Tonight at 8:30pm is Earth Hour, and annual event where hundreds of monuments around the globe go dark for an hour in order to promote sustainable energy and conservation. This year more than 170 countries are taking part, from the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Times Square and even the International Space Station. Earth Hour started in Sydney Australia in 2007 and has grown each year. In order to support this tonight from 8:30pm to 9:30pm turn off all of your lights and share this link to spread the word!!
Dynamic Tidal Powder is the newest idea to harness energy from the tides. Renewable energy is produced by the surge of the ocean waters due to the rise and fall of tides. It is a new idea therefore the amount of power produced thus far by tidal energy is small and there are very few power plants. The first Tidal Power Station is located in La Rance, France. Unfortunately the U.S. has not sites where energy could be produced at a reasonable price, but it is a great idea for other countries like China, France, England, Canada, and Russia to implement. There is a long road for tidal energy but once engineers develop a product that has a low Energy Payback Ratio, has little impact on the environment, and is profitable for everyone, it will be a highly beneficial sustainable solution.
Tidal Streams are bodies of high velocity water due to tides. Turbines are placed within these streams to allow the waters steady and reliable tides to produce a constant stream of electricity. The turbines blades move slowly to prevent marine life from getting caught in the system. The first tidal power station was constructed in 2007 and implemented in a narrow straight between the Strangford Lough inlet and the Irish Sea.
What is this strange plastic looking tree you might ask? It is the Arbre A Vent or “wind tree” created by French entrepreneur Jerome Michaud-Larivieve through his company New Wind. The 26×36 foot tree has 72 “leaves” that are silent power generators. A wind as light as 4.4 miles per hour can push a leaf, allowing energy to be produced potentially year round. Power is produced from these trees to power all the streetlights and some small surrounding apartment buildings. Even though this does not sound like much, in the long run it will be highly beneficial. Wind power has a high Energy Payback Ratio although it’s biggest criticism against their implementation is their appearance. This invention is great because it is allowing a great sustainable resource to be implemented without the criticism of those who will see it everyday.
Are offshore wind farms the future of renewable energy? Europe has already invested in 2,488 offshore wind turbines jumping on the next big thing. After much debate and protest, Deepwater Wind announced they would be the first company in the U.S. to implement the first U.S. wind farm. They secured a $290 million to build a small, five-turbine wind farm off the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island. Even though the farm is on the smaller side it is estimated to produce 125,000 megawatt-hours annually allowing it to produce enough power for 17,000 homes. I believe this is going to be one of the renewable energy sources that will aim the world in the right direction to becoming more sustainable.
California is facing one of their longest and harshest droughts in history. Dried up lake beds cause water shortages forcing residents to decrease outdoor irrigation. They face up to $500 in fines if they do not cooperate. The state was put under drought emergency as of January with estimated losses of $2.2 billion and 17 thousand jobs within the year. In addition to residents changing their outdoor irrigation ways, agriculture farms were forced to use less and less water as they watched their wells decrease year by year. The ultimate question is, what should be done in the future to avoid fresh water depletion in California? The country? The world?
In my opinion in areas where droughts are probable catchment systems should be implemented. Catchment systems can be implemented under buildings. By catching water on the roof and then storing under the building, the water can be used to make everyday life more sustainable and to have back up water in case of emergencies. Although, the main change that needs to occur is consumption. The majority of the United States is consuming more energy and resources than is available. We are at a turning point and need to change our habits.