February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1996
"Power Shock: The
Next Energy Revolution," C. Flavin, World Watch, pp. 10-21,
Sees changes in energy production that will be as dramatic as recent
developments in electronics. The broad outlines of a new energy economy are
beginning to emerge, with its chief feature being a radical decentralization. In
the long run, virtually all fossil fuels may be replaced with a hydrogen-based
system. Discusses the ways energy may be produced in the future, including
photovoltaics, wind power, and fuel cells, and new storage methods such as
highly efficient flywheels that will function as mechanical batteries. Hydrogen,
which if handled properly can be safer than gasoline, could be produced in sunny
and wind-rich areas and piped to distribution systems much like natural gas is
Harvest," P. Jefferiss, Nucleus, pp. 4-6, 12, Winter 1995-96.
Capturing and using sunlight may be done on a large scale with new "power
crops" like fast growing trees, perennial prairie and tropical grasses, and
algae. Conversion from solid to liquid or gaseous forms can be accomplished by
several methods. Power crops are not yet cost effective to produce or use
because the balance of subsidies is tipped in favor of food crops and fossil
fuels, and because the environmental benefits of biomass are not formally
valued. U.S. government research programs are limited in scope and duration and
vulnerable to political pressure, but they have revealed the potential of
"Renewables in a
Competitive World," L. Lamarre, EPRI Journal, pp. 16-18, 21-25,
Although most utility companies have pared down or eliminated budgets for
renewable technologies, others have continued to pursue existing, emerging, or
niche markets. Since renewables are not yet cost competitive, paying for
investment in renewables should be structured so these companies are not
penalized. Utilities can become involved in new technologies now or watch and
wait until, as industry analysts agree, renewables ultimately become a dominant
supplier of electric energy. The watchers may be unprepared for this future, and
their profits could suffer.
Also see "Pursuing the Renewables Market," p. 19, and "Working
Together for Renewables," p. 20.
Energy Success," P. Sampat, World Watch, pp. 21-23, Nov.-Dec. 1995.
Since 1981 when India began its National Program on Biogas Development, over
two million digesters have been constructed, primarily in rural areas. These use
manure, provide more efficient energy production than open burning, and yield a
higher quality fertilizer as a byproduct. This program is not as widespread as
had been expected for several reasons. Restructuring rural energy subsidies and
bringing the planning to the local level could increase the use of biomass.
Energy a Contender," G. Sterzinger, Technology Review, pp. 35-40,
Oct. 1995. Related letters to the editor, pp. 8-9, Jan. 1996.
Lower fossil fuel prices have squeezed biomass out of the power generation
market, but to avoid global climate change, biomass use must increase.
Innovative technologies to increase its use include gas turbines (jet engines).
Describes a pilot project developed at Battelle Institute in Ohio, and discusses
necessary policy changes.
Scientific American, pp. 168-189, Sep. 1995.
Contains feature articles on solar energy, fusion, the industrial ecology of
the 21st century, sustainable agriculture, and an outline for an ecological
"Is There a
Policy in the House?" B. Mittra et al., New Scientist, pp. 45-46,
Sep. 9, 1995.
Since 1982, the British government has viewed energy as a "tradable
good" no different than baked beans or bricks. The Department of Energy has
been absorbed into another agency, and gas, electricity and coal privatized.
Draconian regulations have been needed, and research and development has
suffered. Now concern for the environment is increasingly driving discussions on
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