Archive for January, 2013

If it is a matter of the quality of life…

…it remains to be seen when investing in renewable energy technologies will achieve the same ‘sexy’ status and value as say a luxury car, a fur coat, a diamond ring, etc. Surely, since renewable energy resources have a lower overall negative impact on nature and public health systems, many people can benefit from the quality of life these technologies hold so much promise, yes?

Most of the world’s energy resources are from the sun’s rays hitting Earth. Some of that energy has been preserved as fossil energy, some is directly or indirectly usable. e.g. wind, hydro- or wave power. According to Volker Quaschning’s Understanding Renewable Energy Systems: 

Annually,   39 exajoules  (3.9×1024 J) = 1.08×1018 kWh of solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth. This is about ten thousand times more than the annual global primary energy demand and much more than all the available energy reserves on the Earth. In other words, using one-ten-thousandth part of the incoming sunlight would cover the whole energy demand of mankind.

For some perspective on the Earth’s energy resources, one only needs to look at the world energy resources versus consumption. The volume of the cubes represent the amount of available geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar energy in terawatts (TW), although only a small portion is recoverable. The small cube shows the proportional global energy consumption, in a word, thermodynamics. Put another way,  this is equivalent to an annual average power consumption rate of 15 terawatts (1.50×1013 W).


Perhaps if President Obama were to issue an Executive Order, say, to implement a national solar Feed-in Tariff (FIT) policy to require PG&E in California to buy all solar from homeowners & farmers at $0.54 kWh, this would create ~22 million new jobs in one year, creating a HUGE opportunities for improvement in the quality of life for many. In Germany, who has far less sun than the USA, the FIT has contributed making the economy in Germany the strongest in Europe. I defer you to a former post:

VIDEO :: Environment MN & SolarHotDish got game! Putting the Sun to Work for Minnesota


Another Requiem for a Dream :: 2012 Parody of Inaction

Three years ago, I had a requiem for a dream.

This year, I am not sure what there is to be happy about as 2013 commences. Sustained growth is killing our and other species living spaces. The atmosphere is on ‘dope’ and the oceans are acidifying. Inaction is no laughing matter…

Our addiction to fossil fuels is leading to our imprisonment in a world of delusion and reckless desperation that will eventually be overtaken by the reality that is nature. Dystopia in the making? A great deal of citizens around the world are and have already been experiencing ‘undesirables.’ Nothing fictional about it.

We’re on a trajectory to increase the global temperature by 4° C, because it has been reported, coal burning is climbing, not decreasing.  It it as if leaderships’ aims are to ensure dangerous climate change, and this apathy is being supported. Plans to manage carbon emissions have been scraped or delayed. The World Bank even published a report earlier this year, Turn Down the Heat – Why a 4° C Warmer World Must be Avoided.

Even in the USA, most people agree climate change/instability, the melting the Arctic, acidifying the ocean and raising the temperature of the Earth in ways that endanger the prospects of our civilization is real. Yet, most are not prepared to respond, act. Nothing changes unless we change. Inaction will kill all of us. This is a test. I aim to pass.




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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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