Renewables – Dec 15

December 15, 2006

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

80 Members of Congress Pen Letter to President Bush to Fund Renewable Energy
Eighty Members of the U.S. House of Representatives took time this week to send a letter to President Bush seeking substantially higher funding levels for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the White House’s Fiscal Year 2008 (FY’08) budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy.

In particular, the letter calls for full funding of the advanced hydropower program and geothermal power programs as well as the biomass/biofuels, wind, and solar programs in addition to the buildings, industry, and vehicles efficiency programs.
Circulated by Representatives Mark Udall (D-CO) and Zach Wamp (R-TN), the letter notes that “renewable energy and energy efficiency can have the most immediate and longest lasting positive effect on energy availability, stable prices, and greenhouse gas emissions.”
(14 Dec 2006)

Germany Sees Big Potential in Green Biomass Fuel

Reuters via Planet Ark
HAMBURG – Large-scale production in Germany of green fuels using new generation biomass-to-liquid (BTL) technology is feasible and may fill around 20 percent of national fuel needs, the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday.

A study commissioned by Germany’s government and published on Thursday concluded that sufficient quantities of the raw materials required were available.

Biofuels are currently largely produced from crops such as rapeseed, maize, soy or palm.

Second generation BTL technology aims to produce biofuels such as biodiesel and gasoline from cheaper sources such as straw, grass, tree leaves, wood chips or low-grade crops.
(15 Dec 2006)

Renewable Energy – can’t save consumer society

Ted Trainer, The Simpler Way
There is rapidly increasing understanding of the need to reduce use of fossil fuels. People are becoming more aware of the possibility that petroleum supply is close to peaking, and of the implications of the greenhouse problem for use of fossil fuels. However it would be difficult to find a more taken for granted, unquestioned assumption than that it will be possible to substitute renewable energy sources for fossil fuels, while consumer-capitalist society continues on its merry pursuit of limitless affluence and growth. I think there is a very strong case that this assumption is seriously mistaken.

The argument is detailed in my book Renewable Energy – Cannot Sustain Consumer Society, to be published by Springer early in 2007 (referred to as RE below.) The core themes will be summarised here.

The limits to renewable energy have been almost totally ignored. There has only been one book published on the topic, Hayden’s The Solar Fraud, 2004. No one wants to think about the question. Everyone is eager to assume that we can move from fossil fuels to renewables without any threat to ever-rising affluent living standards and limitless economic growth. Unfortunately the renewable energy experts are the last people to throw critical light on this question of possible limits. They always give the most optimistic pronouncements on their pet technologies, reinforcing the impression that they could solve all the problems, if only we would give them more research funding.

Energy is only one of the alarming global problems now threatening us. Chapter 10 of RE explains that consumer society is grossly unsustainable and unjust, and that we should be trying to reduce our rich world per capita resource consumption to perhaps 10% of present levels. The problems over-consumption is generating cannot be solved without vast and radical change from consumer-capitalist society. Our goal has to be transition to what I refer as “The Simpler Way.”
(25 July 2006)

UK: Wind farms ‘are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity’

Charles Clover, Daily Telegraph
The claimed benefits of wind energy are called into question today by a study that finds few wind farms in England and Wales produce as much electricity as the Government has forecast.

The first independent study to rate farms according to how much electricity they produce shows that wind farms south of the Scottish border are not generating as much as the Government assumed when it set the target of producing a tenth of Britain’s energy from renewables by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2015.
(10 Dec 2006)

Geothermal: Man-made tremor shakes Basel

Drilling work for a planned geothermal power plant in Basel triggered a small earthquake on Friday that caused minor damage to buildings.

The canton Basel City prosecutor has launched an investigation to find if the company behind the Deep Heat Mining project should pay for repairs.

The tremor was felt shortly before 6pm and measured 3.4 on the Richter scale according to the Swiss Seismological Service. Normally, there are three or four earthquakes of this size annually in Switzerland.
(9 Dec 2006)

Tags: Biofuels, Biomass, Electricity, Geothermal, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy