Browsing the archives for the alternative fuel tag.


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    Take Action Now!

    alternative, energy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, green living, solar, Uncategorized, Wind

    Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

     Sometimes people don’t vote because they think “one vote can’t change anything”. I think the 2000 election proved that wrong, but some people still don’t believe. Now is your time to be counted by your elected officials. If you want this country to move forward with cleaner energy contact you Congressional Representatives and Senators today. It only takes a minute but can help save the earth a life time.

     Click here to email your U.S. Representative and Senators about the NAT GAS Act today!

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    • blog traffic exchangeBudget Crunched? Not sure about where you live, but here in Fredericksburg, VA the gas prices have really started to come down. Just last night I filled up both of our vehicles for $3.09 per gallon for regular unleaded. While the stock market has begun to resemble a terrible train wreck, the......
    • wind-turbineAlternative Energy For Homeowners As home heating costs rise, and energy in general gets more expensive, many homeowners are turning to alternative means to power their homes. While many systems require a lot of effort to implement, there are quite a few that can be easy to install and quite economical. Whether it is......
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    One Step Forward for Offshore Wind

    alternative, energy, green living, Wind

    Thumbs up to Ken Salazar and the Department of the Interior, they have issued five leases to private companies to explore offshore sites for wind energy. All these sites are off the shore of New Jersey and Delaware. I hope this is only the beginning of government being proactive in helping private enterprise develop off shore wind sites.

    Here in Massachusetts, where I live, Cape Wind has been fighting an uphill battle, at their expense, to get government approval for a project in Nantucket Sound. Eight years of pushing for wind energy is too long if we are actually going to make wind and renewable energy a reality. In order for individual states to meet any renewable energy quota we need more positive government actions like this.  

    Lets all pray that the government will continue to put their money and decisions where their mouth is.

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    • blog traffic exchangeThe Alternative Energy Bandwagon As I hear more people talk on this topic, I grow more hopeful that the pain we are feeling in our wallets at the gas pump will pave the way toward a better future. In an interview with the former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, I heard him call......
    • blog traffic exchangeGreen Energy Still Dependent Upon Mining Looks like the old adage "If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs" holds true in the case of green technology and renewable energy. You want to go on a path to a green future? That path starts in a mine. The first step......
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    Go To a Convention For FREE!

    alternative, energy, forum, green living, heating options, light bulbs, solar, Uncategorized, Wind

    Haven’t you always wanted to go to a convention and find out more information, but you just couldn’t justify the time and expense of going? Now is your chance. Virtual Energy Forum is offering a free two-day converence on clean energy. No plane trip, no hotel room and no credit card bill!

    Just sit down at your computer and wonder through the convention. Catch a live presentation by a keynote speaker or ask a vendor some questions. All while sitting at your desk, you can learn the latest about the most important issue facing the world.

    This is your chance to find out how you can make a difference in clean energy without wasting any of your energy. Sign up today for free at Virtual Energy Forum. They can’t make it any easier than that. Set the date June 24th and June 25th, 2009.

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    Wind Energy is great in the right place

    alternative, energy, green living, Uncategorized, Wind

    Anybody who follows renewable energy news, more specifically wind power, knows that there has been a lot of controversy with the permitting of Cape Wind’s proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts. After a seven year battle, the farm has now been cleared by Minerals Management Service in their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to lease federal waters in between Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The final permitting process will probably take place this spring.

    As you can probably assume, I am for wind power. Why else would I write this blog if I was not 100% behind renewable energy? But I have a problem with this one. I am from Cape Cod and the Islands. This is not even a case of “not in my backyard”; as a matter of fact I am looking into putting a wind turbine in my backyard. The problem is with the economy and the location of the wind farm.

    I, like most of my neighbors, survive on the three month tourist trade season. Other than those three months there is not a lot going on in our economy. It is cold and windy (great for a wind farm) and nobody wants to come and spend money. Large corporations are scared off by our exorbitantly high land prices and taxes, so they are not providing year round jobs. We rely on the tourist trade.

    Our tourist trade is based on two things our beautiful beaches and our excellent boating. Both of those will be in jeopardy once construction begins on the wind farm. Every south facing beach on the Cape will have a view of the behemoth structures, including a ten story building, instead of scenic vistas. Even each of the islands will have a great view of the turbines. Supposedly, part of the permitting states that both commercial fishing and recreational boating will not be barred from using the area around the turbines. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that some knucklehead won’t try to sabotage construction. If that happens there is a good chance a majority of Nantucket Sound will be deemed off limits due to terrorism concerns.

    This loss of our single largest natural resource is going to cause a huge loss in tourism dollars which translates to job losses in an already down economy. There will be loses among commercial fishermen who will have less area to fish and will have to travel further to meet their quotas. Jobs brought in by the wind farm are apt to be union and out of state jobs, they will not be filled by the locals. On top of which, electricity from renewable energy costs 2-3 times more than conventional electricity, so an already strapped economy will get a double whammy with higher electrical costs.

    If Cape Wind fails, as other proposed marine wind farms across the country have, who will pay the price? Will the government bail them out? Who will clean up any construction in progress or towers that are no longer being maintained or used? Once Nantucket Sound is gone it is a natural resource that is gone forever.

    No I am not against the wind farm; I am against the location of the wind farm. South of Martha’s Vineyard there is a little island called No Man’s Land. Most likely anybody who lives west or north of the Cape Cod Canal has never heard of No Man’s Land. During the Cold War this little island was used as a military ordinance testing ground. This area is no longer used, yet is and always will be, off limits to the public. The island is surrounded by shoals, as is most of the waters south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. These waters don’t make for great boating, but they make for shallow installation of towers and actually better, unobstructed wind for a wind farm. Why has this never been a consideration? Money. It would cost more money to install a cable from there to one of the islands and then to the mainland. It is all about the wind farm’s bottom line, not the residents of Cape Cod who have to live here.

    Senator Kennedy, a Cape Cod resident, has been highly criticized for being against Cape Wind. Many consider him an elitist, too old or senile but he has done nothing but stand up for his constituents. He was elected to represent the best interest of the people of Massachusetts and that is exactly what he has always done and even continues to do now. He is not against renewable energy. It was his brother, President Kennedy, who was hailed for having the forethought to save a good portion of the Cape from development when he proposed the Cape Cod Natural Seashore. Now his brother is being chastised for his forethought to save Nantucket Sound. Senator Kennedy is for what is best for the people of Cape Cod and the people who enjoy vacationing here.

    Sometimes when looking at what is “right” we also have to look at the big (and small) picture and find what is best for everyone. In this case wind energy is best placed south of its current proposed location so that it can benefit the environment as well as the people it serves.

     

     

     

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    Hypermiling

    alternative, energy, green living, Uncategorized

    The word is out, and the word is hypermiling! Oh yeah! Believe it or not hypermilling is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year. Their definition is …“Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques.

     

    As with every seemingly admirable activity on the face of the earth, some people take hypermiling too far. If you read the hypermiling forums, you will here about people not breaking through turns, shutting off their car while coasting to a stop, or riding the draft from large trucks. These are all very dangerous practices and in some cases even illegal. While driving, you should be focused on the road and your surroundings. You should be a defensive driver. You should not be more concerned for your gas mileage than for the safety of yourself and the people around you. Some of these practices have not even been proven to save fuel.

     

    The truth is that standard practices to save gas are actually, by definition, hypermiling. These tried and true techniques can not be overstated enough.

     

    Basic ways to save fuel in your car are as follows:

    1)    Properly inflate your tires – can save 1 to 2 mpg and extend the life of your tires. More on this later.

    2)    Proper tire tread – insert a penny into the tread of your tire, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head you need new tires. Some experts think you should do this with a quarter.

    3)    Purchasing the correct fuel – most cars do not need a high octane fuel (check your owners manual), using eeFuel  can make all octane levels work more efficiently.

    4)    Reduce resistance – Remove ski racks and luggage storage containers when not in use.

    5)    Check your gas cap – gas evaporates from old, cracked or not secure gas caps. Turn you gas cap four times to assure it is tightened properly. Consider getting a locking gas cap to prevent siphoning.

    6)    Use your manufacturers recommended grade of motor oil.

    7)    Avoid idling – a good rule of thumb is if you plan to idle for more than a minute shut it off. Go in don’t use the drive-up. Put the car in park at red lights.

    8)    Keep extra weight out of your trunk – just carry emergency items.

    9)    Slow down – I’m not asking you to go 55mph, you might be a victim of road rage if you don’t cause an accident first. But be reasonable, stay back so that you don’t have to brake as often, and use cruise control when you can.

    10)  Maintenance – Pay now or pay later!!!! Keep your car on a regular maintenance program and you will save fuel, save energy and save money. Just installing a new air filter can show measurable fuel savings.

     

    The strange thing is that when I checked around some forums about hypermiling I found there wasn’t much posted since the gas prices started to drop. Does everyone think the fuel shortage is going away? We still need find ways to save fuel, but we also need to find ways to make our carbon footprint smaller. Things like wind power, solar power, and hydrogen will provide better conservation than driving dangerously.

     

     

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    • tiresHow to Maintain a Car [/caption]The maintenance and upkeep of your car is extremely important from a safety, as well as economic viewpoint. Just one part malfunctioning can have severe consequences on the performance of your vehicle and on the costs involved in fixing the car. The following tips are meant to help you get......
    • blog traffic exchangeSave Money on Gas [Editor's Note: When I saw that gas prices were at an all-time high, I figured it's time to revisit this post from the past. Now I'm off to spend $3.75 $3.80 a gallon for the lowest octane gas at Chevron. Silicon Valley has it's advantages, but cheap gas isn't one......
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    Alternative Energy Plan

    alternative, energy, Uncategorized

    During the recent Presidential Election many of us were bombarded with political ads in every conceivable market place. But thrown in among those ads was an ad for a plan, not a candidate. That ad was placed by the legendary T.Boone Pickens and the plan is to get us off foreign oil dependency. His plan is better described by him in his new book The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future or on The Pickens Plan web site .

    The bottom line is we need to get away from foreign oil as soon as possible. We are sending approximately $700 billion dollars overseas every year for our oil habit. That is $700 billion dollars out of our economy and into the economy of countries that don’t even like the United States. Even If we drilled offshore and hit paydirt, it would not be enough to break our dependency on foreign oil and it would take at least a decade to come to fruition. The Pickens Plan calls for changing the transportation sector over to natural gas, immediately. This would mean trucks, busses and eventually cars. There are enough natural gas reserves in the United States to last far into the future. Gas is cheaper and cleaner than oil. Gas is an American commodity; it does not rely on foreign interest to obtain it. The technology already exists for the conversion.

    Wind power is another all American fuel source. According to Mr. Pickens the United States is the Saudi Arabia of wind power. Building wind farms all over the Great Plains would create energy, create jobs and leave the land still available for agriculture. What is missing is the infrastructure, and for that we need a national energy plan. This is Mr. Pickens battle. A courageous battle for somebody in their eighties who will probably not live long enough to see the fruits of his labor (although I would never count him out).

    I am not saying this plan is perfect, but it is a start. As Mr. Pickens says it is a bridge until alternative energy sources are widely available. We need time to take solar, wind and hydrogen energy from the blackboard into each household in this country. It is not a matter of if, but when. The industry needs time to make these alternative energy products cost effective. Remember when a hand held calculator sold for $500? Remember when a computer took up a whole building? Alternative energy is here to stay and it is just in its infancy.

    In the mean time it is our duty to try as many alternative energy products as possible to get off the grid and find what works and what doesn’t. The use and feed back of the product available now is what is going to drive the industry forward. We will be independent of foreign oil someday; lets all do our part for alternative energy sooner than later.

     

     

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