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SUSTAINABLE, RENEWABLE ENERGY

What is sustainable living? Simply put it is doing more with less. Using technologies which do not pollute and which, by their very nature, take as little away from the dwindling array of natural resources available to us as possible. Fact: Nearly every person in the United States uses or consumes about 80% more resources than anyone else on the planet including Europe. We have developed a lifestyle and economy based on the shifting sands of abundant, affordable energy. Our agriculture and resource technologies give us more food and materials than any other country on the Earth. However without this energy, we have no fallback position. Without oil and fossil fuels, there would be no crops, no transportation, no commerce, no economy, no standard of living.

Fact: Irregardless of what data you use, we have but a mere 30 years of affordable fossil fuels left at our present rate of consumption, and that rate is growing, not shrinking. The answer is simple - we must change the way we use energy. For example, if we had fuel efficient transportation, we could save about 25% per year. However it is our very own spaces, our homes, which demand most of the electrical consumption and material resource consumption. Our own habits dissuade our government from instituting real policies which change the present trend. We simply do not have a voice which speaks loudly enough to be heard on these issues. Manufacturing giants such as General Electric and Westinghouse which produce a large number of appliances sold in the U.S. do not recognize the need for real energy saving devices, and instead, placate us with "water in the door" placebos. DOE studies from 1980 thru 1998 show that reducing the energy consumption of the average American home would result in a chain reaction which could reduce our greenhouse gas and overall carbon emissions by 40% or more. (Remember, we still get more than 75% of our electrical power from coal fired plants)

Every standard grid-connected home in the USA uses between 30 and 40 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. Some use much more. A typical Renewable Energy home with Wind or Solar power and the corresponding electrical reductions from energy conservation uses between 2 and 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day…some much less. Faced with deregulation, the latest ploy by the utility consortiums is to offer so-called "green power" which is supposedly generated from clean sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric plants. The facts are that, despite how one feels about hydroelectric plants from an environmental standpoint, they provide only 15% of our total energy demand. Existing solar and wind generation is less than ¼% of this demand. Where are they getting this green power from? In truth, it is just a public relations gimmick to look better. The utilities would have to actually spend nearly $100 billion to cover a modest 25% of our actual electrical demand, and following the $100 billion just spent for Y2K remediation, this will not happen soon.

As we see it, the only way for change to happen, as always, is at the grass-roots level. People siezing the opportunities available with technology advances in Solar and Wind and taking the first steps to be energy independent themselves. Green power, just like charity, begins at home. A combination of awareness, energy conservation and home energy production can help reduce dependence on Fossil fuels and provide a realization of what it takes to make the energy we use daily. Once we start down that road, the Car makers, manufacturer's and government will have no recourse but to follow. If we all work together, we can do it.

Written by: Planetary Systems


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