Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Consumers pushing for some alternative energy choices

The first article focuses on a couple who went from oil heating to a geothermal solution. I looked into this when I first had my house built but the price to install a geothermal heat pump was very, very expensive. I think a radiant heat solution probably would have been a touch cheaper back then. Of course I asked about a solar hot water heater and got blank stares.

Alternative energy: Westonites find relief from rising heating oil costs
With fuel prices going through the roof, some enterprising Weston families and one local builder are using an alternative energy source called geothermal heating — also known as geoexchange — to beat the price of oil heat.

At today’s rate of about $2.50 for a gallon of heating oil, a 6,000-square foot home costs roughly $7,500 a year to heat. A geothermal home costs significantly less.

Rone and Carol Baldwin of Fanton Hill Road are dumping their old oil burner and installing new geothermal heating throughout their antique colonial home. “Our oil bill this year was astronomical, but we won’t have to use oil at all anymore,” Mr. Baldwin said.

Builder Robert Gary is outfitting a new home on Valley Forge Road with a geothermal heating system rather than a conventional oil heating system. He is also converting his own home in Redding from oil to geothermal because he believes it is better for the environment.

Quest for energy alternatives steps up
"It's just been totally crazy," Seth Snyder, section leader for chemical and biological technology, said of the stepped-up demand for workshops and research information. "Everybody's interested now. ... We've been saying all along we can make a big impact, and suddenly people are saying 'Maybe these people are right.'"

Of course in everything there is the red-headed stepchild. In the U.S. it is nuclear power. This is mostly due to misconceptions and thinking that the China Syndrome movie was fact driven all of the way through.

Survey: Americans Not Warming Up to Nuclear Power as Solution to Energy Crisis and Climate Change
Despite a major sales push by the
Bush Administration and the electrical utility industry, nuclear power is
viewed in a deeply skeptical way by a "strong and strikingly bipartisan
majority" of Americans, according to a major new Opinion Research
Corporation (ORC) survey released today by the Civil Society Institute, a
nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank that has conducted extensive public
opinion research into the attitude of Americans about energy-related
issues. According to the survey, Americans favor developing clean renewable
energy alternatives and strategies -- including increased conservation,
solar energy and wind power -- that can be delivered more rapidly than
nuclear power.

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