A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

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Home Power

The people in Indiana are incredibly inventive. Lets talk about what people are doing. I hope people can contribute some good examples of what Hoosiers are accomplishing. To learn more about Indiana Renewable Energy look at www.IndianaRenew.org

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Latest Activity: Jun 6, 2012

List your links and experiences with Home Power

I believe there is unlimited room for improvement here. Improvements in power generation and storage are coming every day. Home power also includes effeciency. Using less has the same effect as producing more. What are your thoughts and experiences?

To understand more about Indiana Renewable Energy check out www.IndianaRenew.org

Discussion Forum

Support Renewable Energy at the Statehouse! 4 Replies

Started by Falon French. Last reply by Falon French Apr 17, 2009.

Wind Power Federal Tax Credit

Started by Mrs. Cara Dafforn Feb 22, 2009.

Indiana's Netmetering Administrative Code & Summary

Started by A Greener Indiana Nov 21, 2008.

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Comment by Falon French on April 6, 2009 at 10:48am
For the first time in Indiana`s history, a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) has passed out House Utilities Committee - alongside a strong net metering bill - having been amended to Senate Bill 300. The RES would increase renewable energy and energy efficiency to 15% of Indiana`s electricity portfolio by 2025 and expand the cap on Indiana`s net metering rules to 1MW from its current 10kW, a 1000-fold increase.

Together, these policies would significantly expand the clean energy market in Indiana and open up new opportunities to homeowners and businesses to generate their own power on-site and sell it back to the grid.

The job creation potential of these policies is enormous, which is why HEC is proud to call SB 300 the new Green Jobs Development Act. HEC is thankful to Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) and Sen. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) for their leadership and for valuing the views of a broad coalition of environmental, business, labor and agricultural groups. SB 300 must now be passed on the floor of the House. Please call or email your Representative and urge them to support SB 300 as well!
Comment by Terry and Patrica Kok on February 28, 2009 at 3:14pm
Are you interested in solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and other sources of "green" energy?
Do you want to save on your monthly electric bill?
Are you concerned by our dependence on oil, coal, and other forms of fossil fuels?

Do you want to help make a difference in your community?

In that spirit, Orange County HomeGrown http://orangecountyhomegrown.org, invites you to a meeting Thursday, March 12, 7:00 pm, in Milltown, to discuss Renewable Energy Alternatives for Southern Indiana.

This is a follow-up to an earlier meeting, Feb 5, in Paoli.
In this meeting we will focus on
Installations for homeowners and small businesses
Community scale cooperative possibilities

Our featured speaker will be Terry Kok, a designer and installer of innovative energy systems, with more than 20 years experience in renewable energy systems. Terry is the principle design engineer & consultant for Starlight Ecotechnics. More information about Terry Kok can be found below.

We will also hear from Steve Roy, Wind Energy Systems and the Indiana Wind Working Group, about industrial scale wind installations, and Tony Phillips whose alternative energy store, The Alternative Energy Source, is across the street from the Blue River Cafe.

After presentations by invited guests, we will have a facilitated discussion about concrete steps we can take or that are already being taken in our area to develop renewable energy alternatives for Southern Indiana.

We hope you will be able to join us and would appreciate your help in getting the word out as well:

Renewable Energy Alternatives for Southern Indiana
Thursday, March 12, 7:00 pm,
Blue River Cafe, Milltown, Indiana

Come early for a meal at the Blue River Cafe
or to take a tour of The Alternative Energy Source
across the street from the Blue River Cafe

Volunteers are needed to help with preparations
Please contact me if you might be able to help.
many thanks
@~
andy

Andy Mahler
Orange County HomeGrown
http://orangecountyhomegrown.org
812.723.2430
andy@blueriver.net

***************

Terry is an engaging, informative, and down-to-earth educator in the fields of sustainable living, alternative energy systems, and environmental management. He has over 20 years hands-on experience with renewable energy systems and is the principle design engineer & consultant for Starlight Ecotechnics. Terry is the designer & builder of BioStar-A (Needmore, Indiana) and the Faerie Hill Ecoark (Bedford, Indiana) - both being off-grid self-contained water and waste recycling solar/wind powered homes and test beds for state-of-the-art "total recycling" sustainable living systems.

Terry is the facilitator and topic coordinator for the Andorprojex "sustainable systems & communities" think tank: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/andorprojex

He has lectured extensively on these topics through the following venues (partial list):

Ball State University - Muncie, Indiana
University of Indiana - Terre Haute, Indiana
Rose-Hulman School of Engineering - Terre Haute, Indiana
Indiana University - Bloomington, Indiana
Harmony School - Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington High School North - Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington High School South - Bloomington, Indiana
Sustainable Living Fair (2 years) - Bloomington, Indiana
Planet Fest (3 years) - Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary, Needmore, Indiana
International Conference on Life Support and Biospherics - Huntsville, AL
Second International Conference on Life Support and Biospherics - Huntsville, AL
Third International Conference on Life Support and Biosphere Science - Orlando, FL
International Space Development Conference - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Midwest Space Development Conference - Chicago, Illinois
Mars Society Conference - Toronto, Canada
NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT)
- Department of Horticulture, Purdue University, Indiana

Terry has also been interviewed by numerous newspapers and media outlets such as BBC Radio, PBS "Across Indiana", WFHB (Bloomington), Herald-Telephone (Bloomington), and Branches Magazine (Indianapolis).

phone: 812-360-2549
e-mail: odonata02@yahoo.com
Comment by Terry and Patrica Kok on February 17, 2009 at 12:21pm
BEYOND THE LIE - PART 1

What if you, your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and maybe ancestors further back. were told a really big LIE, one they based their life and counted on to be true? If this LIE unraveled before your eyes and all that you thought was true collapsed and crumbled, leaving you and your friends and family in dire straights, what would you do? Would you suicide? Would you attempt to keep living like you did even though it is an impossibility? Or, would you learn how to adapt?

ADAPTATION is a big word for some folks. My thesaurus defines it as an alteration, adjustment, acclimatization, modification, change. The BIG LIE says that a corporate controlled industrial civilization is sustainable, that it can continue to rape nature to provide us with life support with no consequences to be faced, that it is the best and only proper way to live. It is a LIE designed by the industrialists so that we would buy and consume their products and work in their factories. The LIE is currently being exposed by time and nature.

The corporate controlled industrial civilization is crashing, running up against the wall of population growth, diminishing natural resources, environmental destruction, and internal corruption. Rome is falling and those who relied on it are in dire straights. The truth is that no stimulus package is large enough to replace what we’re losing and restore what we once knew. There are too many forces converging for that. Rather, we should learn how to adapt, how to acclimatize to our emerging situation. We don’t have much time to act. The whole planet is experiencing the same thing. We are not alone in our realization that we have been lied to.

The consequences of past actions are knocking on at the door. Look around you. Read the news. We see wild weather, polluted waters and tainted air, and a collapsing economy built on non-sustainable practices. We see war, murder, rape, pedophilia, and dying oceans, melting glaciers, rising waters. We’re not stupid. We can read the signs. Yet, most of us do not know what we can do, how we can get out of this mess, and what should we build in place of it. We have gathered here to seek (and possibly find) viable solutions. We did not come here to argue the fine points, to divide ourselves with political proclamations, or to revel in the horror of what is coming down. We leave those topics to another time and place. Right now it is the appropriate moment to consider our options.

First, let us consider what we need for basic life support and how we might provide for ourselves and our family and friends, maybe even our neighborhood, community, nation, and the whole world. Yes, its good to think globally but we need to act locally and the most local place to start is with one’s own life. Let’s take a quick survey:

1) Who here walks instead of drives down the road?
2) Who here composts their garbage?
3) Who here composts their toilet waste?
4) Who here recycles their wash water?
5) Who here plants trees, berry bushes, wildflowers?
6) Who here grows an organic food garden?
7) Who here harnesses the wind?
8) Who here harvests the sun?
9) Who here knows how to maintain their health with natural foods, herbal medicines, and massage?

There is so much we can do. Yet, before we delve deeper into the alternatives we should take a bit of time exploring some of the things we can do to conserve energy in our homes:

Efficiency is the key here. If we leave the lights on or keep the TV plugged in (even when off), we are using more than we need. Did you know that almost every electronic plugged-in appliance is draining power even though it is not turned on? It is called a “phantom load”. Lots of phantom loads add up to a large steady power drain. Plug those electronics into a plug strip and turn off the plug strip when the appliance is not being used.

Turn off the lights you are not currently using. Do you really need to light the whole room with a big bulb when reading a book or would a small high intensity reading light conserve more power? Standard incandescent bulbs waste power in the form of heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs make less heat and are thus considerably more efficient than incandescents - unless the incandescent is used for a short time (like in a closet) because fluorescents take a bit more power to “fire up”. The most efficient lighting to date is a sulfur light. These use microwaves to stimulate sulfur to produce light. These bulbs pump out light like miniature suns. The light from one bulb is channeled to other locations via fiber optics. So far, these are very expensive and are not available on the open market. The next efficient light is an LED (light emitting diode). There are some great LED flashlights on the market these days and the screw in version are just starting to penetrate the mass marktplace. LEDS do not get hot, last almost “forever”, are hard to break, and use very little power. In my opinion, LED lighting is the way to go.

In a normal home, lighting takes considerable power but refrigeration takes much more. Super insulate the refrigerator with 6” more insulation. Put the compressor on top so that the heat from it rises away from the refrigerator, not up through the cold box like standard models. With a front opening door, every time the door opens the cold falls out. Use a model which opens like a chest freezer. The most energy efficient location for a refrigerator (in the northern hemisphere) is on the north (shaded) wall of the home close to or in contact with the ground (which is 55 degrees F). Do not put a refrigerator where the sun can shine on it!
Also, during the winter when water turns to ice, fill some jugs, let them freeze, then put them inside your refrigerator.

AC (alternating current) engines/motors/compressors, including those in refrigerators, are not as efficient as DC (direct current) models. DC refrigerators usually operate at 12 volts and can be run directly off a battery bank, which can be charged by solar electric panels (photovoltaics), wind generators, and microhydro units (which usually produce DC power). The refrigerators mentioned above are “compression cycle” machines. They are more efficient than the propane fired “evaporation cycle” refrigerators found in RVs and in many off-grid homes. Solid state refrigeration can be accomplished with Peltier Junction chips (some coolers which plug into cigarette lighter sockets are available) but the are not very efficient. Ultrasonic refrigeration (very efficient) is possible but not yet available on the open market.

Electric stoves, ovens, hair dryers, plug-in heaters, base-board heaters, hot plates, or anything which uses electricity to heat a coil of wire are very inefficient. Gas stoves are more efficient. Wood stoves work if you have a steady wood supply. Yet, wood smoke is also polluting and you need to plant more than you burn just to keep up. Solar energy is free. Consider your options. If you need a clothes dryer, a propane or natural gas dryer is better than an electric one. Try hanging the clothing in the sun on a line. It will save you much power.

Room heating should not be electric. A well-designed solar home that is super insulated can get by quite well with a woodstove or a small propane or natural gas powered heater to augment the sun’s power when it is not shining on the home. Super insulation is the key here. So is using an “air lock” hallway (with two doors) to keep the cold from getting in. Air conditioners are a huge drain on power. It is best to use the coolness of the earth itself (55 degrees F.) to cool your home. It is easy to construct a simple system of parallel pipes which run through the ground and into your home. Outside air is drawn in through the pipes and is cooled by the earth. The moisture in the outside air condenses in these pipes to produce distilled water. This is called an “air well”. During the summer, the home should be shaded by trees. Homes which are bermed or built into the ground (earth sheltered) are easier to cool and heat.

Cooking should be as efficient as possible. Solar box ovens (insulated boxes with black interiors, a piece of thermal glass on the front, and a reflector to focus more sunlight into the box) work great as long as the sun is shining - even in the winter! Electric stoves should be avoided. If you must use electricity for cooking, a microwave oven is more efficient than an electric stove because it cooks faster. Natural gas or propane stoves are much better. Steamed vegies are tastier and have more vitamins than overboiled ones and steaming saves a lot of power. The more raw food we eat the less cooking is needed.

In the electronics world, small is better. A laptop computer uses far less power than a desktop model. A small screened TV is more efficient than an large one. AN MP3 players uses a tiny amount of power compared to a CD player. Choose your appliances, electronics, and tools based on efficiency as well as performance. Do you need your a VCR in your home or would it be more fun to watch a movie with others in the community shelter? At the very least, turn off the lights when they are not being used! Conservation starts with awareness. If we are going to adapt to the changes we have to start by learning to conserve nature’s gifts. Remember: the more power we use the more power we have to produce.

We’re not trying to live like primitives here. We value a high level of peaceful and sustainable civilization. We simply realize that we can no longer be supported by big business must now adapt to the changing situation. Conservation on all levels is important. We need to do more with less. We need to plan ahead. We need to take control of the situation and show our neighbors how we did it. We need to step outside of the box, dare to be different, and take personal responsibility for providing ourselves with life support, including the energy we use.

By now I hope you know that the grid, as it is currently constructed, is not capable of handling the growing demand for energy. Huge storms bring the grid to the ground. Rebuild is expensive. Rates are raised. Fule sources are hard to find and exploit. On top of that, many water delivery and sewage treatment systems are old, antiquated, breaking down. The industrial level infrastructure is in bad shape. Much of the groundwater is either tainted with industrial and agricultural chemicals or has been or is being depleted. Drought is becoming endemic in many regions. Deserts are spreading.

Of course we wonder what we can do besides conserve and recycle our resources. We need answers. Yet, while we may learn from others, the most important thing is to implement what we learn on a personal level, to the best of our ability. We need to take personal responsibility rather than wait for our substitute parents (big government and big business) to do it for us. Remember, Rome is in steep decline and cannot afford to keep us all alive. In the Empire’s eyes, more and more people are becoming expendable. The support net is frayed and torn. The mothership is sinking. There are not enough lifeboats.

We need to build backyard arks, life supporting waste recycling greenhouses, and renewable power systems. We need to build cooperative networks of friends and family, cooperative buying clubs so we can get those things we cannot produce ourselves or get from our neighbors - at a good price, below retail. We can learn, once again, how to barter, trade, and swap, or simply give our excess to those in need. We need to start our own power production companies, organic farms, building materials recycling centers, natural healthcare and disease prevention sanctuaries, and encourage our local and regional governments to use their political clout to bless and promote them.

We need to get the media aware of the situation and working for the people and not the BIG LIE. We need to put ourselves to work, pool resources, teach classes, get personally involved in the school system, upgrading it so that our children learn what is useful, not just what big government and big business wants them to know. Practical skills need to be shared. Grandmothers and grandfathers need to be questioned and asked to explain. Folk knowledge needs to be recovered, recorded, and made into instructional programs we can run on the Internet. We need art which shows us a positive sustainable future, pictures of a re-greened environment, people living sustainable ecovillage lifestyles, energy efficient long distant mass transport bullet trains, electric vehicles for local travel, bike lanes, walking paths, a rewriting of zoning ordinances to allow home scale businesses.

I’m not suggesting that we get rid of big business and it’s industrial prowness and employment opportunities. That would be foolish. I, for one, enjoy and thrive in a high level of civilization. I just want to have more control over my life and help big business clean up it’s act. Every watt I produce is one they don’t have to. Every vegetable I grow and chicken I raise does not have to be produced on a factory farm. Every drop of water I catch in my rain barrel and cistern is another which I don’t need to purchase for the utilities. I can dig mini-ponds in my yard and line them with recycled advertising tarps, maybe raise some fish, build a composter from an recycled plastic barrel, a solar air heater from aluminum cans, and run my gray water into the garden so that I don’t overburden the public sewer system and treatment plant. There is so much we can do, alone and together.

Let’s take a short break and come back to this energy issue and discuss how we might produce our own. We’ll also revisit the topic of helping each other out, working together cooperatively, and building sustainable community. Get up and stretch. Take a breather. Relieve yourself and wonder where it is going to and whether or not there is a better way to use our wastes. While you are at it, consider where the power we are currently using comes from.

BEYOND THE LIE - PART 2

Here are some prime candidates for small-scale energy transformation:

1) SOLAR THERMAL - Sunlight contains an incredible amount of energy. When sunlight falls on a dark surface, that surface heats up. Trapping sunlight, heating something up, and storing that heat are what solar thermal is all about. Super insulated buildings can be heated by solar energy (as long as there is sunlight). Solar thermal systems can be divided into “passive” and “active”. Passive systems have no moving parts. A black painted tank filled with water and exposed to sunlight is an example of a passive system. An active system has moving parts (blowers, pumps, valves, etc.). An example of an active system might be a rooftop mounted solar thermal panel filled with antifreeze (so that it does not freeze during the winter) that is connected to an indoor insulated water heater. There is a pump which pushes the antifreeze through a heat exchanger coil in the water heater (where the trapped solar heat is given over to the water) and back again to the rooftop solar thermal panel where it picks up more heat from the sun. Active systems tend to break down and should not be used where a passive system will suffice. Both active and passive systems can heat air, water, and even rock. Passively and actively heated solar building both use some sort of thermal storage system (water or rock) to trap excess solar heat and release it gradually over time, maintaining an even temperature indoors. Some people have even constructed solar thermal “heat engines” which turn sunlight into mechanical power to spin generators, pump water, and run drills, lathes, and fans.

2) SOLAR ELECTRIC - The proper term for this is called “photovoltaics” or PV. PV panels are composted of PV cells. Several panels wired together make up a PV array. PV must be pointed at the sun. Power production is reduced when the sunlight strikes the cells at an angle. PV cells are more efficient in cold weather. Commercial PV cells for home power production transform about 10% of the sunlight into electricity. There are experimental and NASA related PV cells which have a much higher efficiency but they are either very expensive or not yet available. Commercial PV cells are not cheap either but they do not make any noise or pollution while producing power. PV output is DC (direct current) and is usually stored in a battery bank. The battery bank can be tapped direct to provide power for pumps, electric motors, and compression cycle refrigeration (which run more efficiently on DC than AC). An “inverter” may also be connected to the battery bank to produce 120VAC (standard wall current) with about a 5-10% reduction in efficiency. Electric systems which are not connected to the grid are called “off grid” or “stand alone”. PV systems may also be “grid intertied”.

3) WIND POWER - Wind power can be either mechanical (like those old fashioned towers with the large bladed fans which were used on farms to pump water from wells) or electrical. Wind powered electric generators cost far less (watt per dollar) than PV systems and are hooked up to a battery bank just like PV. If there is a steady and strong source of wind, wind power is a good option. Wind machines need to be at least 50’ above the ground. The closer to the ground (or house or trees) the more turbulence there is and the less power produced. Wind power works where there is wind. Wind charts are not precise enough. If you are interested in wind you need to take a wind survey on your site before investing. You also need to be very careful about which wind turbines you purchase. They are not all the same, the manufacturer’s claims are often inflated to make it seem like you will produce more power than you actually will, and, like all mechanical devices, wear down and need regular maintenance. Wind turbines used to make electricity need to move fast because of the physics of electric power generation and the type of turbines in common use. Most small turbines are similar to car or truck alternators except they use permanent magnets instead of a secondary coil. One type of turbine called an “axial flux” is relatively easy to build from scratch and has the added bonus of making power at lower speeds.

4) WATER POWER - Microhydro units are used to tap flowing and falling water and convert that energy to electricity. Microhydro systems are hooked up just like PV and wind generators. If the flow and fall are strong and steady enough, microhydro is a great option for continuous power production. Another water trick is to use the falling water to turn a wheel to provide direct mechanical power to grind grain, spin fans, and power drills and lathes. A community with an abundance of falling water is lucky indeed! In recent years several companies have been working towards producing an in-stream turbine which works at slower speeds. In order to make electricity at slow speeds, with micro hydro or wind, a gearbox is used which adds another level of complexity and somewhat reduces power.

5) EARTH POWER - Below the frost line, the earth is about 55 degrees F. Tubes or pipes can be laid through the earth and air or water pumped through those pipes. This is called “geothermal”. During the summer this system can be used to cool a building. During the winter, this can be used with a “heat extractor” to provide space heating. If you are using a conventional propane or natural gas furnace or even a woodstove, the air used for combustion should come into the building through ground pipes, using the earth to preheat the air to 55 degrees F. When coupled with a solar thermal system, excess summer heat can be pumped/blown through these same pipes, heating the ground below the building and raising the ground temperature by a few degrees.

6) BIO-GAS - When organic animal and human wastes and garbage decompose in anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) they produce a mixture of gasses which contain a high proportion of burnable methane. Home scale methane production does not work since we do not produce enough waste. Community or farm scale systems, especially if there are many animals to provide manure, can be made to work. The gas is not very high quality and, when burned, does produce some pollution, similar to propane or natural gas. Natural gas is mainly methane.

7) BIO-DIESEL - By using emulsifying agents (usually chemicals) dirty fryer fats from restaurants can be recycled into bio-diesel and may be burned in diesel engines to run vehicles or even back-up electricity generators. Bio-diesel pollutes less than petroleum diesel fuel.

8) ALCOHOL - Alcohol (with the proper government permits) can be made from excess grain, wood chips, and sugars. It can be burned in most internal combustion engines with slight modifications to the carb and the replacement of plastic tubing with metal. Burning alcohol pollutes less than gasoline but still creates poisons which are normally exhausted into the atmosphere.

9) HYDROGEN - Hydrogen is burned with oxygen to produce heat and water vapor. There is no pollution in this reaction. When hydrogen is burned in open air there are some nitrogen oxides produced (very little). Most internal combustion engines, gas stoves, gas dryers, and gas refrigerators can be converted to burn hydrogen. There is another way to “slow burn” hydrogen called “catalytic combustion” in which hydrogen is consumed without a flame at the surface of a rare metal catalyst like platinum. Some space heaters are “catalytic heaters”. Another way to burn hydrogen is in a fuel cell. Fuel cells use a catalyst and a series of membranes to combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce heat, electricity, and distilled water. Small scale fuel cells are just coming into the consumer marketplace and may be even used to power vehicles without pollution. Hydrogen can be used to enrich bio-gas to make it a more usable power resource. The trouble with hydrogen is that it does not exist on earth in any appreciable quantity - except when it is bound to another element. Water contains 2 hydrogen atoms with 1 oxygen atom. The trouble is that it takes more energy to split water into H and O than the energy one gets by burning the two to create water! In other words, if you already have the energy to split water, why not use it direct? On the other hand, if you have excess energy (such as summer sunlight), why not use that energy to split water? The subject of splitting water and the methods of doing so are being studied in detail by experts and inventors all over the world in order to prepare the way for a “hydrogen economy” which some people believe will take over at the end of the fossil fuel era. I hope so. We should look deeply at this technology.

One more thing about hydrogen technology. Much of the spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors sits in water filled pits, disassociating the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Utility companies should be tapping this waste product. If this is run into a fuel cell, the fuel cell makes heat, electricity, and water. The water is then run back over the radioactive substance and the cycle continues. This is a “closed circuit system”. If my sources are correct (the people who worked on this project), the Hubble space telescope has one of these closed systems on board. They call it a “99 year battery” because, every 99 years or so they must add a bit of water because, bit by bit, the water is converted to heat and electricity. Personally, I believe the massive amounts of nuclear waste currently on earth could be used in small “home scale” units, wrapped in lead with an unbreakable titanium hull. A licensed service person would inject water every hundred years and replace the radioactive screens every thousand years or so. But, that’s for the future. Right now this technology is not a viable option for common use - mainly due to the social and legal, not technical, problems of working with nuclear waste.

I hope this short introduction has been useful to you. I left out some more esoteric energy production schemes (OTEC, tidal, wave motion, etc.) because they are not practical on a small scale. I hope you have some questions about what I’ve presented. Please feel free to ask them. Also, consider the possibilities of forming cooperative buying clubs to purchase equipment at lower prices. We can do far more together than we can do alone. It’s time to co-create sustainable systems and communities and put the BIG LIE to rest.
Comment by Laura Ann Arnold on February 15, 2009 at 8:43am
Eric et al.,

Things are happening at a rapid pace right now at the Indiana General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. Last week bills to create a state Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), HB 1305 and Advanced Renewable Energy Tariffs or Feed-in Tariffs, HB 1622 received hearings in the House Commerce, Energy, Technology and Utilities Committee. Both bills were held though, i.e. no further action during the first half.

Both net metering bills, SB 300 and HB 1347, passed second reading and now go to third reading or final passage in the Senate and House, respectively. A major amendment was added to HB 1347 on second reading on Thursday to add a Renewable Energy Technology Manufacturer Tax Credit and a Business Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit.

A federal RES bill has been filed in both the House and Senate. A hearing was held on the Senate bill Tuesday morning.

I hope to get more information posted to the blog yet this weekend at www.indianarenew.blogspot.com.
Comment by Lynda on February 14, 2009 at 5:21pm
www.theorionproject.org

solutions.
Comment by Terry and Patrica Kok on January 20, 2009 at 4:56pm
Completing the American Dream

Since the birth of this nation, when the umbilical cord was severed from the King of England, his machinery of colonization, and the maintenance of his order over, not only the colonists but also, and most importantly, the native people of this land, We, the People, have struggled to bring our most sacred beliefs into being, to remake the interior and exterior environment to suit our highest ideals of freedom, equality, and peaceful cooperation in the pursuit of what - besides "happiness"? What is the big IT that we aspire to and for? What is this "American dream" really all about?

I'm sure there are as many answers as there are people who have the courage to answer it. As an American I will put forth my vision. Please bare with me as I stumble to explain.

Colonization brought European technology to America along with the idea that the native environment was there to be exploited and the materials used to remake the environment to fit the vision of those who sit on top of the technological pile: architects, engineers, and the financial empires which provide the funding for this process. So, I must ask, what is the ultimate goal of this technological remaking of not only America but also of the entire planetary sphere? What are we trying to accomplish?

I suggest that the answer is rooted in the concept of "closing the loop", going full circle, uniting all opposites as essential spokes on the wheel of life. I'm not just talking about people getting alone with one another without prejudice or inequality. I'm also talking about people getting along with nature, for nature was here, supporting life, before colonization, before humanity itself and it's child: technology. We have been using technology to disassemble the natural or native life supporting environment, rearranging the materials to establish farms, build cities, expand industry, and construct networks for power, communications, and transportation.

We have come to a point in our evolution where the artificial life support systems we have created are causing the collapse of the remaining natural environment at a rate that is sure to bring about our demise unless we clarify our vision and close the loop on all levels. What goes around comes around. The water has become so contaminated that we are drinking each others medications. It is tie to focus our collective attention on wasting nothing, recycling everything, doing more with less, and doing it at home as well as in the world at large.

A nation's natural resources have always been the foundation upon which the nation rests. We are surrounded by resources. Many of them have changed form over the years. The clay is now brick. The dumps are filled with plastic and metal. Look around with a clear eye. Survey your surroundings. How can we best use these resources to take us to a higher level of functioning where we may provide for our own, at home?

I see a lawn which could become a garden, a toilet which could become a composter turning our wastes into fertile soil, a crumbling brick wall and a pile of old windows which could be remade into a vaulted roof greenhouse, a mountain of blown tires which might be rammed with dirt and stacked in U shapes as the walls of earthquake-proof earthship shelters built to last centuries. There is so much we can do, such wealth to redistribute and reconfigure into a sustainable civilization which respects and honors the natural world. It is time to do that. It is time to make our water pure, to cease polluting it, to use the wastes of one industry as the feedstock for the next, to seize the day and conserve our energy, to erect a wind turbine, install a solar panel, to gather with our neighbors to cultivate a community garden and friendships which have the power to put old feuds to rest.

The change begins within and is mirrored without. The change starts in the heart when we choose to love rather than hate, to embrace rather than to push one another away, to care for one another and the environment which gives our bodies birth and maintains us through all our days incarnate. The power to change, to take initiative, to express our vision through our works, is inherent but never taken for granted. Use it or lose it.

Yes, it is time to remake America in the image of wholeness. It is upon each of us to deepen our connection with nature, to employ the technologies which will enable us to close the loop, and to do so with light hearts, active hands, and the blessings of each other as the snake swallows it's eternal tail and the gates to infinity part before us.

We are here to complete the circuit. Once we accomplish that goal we are free to travel elsewhere, to seed and settle distant worlds, to turn the Earth into the breadbasket of the solar system, and to launch an advanced civilization towards the stars. Until we accomplish our goal on Earth, by not only providing ourselves but also the world with the means and methods of sustainable life support, we have work to do. As a citizen of the United States of America, I hereby proclaim my intent and focus my activity towards the facilitation of this goal: the completion of the American Dream.

blessings to all - Jade Dragon/Terry Ryan Kok
January 20th, 2009 CE
http://www.faeriehillfarm.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/andorprojex
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustainablelifestyles
Comment by Terry and Patrica Kok on January 2, 2009 at 4:54pm
Patti moved to Indiana 6+ years ago, from Dayton, OH.. I've been here since 1983, originally from SW MI. I spent 18 years here co-creating a nature sanctuary and education center but no longer am involved in that situation. We are not members of ASES but I'm well aware of it's work. I'll check out IREA. We are currently in the middle of constructing the final section of the ecoark and, in spring, will be doing an overhaul of the ecoark's existing greenhouse, making improvements to the biological-based water and waste recycling system to bring it into alignment with my current thinking/design on the topic. We would love to hold classes here when construction is completed and we have room for classes on-site. - Terry
Comment by Laura Ann Arnold on January 2, 2009 at 4:43pm
Terry and Patricia,
Welcome to Indiana! Where did you move from?
I helped to form an organization nearly a year ago called the Indiana Renewable Energy Association. I would like to cordially invite you to join and participate in our association. We are planning to petition to become a state chapter of the American Solar Energy Society (www.ases.org). Are you currently an ASES member?

Please visit www.indianarenew.org and www.indianarenew.blogspot.com.

Hope to talk with you soon.

Laura (317) 635-1701
Comment by Terry and Patrica Kok on January 2, 2009 at 4:27pm
New here but not to alternative energy systems. I've been workng with photovoltacs and wind for about 25 years. My wife and I reside in an off-grid solar/wind powered "ecoark" that we built and which is a test bed for total recycling CELSS (Closed Ecological Life Support Systems) which is another way of saying that we turn our organic wastes, dirty water, and stale air into organic food, clean water, and fresh oxygen-rich air INSIDE our home. Yes, I'm a so-called "expert" in the field. I've learned the hard way, by getting my hands dirty and living in/with what I build. Patti and I also run two yahoogroups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/andorprojex (sustainable systems & communities think tank) and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustainablelifestyles (adults only group discussing lifestyle alternatives)

I was one of the early dealers for Real Goods before they went corporate and dropped their dealer network. I an still a dealer for Alternative Energy Systems, do design work for people wishing live off-grid or grid-intertied, and have taught countless classes, presented science papers, been interviewed by the TV/radio media, lectured and many universities, etc. I know my stuff. Nice to be here!
- Terry (812) 360-2549
Comment by Robert on December 29, 2008 at 4:12am
check out www.ecoloblue.com/ they got some nice atmospheric water generators. which is a good way to get off the h20 grid..

EcoloBlue industrial machine 200liters – 500liters - 1,000liters - 3,000liters and 5,000liters models are a state-of-the-art Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG) that produces purified drinking water from the humidity in the air.

To ensure the purified drinking water, EcoloBlue uses a multi-stage filtration system free of chemicals, using the “Reverse Osmosis” and the “Ultra Violet” filters, while the “Electrostatic Anti-bacteria & Anti-fungus” like the home/office machine, but at an industrial size and quantity. The water ready for drinking can also be hot or cold 200°F or 40°F (95°c or 5°c.) The industrial machines can be connected to a city water main line too, and “play the role” of filtering only the water.

The industrial machines can be powered by an alternative source of energy, such as solar and/or wind. With the larger models, aside from changing the filters from time to time, the operating cost of generating pure water from solar or wind power is effectively $0.00.

http://www.ecoloblue.com/en/industrial
 

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