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‘Kilowatt Ours’ explores energy conservation on PBS

Melissa E. Holsman, PBS via TCPalm
If you’re looking for simple, practical, affordable solutions to America’s energy crisis, then tune in to “Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-Energize America,” 8 p.m. Saturday (check local listings) on PBS.

This award-winning film from environmentalist and filmmaker Jeff Barrie shows how to save electricity, save money and make a difference for the planet.

With occasional whimsical zest, the film shares how simple changes such as switching incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, using Energy Star appliances, installing adequate insulation, and locating and sealing leaks in air duct systems can have significant results.

“‘Kilowatt Ours’ focuses on how ordinary citizens can take an active role in energy conservation and provides simple solutions that result in health, money and environment-saving measures,” said Barrie.

Barrie takes viewers along as he and his wife take steps to reduce energy use in their home. The film also features individuals, businesses and communities that are forgoing traditional forms of energy and encouraging conservation, promoting energy efficiency, buying renewable power and saving money.
(12 November 2008)
Kilowatt Ours website.

Report Says Sun and Wind Power Could Threaten Nation’s Electrical Grid

Matthew L. Wald, New York Times
Adding electricity from the wind and the sun could increase the frequency of blackouts and reduce the reliability of the nation’s electrical grid, an industry report says.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation says in a report scheduled for release Monday that unless appropriate measures are taken to improve transmission of electricity, rules reducing carbon dioxide emissions by utilities could impair the reliability of the power grid. The corporation is the industry body authorized by the federal government to enforce reliability rules for the interlocking system of electrical power generation and transmission.

Such carbon-reduction rules are already in place in 27 states and four Canadian provinces, and new ones could be mandated nationally in both countries. They may force changes in the utility industry, the group said, including the shutting down of coal plants that are located near load centers, and substituting power from wind turbines or solar plants in remote areas.

These actions would impose new demands on a transmission system that was never designed for large power transfers over extremely long distances.
(9 November 2008)

Swiss adventurer demands more green action

Matthew Allen, swissinfo
Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard has called on Switzerland to stop lagging behind other countries and take a leading role in developing renewable energies.

Piccard, who plans to fly around the world in a solar-powered aircraft, spoke out on Monday against industrial opponents of energy reforms aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland.

Piccard made his comments as Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger visited the Solar Impulse aircraft project at a military airbase in Dübendorf, outside Zurich.

“We can achieve so much more than we think with energy saving and renewable energy, but we fear the unknown and are faced with opposition,” Piccard told swissinfo.

“It is important to understand that saving energy is the only course for a sustainable economy, which would benefit not only the Green Party but industry and the economy. If we insulate our buildings or install new heating systems, it would generate profit for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises].”

Piccard added that Switzerland had failed so far to make the most of its expertise and capacity to play a leading role in the area of renewable energies.

“With ambition and vision we could be leaders. Switzerland is a leader in banking, insurance, the Red Cross, tunnels and hydro-electricity. But Germany, Japan and even the United States are bigger pioneers,” he said.
(10 November 2008)