Saturday, March 28, 2009

Signing off for Earth Hour

I'm turning off my computer (and everything else here) for one hour in honor of Earth Hour: 8:30PM local time, Saturday, March 28.

If you're reading this during that hour, please shut down your computer and complete the hour by candlelight. Then tell a friend.



Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm throwing down the gauntlet

My last four electricity bills, in reverse chronology:

47 kWh
73 kWh
91 kWh
73 kWh

This, in a state with an average residential consumption of 926 kWh per month in 2007.

In my favor:

- living alone, I can call the shots on electricity usage
- small apartment (500 sq. ft.)
- heating is by natural gas (though the blower fan is electric)
- the fridge is new, built 10/08, so relatively efficient (fridges have ever-rising standards)
- don't own a TV, microwave (though microwaves have an efficiency advantage over gas ovens), or dishwasher
- I use a laundromat for clothes washing

My bills would be slightly lower, but I made an arrangement with a college student in my building to share my internet signal, so I leave on my cable modem and (his) wireless router 24/7 (I would normally turn them off at night or when away).

What motivates me: knowing that Ohio's electricity mix is overwhelmingly based on coal-fired power plants: 85% in 2008, per EIA. I don't want to breathe any more airborne mercury and other toxic (humanly or environmentally) crap than I have to; nor do I want to eat mercury-laden fish (guess where that mercury comes from).

On Tuesday the 24th, I attended a T. Boone Pickens "town hall meeting", sponsored by Ohio-based energy giant AEP. On the panel with Mr. Pickens was AEP's CEO/Board Chair, Michael Morris. In the meeting, he touted AEP's reduction in coal use, as a percentage of their energy generation mix, down to a current 66% figure. I suppose he was referring to AEP's entire generating capacity in all states where they do business, not just Ohio's. Otherwise, I can't explain the discrepancy in figures.

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Eyes on Hawai'i

The island state of Hawai'i has set the admirable and ambitious goal of transforming their energy profile from one heavily dominated by fossil fuels to 70% renewable sources within one generation. Currently, about 90% of Hawai'i's electricity generation and almost all its transportation fuel is based in fossil fuels. Their proposed energy transformation, with a target date of 2030, will be almost total.

And there is every reason to believe they can achieve their goals. Hawai'i is blessed with multiple, reliable energy sources: geothermal, wind, waves, biomass, and solar. Using all these natural resources together will provide a diverse and reliable replacement for imported fossil energy, create jobs and boost the economy, provide energy independence to the state and dramatically lower the costs of imported energy.

As a nation, we will learn a great deal from Hawai'i's experience.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Earth Hour: March 28th at 8:30PM

All you have to do is turn off your lights for ONE HOUR.

Saturday, March 28th, at 8:30PM (local time), millions-- perhaps billions-- of people the world over will make a largely symbolic gesture to acknowledge our enormous global energy consumption and the many problems that consumption produces.

Please visit to read about Earth Hour and the impressive list of people, cities and organizations that will be taking part in this global awareness-raising event.

When's the last time you relaxed by candlelight at home?

Please contact everyone on your email list, and especially town or city officials, to get as many households on board for this effort as you can. This is a great common cause.

Thank you.