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United States The Almighty Buck Technology

Green Energy Almost Cost-Competitive with Fossil Fuels 843

js7a writes "As reported in the Houston Chronicle, the sharply rising cost of natural gas and other fossil fuels has caused the cost of renewable energy to finally reach the price of nonrenewables. However, wind still has some catching up to do: 'a 10 percent wind- and 90 percent water-generated mix is about $9 per month less expensive than the 100 percent wind plan.' As more wind generation and grid transmission capacity is built, wind will eventually become more competitive than hydroelectric, but hydro and other sources will be required to balance grid demand in calm areas. Slashdot has been following this trend."
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Green Energy Almost Cost-Competitive with Fossil Fuels

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  • Which means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhysicsGenius ( 565228 ) <physics_seeker AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:16PM (#11054800)
    that green is actually cheaper. Why?

    1) Fossil fuels have huge investment, economies of scale and infrastructure already, which bring prices down. As sustainable energy gets more popular, it will get even cheaper.

    2) Nobody ever factors in the cost of cleanup (at best) or total extinction (at worst) into the cost of fossil fuels. If you add the cost of removing the byproducts and side-effects to each column, sustainable energy pulls way ahead.

    Not that I expect the current administration to do anything about it.

    • Re:Which means (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UWC ( 664779 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:20PM (#11054863)
      I'd imagine that cleanup costs are included to the extent that the vendors of the related energy sources are required to pay for such cleanup.

      Then again, I imagine a lot of things.

      Also, I think "Not that I expect the current administration to do anything about it" would make a great .sig, regardless of what the "current administration" is at the time.
      • I'd imagine that cleanup costs are included to the extent that the vendors of the related energy sources are required to pay for such cleanup.

        And given the immediate gutting of the environmental laws that came with Bush's second term (already working it's way through Congress, sure to pass and get signed into law) the level of that extent is entirely nil.
      • What you're imagining is that they have to pay for cleanup.
    • by yog ( 19073 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:38PM (#11055113) Homepage Journal
      It's surprising, or maybe not actually, that articles such as the Houston Chronicle piece referenced by the OP completely ignore the most obvious approaches to "green" energy use. Insulation of every building, passive solar heating and electricity generation on every rooftop where it's feasible, more public transportation, and a crash program to incentivize use of fuel efficient cars would go a long way to mitigate if not solve the energy problem. It's not sexy but it works.

      Up front costs may be higher for solar and other alternative and supplemental systems, but long term the payoff is there. You have to be willing to wait 10-15 years for your solar power array to pay for itself and then some.

      Americans have a centralized power mindset; it's difficult to imagine a power plant on every block, or solar and fuel cells in every house. Yet, that's much more in keeping with the American tradition of pioneer self-reliance.

    • Re:Which means (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kallahar ( 227430 )
      There's also a limited number of places that you can put dams (all the good ones are used) and wind power (they're an eyesore). I lean towards solar being the best long term approach, it may be best to put it in orbit though (long term)
    • Subsidized (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheWickedKingJeremy ( 578077 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:29PM (#11055727) Homepage
      I agree - we must keep in mind that the True Cost (tm) of fossil fuels is much larger than most people think. This is because many of the drawbacks of fossil fuels are obfuscated, such as pollution and reliance on foreign and sometimes hostile nations. Also, much of the true cost of using oil is subsidized by the military. After all, we don't have a lot of oil here in the US, so going after world oil supplies has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for quite some time. While it is true that, pound for pound, oil is the easiest way to harness energy given current technologies, the equation begins to shift when you factor in what we must do to secure that oil. In some ways, shouldn't the resources being spent fighting in Iraq be tacked-on to the "cost of using oil"? Unfortunately, that is a more abstract concept, and hence, people often do not consider such things... its not quite so easy to measure how much one of our soldier's lives is worth in dollars and cents.

      Fossil fuels are *far* more expensive than the market price would indicate.
    • Re:Which means (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:33PM (#11055763) Homepage Journal
      Fossil fuels have huge investment, economies of scale and infrastructure already, which bring prices down.

      Not to mention the expense of war and other actions taken in the oil-producing nations. When you factor in the wars, support of favorable governments, destablizing unfavorable governments, fighting insurgants, or pissing off people enough so they run to the waiting arms of Osama bin Laden; oil becomes very, very expensive.

      If the oil magically disappeared from the Middle East, the US and western military would not be there.
    • Re:Which means (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jafac ( 1449 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @08:48PM (#11057251) Homepage
      Never mind how much it costs to go to war to secure oil supplies. (never mind speculation about Iraq. I won't go there. But for god's sake, look at WWII. Japan attacked the US because the US embargoed Japan's oil supply when Japan invaded China).

      Wars are pretty expensive things, even when you don't factor in things like suspension of civil liberties, or loss of life. But these costs aren't factored in at the pump. Free Market my Fucking Ass.
  • why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    why do 'greens' throw so much effort into things like wind, solar, and hydro, when the only real solution to replacing fossil fuels is nuclear power?
    • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by calibanDNS ( 32250 )
      See this morning's article [slashdot.org] on nuclear fusion. There are lots of threads there about the general public's fear of nuclear technologies its by-products. It's easier for the public to associate nuclear power with danger since the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters.
    • Possibly because the previous three choices you mentioned don't have quite the same meltdown scenario, and you don't have that little half life issue. Nuclear power is one solution, but it's not the only real solution.
    • Re:why? (Score:2, Informative)

      by rhakka ( 224319 )
      Gee, maybe because a broken solar panel doesn't decimate the land for hundreds of miles and render it uninhabitable for hundreds of years?


      Maybe because when the sun goes down, you don't have a pile of lethal garbage that can kill you for thousands of years left over?


      Naaaaaah. fucking hippies, they just don't get it, do they.
      • Re:why? (Score:3, Informative)

        Gee, maybe because a broken solar panel doesn't decimate the land for hundreds of miles and render it uninhabitable for hundreds of years?

        Neither does a low-radioactivity nuclear battery.

        Maybe because when the sun goes down, you don't have a pile of lethal garbage that can kill you for thousands of years left over?

        With a NASA style thermocouple battery, when the power runs out (after 20-30 years, depending on half-life of the element involved) the only thing left over is a lump of lead the size of a s
        • Re:why? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rhakka ( 224319 )
          and exactly how are you proposing to get all the strontium-90 we'd need to run those little fellows without massive risk?
          • Re:why? (Score:3, Interesting)

            strontium-90 isn't the only heat producing isotope- any isotope will do as long as it is fissible. Nasa just uses strontium-90 for it's extremely predictable lifespan and even decay curve. No need to be that picky for household power. Heck- take it from the current nuclear waste from the big reactors- most of that stuff will stay at 80C for decades with no further refinement at all. Or the naturally occuring uranium outcropings that produce radon gas in some older homes. What it is won't matter to the
      • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TrollBridge ( 550878 )
        Paranoid, uneducated sentiments like yours are exactly why development of safer, cleaner, and more efficient nuclear energy technologies aren't persued more vigorously.

        Nuclear energy isn't perfect, but it's a far more viable alternative to fossil fuels than what Greens want to throw money at.
    • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:49PM (#11055250) Homepage
      Why do "nuke nuts" get so into nuclear power that they fail to see how a mixed power system is more practical?

      I love nuclear power. But I don't see why nuke plants should keep us from putting solar shingles on our rooftops-- so what if they only make 50% of the power you need, and only during the day? It's just that much less load on the nuke plants. At the very least, it would soften the peak load from my air conditioner in the summer daytime.

      And why not stick a few windmills in the middle of farmland? Indiana farmland is like a giant, flat, patchwork quilt. It's not the sort of grand scenery you'd mind a windmill in the middle of, and you can farm around the poles just fine.

      Why can't anybody take a moderate, practical look at things and realize that both solutions *together* are our most likely bet to get out of the coal and oil dependency?

      Nobody's going to survive on windmills alone just yet. But why not use them where it's practical?
  • wind power is ugly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SoupGuru ( 723634 )
    The visual pollution is crazy with wind farms. Nothing like industrial machinery stretching across hill and dale to make you want to get out an enjoy mother nature. No, I'd almost rather have nuclear power plant IMBY than a wind farm.
    • I disagree, I think they are rather pretty.

      Besides that, however, I will trade breathable air for a pretty hill anyday.
    • The visual pollution is crazy with wind farms.

      It depends how you build them. There are plenty of attractive windmills [windmillworld.com] in Europe (particularly in Holland). If the wind farmers decide to get creative, they could surely create aesthetically pleasing turbines.

      I'd almost rather have nuclear power plant IMBY than a wind farm.

      Would you almost rather have the radioactive waste repository in your back yard as well?

  • Here it comes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:18PM (#11054831) Homepage
    Cue an endless cycle of /. comments to the effect that wind energy is not as environmentally friendly as you think, and it costs more than you hope, and every other alternative to oil is problematic, and blah, blah, blah.

    I'm glad to see research continuing into alternatives. Just because something isn't 100% ready yet is no reason not to pursue it. Just think what weaning the U.S. off oil-dependence (yes, long term thinking here, try not to let your hat fly off your head) would do for its world politics. Whoops. Never mind. This is a message from the oil companies reminding you not to think that way. We now return you to your reality-based TV program.

  • by rjnagle ( 122374 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:19PM (#11054848) Homepage
    I've been using green mountain for two years. It's great and makes me feel good (it's about 10-15% more expensive).

    Also, it sounds pretty cool to say that my web server is being powered by windmills.

    Robert Nagle

  • One type of energy which you rarely hear about, but seems very enviromentally friendly is geo thermal. In the US the only places I can think of which have geological features which will allow this is yellow stone (active super volcanoe ?) wherever there is a hot spring you would think this would be feasable. From what I know this process has no by products and little effect on the ecology of the surrounding environment.

    • Re:Geo Thermal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jaredmauch ( 633928 ) <jared@puck.nether.net> on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:40PM (#11055137) Homepage
      Well, it depends on exactly what you need/desire.

      I have a open-loop geothermal system at my home. It's used for heating and cooling of the air. It takes water out of my well, which is a moderated temp year round and uses it to transfer the heat into it during the summer, and takes the heat out of the water in the winter.

      You can do the same thing with a closed-loop system (you just pump the water in a big circuit of underground pipes). In a closed-loop system you can even use antifreeze (that stuff that transfers the heat out of your engine block and through the heaters in your car) and the system works simiarly to that.

      I'm slowly working on converting some of my more sustained power requirements to a solar/battery powered system. I have a simple parts page online [nether.net] that will allow you to start building a small system to operate lighting or other must-need devices (basically, build your own UPS and charge off of solar/wind/whatever DC voltage source you want).

      I just got a 700W inverter on sale recently, and have some older car/boat batteries that the previous owner left here. I just ordered a solar charge controller kit, and am going to borrow some 12-24V solar cells from a friend to do some testing.. If it works well, i'm going to expand my cells and get some good batteries to operate some of my necessary devices.

  • I have a modest proposal that should help increase the effectiveness of wind power.

    The current primary obstacle is that there are many days when the weather is calm and there is less wind. My suggestion is, on those days simply CREATE the wind.

    First, it is known that as heat rises, it generates a low pressure area that cool air must fill. This can be demonstrated by noticing how some dust and smoke is pulled into a campfire at the base.

    Second, our nation is full of unwanted trash storage sites that con
  • by xutopia ( 469129 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:21PM (#11054877) Homepage
    about some guy who saved up 20 years of electricity bill and made a solar panel/wind turbine system for his home. He estimated that within 20 years he would have paid for his system but recently it has been announced that our electricity bill would go up a few percentage points again so he's actually going to be saving money! And he hasn't taken into account that electricity might go up again in the next 20 years!

    If I had the money I would do it too!

  • If we could find a way to remove pure hydrogen from coal then that would be a green energy ,wouldn't it ?
    U.S. is the saudi arabi of coal.
    • No, because the source is still a fossil fuel, and requires some really 'fun' mining processes to extract. Rather like saying an electric car is perfectly green without thinking about how the electricity was produced in the first place.

      Most hydrogen _is_ currently extracted from fossil fuels. Natural gas, in fact, rather than splitting it out of water.
    • Ummm....No. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Red Rocket ( 473003 )
      Have you ever seen a mountaintop removal/valley fill mine? We've lost over a thousand miles of streams already. RIP
  • Put the windmills near Washington DC. There's an unending stream of hot air flowing out of there...

    (And if you think this is aimed at one particular political party - either one - you have some serious blinders on.)
  • If we're talking about long term viable solutions nothing competes with nuclear energy. The only candidate would be thermal energy but that's situational/regional and much harder to deal with. When will people get over their petty fears of nuclear ENERGY (not warheads!) and stop talking about wind power and all that other nonsense.
  • What I don't understand is why Green Mountain doesn't offer a energy-co-location plan; of the sort that you pay for the generating capacity you want from their wind farm, and any excess energy that you don't use is sold on the open market to offset the cost of your yearly maintenance fee for your equipment + rent on the wind farm. Seems to me that would cut the cost way down- maybe even undercut the 9.6 cpkwh floor of traditional energy generation.
  • by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:25PM (#11054922) Homepage
    This is great news! California has had an option to select renewable for some time.


    Being the cynic (skeptic?) I am, we need to be super-careful that the energy is what the distributors claim it is. For example, look at the organic labelling fiasco: food producers lobbied to reduce the standards of "organic" to include "some" organic procedures. They are not the same metrics that constitute "California Organic". As a result, there are misleading standards for organic, which can result in people buying products that could potentially bypass all that is good about organic processing.

    Same goes for the Green-ergy.

    Hopefully thsi will be monitored properly, so that when someone requests renewable energy, they don't get an earload marketingspeak "plants and animals die and become coal and oil, therefore coal and oil are nature's renewable resources!!!"

  • > As more wind generation and grid transmission capacity is built, wind will eventually become more competitive than hydroelectric, but hydro and other sources will be required to balance grid demand in calm areas

    Just because it's viable now, doesn't mean it'll be viable for the entire country. Nor does present-day viability imply that it'll scale up to the rest of the country's energy needs.

    Wind energy isn't necessarily scalable: there's a finite amount of land onto which you can erect windmills,

  • damage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:25PM (#11054931) Homepage Journal
    That's price, not cost. The cost of petro fuels includes bills for things like Iraq wars, hurricanes/floods/droughts, oil spills... We'll be paying that off long after the oil's gone.
  • And of course, there are tide turbines and the wave-driven-air turbines and lots of other things we can build when it's worth it. With OPEC cutting output, people here will start moving away from heating oil and onto the grid, which will either stimulate green energy investment directly or raise the price of natural gas enough to stimulate green energy investment. Green energy is technologically trivial at this point... It's all economics. Once oil costs enough, this will tip over and we can start movin
  • Apple Computers Almost Cost-Competitive with Linux Boxen

    Iraqi Junkyard Armor Almost Competitive with Manufactured Armor

    US Dollar Almost Competitive with Euro

    feel free to add more!
  • Green, not Green (Score:2, Informative)

    by kenrus ( 534662 )
  • The lip-service paid to inconvenient forms of alternative fuel by United States Federal Government cronies is nothing more than a political ploy to obscure the facts for the benefit of our generation's robber barons.

    A real alternative has always been available which can be produced by existing oil-refining equipment and which is capable of powering existing electric generators and sub-generators as well as existing gasoline and diesel engines without modification. That alternative is called biomass.

  • Hydro is a great power source, but every time someone wants to build a new hydro plant (read: damn) a lot of concerns are raised about the environmental impact of the damn. Seems like some similar arguments are being used against wind power now.

    I think we need to start looking at the whole picture. I think all roofs in the southern US should be shingled white, by law. This can save a lot of energy during the summer months. We also need to come up other (better) building techniques or use the better tec

  • by Malc ( 1751 )
    All this talk of hydro, yet there are places that are facing increasing water shortages. You can't dam what you don't have. It also requires a lot of space and destruction exhisting habitats.

    One thing about hydro that is little known is that in some cases the resevoirs can be massive produces of methane - one of the more potent greenhouse gases. Examples I've heard of have typically been large shallow ones with a lot biological material breaking down in them.
  • No Free Lunch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:36PM (#11055067) Homepage
    Wind and hydro have their own environmental problems. Hydro, in particular, can have severe environmental consequences for regional ecosystems and human populations. Some of these effects may only become apparent after billions of dollars have been spent and many years have elapsed. The Aswan dam in Egypt is a good example of all the things that can go wrong when you try to control a river.
  • Solar.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dustinbarbour ( 721795 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:38PM (#11055102) Homepage

    It is my opinion that more research needs to be done on solar and that communities receiving a lot of sunlight on a yearly basis (like mine) should implement a policy to get solar panels on the roofs of as many homes and businesses as possible. let them be managed and maintanied by the local power authorities. We could really see a lot of energy created here in the Las Vegas valley. hell, the entire American Southwest for that matter.. This would certainly reduce the load on fossil fuels fo our little neck of the woods. It would also free us from the interstate negotiations that occur every so often for the rights to power from Hoover Dam. I say fill my roof up with solar arrays. Hell.. look at all of the roof space provided by every casino in the city.. every highrise.. every other small business.. There is a lot of power being wasted simply to heat my damn terracota roof tiles!

    But are politicians and power companies ambitious enough to tackle something like that? Certainly not.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:44PM (#11055195) Homepage Journal
    Wind, Hydro, Nuclear... great for electricity but does nothing about Gas and Oil.

    Until electric cars become efficient enough to run all day on a single charge with half a day of stored energy still available, petrol is the energy source we need to replace.

    I'm betting on Biodiesel. It's still more expensive to refine than crude oil but that gap is closing fast. With current subsidies you can actually buy biodiesel for cheaper than Gasoline...

  • by freality ( 324306 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @04:55PM (#11055315) Homepage Journal
  • by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:01PM (#11055388)
    Our naturally windy environment is being destroyed by people selfishly extracting wind energy from our atmosphere! Wind is a natural force that moves clouds around and keeps our weather going. Everyone knows that windmills extract this much-needed power from our air. If we extract all the wind energy from our atmosphere, imagine the horrible consequences! Clouds would stop moving causing torrential rain on only one spot while causing severe droughts across the street! Countless yachts would be forced to use fossil fuels instead of sailing! And the multi-million dollar wind surfing and kite flying industries would be devastated! Please, stop harvesting wind energy from our atmosphere!
  • by syphax ( 189065 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:08PM (#11055484) Journal

    Anyone looking for a recent, comprehensive evaluation of wind power should look at the Draft Environmental Impact Statement [army.mil] for the Cape Wind [capewind.org] project.
  • Highway Dividers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ruadh80 ( 732000 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:11PM (#11055528)
    Dinosaurs: Millions of years ago, nature destroyed them. Help them get even... use fossil fuels.

    Ok, on a more serious note, I had seen an interesting news article years ago about someone who setup some windmills, except they were a little different than most. They consisted of long three sided objects... like the turning signs car dealerships put on the top of cars except they were long and skinny rather than short and squat. These were built into the concrete dividers on the highway. The traffic driving in opposite directions on opposite sides created MORE than enough wind to turn the rows of hundred mini-windmills.

    No eyesore (no worse than a concrete divider) No dead birds (if they fly into these they deserve to die) No changing wind patterns (any more than they already are that is)
  • by skintigh2 ( 456496 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:26PM (#11055695)
    Wind energy is far cheaper that oil. Look at it this way:

    The cost of wind energy:
    Buy land in windy place
    Build windfarm.

    The cost of oil:
    Forge alliance with dictators, oppressors, torturers and terrorists.
    Provide covert funding and weapons to people who will later bite you in the ass, for example: Osama bin Laden, Sadam Hussen, the shah of Iran, the Taliban, etc. etc.
    Station tens of thousands of troups in 3rd world countries full of extremists who get off on killing Americans... during PEACETIME.
    During war station hundreds of thousands of troops in said countries.
    Fight on average 1 major war per decade at the costs of hundreds of billions of dollars to protect oil producing hellspawn from non-oil-producing hellspawn.
    • How true. It's interesting that people don't factor this into the cost of oil. Heck, if we didn't need middle eastern oil, we'd be able to save billions of dollars a year just in bribes!
  • Raise Taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DigitalRaptor ( 815681 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @05:26PM (#11055696) Homepage
    I think we need a new tax. No, really.

    Gasoline should have an additional $0.50 per gallon tax and traditional lightbulbs should have an $0.10 per bulb tax.

    The funds from this should directly fund research into alternative energy, means of conservation, and entirely new technologies.

    I've heard that if every household in America installed only 1 compact florescent in place of a standard bulb, it would be the environmental equivelant of taking 1,000,000 cars off the road.

    The only way America is going to change is if it's given an economic reason that hits home.

  • Free Energy! (Score:5, Informative)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @07:00PM (#11056430) Homepage
    Impossible, you say? I think not. The answer to our energy problems lie all around us, if we only care to look, think about the problem, and solve it creatively.

    First off, each of us (yes, including me) live our lives wrong. We also tend to live in (and work in) buildings designed wrong. Now, both of these statements are pretty bold - but both are very true.

    How much do you throw away? What do you throw away? How much do you recycle? How much do you recycle? How much do you reuse, and what do you reuse? These are the key questions, and the answers are the key to free energy.

    Want your eyes opened? Take a look around your neighborhood on trash day. If your city has such a program, especially take a look on "bulk pickup" day. What do you see? What are people literally paying to have hauled away and buried?

    I have seen bikes, refrigerators, computers, car parts, engines, dishwashers, cut up trees, wood, etc. All of these items took a lot of energy to make. Several of them could still work just perfectly, if we would only take the time to fix them. Those that can't be fixed, still could be put to other uses. The wood and the cut up trees could be further processed for the raw materials, or used as simple fuel. Water heaters could become storage tanks for solar heated water. That old window could become the front to a solar collector panel. That old engine and car alternator could become a cheap and easy to build power generation system (heh - heat the scrap wood in that old 55 gallon drum using a solar panel made from busted mirrors epoxied onto an old K-band sat dish, drive off the wood gas, power the engine with that (or cook with it), the stuff left over - charcoal for a barbeque!). All of this junk - going to waste.

    Go to a landfill (even better, go to one that handles construction scrap only) - watch as thousands of tons per day of scrap wood, steel, aluminum, sand, dirt, concrete, etc - get buried in huge piles! All of this could be used and reused! How many times have you seen busted up concrete (or broken brick and block) being thrown away? Why not build a wall or a living structure out of it? What about that dirt - maybe a rammed earth house, perhaps? The wood, the steel - all of that has obvious uses. Why are we throwing it away?

    As far as our houses and buildings are concerned - we build all of these wrong. We build them as energy wasting monstrosities. A monolithic dome house, or a thick-walled earthship-style house - will be much more energy efficient in the long run than a stick-frame constructed house. Build it out of scrap and throwaway items, and it becomes even cheaper. Build in skylights for daytime lighting. Collect rainwater in tanks to use for the garden and yard instead of the tap. Collect your greywater runoff as well. Collect your black water runoff into a methane digester system to produce fuel. Heat your house with solar panels made from scrap plywood, windows, and 2x4s. Install LED lighting for nighttime use. Build a wind generator using old automobile brake rotors and rare-earth magnets. Build a solar oven and slow cook your food.

    The answers are endless, and so are the possibilities. None of this is fiction, or dreamwork. Many people have done this and are doing it everyday. There are tons of accounts on the internet - most show "how-to" methods. Want to start? Start by building a simple solar box oven, and cook some chili or rice in it. You can easily build one using cardboard boxes, a scrap piece of glass, and newspaper for insulation. For the glass, go to a glass shop and ask - many times they have odd sizes or whatnot they can't sell, and will happily give them to you. Or, go to Lowes, to the glass cutting area - many times they will have scrap glass (and acrylic, too) that they will give away for the asking. Or, find an oven door and take the tempered glass from it (or how about an old refrigerator - use an old glass shelf). There are tons of recipies online for solar ovens - give it a shot (yes, it will work in the wintertime - you just need sun). I guarantee you will be pleased. You will then know that it is possible to get free energy. There are tons of other ways (I know of several to get free cooling in the summertime!). Think about it, learn about it, and realize what you are missing!

    • Re:Free Energy! (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      Several of them could still work just perfectly, if we would only take the time to fix them.

      There's the snag with your crazy scheme... Most items require a lot of man-hours to get repaired, so it becomes CHEAPER to just replace them.

      The other problem is that companies don't provide necessary repair documentation, nor the parts needed, option to force you to throw the products out when they fail. I would love to see that part changed, but that's just the way things are.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell