Air Quality

Published on March 27th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


Imagining A New Energy System

March 27th, 2016 by  

Imagine that the norm is electricity meters running backward. Yes, your solar panel collected so much it turned your meter around. Decentralized power plants, the people collecting and storing energy. Just a few of the thoughts on the following videos. Imagine a new energy system that some are creating — but why not the rest?

“Images are food.” Thanks to Peter Sinclair for serving a feast on Climate Denial Crock of the Week in a recent post: “Imagine a New Energy System.”

The first step to creating is imagining. As Sinclair points out, “We can’t build a future that we can’t imagine.”

Check out the cool energy storage tech at 2:50 on this first video below, POWER TO CHANGE, and please overlook the typo in the thumbnail.

A complementary piece produced by Yale Climate Connections, featuring Elon Musk, is “Birthing A Solar Age.”

And here’s an animated Paul Gipe talking about energy independence and distributed energy:

Sinclair posted one more video on his recent article — a genuinely troubling commentary by Fox News (sheer misinformation and ignorance). It was just too disturbing to repost. I ask, “Where is the intelligence,” as Edy Kraus said. Sinclair calls it “an example of outrageous anti-renewable dis-info.” Go to Climate Denial Crock of the Week for this video from Fox News if you feel inclined. More akin to a paid employee expounding propaganda for gas companies rather than a viable journalist.

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Renewable Energy News Link Bomb (Solar Energy News, Wind Energy News…)

IRENA: Doubling Renewable Energy Share Could Save Trillions

Powerful: Energy For Everyone

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • Bishadi

    Let me paint a picture: The solar folk are capturing light from the sun, via wavelengths and converting to usable potential, electricity. The sun is not producing enough heat, to heat steam and turn turbines, to make electricity. A nuclear reactor is the sun type of wavelength release, but so hot, they use it to heat water and turn steam engines. Basically nuclear style is like washing a car window with niagra falls. How about a ‘new energy system’ and convert the wavelengths of fission to usable electricity so to speak? Anyone gonna say it? …… “Why didn’t I, think of that?”

    • Bob_Wallace

      “The sun is not producing enough heat, to heat steam and turn turbines, to make electricity.”

      That is not correct. There are several thermal solar plants now operating. The oldest in the US (IIRC) is over 20 years old and a new solar tower (Ivanpah) came online a couple years ago.

      There is a plan to make electricity directly from fusion but that’s many years away and might not be economically feasible. The basic idea has been thought of.

      • Bishadi

        That is not taking the individual wavelengths and converting but using reflection to heat oil (water). It’s practically like rubbing sticks to make a fire.

    • Mod Mark

      “convert the wavelengths of fission”

      If you are trying to promote nuclear power, please stop.

      • Bishadi

        I was exposing how obsolete the use of, actually is. The NEW, is about comprehending the conversion, the wavelengths of em, themselves. It is why electricity was so simple to tesla because the field can be harvested from most any source.

        • Mod Mark

          From the engineers point of view, modern steam turbines are highly advanced machines.

          What you are proposing, some type of “solar panel” which can fit inside a reactor and can produce 1- 1.6 Gw of power. Of course these panels need to last decades in a very nasty environment. And it needs to be highly reliable ie: operate for a year straight with no maintenance.

          Sorry but obsolete steam turbines are superior for high volume production of electric.

          • Bishadi

            Engineers use what information they have to create and measure predictable use. I get it M&M. I was just pointing out, how Neanderthal the model (heat to steam) is. The article is about NEW, not old timers review.

          • Frank

            Why don’t you build one, and demonstrate how it works?

          • Bishadi

            You banned me and I also see that my ‘basic wiki’ comment, exposing just how old what I have been claiming is. Simply put, you truly had no idea about the what I was talking about, because you have never even observed the science on the venue, which the wiki article showed that it has been around since the 50’s. I can see how you became the top commenter. You don’t have to spend the time on the work, you just talk
            No wonder you are nervous, you just found out how obsolete your usability is.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are there any reactors anywhere that produce electricity without a steam turbine?

            If not, are there any demonstration projects?

          • Mod Mark

            “Neanderthal the model”

            Interesting, many of these 100% renewable plans call for thermal storage/generation.

            Are the Neanderthals in charge of the Ivanpah solar plant?

          • Bishadi

            The Neanderthal are the engineers, that are still using steam to turn the wheel. Educated minds comprehend that the steam model is just a step above the covered wagon. Do you have a rotary dial on your mobile phone? Let me guess, you designed one for your flip phone, with big numbers to see better, right?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Is there a technology that does what you claim or you just BSing?

          • Bishadi

            Wow…. look up the term solar irradiance to measure for yourself or look up the p680 of photosynthesis to comprehend a bit on how plants do it. The BS’rs, are sitting with a computer in front of them and don’t know how to use it to look for themselves.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, we got it. You’re just wasting time shoveling bullshit.

            Stop now. OK?

  • Mod Mark

    imagine is a great theme for the first video from Germany.

    Imagine a Germany which decreased CO2 emission instead of the increases in 2012-13 and 2015.

    Imagine a Germany which does not produce 42% of it’s electric from coal/lignite.

    Imagine a Germany which does not import and burn trees in it’s coal plants.

    Imagine a Germany which truly understands climate change and the need to create a low CO2 emission economy

    • Bob_Wallace

      Imagine a Germany that experienced a nuclear disaster next door, then watched one of the most technological countries in the world melt a couple of reactors down, and said “What the hell, if one of ours goes sour we’ll just live with it”.

      Imagine a Germany that is not dependent on Tzar Putin for its supply of natural gas.

      Or take a good look at a Germany that almost single handedly brought the cost of solar panels from expensive to cheap.

      Or take a look at a Germany that is setting new record after new record for the amount of electricity it gets from renewable resources.

      You could even take a look at a Germany which dropped fossil fuel use to a new low in 2014.


      • Mod Mark

        To be fair, I am very grateful that Germany embraced Energiewende. Spending billions of euro on solar has driven the price down which greatly benefits the late adapters . The Chinese also say 谢谢.

        Using a 2014 end date (recession in Germany) is quite similar with the denier tactic of using 1998, a record el Nino, as a start date. But no matter.

        In the ~14 years since the passing of the German Renewable Energy Act, Germany has reduce electric from fossil fuels use by ~10 TWh (An AP1000 nuke will produce ~8.7 TWh/year)

        Care to compare Energiewende with the Messmer Plan?

        • Bob_Wallace

          There’s no cherry picking going on in that graph. As far as I know the 2015 number has not yet been released.

          If you would like, here’s a longer term graph showing Germany’s move off fossil fuels. It stops at 2013 but looks further back in time and includes oil as well as coal and natural gas.

          • Mod Mark

            Fair enough, I will stop trolling.

            What is disturbing is the slight rise in coal consumption after a leveling off for ~20 years.

            Unfortunately policy makers around the globe can look at Energiewende and question it’s effectiveness considering it’s cost (~1 trillion euros?, hard to find that number).

            And unfortunately Russia and China may dominate the nuclear exporting business. Even small countries like Jordon are signing deals.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sure, but that’s due to Germany’s decision to speed up the closing of nuclear plants following the Fukushima disaster.

            One can argue that perhaps that was the wrong decision to make, but it’s the decision of the people living in Germany. They wanted to lower their short term risk level.

            I think Germany is going to have to build more transmission so that they can move electricity from the north/offshore to southern Germany in order to drastically cut coal use.

          • Mod Mark

            Primary need for north/south HVDC lines, provide power when solar and/or wind production is down, I am unsure how this would drastically cut coal use. A contract to connect Norway with a HVDC line has been awarded, hydro power is dispatch-able.

            Concerning “the decision of the people living in Germany” comment, should we also respect other countries wishes even if it includes burning coal for another 100 years?

            Long term, CO2 emission will effect us all regardless of it’s source.

          • Bob_Wallace

            My understanding is that Germany cannot currently ship enough offshore wind electricity south to where most of the factories are located.


            The NordLink HVDC will connect northern Germany with Norway and Denmark. It won’t help move renewable electricity south.

            ” should we also respect other countries wishes even if it includes burning coal for another 100 years?”

            No. I the case of Germany the decision to speed the closure of reactors slowed Germany’s exit from fossil fuels a bit. Perhaps no long term slowing considering those reactors were already on the chopping block, their execution date was just moved forward.

          • Jens Stubbe

            The slow closure of loss making coal plants is caused by the German government that actively put pressure on for instance Vattenfall via the Swedish government to keep their loss making coal power in operation. Coal is heavily subsidized in Germany and one of the protective measures is a fierce opposition against establishing HVDC connections to the much cheaper on demand electricity from Scandinavia and the case has been brought to court because Germany violates the single market rules.

            The nuclear power plants in Germany are no better than the Swedish power plants that are being shut down at the moment because they are no longer competitive. Also the potential hazards of nuclear has been more evident in recent years where terrorist threat and better understanding of the vulnerabilities has led many analyst to believe that far safer nuclear power plants can be build but also that the needed alterations to older nuclear power plants cannot be justified economically.

        • Calamity_Jean

          “I am very grateful that Germany embraced Energiewende. Spending billions of euro on solar has driven the price down which greatly benefits the late adapters.”

          Yes, the whole world should be grateful. If humanity survives Climate Change, a large part of the credit will be due to the Germans.

          • Mod Mark

            Agreed, the folly of building a 100% renewable is being noticed by other countries.

            Lets wait until Germany has made significant reductions in coal/lignite consumption before claiming them to be our saviors.

            And burning trees in coal plants is a desperate act by a desperate nation trying to prove it will work.

          • Calamity_Jean

            You seem to be trying to claim agreement where there is none. I didn’t say anything like what you wrote it your latest comment. The German energy transition (which is what “Energiewende” means) is still incomplete, so of course they are not carbon-free yet. But they have helped point the way for the world, and have brought the cost of solar into reach for many people everywhere.

          • Bob_Wallace

            More of your BS.

  • Brooks Bridges

    My wife and I are in process of getting 15 panels installed giving us close to 100% of our yearly usage. It was a tough fight with local Hysterical Society but I appealed their decision against and won. We’re using the latest SolarEdge Inverters giving us two great features: 1) Same individual panel monitoring as micro inverters – they split the inverter into two parts: one shared the other attached to each panel. Supposed to be more reliable than micros – we’ll see. 2) Ability to hook in battery backup if and when we wish.

    • Frank

      I don’t yet have a solar system. I’m very interested in the StorEdge inverter that is just coming out with the StorEdge optimisers. I am also really interested in the best way to find and hit the rafters through the shingles. I have thick blown insulation in the attic so I don’t want to crawl around in there.

      • Brooks Bridges

        I got the StorEdge (thanks for info – didn’t know that was name) even though several years before I begin to consider batteries – may be a bit too forward looking.
        I’m having an installer do work and they indicated no problem finding rafters. I suspect stud finders will work. You might go up on roof and try a stud finder and see if it seems to be locating rafters properly. And ask an installer what they do.
        I have foam insulation totally encapsulating rafters so have same basic problem as you.

        • Peter Hall

          Hello Brooks,
          Do you currently have your StorEdge up and functioning as a normal grid tied AC inverter without any sort of storage in place? i.e. can the dc coupling capability and storage be added in the future as a plug and play?

          • Brooks Bridges

            Not installed yet – but that’s the way it is supposed to work. Definitely don’t have to have batteries connected to use.

          • Peter Hall

            Thank you for your clarification Brooks. The StorEdge is truly an exciting new product!

          • Frank

            When I look at the SE7600A-USS on that datasheet, it still shows Standard Compliance(pending) and I still don’t see a price on the website of one of their dealers. Are you still waiting to be able to buy it? I think if you want to hook up batteries, you need to buy an auto transformer. Have you seen pricing? They also sell a meter. If you buy that you get complete control over when you send electricity to the grid, including from the battery if you have one. Any ideas about pricing? Can you hook different kinds of batteries, or just lithium? I don’t expect you to know all the annswers. I’m just fishing for information.

          • Brooks Bridges

            My installer has so far proved very knowledgeable and professional at every phase and two others who have used their services have been highly complementary – and I’m sure I’m paying for it. But at my age I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty.
            The point man for my install said, when I called and asked for the battery backup option, they had just had a meeting that morning being notified the option was available and that I would be the first.

        • Frank

          I have read/heard that stud finders mostly don’t work. One of the reviewers on amazon says Bosch D-Tect150 does, but it doesn’t come cheap. Sure wish I could rent one.

  • Thanks, Cynthia. An article such as this could be written monthly, if not weekly. Good video selection.

    • cynthia Irene

      Thank you. I agree. The media such as this keeps harping on the delusional untruth of the matter…we need to keep pointing out the truth of the matter. Which our readers do as much as us. Thank you and all the commentators

  • Guy Hall

    The link for the fox news report is bad. ” Go to Climate Denial Crock of the Week for this video from Fox News if …” anyone know it?

  • Guy Hall

    Get enough panels that you can drive on sunshine with an EV. EVS get about 3 mIles per KWH, so size appropriately.

  • Mike Dill

    By the end of this year I will have 105% of my household energy requirements covered by my solar panels. I will not yet have the batteries for storing all of that, so I will not yet be independent, but expect that to happen in the next three or four years.

    • Ross

      Do you have an EV?

      • Mike Dill

        Not yet. I’m still lusting after a model S, but I will be settling for a 3.

        • Frank

          In a couple of days we’ll get to see how much settling we are talking about. I’m kind of lusting after the 3.

          • neroden

            It’s gonna be a lot easier to park the model 3.

            You don’t realize how many spaces are “compact cars only” until you drive a Large car.

            Just some sour grapes to help Mike out…. 🙂

    • Frank

      What kind of inverter do you have?

      • Mike Dill

        Like Kyle I have Enphase micro inverters.

      • J.H.

        Check out Solis Ginlong

    • Good for you, Mike! Indeed an achievement of which to be proud. One of my lifetime goals is to have a lifetime negative carbon footprint.

      • Mike Dill

        I’m in Henderson, Green Valley off Sunset. I never thought that I might be going off-grid in the middle of the city. I’ve had too many air miles to ever think that I will be net-zero for my lifetime, but I hope to make a difference.

    • Kyle Field

      I’m in the same boat. Currently have 17 panels with enphase micro inverters…will have 27 by the end of the year (actually have the next 10 in my shed…just working out a few details for the install). That will offset my home and 2 EVs. No batteries as of yet but as with you…that’s coming in the near future.

      • Mike Dill

        28 x 250W for me, the summer AC load here in Nevada requires a bit more than SoCal.

        • Kyle Field

          Heh 🙂 We don’t even have an AC unit on our house though as it continues to warm, that might be something we end up doing. Oh well…another couple panels 🙂

          • Frank

            Mini splits can be verry efficient. Might be able to use it for heating too.

        • Lou Gage

          Mike, what is your insulation factor in ceilings and walls? Just asking in regards to AC demand Lou Gage

          • Mike Dill

            I have R48 or better in my ceilings and about R20 in my walls. not great but better than average for my area. I went all LED lighting last year, but did not see that much of a change. The biggest energy reduction (savings) was getting a SEER 24 AC/heat pump system.

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