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Worst Alternative Energy Sources Receive Most Attention

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 by: Laura Weldon
Tags: renewable energy, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Energy solutions getting the most attention from politicians and the press are 25 to 1,000 times more polluting than the best available choices according to studies by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson. The findings were published in a recent issue of Energy and Environmental Science. Jacobson also testified about his research before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford, headed the most comprehensive study to date which quantitatively evaluated electricity generation options. This project considered the impact on human health, security, climate, water supply, land use, wildlife, space requirements, reliability and sustainability. Jacobson received no funding from private companies, special interest groups or government agencies.

The comparisons were first made by calculating the impact as if each alternative alone were used to power every U.S. vehicle. All such vehicles were assumed to be efficient technology vehicles including battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells vehicles and flex fuel vehicles.

The study ranked the best to worst energy sources as following:

1.wind power
Jacobson's research indicates that wind power is the most promising option. This choice would result in a massive reduction in carbon and air pollution, saving lives prematurely lost in air pollution related deaths. Although wind farms require large areas of land, the space required is 30 percent less than the acreage required to grow crops for ethanol use, and the land between turbines can still be used as pasture, farmland or open space.

2.concentrated solar power (mirrors to heat fluid)
3.geothermal power
4.tidal power
5.solar photovoltaics (rooftop solar panels)
6.wave power
7.hydroelectric power

Jacobson is quoted in a December 2008 Stanford Report as saying, "There is a lot of talk among politicians that we need a massive jobs program to pull the economy out of the current recession. Well, putting people to work building wind turbines, solar plants, geothermal plants, electric vehicles and transmission lines would not only create jobs but would also reduce costs due to health care, crop damage and climate damage from current vehicle and electric power pollution, as well as provide the world with a truly unlimited supply of clean power."

The study advises against:

8.(tie) coal with carbon capture and sequestration
Although called "clean coal," this technology retains significant environmental drawbacks. This process does reduce the majority of carbon exhaust from a coal-fired plant, but does not remedy the substantial carbon emissions resulting from mining and transport of coal nor reduce the emission of other pollutants. In addition, plants using coal carbon capture and sequestration require approximately 25 percent more coal than traditional plants. In comparison to wind energy, these plants release 60 to 110 times more carbon and air pollution.

8.(tie) nuclear power
Nuclear power plants emit approximately 25 times more air pollution and carbon in comparison to wind energy. In addition to the dangers of nuclear waste storage, nuclear energy presents risk factors such as the spread of nuclear technology and potential use of refined uranium by terrorists.

9.biofuels: corn ethanol and cellulose ethanol.
These alternatives ranked dead last in the study. It was found that ethanol would cause more damage to wildlife, water supply and human health than current fossil fuel usage. Studies already indicate that ethanol appears to emit more climate-change pollutants than petroleum-based fuels.

Jacobson commented in the December 2008 Stanford Report, "Biofuels are the most damaging choice we could make in our efforts to move away from using fossil fuels. We should be spending to promote energy technologies that cause significant reductions in carbon emissions and air-pollution mortality, not technologies that have either marginal benefits or no benefits at all".


About the author

Laura Weldon lives on an organic farm and believes in bliss. Learn more about her book "Free Range Learning" by visiting at www.lauragraceweldon.com

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