[Ok-sus] How a German village disconnected from the grid and created its own grid fueled by renewable energy

Vicke Adams vicke at vickeadams.com
Mon Feb 24 15:05:56 UTC 2014

I agree with using a total lifecycle comparison but everything takes energy, even a horse. Do you have any idea of the amount of manure produced by a horse? Some energy is required to clean that up and do something with it. And what about feeding that horse? Where does the food come from? How is it grown and shipped? I have one horse and four goats on a small farm. If I didn't have a composting program, I would be drowning in manure. Plus, there would be no way to even partially feed them. As it is, I have to buy feed and hay and transport that to my farm in the winter. 


From: Ok-sus [mailto:ok-sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org] On Behalf Of Kelley C Smith
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 3:55 AM
To: ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
Subject: Re: [Ok-sus] How a German village disconnected from the grid and created its own grid fueled by renewable energy


I do not object to well-directed government subsidies, in fact, I received a small tax break when we had to replace a roof and chose shingles that were light-colored ("white" roof(. The idea being that these would not absorb as much solar radiation in the summer and would marginally decrease the need for air-conditioning in the home, and would reduce the urban heat island effect in the surrounding neighborhood. Often "subsidies" can make up for what would otherwise be negative externalities or spillover costs or whatever you call them. 


What I do question is things like electric cars (for reasons I explained) and I don't know about wind turbines. I think they're great, but what about the energy to manufacture them? Where do you get that? I'm not an engineer….. maybe this isn't a worry. I really like bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles, but it does take a lot of energy to refine steel, not to mention other metals that are part of today's lightweight bicycles. As much as like bikes, maybe horses are a more truly sustainable form of transportation. I don't quite know…..but I am interested in some of the issues Andrew raised.


I know some people dismiss externalities or spillover benefits/costs as nonexistent. I think they are very real. So, I don't object with a system of subsidies or tax penalties to deal with them ….whatever is appropriate. I do think this would always be subject to a lot of politicking and would be fairly difficult in practice. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. 


My only misgivings about wind turbines / solar panes and other techno-fix-it things is the FULL lifecycle cost ( energy for manufacture , use, disposal, recycling…)


That's all for me.




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