Volume 1, Number 10, – October 2006
People you should con-
Renewables—Solar and Wind tact about peak oil:
There’s a vast amount of power input power varying randomly, is a •Senator Barbara Boxer
out there in the wind and the sun- problem that has not been solved http://boxer.senate.gov/con-
shine—certainly enough to cover yet. Further, the energy storage
•Senator Dianne Feinstein
our current rate of energy con- systems that would allow us to get
sumption. However, we haven’t energy from these sources at one stein/email.html
done terribly well at harnessing it time and supply it to users at an- •Congressman Sam Farr
efficiently, it’s not as concentrat- other time haven’t been fully devel- 1221 Longworth House Of-
ed as the sources of power we’re oped yet.
Washington, DC 20515
accustomed to using, and the What else? In some ways wind
power comes intermittently and and sun are solutions to a different FAX (202) 225-6791
sometimes unpredictably. problem than the energy problem http://www.farr.house.gov/
Using these renewable sources we are facing most immediately. •Governor Arnold Schw…
poses a lot of challenges. Large- Even though we should be reduc-
•President George Bush
scale use of wind and/or solar ing the carbon dioxide output of our
power requires the conversion of electrical generating systems, and
large tracts of land—sometimes it these could do that, we really need
can be shared with other uses, to reduce our use of liquid fuels— Thanks to all those who have
sometimes not. Sometimes and we will, whether we want to or contributed help and funds to
wildlife suffers as a consequence not. But wind and solar don’t pro-
of sharing the environment with duce liquid fuels in any simple and
windmills. Covering vast areas natural way—so there’s a missing
with energy collectors amounts to link that needs to be supplied if
a huge infrastructure project— they’re going to be a substantial
one that might have to compete help with peak oil. So, if you like
with current uses for dwindling re- knotty problems, lets dig into the
sources. Keeping a power grid details in what follows.
stable, with a large fraction of the
October 3: “Kilowatt Ours” Tuesday 7 PM CA, Vet’s Mem. Bldg., Hollister, 9-4:30
at PG Natural History Museum October 19: “Power of Community” CV
October 5: SMC Discussion Wind & So- Community Chapel Fellowship Hall
lar with Tony Tersol at Monterey Youth November 9: Discussion: Don’t Want to
Center, 777 Pearl St., 6:45-8:30 PM Buy Gas Any More? David Blume & Ray
October 7: Solar Home Tour & Sustain- Newkirk, Mry Youth Ctr, 777 Pearl,
ability Fair , Carmel Middle School, 9-5 6:45-830 PM
October 10: “End of Suburbia” Congrega- December 7: Discussion TBA
tion Beth Israel, 5716 CV Rd., CV
October 19: Redefining Econ. Dev. in
Mission: To ensure an orderly transition through the fossil fuel decline by co-
operatively developing a sustainable economy for Monterey County.
SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY
So, how much solar power is available?
The Earth continually intercepts about 166 billion
megawatts of sunlight. That’s about 25 megawatts per per-
CAN WE STORE
son-- something like the output of 85 400-horsepower hot-
rod engines per human. There’s just no way you can get it
FOR LATER all.
• On a sunny day with the sun directly overhead, about 1000
watts of sunshine falls on a square meter at sea level, or about
Lots of schemes have been pro- 4 megawatts per acre. If it’s cloudy, the power drops. If it’s
posed, and some actually used, night, the power drops a lot.
• The angle of the sun above the horizon affects the power avail-
to store electrical energy for later
use. Here are a few: able—the best you get is 1000 watts times the sine of the ele-
• Pump water uphill when vation angle—minus the extra atmospheric absorption. At
excess power is available noon on the first day of winter in Monterey, it’s less than 500
and let it fall back through watts. Then it continuously declines to zero at sunset.
• If you have an efficient solar thermal generating system that
your turbines when more
is needed. tracks the sun, you might get 40% of the solar power falling on
• Spin composite flywheels its collector. But it won’t work when it’s cloudy.
• Photovoltaic solar cells don’t have to be pointed at the sun,
suspended on magnetic
bearings in a vacuum. and they will still produce some electricity when the sky is
• Decompose water into hy- cloudy. However, the best solar cells are less than 20% effi-
drogen and oxygen, then cient, they’re quite expensive, and the energy it takes to make
burn the hydrogen when them takes a while to pay back.
• Of course, solar heating can be very cheap and efficient if
the energy is needed.
• Pump compressed air into done right. A well-insulated home designed to take maximum
underground caverns, salt advantage of sunlight can be heated for next to nothing almost
domes or depleted gas anywhere the sun shines.
• A breakthrough in solar panels that improves efficiency, re-
• Charge the batteries of duces cost and energy inputs would be a real boon to all of us.
plug-in hybrid, or all-elec- Let’s hope we all have them decorating our roofs in the com-
tric vehicles when avail- ing decade or two.
• And maybe, just maybe, we can find just the right plant—that
able power is high.
would capture the energy we need and release it to us without
our having to consume our fresh water and topsoil to use it.
MIT: A dangerous energy climate --by David Talbot
The world's exploding energy demand--coupled with the growing risk of catastrophic rises in
sea levels and climate change driven by greenhouse gases--create a singular challenge that
demands urgent policy action, energy experts said at an MIT conference yesterday.
quot;If we don't throw everything we have at energy efficiency right now, and start to do things we
know how to do right now [in fossil-fuel alternatives], we don't have a chancequot; of halting drastic
planetary changes, said Nathan Lewis, a chemist at Caltech whose research interests include
new solar-power materials. Lewis spoke yesterday as part of a panel on energy at the Emerging
Technologies Conference. …via The Energy Bulletin
SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY
HOW MUCH POWER IS IN THE WIND?
Wind power is more complicated But then, efficiency rears its head again--
than solar power, in that it’s much A maximum of 16/27 or 59% of the kinetic energy in the wind
more variable and less predictable. can be extracted for our use—if we took it all, the air in the
The power that’s in the wind is windmill would be stopped, and would prevent new air from
entering. According to an article in Wikipedia, actual efficien-
P = ρ •A•V3/2 cy for propeller type turbines is between 10 and 20%, so the
real power you would get from a 100 meter (328 foot)diame-
where ter windmill in an 8 meter per second (17.9 mph) wind, would
be at best about 500 kilowatts. At double the windspeed, as-
ρ = density of air, in kilograms per suming the turbine stayed together, the power would be eight
cubic meter, for instance times as much, or 4000 kilowatts (4 MW). At half the wind-
A = area, perpendicular to wind, of speed, it would be an eighth as much, or 62.5 kilowatts. So,
the wind turbine, in square meters wind power can vary greatly at one location over very short
V = wind speed, in meters per sec- intervals as gusts of wind come and go.
Other consistent sets of units will
work as well. A tethered glider, or kite, might be made to ride in the
jet stream in 100+ mph winds, where power density
would be about 100 times higher.
Peaking of World Oil Production… www.projectcensored.org/newsflash/the_hirsch_report.pdf
Wind Power http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Wind_energy
Energy Bulletin http://www.energybulletin.net/
Oil Addiction: The World in Peril, Pierre Chomat
Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, David Goodstein
Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage, Kenneth Deffeyes
The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, Richard Heinberg
SMC Gift Selection Please Donate Now
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September marks SMC’s one-year anniversary and the begin-
ning of our fiscal calendar. Much to our delight we start this fiscal
year with a much-appreciated grant from the Wallace Global
Foundation. But that is not all, oh…no, no, no… we also have a
Phone: 831 648 1543
new “County” division of SMC led by Linda Parker, Sustainable
Carmel Valley is in its first stages of formation (Thank you George
shift.net Wilson and Jonathan Berkey!), Sustainable PG successfully en-
couraged the City of PG to sign the Urban Environmental Ac-
cords, we made our first appearance in a mainstream Monterey
Steering Committee Members paper… the MC Weekly, we have two interns from MIIS helping
Deborah Lindsay, Director deb@sus- our projects, we have a new radio program, “Tomorrow Matters”
on Sundays at 2pm on KRXA 540 Am, and we have been recog-
nized by Assemblyman John Laird as an organization with a
Ruth Smith, 831-620-1303
worthwhile effort in our County!
Committee Chair and Budget Chair
All this comes with more work on our part, and more work
Secretary and Co-treasurer needs more people interested in taking on a venture or two. Cur-
Pierre Chomat, rently, I’m looking for a someone who might like to help put on a
meeting once a month at the Monterey Youth Center so I can fo-
cus on fundraising to support more projects! And of course, mak-
ing a donation to SMC is always welcome!! Wink-wink, there’s me
doing my new job... (big smile).
If this position looks interesting, please email me with a brief
Committee Evaluation Coordinator statement of interest and your background at deb@sustainable-
Denyse Frischmuth, montereycounty.org.
We roll into the fall with much hope for our second year. SMC
Volunteer Coordinator and Urban Envi-
will continue to make our communities more prepared for a time
ronmental Accords Coordinator
of economic and environmental transition. The biggest thanks we
give is to our supporters--without you we would be a dream--with
you we are a force creating the new paradigm we’ve all been
Annette Chaplin, waiting for.
Sustainable Pacific Grove
To us! -- Deborah
phone # 831-656-0664
Big Sur Powerdown
Newsletter Design by
email@example.com The promise of Proposition 87—
We’re on the Web!
An initiative will be on the California ballot in next month’s election, which
See us at:
would levy a tax on California crude oil production and spend the pro-
http://www.postcarbon.org/ ceeds on research and production incentives for alternative energy, alter-
groups/monterey native energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies, and for education
and training. We think this measure will help achieve some reductions in
fossil fuel use. We hope you will consider supporting it.