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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 9, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1996

PERIODICALS...
ENERGY


Item #d96feb62

"Power Shock: The Next Energy Revolution," C. Flavin, World Watch, pp. 10-21, Jan.-Feb. 1996.

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 today.


Item #d96feb63

"The Energy 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 biomass.


Item #d96feb64

"Renewables in a Competitive World," L. Lamarre, EPRI Journal, pp. 16-18, 21-25, Nov.-Dec. 1995.

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.


Item #d96feb65

"India's Low-Tech 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.


Item #d96feb66

"Making 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.


Item #d96feb67

Special issue. 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 economy.


Item #d96feb68

"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 energy policy.

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