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The September Energy Update

By Steve Jones,

I think you'll be happy to know that there are interesting people out there. One of my neighbors, maybe a couple miles away, has a windmill that I've watched run regularly as I drove my daughter to school all last year. I finally grabbed their address one day and wrote them a letter, not wanting to just walk up to their door with a list of questions. I waited patiently for a couple weeks and finally got an email.

So I learned a few things, but since they'd bought the property with the windmill, I didn't quite get enough information about what I'd need to do to set one up from scratch. However I did get a couple hints from them and so I'm moving slightly forward on planning a windmill. I've got a few places to check for about pricing and permitting and it's possible we'll get some type of renewable power set up for winter. Maybe solar thermal? I doubt it.

Fuel from wood?, it's an alternative to corn based ethanol, but as a woodworker, I certainly don't want more competition for surplus wood. However it's good that people are trying different things and this might be a nice small scale solution.

There's also this nifty hydrogen generator, running on water and sodium borohydride. It sounds cool, but I'd like to know how dangerous or damaging the chemicals are to the environment relative to batteries and exactly how much energy is burned to get the energy from hydrogen, which could reduce a lot of the benefits.

The world's power draw is increasing and especially in the US, where the EPA says our demand is growing, mostly due to data centers. It's great to see both Google and Microsoft building data centers where they can take advantage of hydroelectric power, biodiesel, solar, and other sources of energy besides fossil fuels. And HP is now trying a three-dimensional mapping product to help produce greener data centers. Similar to passive solar, it's an easy way make strides by just building slightly differently.

We should also see some new nuclear plant applications in the US over the next couple years.

It's good that Congress is getting in the act, requiring more renewable power generation, though I'm kind of amazed this happened under a President from Texas that made money in oil. Maybe they're realizing that there's a whole new generation of technology and equipment to be sold. Or maybe they've come up with a way to tax wind :).

I'm getting into the podcasting business (maybe) and there's a link to the audio cast . I think I have a face for radio and a voice for newspaper, but let me know what you think. Comments (good and bad) are welcome.

The September Energy Update (Podcast)

Music for today's Podcast from:

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