Monday, December 05, 2016

Musings on Energy Investments

If you were looking to make energy investments in your community/region, where would you want your money to go?


1 mile of oil pipeline: $5 million*
Maintenance costs: high
Environmental costs: major
Benefit to Humanity: short term at best, but at great risk to environment/climate

1 megawatt solar farm: $2.5 million (~5 acres)
Maintenance costs: low to moderate
Environmental costs: minor (debatable of course!)
Benefit to Humanity: a positive/renewable source of power for ~160 homes

1.5 megawatt wind turbine: $2 million
Maintenance costs: low to moderate
Environmental costs: minor (debatable of course!)
Benefit to Humanity: a positive/renewable source of power for power for ~400 homes

All of us alive today were born into a world of massive fossil fuel use, a primarily monolithic energy belief system, with deeply entrenched infrastructure and politics. We're all simultaneously beneficiaries and victims of fossil fuels.

Yet knowing what we know about climate change, the toxic effect of fossil fuels on our environment, impact on indigenous peoples and their lands so often appropriated for pathways for infrastructure, and the impact on the health of human and animal life, shouldn't we demand of our governments, corporations, and financial institutions to offer up better energy choices for all generations and particularly the generations to come?
  • https://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/energy/assets/pdfs/energy-camp-presentations/Students%20project%20presentation_Wind%20Energy_Bohr%20group.pdf
  • http://www.culturechange.org/wind.htm
  • http://www.seia.org/about/solar-energy/solar-faq/how-many-homes-can-be-powered-1-megawatt-solar-energy
  • Various google searches on Solar, Wind, and Oil Pipelines.
  • *The cost of a mile of oil pipeline referenced here is an estimate - one source equated it to approximately the same as the cost of a 1-mile stretch of two-lane highway. Assuming, the published cost of the Dakota Access Pipeline is around $3.7 billion and it was planned to be about 1170 miles, that would be roughly $3.16 million dollars per mile. But this source in 2014 estimates closer to $5 million per mile as there are clearly a myriad of aggregate costs involved. Seldom does anyone build just a mile of oil pipeline.
  • Perhaps the most interesting part of all this is a that in the city of Bruges in Belgium a brewer has built a Beer Pipeline: http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/19/news/beer-pipeline-bruges-belgium/ at great benefit to humanity! :)

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