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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Environment day

The comments by the First Minister on Monday night could not really have come at a worst time for him given that yesterday was effectively environment day in the National Assembly. Not only did we have Rhodri's own statement on climate change but also a Tory motion on the same subject.

This is a difficult subject for the Tories. On the one hand they have a shiny new green image to defend, handcrafted by David Cameron's spin doctors, on the other they have a long history of contradictory statements and actions in defence of the motorcar and the aeroplane as well as opposition to wind turbines wherever they appear. It is difficult now to reconcile their opportunism with their words, a point that the Environment Minister was not slow to pick up on:

We are taught, are we not, that it is important that repentant sinners are welcomed back into the fold? I look towards the Conservative benches and I welcome the sudden conversion of Conservative Members. However, I ask myself whether they are truly repentant. We heard nothing about climate change before David Cameron became their leader; like sheep, they follow him and now talk of little else. Brynle made several points in the course of his address to the Assembly; I hate to mention the irony, Brynle, but you rose to prominence as someone who campaigned for cheaper road fuel, and that is one of the reasons why you became a national figure at the time.

The Tories also seem to be pushing nuclear power as a carbon-free alternative energy source. In doing so they seem prepared to overlook the other environmental and health impacts of such provision and somehow square their opposition to wind power. A point that Carwyn Jones also picked up on:

Today, David Davies has argued or put points in favour of nuclear power. He makes the point, and he is right in this regard, that nuclear power is carbon dioxideneutral—it does not create carbon dioxide except during the manufacture of the power station. There is that thorny problem with the waste, but perhaps that is for another day, as far as this debate is concerned. However, there is another form of energy that does not create any CO2, namely wind power, yet the Conservative Party has set its face against all forms of wind power. On the day after TAN 8 was published, Nick Bourne was quoted in the Western Mail—and I raised this with him at the time—as saying that he would oppose each and every windfarm application in Wales. You cannot have a sustainable energy policy, or hope to deal with climate change, if you exclude a form of energy that does not generate carbon dioxideand can give you the best opportunity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

David Davies: I do not think that it is Conservative policy to oppose wind power as part of an energy mix, but we have to take account—and I hope that all responsible politicians will share this view—of the fact that you cannot deliver baseload electricity using wind power because you cannot store electricity. Therefore, you must have a means of producing electricity that you can rely on to generate a certain percentage of the electricity that you need. Wind power is never going to be able to do that.

Carwyn Jones: There is a limit to what wind power can do, that is quite right, but that does not mean that you should exclude it completely.

A myth is sometimes perpetuated that, somehow, wind power is extraordinarily inefficient compared with other forms of energy generation, but that is not right. We know that other forms of energy generation—gas, for example—operate at 40 to 45 per cent efficiency and wind will operate at around 20 to 25 per cent. What is important is to have a mix of energy sources, with as much renewable energy as possible, to ensure that you have enough electricity to meet demand at any one time.

Of course Carwyn Jones has had his own problems with wind power in the past as well. Like me he took the view that each application needs to be treated on its own merits and opposed the Scarweather development off the coast of Porthcawl. However, unlike me, his voting record did not match his rhetoric as Alun Cairns pointed out:

Alun Cairns: I am aghast at the statements that the Minister has just made in support of wind power, because they are completely contradictory to the arguments that he sought to give in Porthcawl during the time of the application for the offshore windfarm. I remember his standing at a public meeting, where there were more than 300 people, and the sum of his contribution was almost, ‘Over my dead body’. It was quite different to the way in which he voted here and quite different to the theme of the argument that he is making now.

Carwyn Jones: He is talking about a public meeting at the Grand Pavilion that he addressed—he was not even there. [Assembly Members: ‘Oh.’] I chaired that meeting and there was no sign of Alun Cairns at all. No-one noticed him and he did not speak at the meeting. However, he poses a fair question and the answer is this: times have changed. Climate change is far more real a problem now than was the case even a year or two ago and we all have to reassess the way in which we look at wind and other forms of energy in the light of new evidence.

It seems that we all having to re-evaluate our positions on these issues, including exploring alternative non-carbon energy sources such as tidal lagoons and micro-generation. However, the Tories have more ground to make up than most.
There are loads of alternative energy sources associated with Wales. Take Rhodri Morgan (please – somebody, anyone) … Rhodri is such a wind-bag that if someone plugged him into the national grid we could forget about the LNG pipeline now straggling across much of South Wales. Then there is spite-power c/o Nick Bourne who has enough spite-energy to power a fleet of Trabbis - the wee East European car that runs on cheap dirty fuel. Then there's the head of Plaid Cymru who has so much free Brownian motion in his wee head (emphasis on "wee") that if his head was placed near a piezo crystal there would be enough energy transformed to light up Blackpool. Then there is love-power, the heat generated when Opik and 24-year-old Gabriela get together - sufficient to brew 10 million pots of Tetley tea!

In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy Sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, retrofits etc. The source of energy must be by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, Ocean-Tidal, Hydrogen-Fuel Cell etc. This includes the utilizing of water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption. (Sales tax on renewable energy products and energy efficiency should be reduced or eliminated)

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer at market price), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task. As an inducement to buy hybrid automobiles (sales tax should be reduced or eliminated on American manufactured automobiles).

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors’ commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) (rainwater harvesting, water conservation) (energy and natural resources conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

"To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91325
Feb. 16, 2007

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
"the way we produce and use energy must fundamentally change."
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

The Oil Companies should be required to invest a substantial percentage of their profit in renewable energy R&D and implementation. Those who do not will be panelized by the public at large by boy cutting their products.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 2

4 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence. (Installation should be paid “performance based”).

Installation of renewable energy and its performance should be paid to the installer and manufacturer based on "performance based" (that means they are held accountable for the performance of the product - that includes the automobile industry). This will gain the trust and confidence of the end-user to proceed with such a project; it will also prove to the public that it is a viable avenue of energy conservation.

Installing a renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

Nations of the world should unite and join together in a cohesive effort to develop and implement MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY for the sake of humankind and future generations.
The head of the U.S. government's renewable energy lab said Monday (Feb. 5) that the federal government is doing "embarrassingly few things" to foster renewable energy, leaving leadership to the states at a time of opportunity to change the nation's energy future. "I see little happening at the federal level. Much more needs to happen." What's needed, he said, is a change of our national mind set. Instead of viewing the hurdles that still face renewable sources and setting national energy goals with those hurdles in mind, we should set ambitious national renewable energy goals and set about overcoming the hurdles to meet them. We have an opportunity, an opportunity we can take advantage of or an opportunity we can squander and let go,"
solar energy - the direct conversion of sunlight with solar cells, either into electricity or hydrogen, faces cost hurdles independent of their intrinsic efficiency. Ways must be found to lower production costs and design better conversion and storage systems.
All government buildings, Federal, State, County, City etc. should be mandated to be energy efficient and must use renewable energy on all new structures and structures that are been remodeled/upgraded.
"The goverment should serve as an example to its citizens"
Jay Draiman

Northridge, CA 91325
Email: renewableenergy2@msn.com
The First Minister he might have a point. Look at Churchill (the port, not the PM version). Churchill advertises itself as the Polar Bear Capital of the World so one might think that global warming would be altogether bad for Churchill. But the once mainly ice-bound port is looking forward to developing as a huge port with the anticipated opening up of the Northwest Passage between North America and Russia. For example, read this article in the Washington Times:
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