“Good to see the Germans leading the way” — Ah yes, the Germans — don’t they ALWAYS lead — until they are forced to retreat?
Oh yes, a little info for you:
“You may have gotten your fill of the phrase “energy independence” with last year’s election: both parties and presidential candidates touted the idea repeatedly. It’s a compelling concept… it’s also contentious. For some, energy independence means harvesting solar, wind, and geothermal power; for others, it’s the motivation behind “Drill, baby, drill!” Either way, it’s a challenging goal at the national level.
At the local level, though, energy independence may be realistic… and numerous communities around the United States are exploring available renewable resources, and the technology necessary to harness them. Here’s just a handful of towns creating models for clean energy production… and good old fashioned self-reliance.
San Jose, California: You’d probably expect Silicon Valley to lead the way on cutting-edge energy technology, and San Jose‘s trying not to disappoint. Yesterday, the city council gave the city manager the authority to negotiate the terms of “an organics-to energy bio-gas facility.”
Greensburg, Kansas: While this little town that’s attempting to rebuild itself as a “model green town” after a disastrous tornado doesn’t use the phrase “energy independence” much, the Kiowa County Community Wind Farm, slated to open in November ’09, “will provide enough power to meet all the energy needs for the town in the foreseeable future.”
Rock Port, Missouri: Small is beautiful when it comes to energy independence, and the town of Rock Port, Missouri (population 1,400) has become the first community in the nation completely powered by wind.
Reynolds, Indiana: Another small (population 540) Midwestern town, Reynolds was chosen as the community to execute the state government’s “Biotown USA” experiment. The plan: power the town on a range of locally-available biomass, including cow poop.
Warrenton, Virginia: Like San Jose, Warrenton, a suburb of Washington, DC, is taking the “trash into treasure” approach. Mayor George Fitch has spearheaded an effort to build a “biorefinery,” and reduce the town’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2015.
Of course, this list doesn’t include any of many ecovillages around the country and world dedicated to living lightly and with self-reliance…
We know there are many more green communities striving for energy independence that we’ve missed. If you know of one, share its story in the comments…
By the way, for a few years I’ve heard how the US financial meltdown would not affect the European Union. How Europe is FAR stronger than the USA. How European industrial and financial power makes the EU a greater economy than the US. O.K., I understand how some folks can feel that way — but – but – but — WHY is it actually all our fault when y’all look like you’re going to flop?
Why is the austerity IMPOSED on those “lazy” countries – you know, Spain, Greece, etc. – by GERMANY supposed to improve the overall economy of Europe?
Who is going to buy all those GERMAN goods if the folks in their largest market don’t have any money?
How long will the current union last? Will it lead to greater integration, or less?
And — why is it our fault here in the USA when y’all are so much stronger than we are?
Germany has been leading the way in Green technology for the last decade. The USA dropped way behind even before Bush and is showing no real signs of even trying to catch up under Obama either.
The worlds second biggest producer of green technology is Germany. The worlds biggest producer of green technology is China, which produces more green technology than the rest of the planet combined. China also installs more green technology every year than the rest of the planet combined.
If you look at towns in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Austria, some towns have not only reduced greenhouse emissions to zero, but are actually producing more power than they use for zero carbon emissions. Figures of 100% to 400% surplus power more than used, being produced and sold to the electricity grid are becoming common place. Reductions by 10%, 25% or 50% were the norm 10 to 8 years ago. Now they are seen as a dismal half hearted measure mean’t to placate for PR purposes. The technology and implementation is still piecemeal, but it is moving forward very fast in Asia, Europe and strangely in the oil rich states the Middle East, recently. More green technology will be installed in the Saudi Arabian peninsula over the next five years than Germany has in the last ten years and politicians in the Bundestag are going nuts at the German government over that one.
The UK and Ireland are so far behind on green technology, they are now being criticised at European and Global levels for that. The Irish government are not allowed to change the law to allow local people to produce power and be paid for it, by the IMF. That will change in 18 months when Ireland is finished paying back the IMF and the winding up of all the major banks has been completed.
Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and Estonia are starting to make real gains in green technology recently, out of necessity.
Brazil is significantly ahead of the USA in green technology and has been for decades. They are now planning on leaping forward in that area again.
The US being behind on green technology is purely down to political lobbying by oil, gas, agrochemical and chemical industries lobbying or more accurately vested interests buying senators and congressmen. Every single area the US has lost the lead in, has been purely down to vested interests holding your country back.
Regarding Europe, all you hear on your media is fear and scare stories, in the same vein as your terror alerts and other nonsense. The reality is, Central and Northern Europe where the majority of industry and wealth creation in Europe are based, are doing very well. During the worst of the downturn, Poland grew at 3%. The engine of Europe was once Germany. Over the next five to seven years that will change to Germany, Czech Republic and Poland, creating an engine twice the size it is now. Germany, Poland and Czech republic export not only to other European countries, but every country in the world.
Europe is changing so fast, that most UK and Irish commentators are literally years out of date when they talk crap on the news. The distorted views of Europe in the US, are are actually quite funny at times.
The view of China in the US, is completely at odds with what that country really is. China has lifted more people out of poverty in the last 20 years than there are people in the USA. It has been far from perfect, but it is getting better all the time and moving forward at a rate that most people don’t fully understand.
The real problem in Europe is not Ireland, Spain or Portugal. All three of them are getting back on track very quickly. There are now and will be major problems, but they can do it.
The real problem countries are Italy and Greece in the Eurozone and the biggest problem is the UK. Greece and Italy Europe can eventually deal with, after they force the Greeks and Italians to actually pay tax. The banks are big problems in those countries, but tax evasion by everyone from the richest to the poorest, is the biggest problem. Tax evasion is practically a sport in Italy and Greece. When shops recently started to give reciepts in Italy and Greece, it was actual culture shock in Southern Italy. In Greece and Italy about 20 families need to be arrested, stripped of there assets, citizenship revoked and then deported, to sort those countries out.
The UK is the biggest problem of all. It is not even in the Euro, but its neo-liberal bankers are crippling the Euro, while running up massive debts in the UK. Approximately half of them are branches of Wall Street banks. The UK is actually bankrupt. Every large corporation based in the UK pays next to no tax and most geet big tax breaks, just like the US. The UK used to be in the politica position the USA is now in of hedgemony as the worlds No 1 superpower, but no one in the USA appears to have read a history book and realised that.
The upcoming powers are China, followed by India and Brazil. The world will change at a faster rate over the next 20 years than the previous 200 years. About 80% in Europe and 99% of people in the USA still have not realised that.
The African Union is also slowly progressing like an early European Union. I am beginning to wonder if another major power will arise in Africa as well and I think it most likely will.