Category: Energy Systems

A Great Green Rip-Off

The feed-in tariffs about to be introduced here are extortionate, useless and deeply regressive. by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom Those who hate environmentalism have spent years looking for the definitive example of a great green rip-off. Finally it arrives and no one notices. The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle classes. It expects a loss on […]

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Coal Fired Power on the Way Out?

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute The past two years have witnessed the emergence of a powerful movement opposing the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States. Initially led by environmental groups, both national and local, it has since been joined by prominent national political leaders and many state governors. The principal reason for opposing coal plants is that they are changing the earth’s climate. There […]

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Wave Power

Way back in the 1970s, in the oil crisis era, and around about the time I was experiencing carless days in the South Pacific, a Professor Stephen Salter of the University of Scotland, was trying to find a way to harness the exhaustless power of the sea – and convert it to electricity. In September 1973 I caught ‘flu. My wife said to me, with callous indifference to my misery, […]

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Zero Carbon Australia?

A new study attempts to flesh out a blueprint for a rapid energy descent for Australia It’s clear that the world is heading into an extremely interesting new decade. While the world’s insatiable demand for energy shows no sign of slowing in its exponential curve upwards, it’s clear that in the not-too-distant future supply issues are going to become acute. These two clashing parameters promise to take us into an […]

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Micro-Hydro for a Slovak Village

A turbine with a 21 kWh generating capacity is the centrepiece of a little village in the mountainous north central region of Slovakia The village of Necpaly sits at 510 metres above sea level, on the eastern edge of the Necpalská Valley, in the Turiec region in the mountainous north of landlocked Slovakia. The area is filled with rolling hills and cascading valleys framed by mountain ranges peppered with deer, […]

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Letters from Sri Lanka – Sarvodaya’s Home Gardens

Part VI of a series – If you haven’t already, please read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V before continuing. This series is part of my work for the Sustainable (R)evolution book project. A coconut shell is an excellent, biodegradable planter. The coir (husk fibre) is extracted and mixed with soil to become a potting mix with particularly good water retention capacity (the fibre reduces […]

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Free Hot Water from Compost Wheelie Bin

Here’s a great tip given by a member of the Aquaponics Made Easy Forum on a cheap easy-to-build hot water system using compost. The original question posted to the forum was "how to heat a fish tank over winter without any extra energy costs?" A hard thing to do. Thermal Mass heating was one answer but a crafty member posted a very interesting solution and swears that it works a […]

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Solar Towers

The PS10 Solar Power Tower near Seville, southern Spain Having been a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy bookworm as a lad, and looking more like a big-budget prop for a Tolkien fantasy-brought-to-screen than an attempt to close the growing energy gap, the tower at right certainly piqued my interest. Accordingly, I thought it was time we had a quick look at these gigantic obeliscoid desert entities (by the way, the image […]

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The Rocket Powered Shower

Plan for our Rocket-Powered hot water system for the Basecamp shower + bath block Spending all your day gathering sticks for a hot shower is just no fun. No fun at all. Mind you, anything that results in a hot shower (or even better, a hot bath) has to be considered a priority at Milkwood. So when Nick finished converting the old ‘Sunbeam Sheep Shower’ structure (basically a new-fangled sheepdip) […]

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World Geothermal Power Generation Nearing Eruption

by Jonathan G. Dorn, Earth Policy Institute With fossil fuel prices escalating and countries searching for ways to reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, capturing the earth’s heat for power generation is garnering new attention. First begun in Larderello, Italy, in 1904, electricity generation using geothermal energy is now taking place in 24 countries, 5 of which use it to produce 15 percent or more of their total electricity. […]

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Reality Check one two…one two

If you were to get up and walk to the sink and turn on the faucet, there is a pretty damn good chance that water will come out. And if it didn’t you’d be surprised to say the least, more likely pissed off and annoyed at the inconvenience. You’d then wonder who is to blame for this unacceptable turn of events. I mean it is your god given right as […]

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Design with Energy in Mind

Permaculture designer, Robyn Francis (see also) looks at a variety of design strategies for using energy responsibly and sustainably. The practical ‘down-to-earth’ farmer, gardener and layperson will often find the theories surrounding ecology and energy very heavy going, if not downright confusing. What I would like to do is offer some practical perspectives on how we can use resources responsibly. Energy, in a holistic sense, involves much more than electricity […]

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