Renewable Energy (see below)

Environment Matters

Renewable Energy: Solar and Wind

Solar Energy: We could supply 100% of the world's energy through solar energy.

More progress must be made to make solar panels a truly sustainable solution: but using existing solar panels technology is crucial to slow down Global Warming on our path to truly sustainable ways of living.

It is evident that Solar and Wind power is the Best Solution for getting off fossil fuels for energy use and thus preserving the climate, and we can work on more truly sustainable solutions in the longer term.

Of existing proven solar technology, Amorphous Silicon solar panels seem to be the closest to a sustainable and safe solution - they only present some occupational hazards to workers from some toxic substances such as Silane Gas that is produced during the production of these panels. Although Silicon is the most abundant element on the surface of the planet, one must also consider the energy use of bulldozers to extract the Silicon. The bulldozers could be made as Electric vehicles, but the total equation must be balanced carefully.

The recycling of solar panels and electronics in general is a problem, especially in the U.S., which is one in only three countries that actually exports its hazardous wastes, since it has not yet ratified the Basel Convention, which all other countries but three have ratified and vowed not to export their hazardous waste. I guess we can stockpile the solar panels until the time comes when we learn how to properly recycle them. Those vendors with an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program where the provider would be responsible for the total life cycle of the solar panel, or a more socially grounded government that had more responsbility and resources to handle society's needs, are where we eventually want to end up.

Other emerging technologies such as dye-based and organic solar panels are also being worked on and have promise to be 100% sustainable.

Other uses of solar energy provide much more direct energy savings with lower up-front cost. These uses include solar batch water heaters, solar air heating, and solar cooking. These are great ways to reduce dependance on combustion of natural resources and will become more important as those natural resouces become scarce or we transition to a more sustainable and responsible life-style.

Wind Energy: Wind power can be made without toxic chemicals but it still requires extraction of metals. A truly sustainable solution would include re-using these metals over and over again and reducing our overall energy use, more efficient energy use, and not letting energy go to waste. New technology in Wind Power will seek to eliminate the use of Rare Earth Metals altogether such as Wind Belts. However, wind turbines don't use that much rare earth materials. Using existing wind turbines, as long as we keep re-using the rare earth metals already extracted, we can keep this renewable energy source going indefinitely.

Wind Energy can also be obtained with a mind to conservation of species that fly. For example, the RSPB, the equivalent of America's Audobon Society, has a wind turbine that shuts off during periods when avian species are about. It is important to get off of coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas, and nuclear because these solutions are far worse (coal, oil, and gasoline are making the global warming problem quite bad, natural gas also contributes to global warming since it releases a lot of methane, and nuclear creates extremely toxic waste that stays around for hundreds of thousands of years that must be constantly guarded and also the constant risk of meltdown from nuclear reactors). We must arrive at a more sustainable lifestyle but existing methods of renewable energy may buy us time so that Global Warming will be lessened while we learn more sustainable behavior patterns.

In the U.S. you can sign up to change your electricity to Wind Power at Ethical Electric or Viridian to name a few Wind Power suppliers.

This page last updated on 7/5/17