Posts Tagged ‘wind’

I have compiled video to go with this blog. View it here:

I’ve been following renewable energy trends for 20 years. Products and prices are always changing so I am creating this blog source to help organize everything in one source.

I’m always spending time looking for different schematics and the best prices for products and I want to help everyone save time on their searches as well.

Please comment below and help contribute to the search for the best relative information.


FIRST, we need to divide the schematics by category.

  • Small Range Solar Only
  • Small Range Wind ONLY
  • Small Range Solar & Wind Combined
  • RV travel OFF Grid
  • Mid Range System with EV charging


Here are the best sources I found to gather the following information.

SOURCES – Parts Supplier & 48 volt video guides.

YouTube – AverAge Joe – Jehu Garcia – Will Prowse – Jay Summet has great videos and diagrams.

Forum: BuggiesGoneWild & TechLuck

Dan Fink

Ed Toribio Kearney Wind (Nebraska Green Energy)

CFRA (Amazing details on a HOME Tesla Module power station)  186kwH STORAGE!!!




POWERWALL (24v or 48v)

24 VOLT OPTIONS  (12 volt is a waste of time. Don’t even consider it.)


Here is the start up cost of my system.

$200 (2) 100 watt solar panels in 24 volt

$100 Solar panel mounting hardware & wiring

$200 40A Tracer BN4215 Charge Controller

$600 3.5kwH 7S Leaf Modules plus accessories ($70 per module @ 500w each)  $140 per 1kwH

$58 Victron battery Protect

$228 2.5/5k RELIABLE Pure Sine 24v Inverter

$75 300w used Grid Tie Inverter

$20 misc wiring & hardware

$$1500ish   TOTAL!!!



SOLAR PANELS (Great info sites include Energy and AltE

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Buy on Amazon or Local (Texas – Target Price is .85 per Watt

Amazon has….

$100 – HQST 100W 12v Mono 42×20″ 17lbs. AND 24v 270w mono $265 ; 300w $325

eBay has…

$200 – Fred180v 200w +25% 12v Mono 59×27″

$123 – RenewTopSolar 160w 12v Mono 58×26″

$20 10awg Cables 10ft. Red/Blk w/ M4 connectors – Amazon ($16 on eBay)

$16 8 z Brackets with bolts – Amazon

$12 double cable ABS box for roof penetration

$4 /ea. MC4 Y connectors

$25 – 10ft. Super Strut Rail & strut nuts & bolts


-Charge Controllers

$283 60A MPPT PCM60x Maximum Solar Taiwan – w/ Monitoring Software

$199 40A MPPT Tracer 4215BN w/ Meter.

If you wish to use this controller to charge exotic/strange voltage lithium battery banks (such as a tesla/nissan leaf battery), you can change the charge controller parameters manually with the mt-50:

  1. Go to the main menu and select “4. Control Para.”. In this menu, use the arrow keys to navigate around and see the current charge profile parameters. You need to arrow up first and start changing your settings with the lowest voltage setting which is “Discharge Limit”. If you do not do this you will get “PARA ERROR” messages.
  2. If you want to change a parameter, hold down the “ok” button. If it asks for a password input, leave it blank and hold down “ok”. You will see the number flash, and you can use the arrows to change the parameter.
  3. When you are done editing the parameter, press “ok” and it will ask you to save the settings. Press “ok” again. You need to repeat this process every time you change parameters on a screen (so you can only edit two parameters at a time).
  4. When you are done editing, use the navigation arrows to ensure that all changes have been saved.
  5. Connect your system to solar power and watch the charge voltage. If it charges up to the charge limit voltage that you programmed, you are good to go.



Sources: – – – EVwest

Jay Summet playlist –

Side Project –

Great video source is DIY Solar w/ Will Prowse. He has several video’s that explain the details of using a Tesla Battery in a DIY application.

$490 (shipped) [Quantity of 7 Nissan Leaf modules] 57aH 3.4kwH 330 cells @ Tech Direct Club in L.A. CA ($70 per 500wH) [est. $140 per 1kwH]

$1150 (pickup) 250aH 5.2kwH 444 cells @ HSR Motors in NC

*Tesla Modules require a BMS board conversion. Look at HSR Motors for details.


JeHu Battery Solution Kit (est $572 per 1kwH)

$1000+ for 1.75kwH ($3 per cell + wrap, $72 box, $200 for 25 board kits, $50 BMS, $? state of charge board, +$$$ misc plus labor)


Nissan Leaf 24v Series of Videos – YouTube Jay Summet


Nissan Leaf 24v Configuration by youTube Side Project


This is what I choose.

My 24v setup with Tracer Controller, Victron BP, MT50 control

My 24v setup with Tracer Controller, Victron BP, MT50 control


Here are most of the items I ordered pre installation.

Here are most of the items I ordered pre installation.

$490 Leaf G2 bundle – $70 /ea. module x 7 from Tech Direct Club  [est $140 per 1kwH]

  • These Leaf batteries have a smaller variance of useful voltage but if you balance your energy input with your consumption, that will not be a big factor. For my initial tests, I only have 2 [100 watt] Mono Solar panels bringing in an average of 30 volts of charge which results in .1 of a volt of storage being added to the battery bank PER HOUR with 0 draw on it.
  • On the consumption end, I have my office equipment drawing .25 volts per hour. So if I want to be off grid completely this helps give me a more accurate idea of how much more input to add to the system.

$60 BMS full kit (circuit board, BMS, quick disconnect w/ 16″ cables, hardware) [NO VIDEO’s Showing how to customize this for 6s 24v yet but I got it just in case something is posted or in case I decide to up the system to 48v with 7s.]

$30 LCD display (NOT NEEDED) It is not color and the function buttons are hidden behind the casing so I am returning it and installing a simple $14 monitor in the slot.

$25 Side Panel Controller Box for BMS & Display

$30 Screws, bus bars, cables, bolts

$15 All thread bars

$0 salvaged wood for frame and handles

$0 TAX $0 SHIPPING +$30 discount coupon!





-Power Out Inverter

*$80 24v/12v 1.5/3k Pure CHANGI

*$135 24v 2/4k Pure CHANGI via BangGood (1 universal outlet w/ multi function display)

$989 ALL IN ONE – Inverter/Charger/Grid Tie 600 watt Sigineer APC6048D 24v

$126 24v 1k/2k GIANDEL Pure Sine outlet power inverter w/ Remote on eBay *open box

$298 24v 2.2/4k GIANDEL Pure on Amazon

$228 24v 2.5/5k RELIABLE Pure Sine on eBay *live auctions

$196 24v 2.5/5k Bang Good


-Grid Tie Inverter

$100 Bang Good 600w Pure Sine  ($89 on Amazon) 12v/24v variable

$115 600w Pure Sine on Amazon




Sources: – TechDirectClub youTube


Charge Controller

$283 60A MPPT PCM60x w/ Monitoring Software Maximum Solar Taiwan


Batteries  48v

Nissan Leaf Setup (Guided by Tech Direct Club)

$650 FOR the G1 65% LIFE UNIT ASSEMBLED plus $100 SHIPPING or

$799 FOR the G2 75% LIFE UNIT ASSEMBLED plus $100 SHIPPING or

$490 for just 7 Modules 3.5kwH via Tech Direct ($70 per 500w module)

$20 BMS Board

$30 BMS Display

$8 rubber feet ($2 each)

$20 All thread .25 x 120 SAE 20 inch (4 bars @ $5/ea.)

$5 Rubber Terminal Boots – Amazon

$salvage Plywood Base, bolts & rope handles



$212 KR Power 48v 2/4k Pure


WIND ONLY SYSTEM  (Currently researching!)



Top Rated Global Turbines –

Wind Turbine Parts List

-1kw Bergey Excel $1150

-800w Turbine  ? no source yet

-600w Turbine ? no source yet

-400w Wind Blue $580

Primus Air30 $880 from

*Kill switch ($10 Radio shack), rectifier ($10) and Fuse Circuit 12v50A Breaker ($5) included with most turbines


* I recommend  YouTube: AverAge Joe



SALVAGE VALUE  (I recommend getting an old tv tower from nearby for $75ish) I currently use 2 inch round pipe with support fasteners attached to my 2 story deck framing.


-Stop Switch

$128 eBay: StellaVolta (Can be auto triggered by the auxiliary function on some charge controllers. *Not the Tracer Series unfortunately)

$2 – 30A Inline Fuse

$10 – 4 fuse Holder Box


-Charge Controller

$199 40A MPPT Tracer 4215BN w/ Meter.  This controller has great reviews for smaller applications. The MNF rep does not recommend it for Tesla Modules at this time. There is no auxiliary feature to program the Wind Turbine stop switch remotely or automatically.

From eBay: DomiTronic


-Power Out Inverter

$50-150 12v basic 1kw/2kw


-Grid Tie Power Inverter




$40 – misc wiring – Wire and Connectors (MC4 connectors $1/ea. ; 6g $.89/ft ; 8g $.68/ft)


Vertical Axis Turbine vs. Horizontal

Compare here:


SMALL RANGE SOLAR & WIND (still researching)

WindSolar Schematic


(Research in progress)

YouTuber – DIY Solar Power with Will Prowse is great for RV and Tiny Home Applications



$199 40A MPPT Tracer 4215BN w/ Meter.  This controller has great reviews for smaller applications. The MNF rep does not recommend it for Tesla Modules at this time.  Buy from eBay: DomiTronic

If you wish to use this controller to charge exotic/strange voltage lithium battery banks (such as a tesla/nissan leaf battery), you can change the charge controller parameters manually with the mt-50:



EV West is great for Electric Vehicle Focus but they also share their Solar Powered PowerWall Schematics.


YouTuber – DIY Solar Power with Will Prowse is great for RV and Tiny Home Applications (Amazing details on a HOME Tesla Module power station)  186kwH STORAGE!!!







I have not done a project of this scale yet so I do not have detailed notes but I am providing the schematic to benefit anyone looking for this setup.

The EV West YouTube Videos show some great details on this setup.



$290+ Water heater controller



I am a sustainable living consultant and contractor. If you are interested in a project, my initial consult is free and then I provide you a draft contract bid for further services. 

My fee’s are recommended costs but I live on the free will donation market system and my clients usually donate additional goods/services/funds to the causes my Helping Hands Movement sponsors at


Below are my current encouraged prices as of 2014

CONSULT SERVICES (plus travel costs)

-Complete Sustainable LIVING consult $250 (includes 18 hr over night site visit)

-Multilevel OFF GRID ENERGY system blueprint $100 (includes 12 hr site visit)

-Multilevel FOOD PERMACULTURE system blueprint $100 (includes 12 hr site visit)

-Multilevel EMERGENCY PREP blueprint $100 (includes 12 hr site visit)

-Single application blueprint $50

-Solar production training $50 plus material costs

(includes building of any application such as Panel, water heather, dehydrator etc)

-BioDiesel fuel production training $150 plus material costs

-Wind or Gear Driven Energy production training $50 + materials

(bike, treadmill, magnetic etc)

-Hydrogen production training $100 + materials

(create a gas production unit to power carburetor combustion)

-Gasification Production training $150 + materials

(create a methane gas unit for cooking or to power carburetor combustion)

-Permaculture Training $150

(Must include system blueprint purchase. Includes landscaping layout, pond & chicken coop design)

-Emergency Prep Training $100

(Must include system blueprint purchase. Includes shelter, food, energy & protection design)




-Solar Panels (MonoC not PolyC)

(<$2.70 per watt when buying in small quantity; aprox $1.50 per watt in large quantity or, or $1 per watt make your own w/ purchase of solar production training from on ebay)


-Dual Micro Inverters for panels in shade – $140 per 2 panels (Enecsys or EnPhase?)


Dual Micro Inverters

-Power Inverters (Grid Tie In 500w $119 1kw $225) (OFF Grid Battery out 1kw $195)


-Charge Controllers (avg $4 per amp)

Mounting Hardware (avg cost $30)

-Wire and Connectors (MC4 connectors $1/ea. ; 6g $.89/ft ; 8g $.68/ft) *typical 60wat 12volt panel = 3.5amp/hr


-Solar Water Heating Systems (varies on setup)


-Wind Turbine (300w w/ free spinner technology $300) No load controller needed on <500w turbines

*600w max load controller/brake $150



Trojan (varies on location of availability)

MicroHydro Systems (varies on setup)


-Methane Digester



USED PRODUCTS available (guaranteed to work near good as new with few hours)

Prices vary upon market availability. Contact me. I provide a product source report for $25 which will be credited back to you with any consult purchase.

LABOR +$45 each additional hr

ENERGY system installation $200 plus misc costs based on system specs

*Most projects will vary upon size and details. An estimated project cost will be included in the draft contract bid.

By Amory B. Lovins

1st published:

Picture of solar and wind powerNearly 90 percent of the world’s economy is fueled every year by digging up and burning about 4 cubic miles of the rotted remains of primeval swamp goo. With extraordinary skill, the world’s most powerful industries have turned that oil, gas and coal into affordable and convenient fuels and electricity that have created wealth, helped build modern civilization and enriched the lives of billions.

Yet today the rising costs and risks of these fossil fuels are undercutting the security and prosperity they have enabled. Each day the United States spends about $2 billion buying oil and loses another $4 billion indirectly to the macroeconomic costs of oil dependence, the microeconomic costs of oil price volatility and the cost of keeping military forces ready for intervention in the Persian Gulf.

In all, the United States spends one-sixth of its gross domestic product on oil, not counting any damage to foreign policy, global stability, public health and the environment. The hidden costs are also massive for coal and are significant for natural gas, too. Even if oil and coal prices were not high, volatile and rising, risks such as fuel insecurity and dependence, pollution-caused illnesses, energy-driven conflicts over water and food, climate change and geopolitical tensions would make oil and coal unattractive.

Weaning the United States from those fossil fuels would require two big shifts: in oil and electricity. These are distinct—nearly half of electricity is made from coal, and almost none is made from oil—but power plants and oil burning each account for over two-fifths of the carbon that is emitted by fossil-fuel use. In the United States three-fourths of electricity powers buildings, three-fourths of oil fuels transportation and the remaining oil and electricity run factories. So saving oil and electricity is chiefly about making buildings, vehicles and factories far more efficient—no small task.

But epochal energy shifts have happened before. In 1850 most U.S. homes used whale-oil lamps, and whaling was the country’s fifth-biggest industry. But as whale populations dwindled, the price of whale oil rose, so between 1850 and 1859, coal-derived synthetic fuels grabbed more than five-sixths of the lighting market. In 1859 Edwin Drake struck oil, and kerosene, thanks to generous tax breaks, soon took over. Whalers, astounded that they had run out of customers before they ran out of whales, begged for federal subsidies on national security grounds, but Thomas Edison’s 1879 invention of electric lighting snuffed out their industry. Whales had been accidentally saved by technological innovators and profit-maximizing capitalists.

As the world shuddered from the 1973 oil shock, the economist Phil Gramm predicted that just as with whale oil, innovators would innovate, capitalists would invest, markets would clear and substitutes for petroleum would ultimately emerge. He was right. By 2010 the United States was using 60 percent less oil to make $1 of GDP than it had in 1975. Now the other shoe is dropping: since its use in the United States peaked in 2005, coal has lost one-fourth of its share of the U.S. electric services market to renewable energy, natural gas and efficient use. After just a few centuries, the anomalous era of oil and coal is gradually starting to come to an end. In its place the era of everlasting energy is dawning.

Underlying this shift in supply is the inexorable shrinkage in the energy needed to create $1 of GDP. In 1976 I heretically suggested in [the pages of “Foreign Affairs”] that this “energy intensity” could fall by two-thirds by 2025. By 2010 it had fallen by half, driven by no central plan or visionary intent but only by the perennial quest for profit, security and health. Still-newer methods, without further inventions, could reduce U.S. energy intensity by another two-thirds over the next four decades, with huge economic benefits. In fact, as “Reinventing Fire,” the new book from my organization, Rock Mountain Institute (RMI), details, a U.S. economy that has grown by 158 percent by 2050 could need no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy and one-third less natural gas—and cost $5 trillion less than business as usual, ignoring all hidden costs. Today’s fossil carbon emissions could also fall by more than four-fifths without even putting a price on them.

This transformation requires pursuing three agenda. First, radical automotive efficiency can make electric propulsion affordable; heavy vehicles, too, can save most of their fuel; and all vehicles can be used more productively. Second, new designs can make buildings and factories several times as efficient as they are now. Third, modernizing the electric system to make it diverse, distributed and renewable can also make it clean, reliable and secure. These ambitious shifts may seem quixotic, but sometimes tough problems are best solved by enlarging their boundaries, as General Dwight Eisenhower reputedly advised.

Thus, it is easier to solve the problems of all four energy-using sectors—transportation, buildings, industry and electricity—together than separately. For example, electric vehicles could recharge from or supply power to the electricity grid at times that compensate for variations in the output from wind and solar power. Synergies likewise arise from integrating innovations in technology, policy, design and strategy, not just the first one or two.

This transition will require no technological miracles or social engineering—only the systematic application of many available, straightforward techniques. It could be led by business for profit and sped up by revenue-neutral policies enacted by U.S. states or federal agencies, and it would need from Congress no new taxes, subsidies, mandates or laws. The United States’ most effective institutions—the private sector, civil society and the military—could bypass its least effective institutions. At last Americans could make energy do their work without working their undoing.

Mobility without Oil

The United States burns one-fourth of the world’s oil, half in automobiles (which comprise cars and light trucks). Two-thirds of cars’ fuel use is caused by their weight, yet for the past quarter-century, U.S. cars have gained weight twice as fast as their drivers. Now, lighter metals and synthetic materials are reversing automotive obesity. Ultralight, ultrastrong carbon-fiber composites can trigger dramatic weight savings, improve safety and offset the carbon fiber’s higher cost with simpler automaking (needing four-fifths less capital) and smaller powertrains. In 2011 lightweighting became the auto industry’s hottest trend. Ford’s strategy rests on it, and the United States could lead it. So far, however, Germany has taken the lead: Volkswagen, BMW and Audo all plan to be mass-producing carbon-fiber electric cars by 2013.

Ultralight, aerodynamic autos make electric propulsion affordable because they need fewer costly batteries or fuel cells. Rather than wringing pennies from old steel-stamping and engine technologies, automakers could exploit mutually reinforcing advances in carbon fiber, its structural manufacturing and electric propulsion—a transition as game changing as the shift from typewriters to computers. BMW, whose chief executive has said, “We do not intend to be a typewriter-maker,” has confirmed that its planned 2013 electric car will pay for its carbon fiber by needing fewer batteries.

Electric autos are already far cheaper to fuel than gasoline autos, and they could also cost about the same to buy within a few decades. Until then, “feebates”—rebates for more efficient new autos, paid for by equivalent fees on inefficient ones—could prevent sticker shock. In just two years France, with the biggest of Europe’s five feebate programs, saw its new autos get more efficient three times as fast as before. Well-designed U.S. feebates, which could be enacted at the state level, need not cost the government a penny. They could expand customers’ choices and boost automakers’ and dealers’ profit margins.

Autos could also be used more productively. If the government employed new methods to charge drivers for road infrastructure by the mile, its insolvent Highway Trust Fund would not need to rely on taxing dwindling gallons of fuel. Information technologies could smooth traffic flow, enhance public transit and promote vehicle-and ridesharing. Better-designed layouts of communities could increase affordability, livability and developers’’ profits. Together, these proven innovations could get Americans to their destinations with half the driving (or less) and $0.4 trillion less cost.

RMI’s analysis found that by 2050 the United States could deliver far greater mobility by making vehicles efficient, productive and oil-free. Autos powered by any mix of electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and advanced biofuels could get the equivalent of 125 to 240 miles per gallon of gas and save trillions of dollars. By 2050 “drilling under

Detroit” could profitably displace nearly 15 million barrels of oil per day—1.5 times as much as Saudi Arabia’s current daily output.

Heavy vehicles present similar opportunities. From 2005 to 2010 Walmart saved 60 percent of its heavy-truck fleet’s fuel through smarter designs and changes in driver behavior and logistics. Aeronautical engineers are designing airplanes that will be three to give times as efficient as today’s. Superefficient trucks and airplanes could use advanced biofuels or hydrogen, or trucks could burn natural gas, but no vehicles would need oil. Advanced biofuels, two-thirds made from waste, would require no cropland, protecting soil and the environment. The U.S. military’s ongoing advances in efficiency will speed all these innovations in the civilian sector, which uses over 50 times as much oil, just as military research and development created the Internet, GPS and the microchip and jet-engine industries.

U.S. gasoline demand peaked in 2007; the oil use of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development peaked in 2005. With China and India pursuing efficient and electric vehicles, Deutsche Bank forecast in 2009 that world oil use could begin to decline after 2016. In fact, the world is nearing “peak oil”—not in supply but in demand. Oil is simply becoming uncompetitive even at low prices before it becomes unavailable even at high prices.

Saving Electricity

The next big shift is to raise electricity productivity faster than the economy grows—starting with the United States’ 120 million buildings. Even though U.S. buildings are projected to provide 70 percent more total floor space in 2050, they could use far less energy. Investing an extra $0.5 trillion on existing or emerging energy-efficient technologies and better-integrated designs could save building owners $1.9 trillion by tripling or quadrupling energy productivity. These straightforward improvements range from installing insulation, weather-stripping and caulking to using more efficient equipment and controls, adopting better lighting design and simply making new buildings the right shape and facing them in the right direction.

An even more powerful innovation, called “integrative design,” can often save far more energy still, yet at lower cost. Integrative design optimizes a whole building, factory, vehicle or device for multiple benefits, not isolated components for single benefits. For example, in 2010 the Empire State Building remanufactured its 6,514 windows onsite into “superwindows,” which pass light but block heat. Requiring a third less air conditioning on hot days saved $17 million of the project’s capital cost immediately, partly funding this and other improvements. In just three years energy savings about 40 percent will repay the owners’ total energy-saving investment.

Integrative design’s expanding returns are even more impressive when built in from scratch. From tropical to subarctic climates, new passively heated and cooled buildings can replace furnaces and air conditioners with superinsulation, heat recovery and design that exploits the local climate. European companies have built 32,000 such structures at roughly normal capital cost and cost-effectively retrofitted similar performance into Swedish apartments constructed in the 1950s and into century-old Viennese apartments. The business case would be even stronger if it included the valuable indirect benefits of these more comfortable, pleasant and healthful buildings: higher office labor productivity and retail sales, faster learning in classrooms, faster healing in hospitals and higher real estate values everywhere.

Integrative design can also help double industrial energy productivity, saving $0.5 trillion. Pumps, for example, are the world’s biggest user of electric motors. Pumps, motors and controls can improve, but first replacing long, thin, crooked pipes with short, fat, straight ones often avoids 80–90 percent of the usual friction, saving 10 times as much coal back at the power plant. When RMI and its industrial partners recently redesigned existing factories valued at more than $30 billion, our designs cut predicted energy use by about 30–60 percent with payback times of a few years. In new facilities our designs were expected to save around 40–90 percent of energy use while usually reducing capital costs. This is not rocket science—just elegantly frugal whole-system thinking.

Adopting energy-saving innovations as quickly nationwide as some U.S. states do today will require patiently fixing perverse incentives, sharing benefits between landlords and tenants, allocating capital wisely and designing thoughtfully—not just copying the old drawings (“infectious repetitis”). None of this barrier busting is easy, but the rewards are great. Since the Dow Chemical Company embraced efficiency innovation in the 1990s, its $1 billion investment has returned $19 billion. Savings and returns, far from petering out, often kept rising as the engineers learned new tricks faster than they exhausted old ones.


Part one of this essay, published in our October 2012 issue, discussed the challenges and advantages of shifting from fossil fuels to renewables and the benefits in doing so with automobiles and electricity, in support of Mr. Lovins’ statement that “the anomalous era of oil and coal is gradually starting to come to an end. In its place the era of everlasting energy is dawning.”

Repowering Prosperity

The United States must replace its aging, dirty and insecure electric system by 2050 just to offset the loss of power plants that are being retired. Any replacement will cost about $6 trillion in net present value, whether it is more of the same, new nuclear power plants and “clean coal” or centralized or distributed renewable sources. But these differ profoundly in the kinds of risks they involve—in terms of security, safety, finance, technology, fuel, water, climate and health—and in how they offset innovation, entrepreneurship and customer choice.

Choosing electricity sources is complicated by copious disinformation, such as the myth that nuclear power was thriving in the United States until environmentalists derailed it after the March 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown. In fact, bad economics made orders for nuclear power plants in the United States fall by 90 percent from 1973 to 1975 and dry up completely by 1978. Indeed, soaring capital costs eventually halted nuclear expansion in all market-based power systems, and by 2010 all 66 reactors under construction worldwide had been bought by central planners.

Even after the U.S. government raised its subsidies for new reactors in 2005 to at least their construction costs, not one of the 34 proposed units could attract private capital; they simply had no business case. Neither do proposed “small modular reactors”: nuclear reactors do not scale down well, and the economies sought from mass-producing hypothetical small reactors cannot overcome the head start enjoyed by small modular renewables, which have attracted $1 trillion since 2004 and are adding another $0.25 trillion a year. After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, John Rowe, chair of Exelon (the United States’ biggest nuclear power producer), pronounced the nuclear renaissance dead. In truth, market forces had killed it years earlier.

New coal and nuclear plants are so uneconomical that official U.S. energy forecasts predict no new nuclear and few new coal projects will be launched. Investors are shunning their high costs and financial risks in favor of small, fast, modular renewable generators. These reduce the financial risk of building massive, slow, monolithic projects, and needing no fuel, they hedge against volatile gas prices. Already, wind and solar power’s falling costs are beating fossil-fueled power’s and nuclear power’s rising costs. Some solar panels now sell wholesale for less than $1 a watt (down 75 percent in three years), some installed solar-power systems in Germany sell for $2.80 a watt and some U.S. wind-power contracts charge less than three cents per kilowatt-hour—all far below recent forecasts. Solar power’s plummeting cost, a stunning market success, is ruining some weaker or slower solar-cell makers, but solar and wind power are extinguishing the prospects of coal and nuclear power around the world. So is cheap new natural gas—a valuable transitional resource if its many uncertainties can be resolved, but not a serious disappointment if they cannot, since higher efficiency and renewable energy should lower the demand for gas.

Skeptics of solar and wind power warn of their fluctuating output. But the grid can cope. Just as it routinely backs up nonworking coal-fired and nuclear plants with working ones, it can back up becalmed wind turbines or darkened solar cells with flexible generators (renewable or not) in other places or of other kinds, or with systems that voluntarily modulate demand. Even with little or no bulk power storage, diversified, forecastable and integrated renewables can prove highly reliable. Such integration into a larger, more diverse grid is how in 2010 Denmark had the capacity to produce 36 percent of its electricity from renewables, including 26 percent from wind (in an average wind year), and how four German states were 43–52 percent wind-powered. But U.S. and European studies have shown how whole continents could make 80 percent or more of their power renewable by operating existing assets differently within smarter grids, in markets that clear faster and serve larger areas.

Diverse, dispersed, renewable sources can also make the grid highly resilient. Centralized grids are vulnerable to cascading blackouts caused by natural disaster, accident or malice. But grid reorganizations in Denmark and Cuba have shown how prolonged regional blackouts become impossible when distributed renewables, bypassing vulnerable power lines (where most failures start), feed local “microgrids,” which can stand alone if needed. The Pentagon, concerned about its own reliance on the commercial grid, shares this goal of resilience and this path to achieving it.

Individual households can also declare independence from power outages and utility bills, as mine has. In many parts of the United States a private company can now install rooftop solar power with no money down and charge the customer less money per month to pay for it than the old electricity bill. These and other unregulated services could eventually create a “virtual utility” that could largely or wholly bypass power companies, just as cell phones bypassed landline phone companies—a prospect that worries utility executives but excites venture capitalists. Today, solar power is subsidized, although often less than fossil-fueled or nuclear plants and their fuel. But sooner than those rivals could be built, solar power should win out even without subsidies.

In 2010 renewable sources, except for big hydropower dams, produced only 3 percent of the world’s electricity, but for the third year running, they were responsible for nearly half of all new capacity. That same year they won $151 billion of private investment and surpassed the total generating capacity of nuclear plants worldwide by adding over 60 billion watts of capacity. The world can now manufacture that much new photovoltaic capacity every year, outpacing even wind power.

The United States is a leader in developing renewable technology but lags in installing it. In June 2010 alone, Germany, with less sun than Seattle, added 142 percent more solar-cell capacity than the United States did in all of 2010. Stop-and-go congressional policies sank U.S. clean-energy investments from first place globally to third between 2008 and 2010. (Federal initiatives expiring in 2011–12 temporarily restored the U.S. lead in 2011.) From 2005 to 2010, while the renewable fraction of the United States’ electricity crawled from 9 percent to 10 percent, that of Portugal’s soared from 17 percent to 45 percent. In 2010 congressional wrangling over the wind-power tax credit halved wind-power additions, while China doubled its wind capacity for the fifth year running and beat its 2020 target. The same year 38 percent of China’s net new capacity was renewable. China now leads the world in five renewable technologies and aims to in all.

Legacy industries erect many anticompetitive roadblocks to U.S. renewable energy, often denying renewable power fair access to the grid or rejecting cheaper wind power to shield old plants from competition. In 34 U.S. states utilities earn more profit by selling more electricity and less if customers’ bills fall. In 37 states companies that reduce electricity demand are not allowed to bid in auctions for proposed new power supplies. But wherever such impediments are removed, efficiency and renewables win. In 2009 developers offered 4.4 billion watts of solar power cheaper than electricity from an efficient new gas-fired plant, so California’s private utilizes bought it—and in 2011 they were offered another 50 billion watts.

A Cooler and Safer World

This new energy future offers a pragmatic solution to climate change. Often assumed to be costly, reducing carbon emissions is actually profitable, since saving fuel costs less than buying fuel. Profits, jobs and competitive advantage make for easier conversations than costs, burdens and sacrifices, and they need no global treaties to drive them.

In 2009 the consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that projected greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2030 at a trivial average cost of $6 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (the standard unit of global-warming impact). Including new technologies and integrative designs could save even more carbon more cheaply, and thus could more than meet the United States’ obligations under the 1992 U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change while saving $5 trillion.

Getting the United States off fossil fuels would transform its foreign policy. A world where the United States and other countries buy no oil because its price and price volatility exceed its value would have less oil-fed tyranny, corruption, terrorism, tension and war. Washington, no longer needing an oil-centric foreign policy, could maintain normal relations with oil-exporting countries and treat diplomatic issues on their merits. The Pentagon would be pleased, too. Today every one of the U.S. military’s nine combatant commands must protect oil assets and transportation routes—fighting tanker-hijacking pirates off the coast of Somalia or pipeline-attacking militants from Latin America to Central Asia. The U.S. Army would love Mission Unnecessary in the Persian Gulf; the U.S. Navy would no longer need to worry as much about conflicts from the Arctic to the South China Sea. Proliferators, meanwhile, could no longer hide their intent behind civilian nuclear power in a world that acknowledged its marketplace collapse and the superiority of nonnuclear competitors. Nor could they draw on civilian skill, materials and equipment.

Phasing out fossil fuels would turbocharge global development, which is also in the United States’ interest. Energy inefficiency is one of the biggest causes of persistent poverty. Oil purchases underlie much of the developing world’s debt, and wasted energy diverts meager national and household budgets. Developing countries are on average one-third as energy efficient as rich ones, and the poor often spend far more of their disposable income on energy than does the general population. Some 1.6 billion people live without electricity, leaving many basic needs unmet, hobbling health and development and trapping women and girls in uneducated penury.

Investments in new electricity devour one-fourth of the world’s development capital. There is no stronger nor more neglected lever for global development than investing instead in making devices that save electricity. This would require about one-thousandth the capital and return it 10 times as fast, freeing up vast sums for other development needs. If the United States, Europe, China and India merely adopted highly efficient lights, air conditioners, refrigerators and TVs, they could save $1 trillion and 300 coal plants. That is the goal of the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative, an effort announced in 2009 and supported by 23 major countries.

Developing countries, with their rural villages, burgeoning cities and slums and dilapidated infrastructures, especially need renewable electricity, and they now buy the majority of the world’s new renewable capacity. Some remote villages are not waiting for the wires but leapfrogging the grid: Kenyans are getting electricity first from solar-power entrepreneurs than from traditional utilities. Such efforts as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lumina Project have helped bring efficient and affordable solar-powered LED lights to millions across Africa. These projects improve education; free up kerosene budgets for mosquito nets, clean water and other necessities and could eventually prevent 1.5 million deaths from lung disease annually. Just by switching from kerosene lamps to fluorescent ones, one Indian village got 19 times as much light with one-ninth the energy and half the cost.

Getting Unstuck

The United States cannot afford to keep waiting for a gridlocked Congress to act while the global clean-energy revolution passes it by. While U.S. fossil-fuel industries guard their parochial interests, Denmark is planning to get entirely off fossil fuels by 2050; Sweden has even aimed for 2020. Germany’s campaign for renewables and energy efficiency helped push unemployment in the country to its lowest rate in a decade. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is winning her bet that the Russian company Gazprom is a less-worthy recipient of German energy expenditures than German engineers, manufacturers and installers. Brazil, Japan and South Korea, meanwhile, are catching up in renewables. India has passed Japan and the United Kingdom in renewables investments and aims to rival China’s global leadership in the sector.

As Washington’s clean-energy research-and-development budget has shrunk, Beijing’s has soared. In 2005 China’s 11th five-year plan made lower energy intensity the top strategic priority for national development. In 2010 the 12th five-year plan launched a $0.8 trillion decarbonization effort, created the world’s largest carbon-trading zone and effectively capped China’s carbon emissions. The country’s net additions of coal plants fell by half between 2006 and 2010, and the overall efficiency of its coal plants pulled ahead of that of the United States’. No treaty compelled Beijing’s leadership—just enlightened self-interest.

The United States’ halfheartedness raises a conundrum: if the vision of an efficient clean-energy economy is so compelling, what keeps all U.S. citizens, firms and institutions from embracing it as vigorously as a few states have? The answer is that markets outpace understanding, disinformation and parochial politics abound and the road remains strewn with barriers, myths and pervasive favoritism for incumbents. But must Thucydides’ lament become Americans’ fate—that each politician pursues self-advantage while “the common cause imperceptibly decays”?

The chief obstacle is not technology or economics but slow adoption. Helping innovations catch on will take education, leadership and rapid learning. But it does not require reaching a consensus on motives If Americans agree what should be done, then they need not agree why. Whether one cares most about national security, health, the environment or simply making money, saving and supplanting fossil fuels makes sense.

Wise energy policy can grow from impeccably conservative roots—allowing and requiring all ways to save or produce energy to compete fairly at honest prices, regardless of their type, technology, size, location or ownership. Who would oppose that? And what if the United States reversed the runaway energy-subsidy arms race, heading toward zero? Let those energy producers that insist they get no taxpayer largess explain why they are so loath to give it up.

Moving the United States off oil and coal will require Americans to trust in their own resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage. These durable virtues can give the country fuel without fear; help set the world on a path beyond war, want or waste and turn energy from worrisome to worry-free, from risk to reward, from cost to profit.

For a limited time only, this issue is being offered for free thanks to a generous sponsorship. Issue 4 will only be available to paid supporters in June.

Dallas Earth Day Review

The first attempt at an Annual Earth Day Festival in Dallas was a success. The weather was perfect and the attendance was high! Parking was readily available and the location in the newly renovated green spaces of downtown was perfect.  If you were not there in the first hour, skip the crammed parking lot and head straight to a $1.50/hr. meter that is enforced until 6pm. THERE WAS A LACK OF RECYCLING DROP STATIONS and FOOD Vendors DID NOT PROVIDE COMPOST BINS!

Vending booths were located in a central parking lot with a beer garden and entertainment stage #1 by the Art Museum. In this location there were shade umbrellas, green plants/flowers on the tables and plenty of seating.

The center park walkway was only 2 blocks long so they blocked off 1 extra block on both ends for a total of 4 blocks of events. Area #2 had great information booths, shady trees, clean park benches and performing Pirates!

Area #3 had a Live Theater on one side and an Opera House on the other with more information booths and a water fountain. The grass was fresh new sod and silky to the touch. It was an enjoyable bare foot walk and nap in this area for us. Playing in the fountain and then following our ears to some good live blues music. The stage was a permanent outdoor amphitheater with extractable speakers and weather proof sliding closures for the stage. There was a lack of shade and the freeway was hard to drown out on the other side of the wall. Fresh air flow had to be sacrificed for the sound proofing features.  😦  Sitting by the sound control booth or by the walls were the only shade options. On a hot day you will need to play in the water to cool down. You will find clean bathroom access in the Opera House and there are 20 port-o-pots in a dedicated lot as well in area #3.

Area #4 was the after party area. Volunteers gathered with the rest to party to the sounds of DJ The area was centered around another water feature and restaurant square offering 4 varieties of food and tv’s to watch the Mavs blow a 23 point fourth quarter lead! We laid on some rocks with our feet in the water while reading books, sipping margaritas and then ate some dinner.

The festival closed at 5pm but many vendors were caught breaking festival etiquette by taking down their booths hours earlier. Apparently this was another area of improvement for the festival rules committee. You always take a deposit and and enforce a clause for early departure stating that the deposit will not be returned in case of leaving early. When a booth tears down early they lower the morale of the festival not to mention that their workers get in the way of traffic flow by moving equipment around. The festival was 25% empty by 3pm and 40% by 4pm!!!

End your night with some big name concerts! We ended our night with a great George Thorogood concert at Billy Bob’s in historic downtown Ft. Worth! The standing room tickets were only $15! The location on the sides of the dance hall were worth $15 but don’t be surprised there is no dance section open in front of the stage. It was all assigned seating for the floor goers! Thumbs down.

Over all it was a great festival with minor areas of improvement.
1. GREEN festivals must operate on renewable energy and this was not the case for Dallas.
2. There was ONLY 1 demonstration of renewable energy offered by It was a bicycle generator powering a booth with a video/tv demo and loud speaker  of the unit. This was good but I was not offered info on the product quickly and thus have to search for more info. It was great to see this small reminder that all workout gym’s should have bike generators running energy back into their grid. There needed to be solar, wind, bio-fuel and other misc. demos!!!
3. There was a major lack of recycling drops and compost bins.
4. THERE was no digital information solution in place! Digital information options saves TONS of paper waste, trash expenses and unneeded recycling. Well established Green Festivals use QR solutions! Vendors create their QR code with an app such as QR DROID and then have their QR code printed on booth displays so visitors can quickly scan their info. NO PAPER IS NEEDED other then the display this way. For those without a smart phone, vendors have a small business card to hand out with the code on it! Limited prints of visual flyers are printed for showing examples to those interested on site and then kept by the vendor for the next demo! FRENTZ’s Consulting ( can train your festival team how to use and setup this system. Email tim Frentz @ today for help!
5. There was a lack of attendance at the after hours party. More incentive needed to be offered then just the 25% of the tab being reinvested into sustainability solutions!
6. THERE was limited partnering. There was free entry into the museums which was great but there were some big shows in town and there was no use of their shows in advance advertising to draw more traffic to the Earth Day festival. We went to George Thorogood but only after finding out about the show from another lead!

THE TOP LINKS from Vendors:

1003 Windsong Trail Richardson, TX 75081 – 469-233-6767
email: Harvey@  –  Partners:
Home Cooling Solar Powered Vents


Responsible Recyclers are listed on: and and

Dallas GREEN Social Group

Healthy Food Movement of North Texas and

Good Info on World Food Movements

Texas Energy Audit

Take Care of Texas  (A great GREEN Internet Community)\