Posts Tagged ‘global clean energy race’

31 July

Why Should We Power The World With Wind-Water-Sunlight Quickly


If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

It is an exciting time to be alive.  We earthlings may have many problems to deal with, but we are also equipped with many tools, terrific minds, and fantastic ways of communications.  My thirst for solutions for earth’s energy problem combined with my online teaching jobs permitted me to travel to various places from time to time to search for answer…to seek lessons learned and wisdom gathered…. Yes, I’ve attended many lectures by many scholars who have studied the energy issue.

Today, I want to share with you a talk by Mark Z. Jacobson, Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. Professor Jacobson started the talk by explaining what the problem we earthlings are facing today and why is there such an urgency in needing to deal with it quickly:

  • temperatures are rising quickly
  • Arctic sea ice area is decreasing quickly
  • air pollution mortality is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and higher temperature contributes to deaths
  • higher population and growing energy demand will lead to worsening air pollution and climate problems over time

This part of the talk helped me to realize that black carbon (main component of the soot particles) is also a very important factor for causing global warming, in addition to CO2 emission.  Annual premature earthlings’ deaths due to particulates is about 2.5-3 million (in U.S. that is translated into 50,000-100,000 and in Europe, 300,000-350,000 annual premature deaths due to air pollution).

As any good engineer/scholar would approach a problem, Professor Jacobson did not just  alarm us with problems but also evaluated possible solutions both with and without cost considerations.  From reviewing and ranking major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security, his talk also considered various impacts of the proposed solutions such as water supply, land use, resource availability, reliability, wildlife, and  risk of cancer and nuclear proliferation.  Some data I was not aware of in the past was presented, such as the dramatic increase of organic gases (formaldehyde, 200% and  acetaldehyde, 4500%) and increased ozone generated from using ethanol.  In the final analysis, with consideration of materials, transmission infrastructure, costs, and politics, Professor Jacobson concludes that the best way to power the world is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.



By 2030, the cost of using fossil fuel (13.5c/kWh) will be higher than using WWS (8-13 c/kWh) technologies.  Using WWS technologies will also eliminate 2.5-3 million air pollution premature deaths/year and global warming and provides energy stability.  Furthermore, converting to WWS and electricity/H2 will reduce global power demand by 30%.  The greatest concern regarding use of WWS is its variability;this is also addressed by Jacobson’s study by: ( 1.) interconnecting geographically-dispersed WWS;(2.) bundling WWS and using hydro to fill in gaps;(3.) demand-response (provide incentive to discourage use during peak/high demand period);(4.) oversizing peak capacity and producing hydrogen with excess for industry, vehicles;(5.)on-site storage;(6.)better forecasting.



The study concludes that the best way to power planet earth in the future is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.  It is feasible both technically and economically.  Its potential barriers are up-front costs, transmission needs, lobbying, and politics.

Relevant papers can be found at

Dear Readers, this is exactly why I have written the series on Feed-In-Tariff, trying to urge all of our local and federal governments (not just the Floridians or residents of USA, but residents of planet earth) to give all of us the  incentive to participate  in our move toward the Renewable WWS age.  We, as individual home or business owners, may not be spending multiple millions of dollars for lobbying, but we are just as concerned with the future of energy use and welfare of our planet earth as any large utility companies.  We earthlings are all connected. The particulate matters from China or India or radiation material from Fukushima will impact all of us earthlings.  So as  individual earthlings, let’s start by calling attention and action for our immediate communities.  I, here in Florida, will try my very best in asking my community and local government to consider Feed-In-Tariff (discussions available by going to the search box at right and type in “feed in tariff”). Feed-In-Tariff, now rebranded as CLEAN program, may be utilized by individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, libraries, local McDonald’s, WalMart, police stations, and large power/utility companies/plant (refer to the piece I wrote on July 13, 2011, Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel at alike. I hope you, readers from 85 countries (esp. for those who resides in countries not yet with Feed-In-Tariff), will do the same.  I will try to find a way to set up a petition page within few days.  Please feel free to email me at if you have any suggestions.  Any of your input will be welcomed.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,



BIO  for Mark Z. Jacobson (taken from Stanford University web site for energy seminar:

Professor/Director Jacobson currently sits on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Federal Advisory Committee (ERAC) to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.  He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering with distinction, an A.B. in Economics with distinction, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, in 1988, an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences in 1994 from UCLA and has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1994.  His work relates to the development and application of numerical models to understand better the effects of energy systems and vehicles on climate and air pollution and the analysis of renewable energy resources. He has published two textbooks and 110 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. His 2000 finding that black carbon, the main component of soot particles, may be the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide provided the original scientific basis for five recent U.S. proposed laws on black carbon. He received the 2005 American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award for “significant contributions to modeling aerosol chemistry and to understanding the role of soot and other carbon particles on climate.” In 2005, his group developed the first wind map of the world from data at the height of modern turbines. He recently co-authored a cover article in Scientific American with Dr. Mark DeLucchi of U.C. Davis and two more detailed analyses in Energy Policy on how to power the world with renewable energy.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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15 April

Incentive For Solar (1)


Hi,  dear readers and friends,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

Remember I’ve previously mentioned the importance of bringing down the cost of solar technology and increasing incentives from the government to stimulate solar energy use.  Incentives are crucial in speeding up the process of conversion to the renewable energy era!  So, my feelings had been rather mixed in recent months as a result of finding out more about SunShot Initiative.

Our current administration, President Obama, is keenly aware of the need to develop clean/renewable (specially solar) energy and wise enough to bring some one who is actually technologically savvy (and who is not simply in office to maintain the status quo) yet pragmatic enough to suggest painting our roofs white, the Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, on board to head the Department of Energy (DOE), at this critical juncture in history.   Much work needs to be done during this time of transition into the clean and renewable energy era and we need to see a lot of actions!  Building on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s “moon shot” goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative will aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured, and installed.  As spoken in President Kennedy’s September 12, 1962, speech, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  So now, we are facing the hour of change and we choose solar energy, not because it is easy, but because it is the best route/energy for the future of planet earth.  In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to streamline and digitize local permitting processes that will reduce installation and permitting costs.  To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of large scale solar electricity by about 75 percent (to roughly $1 per watt,  corresponding to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour) so that it will be cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies before the end of the decade (2020).  This would translate into rapid large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the United States, re-establish American technological leadership, improve the nation’s energy security, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.  In this effort, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country.

I was all pumped up until…. I  looked at the budget/money allotted for the SunShot Initiative. at

Comparing it to the MoonShot program would not be quite on target!  The MoonShot/Apollo program had a budget of close to $200 billion (totaled about $170 billion in 2005, according to Wikipeida) in today’s dollar, in a span of about 11 years.  That (Apollo Program) would translate into approximately $20 billion per year.  The SunShot Initiative, as far as I have seen any figure,  has totaled to less than $0.5 billion per year (federal loan guarantee cannot be included).   That means the ratio of amount of money that will be spent on SunShot Program to the amount of money spent on Apollo Program is less than 0.5/20  or less than 1/40  .  So the two programs/initiatives are not in the same magnitude or ball park, my friends.  Last I checked 1/40 is a far cry from 1/1.  The optimistic side of me reasoned:  perhaps this is just a beginning.  Historically, most of the budget of Department of Energy would spend far more on nuclear energy and essentially nothing for wind or solar or geothermal.  We are at least seeing a number that is greater than zero.  But the more anxious pessimistic side of me exclaimed: if we (citizens of USA) truly want to re-establish American technological leadership, we need to take giant leaps rather than baby-steps.  We cannot  sit idly by while cost of fossil fuels continue to rise, while having learned from the experience of Fukushima.  Our friends in Germany have already taken the more responsible and ethical approach/step in bearing much of the cost of early  research and development in solar energy.  In our land of democracy, if we truly want to see some actions, we need to gather the strength of our people, our friends online, our neighbors, our family, every where.  We need to let our government know that we want clean, safe, and least-war-driven energy.  While our President and Secretary of Department of Energy have to abide by the rules of politics, we need to help uncuff their hands and truly let them lead us into the renewable energy era.  We need to let our administration know that we are ready to take giant leaps, rather than baby-steps, toward solar energy.


In the next post, I will go into details of certain incentive programs that have been tried and tested in many other countries .  My friends and readers, this is an exciting time, I hope you are all getting ready to move toward the sun because there will be plenty of opportunities for all of us!

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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