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PLANTS LOOKING AT R.E.
Several aluminum smelter plants in the northwest have shut down and
are making a huge profit by doing so. These plants had long
term contracts with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for
hydro power. They are reselling this power into California
instead of using it. They are still paying their employees
(even though they are laid off), making an increased profit by not
running the plants--AND they are contributing a portion of the
profits to a fund, overseen by the employees, for investing in
renewable energy projects. At this point they are looking at
investing those funds into new local wind farms.
QUOTABLE QUOTE from Mr.
Sharkey, who specializes in house buses and trucks (www.mrsharkey.com):
Don t cry for California, but do cry for endangered fish species.
Things are only going to get worse. We here in the Pacific
Northwest have had less than 30% of our normal seasonal rainfall.
The snow pack, the actual storage system for hydro, is zilch.
This means that there will be more pressure to drain down the
reservoirs to run hydro plants to supply California and the local
regions with this power. This will devastate fish habitat,
spawning beds and other wildlife dependant on those ecosystems.
Add to this the new (presidential) administration s policies on
environment, and you can bet your a-- that there won t be anymore
talk of breaching dams to save the salmon. While waiting in a
doctor s office this week, I read a Time magazine report on the
power crisis, and yep, not one single word about renewable energy,
decentralized power or conservation. That was something we did
only during the oil embargo of 1973 - 74.
This doesn't even begin to address the effects of increased oil,
coal and natural gas emissions from power plants being run overtime
to meet the demand.
I m rubbing my hands together thinking of the lesson that will be
taught--and soon forgotten, I assume--but am saddened to think of
the planetary destruction that will follow.
Air Powered Car
Debuts in Johannesburg (November, 2000)
A car that could revolutionize the motor industry and which led
to death threats against the designer was unveiled at the Auto
Africa show in Johannesburg. The e.Volution vehicle is powered
by compressed air from high-pressure cylinders similar to those used
by deep-sea divers. Made of feather-light material and weighing only
700 kg (1540 lbs), it is essentially a city run around but can reach
a speed of about 130km/h (78mph!) on the open road (one mile equals
1.6 km). The e.Volution will be able to travel 200 km on one tank of
compressed air at a cost of about 1c/km and can run for 10 hours in
city traffic. The inventor is Guy Negre, a French motor vehicle
engineer and former Formula One engine designer. He has apparently
received death threats because of the invention, which could cripple
the world's oil industry. (Well, Mr. Negre, we hope you survive,
because the world certainly needs your technology!)
Oil-fired and coal utility plants released nine million pounds of
toxic compounds and metals into the air--many
of which are carcinogenic and neurotoxin. Pollution from
electrical power plants are a greater hazard than they claim, says a
U.S. environmental group. For the first time, utilities have
reported toxic emissions to the EPA, and in 1998 discharged more
than a billion pounds of toxic chemicals into the air--making
utilities the #1 toxic air polluters in the US; "the numbers
are amazing", says one group. Power plants downplay their
emissions as having minimal or no impact. (something to think