Blueprint for Change an essay divided in 7 chapters, by our contributor Carlos Cuellar Brown. In the several chapters, such as “Change,” “Energy,” “Self-reliance,” or Food autonomy,” Cuellar explains and under builds his vision of how we can create a wiser, healthier and wholesome future.
Weekly, we will post 2 chapters, read the second one below!
Energy self reliance
As we reformulate energy reliance we have to integrate more and more renewable energy into the old system. Through this transitional change, the oil-gas-coal based power grid will switch and begin to run primarily on renewables. Every community and neighborhood will be
empowered locally and become energy self-reliant, less dependent on providers, power companies and centralized post oil-gas-coal gird monopolies.
Renewable energies include wind, photovoltaic, tidal, hydro, thermal and others. These clean energies are generating significant resources spilling back capacity to the current electrical grid systems. World wide estimates suggest 22% of our energy requirements are being met with a mix of alternative clean energies (David Appleyard, 2014). In 2013 the US renewable energy sources including hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar generated 13% of the electricity demand (“U.S. Energy Information Administration,” 2015). Partly due to government incentives and policies, the US is second in the world in alternative energy resource usage. Interestingly in 2013 the solar photovoltaic sector grew significantly, installing more capacity than any other renewable technology except perhaps for hydropower (David Appleyard, 2014). Solar has specially increased and generated a significant amount of power on the small-scale level such as private rooftops and city buildings. In the US, solar schools are potentiating their energy capacity, in the last decade the equivalent energy produced by 50 million gallons of gas per year has been generated on these rooftops and fields. In New York alone 169 schools have gone solar generating as much as 7,316 kilowatts of clean, renewable and affordable electricity (Shavana Abruzzo, 2014).
We can envision a time when all building ordinances will include smart energy buildings with solar panels on every roof and a time when all asphalt roads and highways will be replaced with solar photovoltaic carpets that harvest this magnificent resource. New results with latest technology have doubled the photovoltaic sunlight convertibility performance to a 40% milestone (“In world first, researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency,” 2014). Another good sign is that the US state and government policies such as Tax Credits, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s) are aiming to increase renewable energy use and make the sector financially desirable (“U.S. Energy Information Administration,” 2015).“A growing numbers of cities, states, and regions are developing strategies to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. For example, Djibouti, Scotland, and Tuvalu are targeting 100 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020” (David Appleyard, 2014). This energy independence will arrive when we improve renewable energy transmission lines, eliminating spillage, increasing storage capabilities and building smart grid technologies (“Running on Renewables,” 2014).
Storage is perhaps the biggest breakthrough technology awaiting for innovation; when our passive energy storage capacities increase ten fold we will have energy accumulated for decades. Think of what abundant reservoirs of energy will do to cheapen the supply of energy for consumption. More efficient and cheaper energy technologies managed on the regional scale will generate local business and bring big economic advantages to community markets. Communities will have lower operational costs to run economic activity; energy will be harvested and stored locally and at a fraction of the oil-gas-coal unit price.
Energy self-reliance will fuel the transition to regional economic development, where money is invested back into community and into human activity and not into drilling and mining for petro-carbon; focusing on the restoration and refurbishing of the commons, along side a new retrofitted economy of maintenance and care. In this society global markets will undergo economic de-growth and become exotic luxury trading whereas regional markets with clean energy independence will thrive and flourish.
Aerial photographs of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System—a massive expanse of solar panels in California’s Mojave Desert
Nike has reduced the emissions produced by its facilities nearly 15%. The company made a conscious decision to stop focusing on purchasing renewable energy certificates and start focusing on managing actual reductions.
The Soleta House, or Soleta zeroEnergy One, belongs to a line of eco homes that includes multifunctional structures with high-tech, clean-energy systems that can be controlled via your smartphone.