It’s Time To Leap

[Guest Post by Leslea Smith]

I read the “leap manifesto“. It’s not radical. It’s not outrageous. It’s common sense, logical, and shows very clearly how transitioning to greener energy options, isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good economic sense.

We have a country that’s huge.

We have huge areas where wind & solar power generation can be done very easily.Nikola Tesla

And thanks to the work of Nikola Tesla, we know that we can move the electricity these devices create, to where it’s needed, with minimal loss.

The wind turbines near me, in Halkirk Alberta, provide energy to the grid, to power places like Calgary & Edmonton. The energy could go to California, thanks to the way AC power works. Halkirk supplies Alberta. But the simple fact is that it could power Toronto just as easily.

There’s NO reason at all, that we can’t produce 100% of all our energy needs via wind, solar, geothermal & hydro-electric.

One of the prime excuses against wind & solar is that of energy storage. Yet thoSolar Arrayse against, still fail to comprehend that even that issue is not as big as they think. While it may not be windy one day in Halkirk, it can certainly be windy as hell down in the Crowsnest Pass. Or up by Grande Prairie. The country is so huge, there’s no reason we can’t put more & more energy into the grid, via green options.

Add in hydro-electric storage. Bi-level reservoirs can use electricity during low-demand times (like 3am) to move water from a low reservoir to a high level reservoir. Then when high demand happens, it’s simple to open the valve & have the upper drain into the lower, turning electricity generating turbines. Buy low, sell high, end result, we’d have power available for peak demand times and for when there’s not quite enough wind. Having on site wind-driven pumps further enhances this by running when there’s wind, moving water from the lower to the upper reservoir potentially 24/7, adding more potential energy the entire time.

Put in small water wheel type generation at all elevation control gates for irrigation canals. Boom, even more volts for the system. It’s a simple retrofit to manage this option. the irrigation canals in Southern Alberta could provide mega watts to the grid, every summer, just in time to help power air conditioners & fans.

The limitations are imagined. The solutions, only lack the will to put them in place. Water that turns water wheels in irrigation canals, do nothing to harm the water OR the fish in these canals. The technology exists now too.

It’s time.

wind turbine

15 thoughts on “It’s Time To Leap

  1. I’m sorry to say that Ms.Smith is wrong. It is a nice idea, and well intentioned, but plain Wrong!
    It might possibly work in Canada, at a huge investment. But, not for the whole earth. Humanity consumes 12 TeraWatts of Electricity (increasing rapidly). To understand the scale of that: If the entire planet was covered with ‘Solar cells’, we could just barely generate that much electricity??
    Oil and gas and coal, are here to stay. Until they run out, then humanity makes a great leap backwards.
    The only way to stop this, is to improve efficiencies and use energy sparingly.

    • Perhaps you need to read a little more carefully, Mr. Repstock. Ms. Smith was not talking about the whole world, she was talking very specifically about Canada.

      I have a little difficulty with your assertion that “Oil and gas and coal, are here to stay.” The point is to *not* wait for these non-renewable resources to run out. What we do know is that long before they do, climate change will have laid waste to the world as we know it. If it gets to that, perhaps mother Earth’s next caretakers will do a better job.

      I agree (as do the Leap Manifesto folk) that increased efficiency and decreased energy use is needed. That is part of #keepitintheground. But the argument that what Canada does won’t make any difference in the great scheme of things is simply one of those old chestnuts routinely hauled out to justify bad — in this case self destructive — behaviour.

      Canada’s Carbon Footprint is 14.67 tons per person; in China’s is 6.18 tons. We need to make changes now, and we can. But our governments are spending $4 subsidizing the fossil fuel industry as opposed to $1 invested in green technology. That’s not just short sighted, its foolish.

      What Ms. Smith writes about not only makes sense, it is doable *now*

      Hopefully it is not too late.

      • Canada does not exist in a vacum or even as an independent nation. Much of the Rights to our oil and gas are “Owned/controled” by foreign entities, mostly American. I promise you that Justin has no intention of ending up like Ghadaffi by refusing the American access to our resources! Besides that, where is the money going to come from for building these alternative energy structures?

        • Nothing the Americans can do to us is anywhere near as bad as what climate change will do to us– and them– and is in fact already doing. The worry is that it is already too late.

          It must be awful to live in a cloud of perpetual denial and pessimism.

          Where is the money going to come from? There’s more than enough. The money spent subsidizing the richest industry on earth for a start. A tiny fraction of what the Canadian Government spends on war or spying on all its citizens 24/7 would go a very long way.

          It is not about money but political will.

          • Now there is the meat in the sandwich!
            “Political Will” and Pubic Willingness, to set your thermostat to 63 degrees F in winter and toss out the air conditioner, to walk 1/2 a mile instead of driving, to plan for combining trip purposes when you must drive, to fore-go long expensive vacation trips, to accept living in 400 sq feet/person (instead of 1000 sq.ft.), to purchase food locally and only “inseason”, to use clotheslines and drying racks instead of “Dryers”.
            Sorry Ms. Russwurm: It ain’t gonna happen! People won’t accept it, and if political forces impose it, this would become ‘Gulag Canada’. We know that the wealthy and powerful won’t live like that.

            • Clearly you are not listening, Mr. Repstock. Transitioning to green energy now won’t turn back the hands of time; failure to do so will be much worse… likely to a future more austere than the world of Mad Max.

        • As much as foreign interests can control our resources, the actual ownership under the laws of Canada & international law, the actual ownership of Canadian resources is by the crown, for the people of Canada.

          Only assumption shows otherwise. They can dig it up, but we as Canadians, ultimately are the owners until such time as the companies pay royalties on those resources.

          The Americans are in the same boat we are. Oil IS running out. The only reason the Saudis are artificially keeping the price low via glutting the market, is to perpetrate an economic terrorist act upon the west.

          So why stick with a drug dealer with a shitty attitude, when other cleaner options exist?

          The Americans can WANT our resources. But they don’t get a say in how we deal with them in the long run. Contrary to their opinion, they’re NOT the owners of Canada or our resources.


      That’s an awfully big assumption M. Repstock1… According to the math, it’s actually a lot less than you think.

      And as Laurel noted, I wasn’t stating what the world needed. Just Canada. We have the option to transition to green sources of energy now, at a rate that would provide many long term jobs. There’s no reason those empty car manufacturing plants in Ontario couldn’t switch over to producing wind & solar power generation devices. None at all. There’s a LOT of people who’d LOVE to work building things again. Then there are those who want to install them. And transport them. And indeed, even buy them.

      If all you look at is the entire planet, it’ll seem undoable. It’s a HUGE undertaking. Of course it’s some HUGE numbers involved and it’s very intimidating.

      So break it down. If a person can look at their OWN use. Not that of their neighbours, not that of their towns or cities, just their own. Then put in enough capacity to supply their own needs, that reduces the demand for the town, just a little bit. Then 10 neighbours see how awesome it is to have no power bills. They add in their systems. The town reduces the needs just a bit more. The town sees how effective it is, and they put in wind & solar options, lowering everyone’s long term tax bills. They make money on the system for extra volts they put into the system. Now that town has even LESS draw on the grid. The town decides to put in a big wind turbine. Suddenly they can provide energy for ALL the people in the town, making a bit of money to help supply the town with operating funds. It’s a win, win, win setup. That town goes and starts producing more energy than they use. Then thousands of other towns follow suit. Then you have what’s happening RIGHT NOW in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland, Iceland, Panama and many others. It’s not that it can’t be done. It’s that it’s INTIMIDATING. Sure efficiency is a HUGE element to making this work. But it’s happening. A modern LED-LCD television uses a fraction of the energy of even the best Cathode Ray Tube type TV. LED lights use a fraction of the energy that old incandescents used. Just don’t use em in an easy-bake oven.

      Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Have a read of the link. The actual need for energy isn’t nearly as intimidating as you’re guessing.

      Sure oil & gas may be here for a good long time. But they don’t NEED to be. Other options exist. Heck, add in things like sewage digesters (provide up to 40% of a town’s natural gas needs right off the top right there), hemp oil (plastics to fabric, oil to building material, battery components (VERY efficient ones at that) to medications, all with ONE plant) and even water treatment plants that produce more energy than they use (It’s a Denmark thing). and it’s not that hard to see that the potential exists to change things for the better.

      If only 18% of the Sahara were covered in solar PV farms, that alone, would power the world. The potentials are HUGE. Only our imaginations can really limit the options.

      • Leslea; I’m not condemning your intentions or the desirability of clean energy. I just don’t believe that renewables are a viable alternative at these levels of demand or these prices.
        As for scale read this:
        “Average over the entire earth = 164 Watts per square meter over a 24 hour day So the entire planet receives 84 Terrawatts of Power our current worldwide consumption is about 12 Terrawatts so is this a solution? ” The author of that article forgets that solar cell efficiency runs at @6%….?
        Also, Alternative Energy, is an alternative. It is not free or even cheap! I have diligently researched Alternative Energy options and come to the conclusion that I cannot do it long term or short term for anything near BC Hydro’s price. I have access to ‘free for the cutting’ fire wood and free running water; But, I would need 250 TEG cells plus batteries, converter, furnace, storage reservoir, and pumps, just to generate one KW of electricity. I doubt that your home operates on less than ten KW, and certainly not less than 5 KW.

        This is worthwhile, so keep working on it!

        • Repstock1: As of early October 2015, the New York-based manufacturer SolarCity made the claim that solar panels produced from its 100-megawatt Silevo pilot production line were setting world records for solar module efficiency as “the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panel”, with a module efficiency exceeding 22 percent.* A week later, Panasonic claimed the title at 22.5 percent module efficiency.

          And the efficiencies will continue improving.

          *SolarCity’s silicon-based bifacial PV cell panel was measured with 22.04 percent module-level efficiency by the Renewable Energy Test Center.

    • What are you smoking? I want some.

      The entire planet used about 20 Gigawatts of electrical power in 2014, not 12.

      The size of a 1 Gigawatt Solar plant is 2.8 acres.

      It would therefore take 20,000 * 2.8 = 56,000 acres or 226.62396 square kilometres.

      The City of Toronto is 630.21 square kilometres, so a solar power plant the size of Toronto could supply all of the world’s electrical needs, and supply replace all of the world’s replacement power for fossil fuels burned for heating, power vehicles, etc. and have enough extra capacity to cover sections taken down for maintenance.

      A ‘World’ sized solar plant of 510,072,000 square kilometres, or 126,041,536,136 acres, would have an output of 45,014,834,334.3 Terrawatts. Connect all of that to an ion drive system, and voila, we now have a mobile home. Of course the Earth weighs 5.97237×1024 kg so the acceleration would suck, and there really isn’t anywhere to go as by the time we reached Mars orbit the power would be running out…

      Conclusion: repstock1 is a moron.

    • In an “honest world”: Money = Energy in joules = Work done. Even if you dodge to say that this isn’t an Honest World, there is still and always will be a cost.

      • Mr. Repstock said:
        “I just don’t believe that renewables are a viable alternative at these levels of demand or these prices.”

        Renewables are the only path to a sustainable future. Climate science says we will be lucky to have a future at all at this point… and then only if we get serious and start the transition now.

        Honestly we can’t afford fossil fuels.

  2. I’d like to add that the LEAP Manifesto has some good ideas, but shows magical thinking. I’ve got a couple of articles to finish, when done I’ll address the problems.

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