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energy & nuclear | sustainability

Oil Regime Keeps Us from Investing in Sustainable Wind/Sun: More Power Than Oil Ever Could

SUN: ONLY HALF OF 1% required. Every year the sun pours down the equivalent of 1.5m barrels of oil of energy for every square kilometre, without pollution. Estimates it takes only 0.5% of the world's hot deserts with current technology called concentrated solar power (CSP) to provide the world's entire electricity needs.

WIND: ONLY 5% OF KNOWN WIND SITES required to DOUBLE global energy capacity above current usage, and without pollution. Wind power could generate enough electricity to support the world's energy needs several times over, according to map of global wind speeds--first of its kind. The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. They found that at least 13% of those sites experience winds fast enough to power current wind turbines. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts. That's more than five times world's current energy needs...if only potentially doubled energy use is projected, then that means [only (13/5)x2] it takes ONLY 5.2% OF THOSE SITES being used to double world energy capacities. That's only about 400 wind farms and you DOUBLE global energy capacity.

North America and parts of Northern Europe have a high number of ideal spots for setting up wind turbines. Approximately 20% of Denmark's energy is wind power. USA, with best place in world for wind turbines, only generates 1% from wind.
"Precious, how can we keep them away from sustainability?"
Stanford University's global wind power map
Stanford University's global wind power map
Scientists say the global energy crisis can be solved by using the desert sun

Ashley Seager
Monday November 27, 2006
The Guardian


In the desert, just across the Mediterranean sea, is a vast source of
energy that holds the promise of a carbon-free, nuclear-free electrical
future for the whole of Europe, if not the world. We are not talking
about the vast oil and gas deposits underneath Algeria and Libya, or
uranium for nuclear plants, but something far simpler - the sun. And in
vast quantities: every year it pours down the equivalent of 1.5m barrels
of oil of energy for every square kilometre.

...

Two German scientists, Dr Gerhard Knies and Dr Franz Trieb, calculate that covering just 0.5% of the world's hot deserts with a technology called concentrated solar power (CSP) would provide the world's entire electricity needs, with the technology also providing desalinated water to desert regions as a valuable byproduct, as well as air conditioning for nearby cities.

rest at:

 http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1957692,00.html


2.

Map Reveals Wind Power Potential
By Amit Asaravala
02:00 AM May. 23, 2005 PT

Wind power could generate enough electricity to support the world's energy needs several times over, according to a new map of global wind speeds that scientists say is the first of its kind.

The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. The researchers found that at least 13 percent of those sites experience winds fast enough to power a modern wind turbine. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts of electricity, according to the researchers.

That's more than five times the world's energy needs, which was roughly 14 terawatts in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The researchers readily admit that existing buildings, land rights and other obstacles would make it impossible to set up turbines in every single one of the identified regions. But they point out that even 20 percent of those sites could satisfy world energy consumption as it stands today.

More importantly, the study shows that wind can be a feasible alternative to fossil fuels, said study co-author Cristina Archer.

"There is really a lot of wind out there that can be utilized for electricity generation," said Archer. "The 72-terawatt finding quantifies how much wind power is available.... It's like when people say how much oil is available on a global scale. It doesn't mean all of it will be extracted."

If anything, the 72-terawatt figure is likely to be on the low side. Most of the 8,199 wind-monitoring stations that contributed data to the map are concentrated in highly developed nations. So the researchers had to make broad and often conservative estimates for countries in Africa and Asia, and for other regions.

"They are probably significantly underestimating the total potential," said Christopher Flavin, CEO of the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research firm.

For instance, Flavin pointed to China, which several environmental organizations have identified as having great potential for wind power. In contrast, the Stanford map shows only a few locations there having the wind speeds necessary to power a wind turbine.

Of the regions that are well-marked by the map, North America and parts of Northern Europe both have a high number of ideal spots for setting up wind turbines. To date, Northern Europe -- and Denmark in particular -- has made the best use of that potential. Approximately 20 percent of Denmark's energy consumption is fulfilled by wind power, according to the Danish Wind Industry Association.

The United States, on the other hand, generates less than 1 percent of its electricity with wind power.

Archer said it was "ironic and sad" that the United States wasn't doing more, given the resources available.

"But it's not too late," she said. "We can still do it and I really hope we do."

The authors' study is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Geophysical Research -- Atmospheres later this month.

[Wired News]

There are many other choices available, like zero point energy sources or water engines. All this shows is that the oil regime should completely be dismantled as an energy source. Only politics keeps us in polluting oil, not economics.
E.R.O.I. 30.Nov.2006 19:11

this thing here

'... A better measure of the cost of oil, or any energy source, is the amount of energy required to produce it. Just as we evaluate a financial investment by comparing the size of the return with the size of the original expenditure, we can evaluate any project that generates energy by dividing the amount of energy the project produces by the amount it consumes.

Economists and physicists call this quantity the "energy return on investment" or E.R.O.I. For a modern coal mine, for instance, we divide the useful energy in the coal that the mine produces by the total of all the energy needed to dig the coal from the ground and prepare it for burning including the energy in the diesel fuel that powers the jackhammers, shovels and off-road dump trucks, the energy in the electricity that runs the machines that crush and sort the coal, as well as all the energy needed to build and maintain these machines.

As the average E.R.O.I. of an economy's energy sources drops toward 1 to 1, an ever-larger fraction of the economy's wealth must go to finding and producing energy. This means less wealth is left over for everything else that needs to be done, from building houses to moving around information to educating children. The energy return on investment for conventional oil, which provides about 40 percent of the world's commercial energy and more than 95 percent of America's transportation energy, has been falling for decades. The trend is most advanced in United States production, where petroleum resources have been exploited the longest and drillers have been forced to look for ever-smaller and ever-deeper pools of oil...'

 link to www.nytimes.com