Tags >> alternative energy
Aug 30
2010

Geothermal Power at The Geysers

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , resources , recycle , planning , Green , events , environment , conservation , climate change , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

 How about using the heat from the Earth’s core to power your home? Guess what: you already are. Solar, wind and water power are the big three natural and sustainable sources for electric power, but the North Bay also benefits from a fourth—geothermal energy.

The geological conditions that allow access to geothermal heat and steam are scattered in just a few areas around the world, almost always where the subterranean slabs of planetary rock known as tectonic plates are moving against each other. Bruce Carlsen, Calpine’s Director of Environmental Health and Safety at The Geysers, explains the underlying forces.

The same conditions often create numerous hot springs and can be a source of seismic activity—as is also the case in the North Bay. But while earthquakes can alter the flows that feed hot springs, Carlsen explains that the deeper strata that feed geothermal steam fields are not affected.

The Geysers is by far the biggest geothermal generating facility in California, but Carlsen says there are some other locations that could be developed to make a smaller contribution to the state’s energy needs.

Bruce Carlsen talks about geothermal energy in Sonoma County at an informal potluck gathering at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa on Aug. 31, 5:30-7:30 p,m, co-hosted by the Climate Protection Campaign.

 

Jun 21
2010

Innovation Hub

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , speaker , Sonoma County , research , planning , nonprofit orgs , jobs , Ideas , Green , go green , gadgets , employment , economy , design , construction , carbon , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

The Business Cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village, an incubator for green entrepreneurs, is getting a boost from the state's Innovation Hub (iHub) initiative for  new companies intended to become a prime source for new, local jobs.

Sustainability looks beyond energy use and building materials, adds Geof  Syphers. He notes that part of their systemic focus at Sonoma Mountain Village, the former Agilent campus on the southern edge of Rohnert Park,  is on water.

The business cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village was one of the first elements of their 200 acre redevelopment project to get up and running, in part because it could make use of existing buildings there, explains Chief Sustainability Officer Geof Syphers. But he is also looking ahead to the new residential construction that will dramatically transform the site.

One of the eye-catching aspects of the event yesterday was a demonstration module for Pix2o, one of the start-ups in the Business Cluster that Executive Director Michael Newell says is closest to bringing their product to market.

The full roster of Business Cluster members is available here.

 

 

 

 

Jun 18
2010

Natural Capitalism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , Sonoma County , solar , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , Napa , Marin , jobs , Ideas , Green , environment , economy , current events , climate change , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Capitalism doesn’t have to be an economic system that devours raw materials with massive waste. An advocate of a variant termed “Natural Capitalism” contends it can deliver greater prosperity through increased efficiency and careful stewardship of natural and human resources.

Lovins argues that human productivity could learn a lot from Nature, which is powered almost exclusively by the sun, and leaves no waste that isn’t fuel for some other natural process.

Modern day free marketers often invoke Adam Smith and his “invisible hand” as the guiding principle behind the policies they advocate, including globalism and free trade. But Lovins counters that doing so is a distorted misreading of what Smith actually said.

Reducing or greatly eliminating the enormous amount of waste that is built  into our economy is not enough, but itself, to ensure long-term prosperity. But Lovins says it would be a good start.

Hunter Lovins will be among the speakers at the Solar Energy and Efficiency Fair in Santa Rosa’s Finley Park June 19,from 11am to 5pm. You can get more detailed event information here.

 

Jun 01
2010

"Searching for A Miracle"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , solar , resources , research , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , lifestyle , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , author , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

What’s the ultimate solution for replacing fossil fuels with affordable alternatives? A detailed study by the  Post-Carbon Institute says the only good answer available now is reduced demand and intensive conservation.

The study tried to provide a comprehensive analysis, explains author Richard Heinberg, and surprisingly seems to have blazed a trail in doing so. [You can read or download the full report here.]

Energy sources are rarely located close to the areas of concentrated demand for energy, so in addition to shifting to a diverse array of renewable power generation methods, nations will also need to find ways of transporting electricity and other forms of energy to the places it is most needed. Heinberg predicts that will lead to hardships for the populations most reliant on energy imports.

Not only has the United States failed to conduct such a study of its own—something Heinberg suggests should be done ASAP, but he worries that the larger question of long-term energy policy planning is also getting scant attention, even as the oil continues to leak from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Richard's reflections and analysis of the larger implications of the Deepwater Horizon disaster are the subject of his most recent "Museletter," which you can read here.

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