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Denmark wind powerPublished August 20th, 2008

Last week, EcoWorldly hosted a renewable energy festival, highlighting energy projects and issues around the globe. Here, with links back to the original articles, are some inspiring successes and dismal failures in renewable energy as they were explored by our team of international environmental writers this past week.

Alternative Energy Successes

The Bay of Fundy Tidal PowerLocation: The Bay of Fundy, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Renewable Energy Type: Tidal Power

Original Article: Canada's Bay of Fundy: Beautiful and Renewable Power

Why It's a Success: Every tidal cycle, about 100 billion tonnes of seawater flows in and out of the Bay. With some of the highest tides in the world (it has a rivalry with the Leaf Basin in Ungava Bay), there are multiple opportunities to generate electricity from this natural wonder.

Currently, the Annapolis Tidal Generating Station, with the world's largest straight-flow turbine, is capable of producing more than 30 million kilowatt-hours per year (enough electricity to power 4,500 homes). As one of the world's largest tidal energy resources, it stands to reason that others will have started working on alternative ways of extracting the power from this natural generator. An alternative to damming, there are plans to install tidal turbine generators throughout the Bay. Basically, think of these as underwater windmills. Continue reading from the original article.

SenegalLocation: Senegal

Renewable Energy Type: Wind Power

Original Article: Green Diva's Guide to a New World Vision: Energy Cures

Why It's a Success: If a woman hauls water for 4 hours a day, her chances of escaping poverty are low.
The cost of change: 15 cents. According to E+Co website

This is an image of Wind Water for Life program, helping to revitalize abanonded wind turbines for water pumps in Senegal to serve over 50 communities, improving water supply and quality to almost 30,000 people. This and projects like it throughout the developing countries of the world, are supported in part by E+Co, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering local groups to create safe, clean energy sources for their communities. Continue reading from the original article.

Denmark Wind PowerLocation: Denmark

Renewable Energy Type: Wind Power

Original Article: How America Lost the (Self-Appointed) Title of 'Greatest Nation On Earth' to Denmark

Why It's a Success: Since the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Denmark has gone from 99 percent reliance on Middle Eastern energy supplies to zero. They are self-reliant, with all of the wealth and health that entails. (Of course, they have a general mindset for health: Friedman points out that 50 percent of Danes use bicycles as their primary form of transportation.) Continue reading from the original article.

Santiago del Estero, Argentina Solar EnergyLocation: Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Renewable Energy Type: Solar Energy

Original Article: The First Solar Radio Station in Argentina

Why It's a Success: "Very good night, here we are at Las Lomitas, on a radio of Mocase Via Campesina. This is our first time on air, our name is Paj Sachada, which means mount flight and we are running on solar power."

This is the opening message of the radio station Paj Sachada and it was broadcasted by Margarita, who is only 17 years old.

This station is located on Las Lomitas, a remote spot in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. Because electrical power does not reach this place, the local people are using solar power to feed the radio station.

An operator from the station who has completed a course of renewable energies says, "Once the battery is charged, it lasts five days. This system (solar power) is expensive to set up, but it is very cheap to maintain." Continue reading from the original article.

Wynyard, Saskatchewan Wind FarmLocation: The First Nation community of Beardy's and Okemasis, Canada

Renewable Energy Type: Wind Power

Original Article: Tribe in Canada Will Use Wind Energy to Power 30,000 Homes

Why It's a Success: The First Nation community of Beardy's and Okemasis has agreed with the alternative energy company SkyPower to develop a large wind park. The turbines will be built on approximately 12,000 acres of land located near Big Quill, a community near the town of Wynyard, Saskatchewan. The planned wind park will produce 100 megawatts of energy, enough to power 30,000 homes per year.

Both the wind power project and the oil deal are aimed at helping the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation community to have greater economic power and energy independence. Continue reading from the original article.

Massachusetts Asphalt Solar EnergyLocation: Massachusetts, USA and Zürich, Switzerland

Renewable Energy Type: Solar Energy

Original Article: Asphalt Roads as Solar Collectors the Next Alternative Energy Revolution?

Why It's a Success: Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will unveil Tuesday, August 19, 2008 the findings of a research project on the concept of using the heat absorbed by pavements. Rajib Mallick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, who was the team leader will hail the achievement as "revolutionary".

By using the heat from asphalt, the researchers have developed a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into invisible and cheap sources of electricity and hot water. Continue reading from the original article.

Alternative Energy Failures

Dorset Coast, England Wind PowerLocation: The Dorset Coast, England

Renewable Energy Type: Wind

Original Article: Alternative Energy in Britain: All Wind And No Farm

Why It's a Failure: Despite British government commitments to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, proposals for wind turbine installations tend to run aground pretty quickly once local opposition is voiced.

Two-thirds of the UK Government's climate change targets have been missed, and it's renewable energy targets look set to join that list. People want digital TV recorders, plug-in hybrid vehicles, wide-screen TV's and a multitude of other devices which contribute towards increasing energy demands. Unfortunately they don't want nuclear power, dirty coal fired power stations, wind turbines, off-shore tidal barrages, or any other form of energy production - unless it is situated somewhere else. Continue reading from the original article.

Brazil Offshore OilLocation: Brazil

Renewable Energy Type: Trading biofuel for fossil fuel

Original Article: Brazil Will Play Military War Game to Defend Recently Discovered Offshore Oil

Why It's a Failure: Brazil's government is pushing hard to position Brazil high on the list of the world's leading energy providers. In addition to being one of the world's principal ethanol producers, Brazil is also funding research for biofuels, planning to build new hydro and thermoelectric dams, and will now be drilling for oil in recently discovered reserves that are located off of Brazil's coast. This is reported to be the 2nd largest oil deposit discovered worldwide in the past 20 years.

Brazil, nonetheless, does not feel entirely sure that other countries in the world will not stake claim to this newly found oil as well. For this reason, they have chosen to stage a military war game of sorts, to intimidate other countries from making a play for the oil. The planned exercise will involve 20 ships, 9,000 troops, and up to fifty aircraft. Continue reading from the original article.

Africa Solar EnergyLocation: Africa

Renewable Energy Type: Solar Energy

Original Article: $800 Million Prize for Alternative Energy to Power Africa's Villages

Why It's a Failure: Just consider this: if only 0.3% of the African sun can power all of Europe, what then can she do with with the 99.7% "surplus"?

John McCain recently proposed a federally funded $300 million prize for a car battery innovation that is 30% cheaper than current technology and that would help Americans (all 300 million of them, and that translates to another $1 for each) decrease their reliance on oil.

If Africa's 800 million population was any consideration to peg a figure on how much the continent should invest, then, perhaps, a $800m prize for the most viable innovation to power each of Africa's villages should keep her ahead of McCain's American dream. And Africa has the advantage of the abundance of the sun.

Despite this potential, no such investment exists. Continue reading from the original article.

Alternative Energy Projects: Success or Failure? You Decide.

Jeju Island, South Korea Wind PowerLocation: Jeju Island, South Korea

Renewable Energy Type: Wind Power

Original Article: South Korean Islanders Ask 'Who Owns the Wind?'

The Good and the Bad: The goal of Jeju is 500 MW of wind power by 2020. That would cover 20% of the island's energy needs. And that's not including the island's existing solar energy.

At the moment, however, Jeju's two wind farms on the island produce just 10MW and 15 MW or renewable energy.

On the one hand, the rapid pace of wind energy development has stirred up some opposition. On the other hand, on Jeju environmental activists have a potential solution: if energy companies are going to use local wind resources, they should be willing to pay local residents a cut of the profits. Continue reading from the original article.

Cadiz, Spain Wind PowerLocation: Cadiz, Galicia and Tarragona, Spain

Renewable Energy Type: Wind Power

Original Article: Not Everybody Loves Offshore Wind Power in Spain

The Good and the Bad: The construction of  31 offshore wind farms, to be ready by the year 2012, is not being totally accepted by Spaniards.

The Spanish government is planning to put the turbines between 8 and 20 kilometres from the shore. [From the perspective of opponents] it is really too close, for even though they cannot be seen by a person standing on the beach, they are perfectly visible from buildings and high points. Continue reading from the original article.

China Alternative EnergyLocation: China

Renewable Energy Type: Wind, Solar, Small Hydro, Biomass

Original Article: China's Alternative Energy Development Costs = 1.2 Billion Olympic Gold Medals

The Good and the Bad: China has an aggressive goal of producing 137 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020. The bill for ramping up renewables to 16% of the nation's total energy will come to $265 billion USD (2 trillion yuan). Put another way, it's the monetary equivalent of over 1.2 billion Olympic gold medals.

That said, the total cost is still just under 3.8% of China's massive GDP, when measured on purchasing power parity. The country is falling behind on renewable energy targets, but China has a record for astonished the world with development goals. It's not too late to foot the bill and reach for renewable gold. Continue reading from the original article.

Peru BiodieselLocation: Peru

Renewable Energy Type: Biodiesel

Original Article: Will Peru be the World's Next Big Biodiesel Producer?

The Good and the Bad: This past Friday, the U.S. company Pure Biofuels opened up a new biodiesel plant in Lima, Peru. It plans to produce 52 million gallons of biodiesel next year, about 35% of which will meet Peru's internal demands for the alternative fuel. The rest will be exported. The plant has the capacity to increase its production threefold, and hopes to eventually produce 156 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Production has yet to start at the new plant, but will later this year.

But the Jatropha plants might not turn out to be the panacea they are hoped to be. A recent article discusses how despite tremendous interest in the idea, Kenyan farmers have had been challenged to figure out the agricultural requirements for successfully growing Jatropha species and have also found it increasingly difficult to pay for the expensive seeds.

Another negative factor for biodiesel production in Peru is that President Alan Garcia has shown little interest in supporting the development of alternative fuels and energy sources in Peru. In April of this year he even blamed ethanol and biofuel production in other countries as the reason for why food prices are increasing in Peru. Continue reading from the original article.

Related reading:
  Why Climate Change Is An 'Everybody Issue' Now (Sep-21-2014)
  Global Youth Uprising: Dashed Hopes, Anger, And ... (Jun-26-2011)
  Top Climate Skeptic Reverses Course, Now Urges B... (Sep-4-2010)
  Canadian Devon Island Ice Cap Is Shrinking (Apr-14-2010)
  Preparing For 2014-15 'Oil Crunch' Forecast By U... (Feb-26-2010)
  Rooftop Rentals Soar With Generous Canadian Feed... (Jan-22-2010)
  Denmark Re-Visited: What The World Needs To Lear... (Jan-14-2010)
  Smart Wind Turbines Can Predict The Wind (Jan-8-2010)
  Fat Cat Canada's Giant Litter Box (Jan-8-2010)
  A Quiet But HUGE No Nukes Triumph (Dec-27-2009)

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About author/contributor Member: <b>gavinhudson</b> gavinhudson
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Member: <b>gavinhudson</b> Gavin has majors in French, Italian, and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis. He currently teaches English language in Gangneung, South Korea.

Gavin's favorite environmentally-minded work has included: co-founding the grassroots Nature Conservation Club at about age 8; interning for the Jane Goodall Insitute's Roots & Shoots (R&S) program; representing R&S at the World Social Forum VI in Caracas, Venezuela; volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito; being a research assistant for a CAL lab studying climate change in Colorado; bicycling lots.

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