaygusuz, Renewable Energy for a Clean and Sustainable Future, Energy Sources 26, 1119 (2004). Energy analysis of Power Systems, UIC Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper 57 (2004).

Relevant journals

Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization and Environmental Effects[26] Energy Sources, Part B: Economics, Planning and Policy[27] International Journal of Green Energy [28]

External links

RECaBS REcalculator Interactive Renewable Energy Calculator - compare renewable energy to conventional energy sources White Paper Discussing Carbon Finance For Energy Development

The template below (Sustainability and Energy Development) is being considered for deletion. See templates for deletion to help reach a consensus.


Sustainability and Energy development

Future 2000 Watt society Hubbert peak Peak oil Kardashev scale Air car Alternative fuel Alternative propulsion Battery electric vehicle Bicycle Bioalcohol Biodiesel Bioethanol Biogas Biomass to liquid Bus rapid transit Community bicycle program Ecodriving Transportation Electric power-assist system Electric vehicle Hybrid electric vehicle Hydrogen station Hydrogen vehicle Low-energy vehicle Plug-in hybrid Production battery electric vehicle Public transport Trolleybus

TWIKE utility cycling Vegetable oil used as fuel Distributed generation Microgeneration Electricity Sustainable community energy system generation Environmental concerns with electricity generation Biological Anaerobic digestion Biomass Mechanical energy biological treatment Chemical energyBlue energy Fuel cell Hydrogen production Geothermal Deep lake water cooling Earth cooling tubes power Run-of-the-river hydroelectricity Tidal power Hydroelectricity Water turbine Wave power Inertial fusion power plant Fusion Nuclear Nuclear power reactor Radioisotope thermoelectric generator Active solar Barra system Central solar heating Energy Conversion plant Energy tower Ocean Thermal Passive solar Passive solar building design Photovoltaics Photovoltaic module Solar cell Solar Solar energy combisystem Solar hot water panel Solar pond Solar power satellite Solar power tower Solar roof Solar shingles Solar thermal collector Solar thermal energy Solar tracker Solar updraft tower Trombe wall Anaerobic digestion Gasification Incineration Waste-to-energy Mechanical biological treatment Pyrolysis Wind power Wind farm Wind turbine Laddermill Batteries Flywheel energy storage Grid energy Storage storage Hydrogen storage Seasonal thermal store Thermal energy storage Ecosystem services Ecovillage Energy conservation Energy Demand Management Green map Human Development Index Infrastructural capital Ecological Permaculture Renewable energy Self-sufficiency footprint Simple living Sustainable development Sustainable living The Natural Step TPE Value of Earth World energy resources and consumption Zones (Permaculture) Air engine Autonomous building Cob (building) Sustainability Composting toilet Cool roof Earth sheltering Energy-efficient landscaping Green roof Appropriate Hypermodernity Low energy building Passive house technology Rammed earth Sheet composting Solar chimney Straw-bale construction Superinsulation Technological singularity Windcatcher Food security Forest gardening Humanure List of Sustainable companion plants List of repellent plants Seed ball agriculture Vermicompost Zero energy building

Sustainable Environmental design Sustainable architecture design Sustainable landscape architecture Development economics Green economics Green Sustainable Gross Domestic Product Hydrogen economy Liquid econonomics nitrogen economy Low-carbon economy Triple bottom line Agroforestry Ecoforestry Exploitation of natural resources Green building Green chemistry Green Sustainable computing Industrial Ecology Natural building industries Sustainable energy Sustainable forest management Sustainable procurement Sustainable transport Sustainable Living machines Mycoremediation waste Commission on Sustainable Development Human development theory Intermediate Technology Development Group Maldevelopment Precautionary principle Rio Declaration on Environment and Management Development Rocky Mountain Institute Sim Van der Ryn Underdevelopment World Business Council for Sustainable Development World Summit on Sustainable Development This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)
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Ethical Dimensions of Our Energy and Environmental Crises

R. McCluney Through a series of historical social and technological developments, we as a species have developed especially in the industrialized countries a belief system and a social structure that are contributing directly to our global energy and environmental problems. The problems are not just problems of technology, they include the inappropriate ways that technology is used. Much of this stems from a value system which gives more priority to the rights of humans, and even their automobiles, than to those of nature. However, the needs of humans and the needs of nature are inextricably connected. Our current earth-depleting, environment-damaging social structure evolved from a sequence of value systems that developed naturally within western societies. However, we now find ourselves with a set of beliefs, portions of which are inappropriate and incompatible with the long-term viability of our earthly life-support system. These value systems and social structures have become major barriers to the kinds of reform that are needed to protect the earth for future generations. It is time that we add to our list of research topics, studies of the social, moral, philosophical, and ethical questions that lie at the heart of our energy and environmental crises.

An expanding human population, and the complex, technologically based society that it has developed, threaten severe damage to the earth's biosphere, our planetary life-support system. The long-range consequences of these developments on a global scale are now becoming evident. The human species,

acting as a global civilization, is depleting stored solar energy (fossil fuels) and other resources faster than they can be replaced by natural means. The waste products of our technologically based society are beginning to exceed in quantity and toxicity the ability of the planet's natural physical, chemical, and ecological systems to assimilate them. Furthermore, our expanding population is damaging or removing major portions of the world's major ecosystems, threatening much of the regenerative capacities these systems afford. Finally, I believe that we humans have disrupted the natural global process of biological evolution. By this I mean that the human introduction of new species of plants and animals, and the human-induced extinction of naturally existing species, is now occurring at a pace which is very much faster than anything the planet has experienced in its recent past (since the evolution of multicellular life forms, for example). It is as if we have taken control of evolution away from Mother Nature. This view is supported by Norman Myers in his essay, "Tropical-forest species: going, going, going...." He points out that we are eliminating the planet's genetic stock more rapidly than at any other time, except for those few cases of geologic cataclysm when a mass extinction reduced biotic diversity. "By the middle of the next century the earth seems likely to lose at least a fourth, probably a third, perhaps half, and conceivably a still larger part of the millions of species that inhabit it," he says. The current rate of human-induced species extinction is at least 1000 times greater than the "background" rate of about one per year, according to Myers. The possible consequences of this are spelled out in his essay and are very severe for human life on earth. Switching to more appropriate alternative technologies can alleviate some of these impacts, if it is carried out on a truly massive scale. Further major improvements in energy conservation, through both increased efficiency and modest lifestyle changes, can help. So can major efforts at reducing the adverse environmental impacts of technology and reducing global population growth. However, there is growing evidence that these alone will be insufficient to prevent major adverse environmental modifications, a substantially degraded biosphere for future generations of humans. We may no longer have the option available to let nature take its course and hope that this will result in the continued viability of our life-giving atmosphere and a healthy water system. Roberta Miller points out that ongoing scientific research on changes to the earth's surface and atmosphere have heretofore not adequately addressed human activities. She puts the problem this way: "Physical scientists are beginning to recognize that their knowledge of the physical processes of terrestrial or atmospheric change is incomplete without some understanding of the ways human action sets those processes in motion or modifies them. Similarly, biologists and ecologists have begun to realize that the critical element in their study of ecological systems is human action. Social scientists argue that the research task is broader than natural scientists know; we must understand patterns of behavior and interactions far more complex than the relatively straightforward nexus between individual and environment." It is clear that past approaches to environmental reform will be insufficient for future success. A new approach is clearly needed, one that addresses the root causes of the problems we are facing: inappropriate human behavior patterns and the misplaced values

and belief systems that produce these behaviors. Shrader-Frechette has put it this way: "If environmental degradation were purely, or even primarily, a problem demanding scientific or technological solutions, then its resolution would probably have been accomplished by now. As it is, however, our crises of pollution and resource depletion reflect profound difficulties with some of the most basic principles in our accepted systems of values. They challenge us to assess the adequacy of those principles and, if need be, to discover a new framework for describing what it means to behave ethically or to be a moral person." It would clearly be desirable if we could wait the several decades needed to obtain a definitive understanding of all the links between human behavior and environmental degradation before we address the values and belief systems that lead to these behaviors. However, few earth scientists believe that we have that long. We must begin now examining the human value systems that are leading us as a species to threaten the life-support system of Planet Earth.


Values and beliefs lie at the core of human behavior. Dictionary definitions of these concepts explicitly make the connection between beliefs and behavior patterns. When our value systems become inappropriate for the situations in which we find ourselves, inappropriate behavior patterns can be expected to result. Thus, if we wish to change our environmentally destructive behaviors, both collectively and individually, we must deal with the inappropriate value systems which produce these patterns. This leads us into a study of ethics and philosophy, and more particularly the portions of those fields dealing with the relationship of humans to the rest of the natural world. To engineers, scientists, government planners, and others working to reduce the adverse impact of humans on the earth by mostly political and technological means, this emphasis on such fuzzy-seeming subjects as belief systems and philosophy may appear to be idealistic and impractical. I share these concerns. However, I don't believe that most of the changes proposed within mainstream thinking on this issue will be possible without some massive shift in belief systems. And I don't think most of the proposed solutions will be adequate. It seems quite clear that our earth cannot remain a viable platform for human life without fundamental changes in our values. At the heart of our reluctance to address the values aspects of our energy and environmental crises, I think, is the very human fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar. It is not surprising that people wish to work within their current systems of social interaction and commerce, retaining their inherited and developed systems of values and lifestyles. It can be frightening to confront too great or too rapid a change in beliefs and patterns of living and behavior. However, it is absolutely essential that we begin the process of clarifying our values and goals as a species. One of the greatest problems in doing this is that the very structure of the western socio-economic system seems to be contributing directly to the destruction of the earth's life-support system. "Business as usual" is an ethic that can destroy us if it is not substantially modified, and soon. Julia Field once put it this way: "We are using the earth as if we were the last generation." We are a short-term, crisis oriented society that

needs to develop long-term, sustainable values if it is to survive. A major goal of the energy and environmental reform movement should therefore be to identify and codify an ethical framework that will support the societal and individual behaviors needed for environmental preservation, minimizing the perceived and actual sacrifices involved and leading to maximum public enthusiasm for the needed changes. I fear that these may not be compatible goals that for the new ethic to be widely accepted and quickly, it cannot be very effective. This is the challenge facing us. A great deal of work needs to be done. Reasonable steps must be taken to encourage people to examine their values in the light of current and future knowledge about human impacts on the natural environment. These steps must be followed by real and lasting behavior changes that will produce a more sustainable situation on this planet. This is only possible through some shifts in beliefs and values. Fortunately, a lot of work has already been done in this area. Books have been written, college courses have been and are being taught, and major scientific societies are beginning to address these issues. A comprehensive annotated bibliography has been provided by Thomas Berry.

Academicians studying ethics define it simply as a set of rules governing behavior. For example, to conserve electricity, we might establish an ethic about the importance of turning the lights out when leaving the room. To reduce the quantities of solid waste we produce, we might invoke an ethic aimed at increased recycling as an inherently "good" or "right" thing to do. To conserve fossil fuels, we could invoke an ethic on the need to use bicycles and mass transit. The academicians also point out that the rules of behavior must follow from one or more general principles. There are numerous sources from which to draw the guiding principles upon which our earth ethics are to be based. Scientific investigation can lead us to information about human impacts upon the biosphere and the likely long-range consequences of these impacts. Pure conservatism, as a philosophy, could lead us to avoid actions whose environmental consequences we are not sure about. The religious concept of stewardship of the earth could provide another source of the guiding principles needed to sustain life on earth. In order to continue with this discussion, I think it is important to distinguish three terms that are frequently confused in discussions of social reform. 1. Material standard of living can be defined as the quantity of goods and services consumed by an individual, per unit time. 2. Quality of life can be defined as the degree of enjoyment, satisfaction, and fulfillment achieved by an individual in the process of living. 3. Lifestyle is the general pattern of daily behaviors followed by an individual. There is a hierarchy of needs that humans have in order to live and achieve a high quality of life. It is clear that a good quality of life is not possible if one's basic material needs are not satisfied. Above some minimum level, however, it is

my contention that quality of life and material standard of living become less and less coupled as the standard of living increases. I think that the standard of living for most Americans is so high that these two concepts have become almost completely decoupled, in spite of our protestations (and materialistic behaviors) to the contrary. The point is that we do not need to continue our consuming, earth-depleting lifestyles to be happy to have a high quality of life. However, we need major shifts in our values and behavior patterns before we will be able to achieve a higher quality of life at a lower material standard of living to live better with less. It is easy to ignore the interdependence of lifestyle with the other two concepts. However, some affluent people choose lifestyles that require high material standards of living, and other affluent people choose lifestyles that lead to lower material standards of living. The difference lies in their value systems. There are other ways in which lifestyle is linked to standard of living and quality of life. Many would say that freedom to choose different lifestyles is an important prerequisite to quality of life. In spite of these statements, I believe there to be some lifestyle changes with little impact on material standard of living or quality of life. On the other hand, if we choose a lifestyle which is in conflict with our beliefs, quality of life suffers as a result of this conflict. Our beliefs, and the resulting lifestyles, can be in conflict with the (external) physical, social, and environmental situations in which we find ourselves. This also can lead to diminished quality of life, since our daily behaviors are in conflict with the realities of the world in which we live and the resulting environmental degradations can affect us personally. I see this as a cause of much mental anguish and of the energy and environmental crises we now face. The society around us is changing faster than many of us can keep up with. We are being called upon to adopt more appropriate value systems faster than we can comfortably do. So we search for rationalizations to deny our need to change. Or we try not to admit that current societal beliefs, such as "maximize short-term gain", are destroying our futures. However, change we must, or we will destroy the very basis of our existence. Some people have difficulty accepting this statement. They generally believe, for instance, that technology will somehow advance to such a state that we will be able to accommodate current and even future population levels. This is not something that is easily proved or disproved, but I am convinced that it is a rationalization used to keep us from having to confront fundamental changes in our beliefs about what it is to live, prosper, and be fulfilled. Let us accept ideally that we cannot continue on indefinitely as we have, destroying major portions of our life-support system, increasing the human population indefinitely, and increasing the average global standard of living. In this case it should be obvious that an earth ethic most desperately needs to be developed. We very badly need a set of guiding principles and rules of behavior to help us act so as to support our continued survival. Of course, survival alone is not enough. It must be at an acceptable overall standard of living and with a high quality of life.

At the core of ethics lie the concepts of worth and rights. In his history of environmental ethics, Roderick Frazier Nash presents two diagrams, showing his

view of how ethical concepts and the concept of rights have developed and are developing. He argues that there has been and will continue to be an expansion of the human acceptance of the rights of others. Nash suggests that the trend is toward an idea that morality should include the relationship of humans to nature. Nash identifies an ongoing expansion of concern, for the natural rights of a growing number of entities, from a limited group of humans, to the rights of all humans, to those of parts of nature and, finally, to all of nature. At the ultimate end of the evolutionary sequence identified by Nash is a belief, supported by authors in a variety of disciplines, that all manifestations of the natural universe derive from the same basic entity. This brings us then to the idea that all parts of this entity have inherent and equal rights and worthiness and deserve moral consideration. Thus all aspects of the natural world have rights and deserve protection from abuse according to this philosophy. It remains to be seen how much farther the human species will progress toward this point. This brings us to the core of current thinking on earth ethics. According to Nash: "Of course, nature does not demand rights, and some moral philosophers even question whether anything so general as the 'rights of nature' can exist at all. But...others use the term confidently. At the same time they recognize that wolves and maples and mountains do not petition for their rights. Human beings are the moral agents who have the responsibility to articulate and defend the rights of the other occupants of the planet. Such a conception of rights means that humans have duties or obligations toward nature. Environmental ethics involves people extending ethics to the environment by the exercise of self-restraint." Nash is aware of the controversial nature of these ideas. He says that "Ideas like these, to be sure, are on the far frontier of moral history, environmental ethics is revolutionary; it is arguably the most dramatic expansion of morality in the course of human thought. ... in recent years many people have found compelling the notion that nonhuman life and nonliving matter have moral standing. The majority still regards this idea as incredible. But historians are aware that the same incredulity met the first proposals for granting independence to American colonists, freeing the slaves, respecting Indian rights, integrating schools, and adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution." John Stuart Mill once said that "every great movement must experience three stages: ridicule, discussion, adoption." According to Nash, "What happens in the process, Christopher Stone reminds us, is that the unthinkable becomes conventional sometimes gradually and peacefully through legislative and legal processes, as Stone proposed, but often, violently." At a workshop on environmental ethics, Dr. Gary Varner identified four categories of earth ethics that he felt are being used to justify various actions by individuals, by business people, by environmentalists, by researchers, and by governmental agencies dealing with environmental problems. Using his words: Anthropocentrism is the view that, when it comes to making decisions about the environment, only the interests of human beings matter. An anthropocentric defense of environmental preservation would appeal to or focus on the ways in which environmental preservation benefits human beings while environmental

degradation harms humans. So if we argue that an endangered species ought to be preserved because people think it is beautiful, or because people are happy to know that it exists, or because it might someday be useful to people, we would be arguing anthropocentrically. Sentientism [is the view that] all and only conscious creatures count. [Sentientists] argue that if all human beings have rights (including newborn infants and the severely retarded), then so too do some animals, since intellectual capacities of a normal mammal or bird appear to surpass those of [these humans). To be sentient is to be conscious of pleasure and pain, [so these people claim] that all creatures who can feel pleasure and pain have interests to be considered. Animals with very rudimentary nervous systems insects, for instance may not be conscious at all, and therefore may not deserve moral consideration in this view. Biocentric Individualism [includes] all living things, including the "lower" animals and all plants [in the group of organisms that] have interests and deserve moral consideration. Holism [includes] the entire biotic community, taken as a whole system, [in what counts and should be protected]. The most famous example of holism is the "land ethic" espoused by Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac. When Leopold writes that "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community," he is focussing on the welfare or interest of a system of living things, rather than on the welfare of the individuals who are members of that system. A view like this is called holism because the whole is being taken to be somehow greater than the sum of its parts. There is conflict among the proponents of the four different categories of earth ethics, both within and outside of the environmental movement. Arguments over which of the above earth ethics is the "correct" one threaten to dilute the energy of the reform movement and fractionate it, reducing its effectiveness. I do not believe that much effort should be wasted in these pursuits. The biggest argument seems to be between the anthropocentrists and the holists. However, if one takes anthropocentrism to its logical conclusion one would have to accept that humans are totally dependent upon the ecological viability of the entire biotic system and the physical resources upon which this system depends. Thus, the goals and methods of the two groups should merge and become one. That they have not yet done so is another problem inhibiting concerted action in dealing with our multiple crises. Apparently the problem is that we do not yet have sufficient scientific evidence to show all the detailed connections between minute elements of the biotic community and the survival and quality of life of the human species. To what extent, for example, does human survivability depend upon the survivability of the many species of insects living in Amazonia? There is as yet no definitive answer to this question and many others like it. Thus the anthropocentrists are not yet ready to become holists and vice versa. This then, is an area where research scientists and engineers could be very effectively employed establishing the connections between human survival and the preservation of all aspects of the biotic community, as well as the earth's physical systems (air, earth, water) on which they depend.


It is clear that we now have two areas of needed research. First is a search for all the ways humans depend upon the earth's natural systems for survival. Second is a detailed examination of the specific ways that human behavior is disrupting these systems. Many knowledgeable people say that we have so altered the planet's natural systems already that we have put ourselves in charge of operating the planet. We are now the pilots of Spaceship Earth and we had better learn how to guide it successfully through the hazards that face it. The next question is whether we have enough information, and the ability, on a global basis, to operate our spaceship correctly. I fear that we don't even know what "correct" operation really is. What should the goals of our planetary operation be? Viability for the entire biotic community, or of only those parts of it that humans clearly need to support an acceptable quality of life? This brings up other vexing questions, such as what is an acceptable quality of life, and what members of the global human population deserve to have it? If we accept this goal for all living humans, what are the implications? Is this even physically possible, given the declining carrying capacity of the earth? I believe that much new research needs to be pursued in each of these areas if we are to develop a sustainable society capable of surviving into the distant future. We don't have to wait until all this research is completed to see that human civilization is having a large impact on the global life-support system right now, and that major, global human-behavior changes are needed. This then opens up another area of research: research specifically addressing human behavior modification what stimulates it, what inhibits it, and what sustains it.


"What has AIDS got to do with Earth Ethics?" one might ask. Well, a lot. First of all, there is some evidence that overpopulation of the planet, coupled with a very mobile society, promotes the spread of viral infections faster than we can develop effective defenses. This was pointed out by Anne and Paul Ehrlich in 1971. Their predictions seem to be coming true as the AIDS epidemic spreads rapidly and scientists have trouble finding effective defense mechanisms. Secondly, AIDS is a clear and immediate threat to society. Amelioration of its consequences at the present time depends exclusively upon drastic changes in the compulsive behavior patterns of many people. Because of the magnitude of the threat, the U. S. government is spending $480 million per year, trying to educate the public and prevent the spread of the virus. Mind-altering drug use is another behavioral problem with rapidly growing adverse impacts on society. Scientists and social engineers are embarked upon a grand experiment to get large numbers of people to change some very unhealthy behaviors. The methods they use and how well they succeed should be of great interest to environmentalists and earth ethics scholars. There are other parallels. One might

say that the current growth-is-good, more-growth-is-better, earth-depleting, economic system is as addictive as drugs and as compulsive as sex. It may be just as difficult to change earth-depleting behavior patterns as it is to stop drug abuse. According to a recent article on AIDS-related social engineering in Science: It seems that altering deeply ingrained behaviors is not like flipping a switch. Some individuals are recalcitrant, a few will never change, many do not even believe that they are at risk, and others need a lot of help," says Thomas Coates of the University of California at San Francisco. Researchers know that humans are capable of dramatic behavior modifications. But the scientists are not really sure why. Nor are they in agreement about how to speed up the process.... In order to change a behavior, the experts say, people must first recognize the fact that they are at risk; then they must be told how best to navigate around the danger.... They must then believe in their own ability to change and in the value of the new and improved conduct.... Finally, the new behaviors must become the 'normative' ones in the community, so that they are constantly reinforced.... In the business of behavior change, researchers say that these community norms are the most important thing of all. "One of the biggest problems is that information doesn't do much," says Nathan Maccoby of the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention. "In order for the information... to begin working, the threat... must be perceived as real, immediate, close to home. The problem is that people deny risk." "People are very creative when it comes to reasons why their own risk is not high," says Neil Weinstein of Rutgers University.... "Unfortunately, something must break into a person's own life before he'll do anything about it," says Howard Leventhal of Rutgers. The real trick, say public health workers, is to get people's attention focused on behavior modification before rates of [personal disaster] become such that [the problem] is nearly impossible to ignore. But there is a great deal of debate about exactly how to do this. These are not very encouraging words for those of us concerned about altering the earth-depleting behavior patterns of humans. The ultimate threats are real but distant in time and space. In modern industrialized societies we are separated from the environmental consequences of our actions by complex and elaborate systems of manufacture, distribution, and waste disposal. "Out of sight out of mind" seems to be the current motto. Without direct feedback on the consequences of our actions, how are we to convince ourselves that there is a real and present danger out there, that it is immediate and threatening? According to the Science article, AIDS researchers are finding that the most effective factor in achieving behavior change lies not with working on a relatively small number of individuals. "If we think about changing behavior one by one, the epidemic will be over before we're through. You've got to change community norms and standards," says Larry Bye, founder of a Stop AIDS project in San Francisco. Perhaps this provides the key to a possibly successful strategy. Although accurate information is a necessary first step to environmental reform, it is in itself insufficient to stimulate the changes that are needed. We must also help people see the linkages between their actions and the destruction of the earth's life-support system. (An example of this linkage can be found in the purchase of a hamburger at a fast-food chain, if the

beef was grown on deforested land in Arizona and the foam plastic container produces air pollution in its manufacture and ground and possibly air pollution in its disposal.) They must be helped then to use this as an incentive for examining their belief systems. If we can cause massive changes in beliefs then the political changes required for the needed behavior changes will take place naturally.


The above discussion may appear to have departed considerably from the research and promotion of widespread conversion from nonrenewable energy sources to renewables and conservation. I would like to try and bring these back together, to show how energy and ethics are connected, to make the connection more understandable. The motivation for most mainstream energy resource work is utilitarian, it results from knowledge that nonrenewables cannot last indefinitely and that they tend to pollute more than most renewables. Both the resource depletion and the pollution are bad for humans. Thus, so the argument goes, humans should reduce their dependence upon nonrenewable energy sources. This is a purely anthropocentric argument. The work is done solely for the benefit of humans. Some narrow the argument even further, into a nationalistic justification: it would free a given country from dependence upon resources from outside that country's border, without any reference to the environmental issues involved. One result of this perspective is that funding for energy research drops when there are short-term increases in nonrenewable energy availability. To individuals with a more global and long-term view, this is inappropriate. Of course there is more to it than this. We are beginning to realize that large per capita nonrenewable energy (and energy-based material) consumption patterns are generally injurious to the earth's life-support system. Ozone depletion and global warming are two currently prominent examples. The connection between nonrenewable energy use and the destruction of nature is beginning to be understood. Now we need to take this understanding a bit further. The processes of providing energy and energy-intensive products all have adverse environmental impacts, even when renewable energy sources are being used. The renewable sources are thought to generally have less impacts, but the impacts are there. So, in addition to switching from nonrenewables to renewables, we need to reduce the impacts of the new sources and to reduce human dependence on them. Many people believe that we must go still further and reduce our per capita energy consumption patterns (or greatly reduce the human population) to insure a viable life-support system for future generations. Some of these changes can be accomplished by purely technological means, and Amory Lovins has extensive and detailed information that shows how to go about it. Implementation of the Lovins recommendations will require some changes in beliefs and societal structures, but most of his recommendations are justified on purely conventional economic bases. These are inherently anthropocentric arguments. It is becoming clearer, however, that purely technological changes will be insufficient. Human behavior changes will be needed, not only to implement the proposed technological changes but to achieve needed changes that technology and economics alone cannot

accomplish. We can try and make more energy-efficient houses and offices, but if we keep building them farther and farther apart, transportation energy costs will eat up building energy savings. We can switch to biodegradable plastics, to minimize the environmental impacts of their disposal, but we will still be using energy-intensive nonrenewable raw materials to manufacture them. Thus, human behaviors, and the corresponding value systems, are necessary components of an effective energy policy. It is important to examine how inappropriate belief systems, in the individual, and in the society at large, produce behaviors that are inconsistent with an earth-sustaining energy policy. Then the beliefs that lead to these behaviors can be addressed by the means indicated previously. Central to this work is a need to avoid narrowly-based anthropocentrism. We must do what we do for the whole earth's ecological system, not necessarily because nonhuman species have rights, but because human interests are also at stake. Finally, energy planners, economists, researchers, and businessmen are already embarked upon a massive program of social engineering, attempting to make drastic changes in the ways humans obtain and use energy. Denying this fact, or denying that there are ethical considerations to be made in the process, is clearly irresponsible. Paraphrasing Strong and Rosenfield, we have two choices before us, to begin now to seek guidelines for meeting the fundamental problem of how to protect the world's physical resources from ultimate exhaustion, or wait until drastic change is forced upon us by the severity of the problems we have helped to create. "We can adopt new social and environmental ethics now or wait until human degradation and environmental deterioration threaten our very existence. Whichever path we elect to follow, we must recognize that the future depends upon our present decisions, and that neither as individuals nor as a society can we escape responsibility for them."

I have attempted to make a case for the study of ethics, in the context of a planetary life-support system that is under attack by one animal species on that planet: homo sapiens. I believe that every person on earth who has enough food to eat and adequate shelter must become familiar with this subject and seek to develop a personal earth ethic, one that will contribute to the protection of our life-support system, the biosphere. In order to support our attempts at individual reform, we must join with others in local, regional, national, and international networks to derive the strengths from each other that will be needed to make the desired changes. I believe that every organization should set aside some resources (money, time, and/or personnel) to pursue an organizational earth ethic that makes sense in the context of that organization's interests and mode of operation. This should then be turned into a plan of action, a phased implementation of some organizational guidelines or procedures. If these efforts will be undertaken, I think a better world can result, a world which is capable of providing for a sustainably high quality of life for its human inhabitants. In spite of our many problems, the future looks very bright. It is an exciting time to be alive. We are on the threshold of a social, psychological, and spiritual breakthrough like

none other experienced in the history of this earth or of our species. Let us embrace these new ideas with optimism and hope.

Berry, Thomas, The Dream of the Earth, Sierra Club Books, 1988. Booth, Wiliam, "Social Engineers Confront AIDS," Science, Vol. 242, 2 December 1988, pp. 1237-1238. Capra, Fritjof, The Tao of Physics, Bantam, Rev. ed. 1984. Ehrlich, P. R., and A. H. Ehrlich, Population, Resources, Environment, San Franscisco: Freeman, 1971. Erdoes, Richard, and Alfonso Ortiz, American Indian Myths and Legends, New York: Pantheon, 1984. Leopold, Aldo, A Sand County Almanac, New York: Oxford University Press, 1949. Lovins, Amory and Hunter Lovins: "Leading the Soft Energy Revolution," Mother Earth News, July/August, 1984, pp. 17-24. RMI Newsletter and Competitek Information Services, Rocky Mountain Institute, 1739 Snowmass Creek Rd., Snowmass, CO 81654-9199. Maslow, A. H., Motivation and Personality, New York, Harper & Bros., 1954. McCluney, W. R., The Environmental Destruction of South Florida , The University of Miami Press, 1971, p.i. Miller, Roberta Balstead, "Global Change Research Challenges Social Science", The AAAS Observer, 7 July 1989, p. 5. Myers, Norman, "Tropical Forest Species, Going, Going, Going...," Scientific American, December 1988, p.132. Nash, Roderick Frazier, The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989. North American Association for Environmental Education, Workshop on Environmental Ethics, 14-15 October 1988, Orlando, Florida. Regan, Tom, The Case for Animal Rights, Berkeley, CA, 1983, p. vi . Shrader-Frechette, K. S., Environmental Ethics, Pacific Grove, CA, The Boxwood Press, 1981. Stone, C. D., Should Trees Have Standing? - Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects , Los Altos, CA, W. Kaufmann, 1974, p.6. Strong, D. H., and E. S. Rosenfield, "Ethics or Expediency: An Environmental Question", Environmental Ethics, Pacific Grove, CA, The Boxwood Press, 1981. Swimme, Brian, The Universe is a Green Dragon, Bear & Co., Inc., 1984. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man, New York: Harper, 1959. Theobald, Robert, The Rapids of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Turbulent Times, Indianapolis: Knowledge Systems, 1987. Zukav, Gary, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Bantam, 1980. Footnotes This document is SS-EES-22, an FSEC Publication provided for the Energy Resource CD-ROM by the Florida Energy Extension Service, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: June 1994. First published: December 1989. 2. R. McCluney, Program Director, Florida Solar Energy Center, State University System, 300 State Road 401, Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920

. Telephone: (407) 783-0300. Copyright 1989, Florida Solar Energy Center. The Florida Energy Extension Service receives funding from the Energy Office, Department of Community Affairs, and is operated by the University of Florida's

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences through the Cooperative Extension Service. The information contained herein is the product of the Florida Energy Extension Service and does not necessarily reflect the view of the Florida Energy Office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean Disclaimer The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition.
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Solar and Geothermal Stocks

Greenness Is Next to Godliness
By Nick Hodge Friday, November 2nd, 2007

This week on the Hill, a group of the nation's religious leaders pushed for Congress to make sure the country's poor and most vulnerable are protected from the consequences of climate change. Gathered in Washington were leaders from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, and the Union for Reform Judaism. And while these groups normally don't agree on much--not even on how to worship the same God-they've all bonded together to request Congress set an official reduction limit for greenhouse gas emissions. It seems to me that an organization of such devotion could just take their case to the really High Court, but their earthly route certainly goes to illustrate a major point. Greenness Is Next to Godliness If that's really the case, then the world's leading banks are in the midst of a great religious awakening. Even though major banks are still in the middle of massive mortgage and credit crises, they are still more than willing to lend to and invest money in the green and clean-tech industries. According to Phil Spector of Troutman Sanders, "Banks consider renewable ventures to be well worth the upfront money. They are able to invest in green assets and achieve some public heroism while they make smart investments."

Wells Fargo has found a way in by backing solar energy initiatives by SunEdison that allow companies to avoid high initial costs for installing solar, while enabling them to purchase electricity at long-term prices that are frequently lower than many utilities' rates. Wal-Mart and Walgreens are some of the companies taking advantage of the program. These types of projects are done through what is called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A company (SunEdison) seeks out customers that want solar power (Wal-Mart). The company then gets financing to purchase and install turnkey solar systems on the customer's facilities. For its part, the customer agrees to a long-term PPA--usually for 15 years or longer. The company makes money from the sale of power. The lender makes money from the interest on the loan. And the customer benefits by getting the advantages of powering their business with solar, without incurring the high upfront costs. Yet without a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which would mandate that a certain percentage of the nation's energy needs be generated renewably, the number of companies looking to enter into PPAs cannot grow as quickly as the big banks would like, limiting the opportunities in this investment area. But with green being so hot, big banks are looking for any way possible to get into it, including granting funding to projects they would have been avoided a few years ago. The Race Is On With renewables still making up only about 2% of the energy mix and oil all but straining to break the $100 barrier, alternative energy options are looking better than ever. And there's been a mad dash to buy up as much as possible. You see, when oil rises like it has recently, renewable sources become that much more competitive in the eyes of investors, and the money starts flowing in their direction. Let's take a look a just a few of the companies you've missed out on in the past month if you're not a green investor. Solar has been one of the main benefactors of oil's recent ascendance. Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd (NYSE: YGE) has gained 41.2% since the beginning of October, climbing from $27.30 to $38.57.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd (NYSE: STP) has risen hand-in-hand with oil for a 39.5% gain in the last month.

But it isn't just feast or famine. The geothermal stocks have been going crazy as well, including these gems straight from the Green Chip Stocks portfolio.

US Geothermal Inc. (OTCBB: UGTH) hit an all-time high of $4.78 this week after making an extraordinary gain of 68.9% for the month. That left our readers sitting on gains of well over 455%.

Making sure not to disappoint, the geothermal big boy, Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) reached an all-time high as well, touching $59.93 while rising nearly 30% for the month.

The bottom line is there are plenty of charts like this I can show you. But they just don't have the same meaning if you're not the one making the gains.

Oil is going to continue to rise. Climate change is going to continue to be an issue. And these problems aren't going to fix themselves on their own. It's going to take real solutions and trillions of dollars of investment. So why wouldn't you want to be a part of this financial megatrend? Billions of dollars from investment banks can't be wrong. And if you want to consistently make the kind of gains I've shown in this article, you have to be a Green Chip Stocks subscriber. No other service knows as much about the industry as we do. We're constantly sending updates and telling our readers how to profit from companies in a variety of clean-tech sectors. And now we've got the nation's religious leaders behind us. To take advantage of profits that are growing even faster than the price of oil, click here. Until next time,


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