Tag Archives: renewable energy

Refuting climate change denial: renewable energy is the only hope

by Bill Haaf

Bill Haaf retired from DuPont after 38 yrs, after working as a chemist, Certified Industrial Hygienist, leader of site audits and the first corporate environmental audit, and global manager of Product Stewardship for 15 yrs. He is a Board member of Chester County Citizens 4 Climate Protection and has installed significant energy efficiency upgrades to his home to “walk the talk.”

I offer feedback on the Feb. 24 Daily Local News guest column by H. Sterling Burnett, a Heartland Institute senior fellow.

Both he and the Heartland Institute have a long history of climate change denial. However, he is a lone voice, as the world’s climate scientists disagree with him. NASA, NOAA, IPCC, WMO, UCS and 100 more worldwide scientific organizations all agree that burning fossil fuels is overheating the world.

It appears that Mr Burnett’s goal is to distort facts while attacking one solution to climate change. His goal of course is to try and help save the declining oil and natural gas industry. Mr Burnett, the oil and gas companies and lobby groups should become part of the solution, not contribute to overheating and its impacts. The crisis in Texas was a failure of natural gas and coal and only to a smaller degree of wind power.

Climate risk is the real issue here.

The very first issue that must be addressed whenever you discuss the value of various energy sources is risk. Are the risks managed? Are any unacceptable?

The worldwide scientific community has been in consensus for at least 25 yrs: burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to overheat with huge terrible impacts. I have put several well-documented significant risks below.

These risks are unacceptable both to humans and every life form (see references below):

– Sea levels will rise, forcing millions to evacuate coastal areas; storm surges will be larger and more damaging; storm strength will increase greatly;

– Huge areas of the world will be too hot to live or work in, forcing hundreds of millions to flee;

– Most global forest areas will become carbon emitters not carbon sinks, or die off.

– All insects and mammal will be impacted and risk extinction;

– Coral reefs and sea life that live there will die;

– All polar bears will die;

– Food crop yields will drop;

– Fish stocks will move and decrease;

– Oceans will warm and turn more acidic; ocean currents may weaken or relocate;

– Wildfires will increase greatly

However, the biggest concern is warming of the permafrost. Permafrost already is releasing much carbon dioxide and methane into the air. This feedback system is irreversible and threatens all human civilization.

Every person now 20 yrs or younger will face grave risks from a hot planet. It is very very difficult to reverse the heat gain. Continued burning of fossil fuels  endangers all our grandchildren.

The oil and gas industry MUST practice good product stewardship for products designed to be burned. The industry must begin the transition to avoid disaster and many human deaths. Employees need a fair and just transition path.

Here are some rebuttals to the erroneous data and logic regarding renewable energy used by Mr Burnett in his editorial.

1. Texas should have learned from the 2011 freeze-up power crisis. The wind turbines in Iowa or Minnesota or Canada perform well in very cold weather. The references below show that the joint failure of coal and natural gas was the major cause, but wind generation also had power loss. Failures in all power transmission contributed a lot to the problem. As low-cost wind and solar grow, the grid will need more cost-effective power storage. This could be large-scale batteries or pumped water, or renewable hydrogen or mechanical, or renewable methane or R-propane and dimethyl ether.

2. Great discussion by real energy experts in Texas:  In response to the unprecedented 254-county weather emergency in Texas and the subsequent loss of power to millions of Texans, the Advanced Power Alliance and Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation just hosted a forum of energy experts to assess two very important questions: What went wrong in Texas and what should be done about it.  Energy experts Alison Silverstein, Dr. Dan Cohan, Dr. Joshua Rhodes, and Michael Jewell offered observations on the interconnected causes of the energy crisis, and thoughts on ways Texas can avoid an event of this kind in the future.

3. “Fossil Freeze: Deadly Texas Catastrophe Shows How Natural Gas Systems Can Fail when Demand Spikes” by Sharon Kelly, February 26, 2021, here.

4.Fact check: The causes for Texas’ blackout go well beyond wind turbines” by Reuters Staff, February 19, 2021, here.

Guide to having a “Net Zero” house and other energy tips

A local company, Belmont Solar, has posted a very helpful guide, “Net Zero House: The Definitive Guide to Energy Savings,” to achieving Net Zero energy status, including good tips for any home and helpful links.

The guide shows homeowners how to reduce their carbon footprint and their monthly energy bills, and ideally not only to rely entirely on their own energy output but to receive payments from the utility company.

What is a Net Zero house? It is “so energy efficient that it produces as much renewable energy (on or off site) as it consumes, making it a self-sustainable structure that is carbon-neutral.”

In addition to using renewable energy, “Going Net Zero involves superior building construction, utilizing new technology, practicing energy saving tips, and thinking outside the box.”

A few other details:

• Yes, a 26% federal tax credit still exists.

• Energy savings and renewable systems increase home market value.

• Homes can sell their excess energy production to the utility company and/or store it in batteries (whose technology is advancing rapidly).

• Insulation is really important for any home!

• So easy to do: turn off electronic devices when not in use! Those eat up electricity supposedly for your convenience, so you don’t have to wait a few seconds. Those energy stealers include entertainment systems, cable boxes, video game systems, televisions, audio systems, routers, and phones.

• Heating efficiency: ductless mini splits, smart thermostats, energy-efficient appliances.

• Rainwater harvesting, composting, and recycling also save energy, whether your own or the community’s.

Check out the full article, or see any chapter:

Chapter 1: What is a Net Zero House?

Chapter 2: Why is a Net Zero House Important?

hapter 3: How Do I Get to a Net Zero House?

Chapter 4: Installing a Clean Energy Source For Your Net Zero House – Solar Panels

Chapter 5: Insulation for a Net Zero House

Chapter 6: Reducing Phantom Loads in Your Net Zero House

Chapter 7: Energy Saving Systems and Appliances for a Net Zero House

Chapter 8: Additional Energy Saving Tips and Practices for Your Net Zero House

Chester County Clean Energy Tour

Don’t miss it: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Did you know Chester County is a state leader in solar energy and energy efficiency? Across the County, 20.88 MW are produced in 839 Installations (#2 in PA). Join us for a tour of exemplary clean energy projects at our schools, universities, businesses, farms, non-profits, municipalities and homes. Be inspired at this FREE event that features self-guided tours and open house tours across the County.

The logos to the left show sponsors of the Chesco tour. There will be more! Note that Chester County’s topic for the day is much broader than the national solar theme.

Kick-off events will provide an orientation and suggested route. The homes, businesses, and public places you visit will demonstrate green technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, green design, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more. Learn how your home, workplace, local schools and municipal facilities can be part of the transition to cleaner, safer renewable energy.

For your organization to endorse the tour, please download the invitation and (p. 3) endorsement form ASAP here: Energy tour endorsement letter and form

To find out more about proposing for the tour your clean energy installation of any sort (in addition to those listed above, green roofs, electricity storage, LEED certification, rain collection, and much more) download this: Solar tour host invitation

Fill out the proposal for your installation to be on the tour online here.

Register to attend the tour here.

Be part of the largest national renewable energy event ever and be one of the many forward-thinking hosts or participants from across the country!

The tour is coordinated by Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society, with help from Chester County Ready for 100% Renewable. See more about the nationwide National Solar tour here.

Chester County homes on display during solar tour

Daily Local News, 7/19/19

WEST CHESTER — Chester County Ready for 100 Percent Renewable Energy joins the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and hundreds of clean energy-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to showcase thousands of solar-powered homes, schools, houses of worship, non-profits and businesses ― in Chester County and across the region– for the 24th Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event.

The event, slated for Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 will showcase the solar, geothermal and energy efficiency technologies your neighbors are using to drastically reduce monthly energy bills, reduce health harming emissions, and enjoy tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values. And Chester County ranks second in solar installations in the state.

“Our Chester County Clean Energy Tour is putting out a call for community leaders to show families and businesses real-life examples of the transition to clean renewable energy,” said Kara Thorpe, a recent West Chester University graduate and Chester County resident who is coordinating the Clean Energy Tour. “We are putting out a call to businesses large and small, schools and houses of worship to showcase what we can do in our own community to harness free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool our buildings, heat water and slash monthly utility bills,” she said….

Read more at Daily Local News. See more on the Chester County solar tour here.