Renewables - May 29
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Sweden turning sewage into a gasoline substitute
James Kanter, International Herald Tribune
Taking a road trip? Remember to visit the toilet first. This city is among dozens of municipalities in Sweden with facilities that transform sewage waste into enough biogas to run thousands of cars and buses.
Cars using biogas created a stir when they began to be rolled out on a large scale at the start of the decade. The tailpipe emissions are virtually odorless, the fuel is cheaper than gasoline and diesel, and the idea of recovering energy from toilet waste appealed to green-minded Swedes.
"When you're in the bathroom in the morning and you can see something good come of that, it's easy to be taken in by the idea - it's like a utopia," said Andreas Kask, a business consultant who drives a taxi in Goteborg. "But it hasn't worked out that well in reality."
(27 May 2008)
Welsh energy drive turns the valleys green again
Geoffrey Lean, Independent
Wind turbines are replacing pitheads in providing Wales with power, as its valleys turn green again. With energy prices scaling record heights, the principality is preparing to lead Britain out of the carbon age.
Wales will this week become the first country in the world formally to report on the growth of its "ecological footprint" - the measure of its impact on the planet's resources.
It already leads the rest of the UK in trying to reduce it by, for example, getting all its electricity from renewable sources
(25 May 2008)
Powering the Rain Shadow (video and audio)
Peak Moment via Global Public Media
Most of Washington State's San Juan Islands don't have grid electricity. Many people have relied on generators, but these days, an increasing number are turning to solar. Renewables installer Eric Youngren discusses how net metering works to pay individual energy producers for power they put back into the grid, and other incentives for small-scale renewable "power plants". He tells us about "run of the river" hydro, powered by diversions rather than dams in creeks. A strong advocate for conservation and efficiency, Eric says we could be running everything in the home on a fraction of the energy we now use, just with rooftop solar. (www.rainshadowsolar.com).
(8 May 2008)