An American Way for a Zero Carbon Future

An American Way for a Zero Carbon Future
Roy Morrison 603-496-4260
sustainability@snhu.edu (600 words)

An American Way for a Zero Carbon Future

By Roy Morrison, Director, Office for Sustainability, Southern New Hampshire
If we’re concerned about global warming, endless wars for oil, nuclear
proliferation, and our economic future then we need to face four very convenient

Combining four very American enthusiasms: the automobile, electricity, free
renewable fuel, and market opportunities, makes a zero carbon future ours for
the taking.

That’s right. In this zero carbon future we can drive with no gas and no
pollution, turn on our computers to connect us to a smart global grid, and get
checks in the mail every month for our troubles.

The technologies are at hand or need just the slightest push. New plug-in
electric cars using lithium-ion batteries will be charged at night from a
renewable grid and help provide peak daytime power while we’re at work. This is
doable. Just a small percentage of our millions of cars can give us much of the
energy needed to balance and stabilize a renewable energy grid system.

Copious wind resources on farm and ranch land from the Dakotas to Texas will be
combined with solar electric concentrators and PV panels from the South West and
local PV arrays covering our roofs and parking lots. DC power lines, underground
if necessary, will facilitate moving the power to where it’s needed.

The system will be integrated and coordinated through a smart electric grid
using real time price control to optimize energy use and energy generation.
We’ll buy power when it’s cheap, and sell it back into the grid when it’s
By using renewable energy hedges, like the one negotiated between Southern New
Hampshire University and PPM Energy, every energy consumer and car and PV panel
owner will have a profitable stake in our common renewable energy future. We can
use our energy purchases and investments in plug in vehicles and photovoltaics
to fix our net annual energy expenses for a generation, and receive monthly
income for buying our grid tied cars and home PV systems.

We don’t need to subsidize nukes and watch more countries build bombs while we
pile up the waste. We don’t need to subsidize corn ethanol and turn food for a
hungry world into fuel that raises food prices for the poor and does little to
reduce net carbon. We don’t need to lop off the top of our mountains and
subsidize “clean coal”, or try to capture and inject carbon dioxide into the
ground in the hopes it will stay there for five-hundred years. We don’t have to
send our kids and loved ones to fight wars for oil when we have more than enough
energy from the sun and wind.

And yes there’s more. Combined heat and power that turns every heating system
into a micro-generator, and district heating from existing urban power plants
should play a part. Compressed air, capacitors, and flywheels can help balance
the renewable grid. We need to adopt high efficiency standards and zero
pollution industrial ecological practices using “waste” from one process as
input for another. We can use duck weed and water hyacinths fed by our sewage
plants and agricultural runoff to produce enormous amounts of biomass for

We can make the whole thing work rather painlessly by phasing out income taxes,
abolishing the IRS, and phasing in ecological consumption taxes on all goods and
services. If something pollutes more, it will cost more. If something pollutes
les, it will cost less. The market price, not just regulation will tell us what
to do.

Wake up America. Let’s use our cars, electricity, free renewable fuel, and the
market to build a zero carbon, sustainable, and peaceful future.

Roy Morison is Director of the Office for Sustainability at Southern New
Hampshire University. His latest book is Markets, Democracy & Survival available
online at www.RMAenergy.net. He can be contacted at .

Fact check:

1. Renewable Resource Technologies and Potential:
A.. Excellent summary discussion of technologies and U.S. renewable resource
potential and plans to integrate and coordinate renewabletems is
Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy by Arjun
Makhijani, Ph.D. http://wwww.ieer.org

i. Solar (From Page 43):
The semi-arid and deserareas in the Southwest and West not only have the
greatest incident energy, but also the greatest number of cloudless days. Those
regions are therefore excellent candidates for central station solar PV,
especially since this technology, unlike fossil fuel and nuclear plants, does
not require cooling water. At 15 percent efficiency, a square meter of land with
insolation at about seven kilowatt hours per square meter would generate about
400 kilowatt hours per year. Hence, an amount equal to about a trillion kilowatt
hours – one-fourth of today’s annual electricity output – could be produced on
about 650,000 acres – a square with a side of just over 30 miles. With ancillary
facilities, it would be a square with a side of about 35 miles.

ii. Wind: (From page 31-32)

Table 3-3: Wind Energy Potential in the Top 20 Contiguous States, in Billion
Kilowatt Hours/Year
State Wind potential

North Dakota 1,210 Texas 1,190 Kansas 1,070 South Dakota 1,030 Montana 1,020
Nebraska 868 Wyoming 747 Oklahoma 725 Minnesota 657 Iowa 551 Colorado 481
New Mexico 435 Idaho 73 Michigan 65 New York 62 Illinois 61 California 59
Wisconsin 58 Maine 56Missouri 52

Total 10,470

U.S. elec. generation, 2005: 4,000 (rounded)

Potential percent of 2005 generation 261 percent

Wind energy generation, 2006 about 30 (0.7 percent)

Sources: AWEA 2006b; EIA AER 2006 Table 8.2a, AWEA 2007, and EIA AEO 2006 Table
Note: For wind class category 3 and higher. Land use exclusions such as national
parks, urban areas, etc., have been factored in to the estimate.

It is clear that overall potential is vast – over two-and-a-half times total
electricity generation in the United States in 2005. The wind energy potential
in each one of the top six states – North Dakota, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota,
Montana, Nebraska – is greater than the total nuclear electricity generation
all 103 operating U.S. nuclear power plants. The wind energy resource is quite
sufficient to supply the entire electricity requirement of the country for some
time to come under any scenario, if total potential were the only consideration.
Of course, it is not. Intermittency is a critical issue. Secondly, the
location of the wind resource is another potential constraint. It is
concentrated in
the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain states while the population of the United
States is concentrated along the coasts. Figures 3-2(a) and 3-2(b) illustrate
issue; the former shows population density and the latter shows the map of wind
energy.2 (see color insert) Tapping into a large amount of the high-density
landbased wind resource will require transmission infrastructure to take the
electricity to transmission system hubs from where it would be taken to
centers. Transmission corridors exist going eastwards and westwards from the
center of the country. But the wind resource is dispersed and it must be
to the hubs. Second, the capacity of some of the lines to carry the electricity
would have to be expanded. The maps illustrate the importance of developing
offshore wind energy resources, which are closer to the large population and
electricity consumption centers of the United States.

One advantage of the geographic concentration of wind resources in the
continental United States is that much of it is located in the Midwestern Farm
Since crops can be planted and cattle can graze right up to the wind turbine
towers,wind farms are quite compatible with growing crops and ranching. They can
provide a reliable and steady source of income to farmers and ranchers,
insulating them, to some extent, from the vagaries of commodity markets.

A-1. For a European Renewable Grid model see work of Gregor Czisch

“Analysis: A Super grid for Europe” By STEFAN NICOLA
UPI Energy Correspondent Published: Nov. 2, 2007 at 10:39 AM
BERLIN, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Europe’s electricity grids are old and often not capable
of providing trans-border, much less trans-continent energy security. Yet one
German energy expert has come up with a visionary scenario that would overhaul
the grids, increase energy security and at the same time help avoid climate

Gregor Czisch’s dissertation has rattled the energy world. Its main claim: Given
the political will, Europe could within a few years meet 100 percent of its
electricity needs from renewable energy sources, at no cost difference to
today’s fossil fuel-based system. The scenario includes the construction of a
high-voltage direct current European super grid linking all countries in Europe,
and the continent externally to Africa and the Middle East.

"We have the technical abilities to build such a super grid within three to five
years," Czisch, an energy systems modeling expert at the University of Kassel,
told United Press International in a telephone interview. "We just need to
commit to this big long-term strategy."

. B. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) DOE

Renewable Resources Could Provide 99 Percent of U.S. Electricity Generation
by 2020

Draft NREL report is available at:
The draft document had earlier been available for inspection at:

C. A Solar Grand Plan: Scientific American
By 2050 solar power could end US dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse
gas emissions. Dec 16, 2007
www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan - 49k - Cached - Similar pages

D. Energy Storage Developments
Energy storage nears its day in the sun: Scientific American
Feb 22, 2008 www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=energy-storage-nears-its - 40k

D-1 Powering GM's Electric Vehicles By Kevin Bulli. MIT Technology Review
Thursday, January 11, 2007
“Recent advances in battery chemistry and systems design could lead to working
prototypes by year's end.”

E. Renewable energy hedges
SNHU Goes Carbon-Neutral; Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU Goes Carbon-Neutral. Saturday, May 19, 2007. SNHU Communications Office.
Southern New Hampshire University is the first carbon-neutral university ...
www.snhu.edu/6886.asp - 16k
See also www.ecopowerhedge.com and www.rmaenergy.net

F. Ecological Taxation
Markets, Democracy & Survival by Roy Morrison


Roy Morrison & Associates, LLC
Eco Power Hedge, LLC

P.O. Box 201, Warner, NH 03278