Patrick Carroll is certified through the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) as an independent sustainable energy consultant specializing in providing Residential Solar Photovoltaic (Electric), Domestic Solar Hot Water, and Small Wind (<100kW) site assessments. Mr. Carroll has gained a wealth of solar and wind knowledge from his years living in Arizona, Colorado, and through Wisconsin's MREA, providing his clients with analysis, advice, and expert guidance.
Some thoughts about sustainable energy...
We have a tendency to think locally but we are truely a global community now. That healthy salad you had for lunch might have traveled from countries around the world to bring all of the ingrediants together. With the explosive increase in manufacturing in China, India, and other countries, the demand for energy is ever increasing along with the price to generate and distribute electricity. Demand will continue to rise, along with the price and pollution.
Kurt Yeager is the former president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute and former director of energy research at the EPA. Yeager explained that "We have one of the least reliable grids in the developed world". He continues to state that "Nearly all our coal plants are more than thirty years old, and many of them are twice that or more". We just keep retrofitting these old dinosaurs, however, there is a limit to the number of times cracks can be patched.
Yeager continues to explain that "The coal plants we have today operate at 30% efficiency". This means that 65% of the energy is wasted heat. There are renewed conversations about nuclear power again but let's not forget about the accidents: Love Canal - toxic wast evacuation in 1978, 3-Mile Island - partial meltdown in 1979, Chernobyl - explosion in 1986, Tokaimura - nuclear fission accident in 1999, and many others. The lifespan of a nuclear power plant is still about 50 years then it needs to be filled with cement because of radiation contamination and will stay that way for about 100,000 years.
Moving to a sustainable energy paradigm, T. Boone Pickens comments on wind power but can be applied to solar just as well; "Say you have a wind turbine on your land that does $20,000 per year. It's just blades on a post - simple machinery, easy maintenance - but it'll be blowing out there for, oh, a century, maybe more. Over time it generates $2 million for your family, that single machine. It's a whole different scenario than an oil well that produces for a few years, and then it's done for" (*). The more the demand for sustainable energy increases, the more their costs will decline, the more pollution will decline, and the more jobs will be created at home.
For more Energy Information, read (*) Power Trip: The Story of America's Love Affair with Energy and visit my Library.
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