Environment: Bloggers on Energy, and The Zero Africa Rally

Several bloggers deftly tackled energy issues, from nuclear energy, ideas of ‘plug and play power’, China's ‘Clean Ambitions’ and Green data centers. Be it South Africa, China or America, the energy question has got bloggers thinking of solutions.

Ian Gilfillan asks “Why is anybody still considering nuclear?”. He looks at the reasons why nuclear energy is still attracting support, especially when compared to coal.

If the debate is framed as nuclear versus coal, there seems to be little question. Global warming, and the massive environmental costs of coal power generation make nuclear the obvious answer.

But framing the question in that limited way is ignoring the real solution – renewable energy.

He considers the advantages of renewable energy, the cons of nuclear energy generation, gives examples of renewable energy projects and emphatically states that…

Nuclear is not renewable!

If the entire world switched to nuclear, there'd be about 9 years of uranium supplies left. Uranium prices would shoot up, and there'd be a scramble to implement new technologies to get hold of more, such as that proposed by the nuclear industry to reprocessing radioactive spent fuel. Currently that's extremely expensive and risky.

Rory of Carbonsmart also looks at the nuclear and renewable energy in the context of demand and supply in China, South Africa and India, in part explaining why there is a temptation to go nuclear. He looks at the challenges of switching renewable energy sources from traditional fossil fuel sources. While doing so, he puts forth the idea of ‘plug and play’ power describing it as

Renewable energy also faces supply shortages, and for similar reasons: it hasn't been part of the mainstream energy business on a big scale, and technologies are developing rapidly. Small-scale renewables have more to overcome, but the potential benefits are far greater. For one thing, distributed power generation provides more opportunity for local communities to be involved in developing and operating the systems (read: jobs) and for another, there is no need to standardise a given technology. Take the most appropriate for a given situation, and the next project might be something else entirely.

In the blog China Dialogue, China's ‘Clean Ambitions’ are explored in a piece by Rachel Wasser.

Ninety percent of China’s electricity is still produced by inefficient coal power, but the country has set bold targets to expand the renewables sector. Can China really achieve sustainable energy?

In America, a feature by Jeremy Faludi in the group blog worldchanging delves into the computing field, specifically greening of Data Centers. Data centers are repositories for servers used by many companies such as Google, Amazon and even blog hosting companies to run their online services. These data centers require significant amounts of electricity, and in the piece Jeremy looks at the ways of making data centers more efficient, while giving an update on green computing research, techniques and reports.

Last but not least, Carl of Greencars announces the Zero Africa Rally,

The Zero Africa rally “will be an endurance challenge, a demonstration of the viability and practicality of planet-friendly vehicles. Open to electric, solar, hybrid, hydrogen and bio-fuel vehicles.”

The race us due to take place in January 2009, and will run approximately 4000km from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. We’ll keep you posted.

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