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Can the Little People (ie, US) Beat Xcel Energy in Boulder? These People Say YES

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Xcel Energy, the people who started up the Colorado solar-to-home movement only to withdraw from it quicker than John Wayne Bobbitt lost his wang, are back at the douchebaggery again.  This time, a group of very smart and very environmentally conscious people called New Era Colorado is putting the kibosh on their plans for coal-fired world domination.  Check this out:

From the video page:

This is a grassroots David and Goliath campaign to create a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future: http://igg.me/at/localpowerYou can support this effort on Indiegogo:http://igg.me/at/localpower

This is pretty great.  These folks are simply trying to stop the mass amounts of money from flowing into the pockets of the “we don’t give a shit” power brokers and back into the hands of the community, and to save the Earth one city at a time.  Can you imagine what would happen if this works?  I for one would love to see solar panels and wind turbines out en masse instead of coal fired plants spewing black death into the atmosphere.  But, that’s just me.  I’m sure the Xcel Energy executives need their Mercedes and homes in the Hamptons, too.  Right?

Check out the Campaign for Local Power’s IndieGogo campaign.  Feeling frisky?  Donate ten bucks, you’ll literally change the world.

From the IndieGogo campaign website:

Back in 2011, our community did something no other community had ever done before: we voted to explore taking control of our power supply for the sole purpose of lowering our impact on the planet. Xcel Energy spent nearly $1 million dollars on that election, but lost–because a committed group of community advocates and a small nonprofit that engages young people in politics won the day. Outspent 10-to-1, the grassroots coalition registered voters, knocked on doors, and made thousands of phone calls.

With voter approval, the city launched an extensive analysis and found that it could get cleaner, cheaper power that was just as reliable all on its own.

But now, Xcel is back, with a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks. Their ballot measure is masquerading as a way to reduce government debt, but it’s really just a dirty trick–the measure includes impossible, even illegal, requirements that would stall out the very process voters already approved.

They’re back to undermine our local process, because the city’s findings made it clear that they stand to lose more than the $35 million dollars in profits they make annually from Boulder. They know that Boulder is on the verge of setting a precedent of national significance that would threaten not just Xcel, but the very core of the coal energy’s business model–not to mention that industry’s billions of dollars in profits.

We out-organized them in 2011, and we know we can again in 2013 if we have the resources to achieve the reach we need. Boulder has already voted to move forward–this fight is about keeping the coal industry from holding us back.

Can you help these smart people defeat the coal giant in the region?  Like New Era Colorado on Facebook, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.  Xcel Energy will not.

Illinois Gives Good Wind – Fourth in the Nation for Wind Power Generation!

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I had a chance to drive through some of the great wind fields of Illinois over the last month — Laura and I have ostensibly been vagabonding here in the US since there’s no work.

I put together a quick video on Illinois wind power — check it out, wouldja?  Share it with your friends!  Illinois, a state that sent 4 of its last 7 sitting governors to prison for corruption, is the fourth largest wind producer in the United States!  I guess you go, Illinois still works?

Illinois gives good wind!

…and on Vimeo, in case you like it there better (I have to admit I love their interface…)

Illinois Gives Good Wind! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Wanna Whine about Wind Turbines? This Company Put Them Underwater

In a world where there are so many people who just whine about wind power because it’s fun to whine — a company, a power broker, and a country put together their collectively separate thinking caps and turned the problem upside down.  Meet the Andritz Hydro Hammerfest’s 1 Megawatt HS1000 Underwater Tidal Turbine, capable of powering 500 homes per single unit:

Right now in Scotland, a power broker called ScottishPower Renewables (which is a part of an even bigger conglomerate, Iberdrola, claiming a portfolio of over 14,000 megawatts of wind power generation) just put in the first one of ten 1 Megawatt units in Orkney, Scotland.  It’s generating power and is doing fine apparently, and between 2013 and 2015, that part of Scotland will have 10 Megawatts of tidal power.  That’s 10 million watts.  10,000,000 watts of completely renewable power.  Way to go, Scotland!

Some info about ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest:

  • Hammerfest Strøm was established in 1997 in Hammerfest in Norway. The company’s main business is development of tidal stream turbines and the installation of tidal power arrays.
  • The subsidiary company Hammerfest Strøm UK established in Glasgow, Scotland is responsible for developing the British and Irish energy markets. Hammerfest Strøm UK also has a joint venture with ScottishPower Renewables.
  • ScottishPower Renewables is part of Iberdrola Renovables, the largest wind energy company in the world with an installed capacity of close to 11,000 MW at the end of 2009, and a pipeline of over 57,400 MW. ScottishPower Renewables had over 800 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2009, and a pipeline of 5,115 MW.

Also, a minute+ long piece from BBC News on the actual installation of the first HS1000, which was a pretty crappy day in seaman’s land:

Suck on that, complainers.  This is an awesome solution that will no doubt make some progress while we have to figure out how to appease the whiners who want to favor coal and oil over completely free wind power that is ever-present and never-ending.  Seems like a real waste of time, doesn’t it?  You know, to have to convince people that their vanity is less important than the collective progression of humanity?  Ah, the things I’ll never understand…

Editor’s note:

I’m sure that you’ve heard news out there from people who just don’t wanna see those dreadful wind turbines from the back deck of their house, and those whiners who don’t want wind turbines offshore because they are more expensive than their onshore counterparts.  I’ve also seen a complaint about “interfering with shipping routes.”  COME ON.  How can you make a grand claim like “offshore wind turbines will interfere with offshore shipping routes” without having first completely done every permutation and calculation of such a statement without the understanding that things like shipping routes can be re-arranged?

Maybe it needs to be said out loud:  we’re going to hit peak oil if we haven’t already, we’re going to either run out of coal or poison our atmosphere, and nuclear power is what it is — controlled chaos with no safe way to store the waste.  We’ve had three major nuclear accidents on this planet with respect to nuclear power generation, and each event (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima) have already caused enough destruction for hundreds of years.  If we don’t get a grip on the actual problem and not let the big oil and coal companies continue to bank on future destruction, we will all be gone.  We have all we need, provided here on our planet, for everyone to have free power (and consequently free food, but that’s another post).  All we have to do is make it happen.

Thanks to DVICE, Inhabitat, BBC News, STV, and ScottishPower Renewables!

Everlast’s PVW Hybrid Street Light

I wrote a post about induction lamp technology a few days ago – a company called Everlast is producing a solar and wind powered induction lamp street light.  PV panels, a turbine, and a 70-100W fluorescent induction source.  The system as a whole is pretty sweet – the wind turbine operates at as low as 2-3 mph, and has an electric shutdown after 60 mph.  I would assume that those blades could create some catastrophic failure on high winds, as any wind power collector.

Check out Everlast’s product page on the PVW Solar/Wind Street Light.  It’s pretty interesting!

PVW hybrid

Djordje Cukanovic’s Light Flower

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Djordje Cukanovic designed a “sustainable” outdoor light – good for garden pathways, your yard, or really anything outside that you’d like it to light.  The Light Flower is a wind-powered LED light – looks like a sunflower (kinda), and has a super-sensitive blade wheel that spins at the slightest breeze.  Check out the video:

Visit Djordje Cukanovic’s portfolio over at the Behance Network.

lightflower1

Thanks, Yanko!