10-26-16 – Energy Independence Is Possible Without Taxes, Giant Wind Turbines, or Solar Farms.

by Matthew Strong

Montpelier’s plans for renewable energy goals seem to be limited to industrial solar farms, 400 foot wind turbines, and enormous tax increases to push people away from cheap energy sources. What if we could have local, renewable, sustainable energy, without using prime agricultural land for solar panels, leaving priceless ridgelines intact, and keep taxes lower? It is possible, and the technology and resources to make it happen are either already here or just around the corner. Instead of pushing top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions, why not let innovation and technological advancement take the lead? Increasing the portfolio of renewable, sustainable energy.

Here’s all the new technology on the way for energy independence.

  • What if every window in your home or office building generated electricity? Windows with transparent solar panels are just around the corner. There are several firms working on transparent technology for electricity generation. It is currently only available for commercial buildings, but residential is on the way! https://solarwindow.com/
  • Rocket stove mass heaters are the next advancement in wood fueled heating. But this jump is a big one. The science behind it allows nearly 100% burning efficiency, nearly zero particulate emission (only warm steam and a small amount of CO2), nearly zero ash, no creosote, an infinite amount of aesthetic design possibilities, low building costs, and doesn’t require highly-seasoned hardwood. The heat is stored in the mass surrounding the system which releases over time, instead of going up the chimney like wood stoves. The pioneers of the system report a typical massive reduction in wood usage, in their own home they went from 4 cords per year down to ½ cord. A Google or Youtube search will give you all you need to know. Designs range from Yurt-friendly to high-end condo-capable.

“By replacing the turbine’ blades by a sail-shaped body that enjoys high aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd), our Zero-Blade device is capable of capturing twice as much wind kinetic energy as conventional bladed wind turbine for the same swept area.” The compact sail-shaped body could be easily identified by birds and bats as an obstacle to be avoided. This new design could be considered as a “neighborly system” with a very low acoustic and vibration emission. The Saphonian differs from the conventional wind turbines by the absence of blades as well as the inertia of a heavy rotational motion. This significantly reduces the risk of accidents due to blades breakdown, fragments injection, snow projection and even fire. Best of all, this new technology would allow preservation of our precious and tourism inducing ridgelines!

  • Bill Gates’ project terrapower.com is working on new technology destined for 2nd and 3rd world countries, but hopefully will circle back to the U.S. once it’s proven viable in 2030. It’s a “traveling wave reactor” (TWR) that uses depleted uranium as fuel. The TWR is not a pressurized system and overheating accidents like Fukushima cannot occur. It is safe enough that it needs no human response to safely shut down in the event of an emergency due to the laws of physics. Rather than storing nuclear waste, we could be using it for fuel, with no weapons proliferation possible. With the current depleted uranium available, with no new mining, Gates believes TWR generators could provide power to U.S. residential needs for 700 years.
  • Vermont Agency of Natural Resources estimates there to be over 1,200 dams scattered across the state, many of them un-used and in disrepair, and they want to remove them all. What if we retro-fitted them with hydro-electric generators? Experts say you need a 20ft drop in the river/stream for year round usage, and the cost is currently prohibitive due to EPA regulations. But if there were even 20-50 viable options, if you have to spend money removing them, as the agency of natural resources wants to do, why not get the double benefit of local, sustainable energy, and increased flood control as well?
  • For those concerned about using foreign oil, we have a natural gas pipeline on the way into in our state. You can get a conversion kit for your vehicle, and along with a compressor, you can have 100% American originated fuel in your commute vehicle, or even your whole transportation fleet.
  • While some of these technologies are a few years in the future, prioritizing better choices now would help reduce destruction of the nearly priceless value of resources like ridgelines and open agricultural land. Instead of using prime agricultural land for solar farms, why not use the top of large box stores and canopies of panel over their packing lots? Prioritizing micro-grid technology (individual solar, wind, partnered to the new Tesla battery packs) over large scale projects. Promoting and prioritizing net-zero buildings instead of taxes. Furthering insulation and tax credits for energy savings. Retro-fitting existing homes and buildings using already existing technology and construction personnel could reduce everyone’s bills, and there are programs out there with minimal cost to taxpayers.

Having a full portfolio of options of local, sustainable, renewable power is possible, preferable, and most importantly, within sight without the one-size-fits-all approach from Montpelier.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

William Hays October 29, 2016 at 4:19 am

I like the “Rocket Stove” idea! I hope I can find more info on-line.


Jeanne Vittorioso October 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Solar and wind would be better applied at the individual level. Current homes and business can be fitted with these and new homes/businesses can have the systems included in the plans. Solar can make electricity and preheat water, cutting the power needed to heat water. Current homes should definitely be updated and weatherproofed, although for many, that is expensive too. Significant tax breaks for this should be a long-term allowance. Using at least some of the dams for hydroelectic power makes a lot of sense – the water is constant source like the sun and wind. Cars can definitely be made more efficient and clean – the millions of cars on the road and factories are where most of the pollution is from, not home heating. I say NO NO NO to the carbon tax – it is too much of a burden for too many people who are already deciding between meds or food. What is the carbon tax supposed to pay for, anyway?


Jim Bulmer October 29, 2016 at 2:39 pm

I hope someone in Montpellier is paying attention. DOUBTFUL!!!


William Hays October 30, 2016 at 3:31 am

It is going to be highly amusing to see for whom Scumlin, and his cronies, work for in 2017. I’ll bet Iberdrola/Avangrid, Blittersdorf, and TransCanada are high on the list. Maybe even the Stowe ‘Reporter’ and the Waterbury ‘Record’. Birds-of-a-feather…


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