Steve Lowe | Dan Ancona | Steve Willey | John E. Wade | Frank Jakob
Steve Lowe, aka Solarsteve
Environmental Science Faculty
Art Center Collage of Design
At very least we must recycle completely, curtail all rankin-cycle air conditioning and move toward renewable "thermal stabilization" techniques for cars and buildings (e.g. CA-CL4-6H20) -- reserving ranking cycle cooling for super-insulated food refrigeration. Hybrid electric cars with ethanol charging systems on-board must immediately offset the half billion internal combustion gas guzzlers on the worldwide roadway. Utility-level "demand-side-management" using photovoltaic power, solar-thermal-electric and wind electric substations must be implimented on the widest possible scale. These are the correct choices for today and the next two decades.
Ancona, Chairman of International
Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Committee says:
"These are exciting times in the wind energy business. Several manufacturers in Europe are now building and shipping new turbines at the rate of one megawatt per day. Countries around the world are starting new grid-connected wind power plants and off-grid wind power projects. The IEA estimates wind power installations world-wide will grow from 4.5 GW in 1995 to over 12 GW by the end of year 2000...
"International wind energy business symposia are another new activity being organised by the IEA Wind Agreement members in an effort to disseminate information on wind energy technology and deployment. The first of these regional meetings... [is] being planned for late 1997 in New Zealand. A central site, possibly in Australia, will be selected for the symposium. Senior officials from governments, utilities, financial institutions and other key organisations will be invited to briefings and open discussions on a full range of technology diffusion topics. Emphasis will be on government policies, economics and business strategies that have worked well in other countries..."
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Steve Willey, who started his own business at:
Backwoods Solar Electric Systems
8530 Rapid Lightning Creek Road
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864
(208)263-4290 (fax 208-265-4788)
"We work with solar electric generation only at this time, and it is very costly except for areas where utility lines are not installed yet. Then it costs less than installing line extensions 1/2 mile or more to the building site. But even then it is only practical when folks learn to really conserve, not waste, and select special lights and appliances that do the same work using 1/4 as much power as in a typical (American) home.
"So in the future I feel this technology will continue to increase and be used more by utilities as well as independantly powered homes that we sell to. The reason is that true costs are all there in a manufactured photovoltaic panel, there are no fuel requirements other than sunlight, no maintenence, no wastes or pollution from operating it, and it lasts a very long time. All this will only get better as research and application continues to expand. On the other hand all the costs of nuclear power are not yet knowm, as waste disposal is still not solved and costs of that are not presently applied to users of the power. Health effects of nuclear power, and of coal and oil are also not accounted in buying this energy. Massive government (tax paid) subsidies support these industries, including military expenditures and deaths defending oil, and all the military research developing nuclear processes, also not charged to the user. As these things change, the economics of photovoltaic (solar electric) power look better each year. I am indeeed fortunate to have started a business in this field 18 years ago, to have a very good and profitable business and at the same time doing something that is at least a seed for better things to come."
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John E. Wade, a wind energy meteorologist, member of the Wind Power Engineering And Consulting team at AeroVironment Inc, says:
"Wind has been very cyclical in its implementation. It seems to be the less attractive, but always quickly available when needed. It is always seems to be pushed out by some more expedient energy source and comes to the rescue when needed. Right now, natural gas is the energy source that has muscled wind to the sidelines and I see within a decade solar photovoltaics pushing wind back to its niche markets that it has always lived in.
"The development of fuel cell technology will be a good thing for wind in the long term and in the short term concern about global climate change, should encourage further implementation of wind energy. There is about 6,000 MW of wind installed worldwide and I expect that number even with the most pessimistic of scenarios to double by the year 2,000.
"Looking out beyond a decade is not my forte. You would need a very good fortuneteller or a very confident futurist. But I think we will be using a lot more solar, wind will play a minor but important role in remote locations, we will all use less energy, and we will use energy that is produced closer to us, and almost surely there will be a new energy source we had not anticipated."
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Frank Jakob, a professional in Renewable Energy who works at Battelle Energy Systems, says:
"Biomass is a very likely option [to take over non-renewable
natural resources]. Raw materials are available worldwide. The
chemistry problems are solvable and biomass gives 3rd world countries
an energy supply.
"Geothermal, solar, tidal, and wind, will all develop, but only where available (limited) and using relatively low cost, low technology (low efficiency) conversion.
"Hydroelectric and nuclear are both too damaging to the environment to have much mainstream development. Fusion is still 100 years away."
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Doug | Colin
Doug (email@example.com) says:
"Geothermal -- Attempts will be made to harness for production of electrical power in places where it is near the planet's surface. It will only be partially successful due to volcanic eruption.
"Hydroelectrical -- Continued success in producing methods of harnessing low head rapids and falls will be made and due to economics will remain high on the priority of the more affluent nations.
"Solar -- Will become the prime source of energy for our transportation systems and other mobile electrical needs.
"Tidal -- This source ties into the research in low head power generation.
"Wind -- Will remain the bottom rung on the source list due to the wide expanse of land required for mounting the so called 'windmill farms'. The propellers will be more efficient in design but will not gain acceptance much as they do now."
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Colin (firstname.lastname@example.org) says:
"Biomass has future -- because of its nature, there will always be organic waste. Geothermal is good, and useful especially in places like australia, and will be tapped to the fullest with new technologies. Hydroelectric is a compromise -- dams may cause deposition upstream, so I don't really like the idea. Solar would become one of the predominant ones because future solar panels can capture more energy... and be made cheaply. Tidal , really, not much... probably will be the same, because more cost effective forms will evolve. Wind... of course... most used because of it's versatility."
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Ruth | Cheryl | Kailin
Ruth (email@example.com) says:
"I think that biomass will be greatly used in future. As long as there are human beings on this earth, we will never run out of biomass. This will be especially welcomed since at present, everybody is into the 'recycle, reuse and reduce' campaign and people want to make good use of their rubbish. Who knows? In future, our vehicles may be running on rubbish!
"Geothermal may be used in countries that have many volcanoes, such as Indonesia. The only danger is that of eruptions which will probably destroy the whole plant and it will be rather expensive to rebuild it. Hopefully, by that time, a plant that is able to withstand the lava, ash, and other substances from the volcano, will have been created.
"Hydroelectricity will also be well-harnessed. With numerous waterfalls all around the globe, and its present advancement in technology compared to the other alternate natural resources, I do not forsee many major changes.
"In harnessing nuclear energy, no matter what precautions are taken, there will always be risks and thus, there will always be controversies over it. It may advance in technology, but people will still be skeptical about it. That and the danger of it will prevent many nuclear power stations from sprouting out.
"Solar energy may not be widely used. Although, at the moment, it is next to the most talked-about renewable energy source, so much solar energy is required to produce a little bit of energy and it is quite expensive to harness. In future, I believe, it will be taken over by other alternate natural resources.
"Tidal energy will initially be greatly welcomed when the power plants are perfected. However, if they start dotting the beaches and coastal areas, people will probably complain especially since the beach is one of the most inexpensive and relaxing recreational spots. This may also reduce tourism.
"Like hydroelectricity, wind energy appears to have reached somewhere near the peak in technology. Also, since wind farms take up so much space, people may not be as open to the idea in future. It will, however, continue to serve as a source of tourism to countries such as Holland since not every country receives enough wind and has enough space for windmills.
"To sum it up, I believe that by the time non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels, have run out,, we will still be able to supply ourselves with sufficient energy."
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Cheryl (firstname.lastname@example.org) says:
"I think alternate resources are a really good thing. All of us are aware that the Earth's natural resources are fast being depleted, so having something else to rely on gives a sense of security. But I feel sad that soon we won't have anymore coal, wood or oil left -- because these things have been given to us by Time, and nature. When they run out, it will be as if something is missing... when Girl Guides go camping in the future, they won't go," Let's go gather some wood!" rather, they might go," Bring out the Energy Generator!" and that's pretty sad.
"The point is, alternate resources might be used up too, sometime
in the future. Maybe we shouldn't look for alternatives, but instead
try to curb this passion of ours for wastage. When ancient people
lived, they didn't need to use oil! Maybe we don't, after all. Maybe
the problem can be solved on our side, not Mother Nature's."
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Kai Lin (email@example.com) says:
Most of the activities we carry out nowadays depend on Earth's
natural resources one way or another. We are trying to develop ways
to use these resources in such a way that nothing is wasted. Then, we
tried discovering alternative resources to replace these natural
resources. All in all, our main objective is to conserve and save the
Earth! However, most of the work done and worries are expressed by
the world's scientists and researchers. Not many folks are actually
that concerned with the depletion of our natural resources. I believe
unless more importance is placed on this issue and the problem gets
more exposure, not many people will be aware enough of this situation
and it will be a Herculean task to start educating the people when
the world's natural resources are actually on the brink of being
exhausted! However, since people are getting more educated and
exposed to this problem, and some effects of natural resources
running low are actually hitting them in the form of rising cost, I
believe something will be done in time to salvage the situation.
However, I doubt that we will be able to maintain the Earth's
resources for a very long time. And we will probably run out of
resources before the world ends. But just maybe we would have
developed a good enough alternative resource, maybe nuclear, to
support the world's population! I really, really do hope so. It does
sound plausible enough.
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