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Energy Management

The only truly renewable resource we have is the human spirit. Let’s conserve it to conserve all other resources. The most critical question in view of conserving our resources is how much time we have to make the transition from an unsustainable society to a sustainable one. What are the problems we will face, if we don’t make this transition? Most of us are waiting for technology to appear and be deployed in time to prevent the worst problems that might result from fossil fuel depletion, climate change and a variety of other environmental and resource challenges.

The problems we face aren’t that serious yet as the supplies of fossil fuels are adequate and the issue of alte
rnate energy is well tackle by developing and deploying alternative energy along with other technologies to address climate change, soil degradation, deforestation, fisheries depletion, fresh water depletion. Two centuries of unparalleled technical achievement has given hope and optimism that the transition from unsustainable society to a sustainable one will be a relatively smooth. Kurt Cobb has rightly said “if you don’t solve the energy problem, you won’t get the technical fixes you are expecting”.

There is a fair chance that as we may run short

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of energy to support the gargantuan research and development infrastructure to invent and test possible technical solutions. What will be the source of energy to run that technology once you deploy it? We have closed our eyes to the perverse or counterproductive effects of new technology and conveniently assumed there will be zero side effects. When it comes to the debate over the world’s energy future, those arguing for continued abundance reflect their ignorance of the full implications of the terms they use and sometimes they are being intellectually dishonest.

The present situation is well understood by the following analogy. A fully equipped hospital with on-duty surgeons and staff may be the ideal technology for a critically injured patient. But they mean little to such a patient if we are in the position of having to build the hospital and train the surgeons and staff before administering treatment. This analogy aptly describes our current predicament. The correct calculation of time will be based on human intelligence. This concern is the epicenter of the peak oil movement.

Hirsch report published in 2005 suggests that a 20-year crash program to develop and deploy alternative liquid fuels to prevent tremendous social and economic dislocations. It could easily take decades to replace our current liquid fuel-based transportation infrastructure with one that relies primarily on electricity. Think of the amount of energy we would require for atmospheric carbon dioxide collectors on the scale needed to actually reduce carbon dioxide levels even if we seriously curtail emissions.

The green optimists need to do a lot of planning and a have a approach, which would require immediate and drastic action to reduce our consumption of oil and to move our infrastructure quickly toward other forms of energy that do not deplete. It might also require some stopgap measures using nonrenewable resources such as coal and natural gas, but only to help us complete the transition. The rate of consumption of resources is not steady across the globe. In fact, for oil, natural gas and coal, the consumption rate is rising exponentially.

Calculations based on historical production reflect that the annual worldwide growth rates in consumption for oil, natural gas and coal were 1. 7 percent, 2. 8 percent, and 4. 8 percent respectively. Thumb rule to calculate consumption rate is 70 divided by the annual growth rate gives us the time for consumption to become double. This implies huge increases in consumption of natural resources. Clearly, such growth rates would drastically reduce the number of years of future supply for any one of these fossil fuel reserves.

Another problem which cannot be ignored is that the fossil fuels are finite and which means that their rate of production will peak long before we run out of them. This decline in the rate of production after the peak poses serious problems for world society whose systems are based on ever-increasing rates of energy consumption. “Resource” is a widely abused word in the field of energy. Sometimes one wonders should we rely on the predictions of geological surveys for the amount of oil, natural gas, and coal. Here is the crux of the matter.

World economic growth depends not on the size of the resource, but on the rate of extraction. The resources that are easiest to find and extract are exploited the most. We already know that unconventional deposits of oil and natural gas such as tar sands and shale gas, respectively, can only be extracted at lower overall rates than the conventional resources we’re used to. Be aware that “resource” and “reserve” are often used interchangeably; but the difference between them is the difference between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. One is quite a bit smaller than the other.

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. There is a hope that developing technology will bail us out of the future crisis. So it is important to look for “substitutes,” “alternatives,” and “alternative energy. ” Policy makers must encourage the development of alternatives and focus on development of energy terms they will be as cheap as current energy sources. Generally resources that are technically recoverable are not economically recoverable and may never provide an energy surplus. A growing part of the renewable energy (RE) mix is off-shore wind.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has declared that the Global wind energy capacity is increasing by 160% over the coming five years. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has shown new in the energy future by approving the Cape Wind renewable energy project on federal submerged lands in Nantucket Sound. Similar efforts across the globe should be adopted by coastal areas which receive strong, steady winds. Such projects would create several hundred construction jobs and be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives by cutting carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by 700,000 tons annually.

However wind energy cannot completely replace fossil fuel-based energy. Peter Freere, formerly an engineering professor at Monash University in Australia says, “A single wind farm would not work well on its own for pumped storage or charging electric cars”. So it should be supported by some conventional energy sources. The same applies to the other nonconventional energy sources, whose response time is slow that they must have a fast responding generation system in parallel.

To make alternate source of energy workable it is important to integrate it with conventional sources of energy. The renewable energies are frequently site-dependent and sensitive to economies of scale, because it includes the cost the whole system. Therefore we have to conclude that for renewable electricity generation larger scale wind and marine power are what is required at a massive scale. Of these, only wind is currently cost-effective and that is why it is being aggressively pursued offshore and onshore.

As more and more people from developing countries gain access to electricity, they will increase the developing world’s demand for energy. The production and use of energy have implications for human populations and the environment at the local, regional, and global levels. The combustion of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas (GHG). Other GHGs include nitrous oxide and methane, a by-product of agricultural production and decomposing solid waste. These emissions from human activities are contributing to recent observed changes in the climate system.

While designing policies for developing a sustainable society, objectives of policymakers must be directed towards deployment of technologies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and enhance energy security in a context of economic growth. The costs of environmental degradation are spread widely across all levels of society, and touch the farthest corners of the globe. But despite its pervasiveness, it has been all too easy for governments and legislators to dismiss either the long-term benefits of ecological sanity or the costs of environmental recklessness.

When one nation’s pollution impinges on another’s soil, air or water, the usual political calculus, domestic costs versus domestic benefits often does not apply. Governments everywhere have a nearly irresistible temptation to let the costs fall on that ultimate unorganized interest group that is the generations yet unborn. As Garrett Hardin has observed, this spirit of a limitless world view is deftly captured in the airline advertisement: “Fly now, pay later”! (Or — It is a bit like the famous Woody Allen line:” It’s not that I’m afraid to die.

I just don’t want to be there when it happens. ” The challenge, therefore, is to promote economic growth in developing countries while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions that lead to global climate change. This challenge can be met through the expanded use of clean, cost-effective technologies and practices that provide essential services and also have a reduced impact on the environment. Specifically, technologies are currently available to improve efficiency in the industrial, power, transportation, and building sectors.

In addition, technologies that utilize renewable resources such as wind, solar energy, biomass, and hydropower have numerous large- and small-scale applications around the world and can be particularly cost-effective in rural areas where access to electricity is limited. Use of renewable sources and energy efficiency measures can decrease consumption of fossil fuels with high GHG emissions, such as coal. In cities, where nearly half the world’s population lives, improved public transportation systems and urban planning can reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions from vehicles, landfills, and buildings.

By encouraging policies and practices that support the widespread use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at the national and local levels, the dual objectives of providing access to services while helping to mitigate global climate change can be accomplished. Along with USAID other agencies must also undertakes activities to promote sustainable development and build technical expertise in the application of climate-friendly technologies.

It is important to build capacity to support technical improvements in energy and industrial efficiency, renewable energy, methane capture, and clean technologies while facilitating private sector investment, access to technologies, and policy reform. Equivalent of over 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided through these activities. USAID supports multiple-benefit efforts by providing tools, information, and technical assistance to stakeholders in partner countries throughout the world.

The complexity of the problem requires an approach that addresses numerous sectors at varying scales, from industry to the individual. The application of new technologies and practices offers the prospect for continued economic growth with reduced GHG emissions. Recognizing that leaner productivity and greater efficiency are critical for economic success, USAID will continue supporting the commercialization, dissemination, and adoption of environmentally sound technologies. Moving forward, the goal will be to attract more private investment in technologies that meet development needs and reduce GHG emissions.

Reliable independent figures on cost-effectiveness of low or zero carbon energy generation based on real monitored examples are few. It is important to collate them, because this kind of evidence is what is needed to help determine policy. Legislation should actually remove inefficient and wasteful goods from the market. If the choice is taken out, so you can’t buy them, there’s no need for consumers to feel they have to be bribed or plagued by guilt to help nature. Like it is happening with old fashioned light bulbs, it should happen with all wasteful gadgets. 56% of people said tax rebates and cash incentives.

Of course people want tax rebates and cash incentives and not like new laws. 47% of people said easier ways to recycle gadgets. 29% said information to educate them about what they can do to help. 17% said new laws would make them greener. In fact it is environmental legislation that drives companies to make changes in their product standards, save resources, and indeed develop international standards like Energy Star. Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) should be initiated to place an obligation on energy suppliers and electricity generators to meet a CO2 reduction target.

Also Orders like order 2008 which looks into the cost and carbon reduction effectiveness of various measures must be implemented globally. As a class, new energy technologies have proven to be quite difficult to successfully commercialize. Often, they must surmount substantial technical, scientific and engineering risks to get from concept to the market. And, to prove at scale and expand to broad application, very large sums of capital are typically required. Without political will to take on energy pricing i. e.

, taxes and carbon policies it’s clear that finance capacity for clean energy is currently inadequate, and that only a player of the heft of the Federal government can make any meaningful dent in improving the situation. The industrial production processes have become a very important element in understanding the global environmental equation. Whether in the affluent North or the developing south, industry has the resources to advance or destroy humanity’s hopes for environmental sanity in the 21st century. We believe that corporations which see this as the trend for the future will be the winners.

Those who ignore it or join the race too late will be the losers. The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 was a response to the challenge of sustainable development. It reinforced the urgency of a new kind of global compact to harmonize the needs of humanity and nature. The resolutions adopted in Rio including most prominently Agenda 21 were seen as starting points for policy changes to be backed by concrete implementations. Agenda 21 was a kind of road map, a set of marching orders for humankind. The call for sustainable development parallels the growing recognition that the most worrisome ecological threats arise from human actions.

The pressure of population growth particularly is working to alter the face of the earth to suit human needs. Everywhere, as the extent of environmental ravage is measured; the track of man can be seen as he uses new and even more powerful technologies to cut down forests, divert waterways, plant fields, dig mines and in a host of other ways disrupt the ecological life support systems on the planet. Even the computer, we now know, is an environmental villain, in its use of electric power and the toxic chemical wastes it returns to the soils in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Integrated bio-systems of livelihood and development are in essence learning societies that disseminate information in the use of high-quality low-cost technologies. They emphasize an interactive approach in the communal application of science and technology for responding to daily basic human needs; they also generate and support research in the context of social learning; and, above all, emphasize that it is the sharing of bio-resources that is underdeveloped world-wide.

The time has come for developed and developing nations to join hands and propose new ideas to create a new “Sustainable Civilization (SC)”. A joint study to create SC which combines the needs of developing countries and the technology of developed nations must be undertaken as soon as possible. A most important subject is how to create the infrastructure of SC with respect to transportation systems, telecommunications systems and energy systems.

To adopt environment friendly production methods and support the commercial development of new technologies to reduce environmental impact is a suitable strategy for companies involved in natural resource intensive production activities, such as brewers, electricity providers and mining companies. Options for supporting the development of new technologies to reduce environmental impact include • participating in venture capital partnerships where the company assists an innovator to bring a new technology to commercial development;

• creating a working group of employees to research and develop environmentally sustainable practices and technologies; and • partnering with a community organization working in the environmental sustainability field in order to support the work of the community organization. To preserve the world’s remaining species and ecosystems Alex Stephen advocats restructuring the energy infrastructure world-wide to start from a solar rechargeable light – small PV, blocking diode, rechargeable battery, low energy light (LED, cold cathode fluorescent, and compact fluorescent.

Industrial agriculture needs to be redeveloped if we are to feed the coming generations. The farming and food production systems need to be independent of fossil fuel, fossil water, chemical pesticides, ever-increasing nitrogen fertilizers and the like. While we have begun a transformation in all these areas, the work remains far from finished. … How we make things, and how we think about how we make things, must change radically. References • Managing Variability: June, 2009 A report to WWF-UK, RSPB, Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth EWNI by David Milborrow

• Resource Insights 2010 – article published by Kurt Cobb. • Joseph F. DeCarolis and David W. Keith, January/February 2005. The Costs of Wind’s Variability: Is There a Threshold? • The Greater Mekong Sub region. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank, 2009. Building a sustainable energy future as retrieved from www. adb. org/ • Proceedings of the Second Annual UNU World Congress- May 29-31, 1996 on Zero Emissions • Reducing Environmental Impact of Business Operations Jul 28, 2009 Tracey Lloyd • To-Do List for a Sustainable Civilization 28 Aug 05 Retro: – Alex Steffen

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