Future Energy eNews IntegrityResearchInstitute.org Mar. 9, 2005

  1. Oil Depletion Analysis Centre - Offers the latest perspective on oil supply, peak, and future, with web links for more information - good resource article
  2. Black Hole Bends Light the Wrong Way - First evidence of negative refraction, which implies negative mass or even antigravity
  3. Energy Bills Will Go Up Under Bush Plan - Associated Press article on proposed Administration bill
  4. Peak Oil Prediction is Not Rocket Science - Massachusetts State Rep spreads the word
  5. The Future of Alternative Energy - Future belongs to renewable energy, say experts
  6. Renewable Energy Legislation Proposed - Support a national renewable energy standard
  7. Spray-On Solar Power Cells Are a Breakthrough - Another perspective on Dr. Sargent's remarkable invention by National Geographic News

1) The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC)

Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, February, 2005, http://www.odac-info.org

The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is an independent, UK-registered educational charity working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world's oil-depletion problem.

World Oil and Gas Production Must Nearly Double by 2020

Meeting growing demand for oil and gas will be "an enormous challenge for the energy industry", ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill has told financial analysts in New York. See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#Exxon

IEA Oil Projections Revisited

Relying on a range of "questionable" assumptions, the International Energy Agency presents unrealistic forecasts of oil production growth until the year 2030 that are "a prescription for economic disarray", according to an updated independent analysis by Danish energy consultant Klaus Illum. See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#Illum

Programme Set For International Workshop On Oil Depletion

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) has published the programme for its Fourth International Workshop on Oil and Gas Depletion to be held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon on 19-20 May 2005. See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#Lisbon

Former Energy Minster To Address UK Oil Depletion Conference

Former Energy Minister Brian Wilson MP will address a one-day conference, 'Peak Oil UK: Entering the Age of Oil Depletion', in Edinburgh on 25 April 2005. See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#DSConference

ASPO Revises Global Peak Oil Forecast

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) has published a revised forecast for global peak oil production in its latest monthly newsletter. See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#ASPO

Prepare Now For Growing Oil Scarcity, Deutsche Bank Warns

The hydrocarbon era "is increasingly likely to be coming to an end", Deutsche Bank warns in a recently published research paper, and "politicians, company chiefs and economists should prepare for this in good time, to effect the necessary transitions as smoothly as possible." See more ... http://www.odac-info.org/bulletin/bulletin.htm#Deutsche

Big Oil's Burden of Too Much Cash

Even as fears of shortages grow throughout the world and prices remain high, the cash-rich oil companies are not pouring a large portion of their money into their basic business: drilling for oil, Jad Mouawad reports in The New York Times. Read the full article ... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/12/business/12oil.html?ex=1265864400&en=851bedd23bd904d5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

What will the rest of the world do if Saudi oil runs out early?

When the world wants guidance on monetary policy it turns to the Federal Reserve, writes Philip Thornton in The Belfast Telegraph. When it comes to oil only one institution can be seen as the "central bank" of crude – Saudi Arabia. Read the full article ... http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/business/story.jsp?story=608949

The End of Cheap Oil: Cyclical Or Structural Change in the Global Oil Market?

While the evidence is not yet conclusive, writes Herman Franssen, there are several indicators to suggest that the recent changes in the oil market are structural and that a return to the pre-2000 oil price environment is unlikely. Read the full article ... http://www.mees.com/postedarticles/oped/v48n06-5OD01.htm

Peak in Global Oil Production

I do not understand why anyone can believe that global oil production will not peak ('Peak Oil') for another 10 years – never mind 30 years, writes Douglas Low. And yet, so many do. Read the full article... http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion_editorials/2005_Opinion_Editorials/February/3_o/Peak_in_Global_Oil_Production_By_Douglas_Low.htm

It's The Pipelines Stupid

The solution to the emerging sabotage threat is the same as the solution to Peak Oil, writes Alexander Zaitchik in the New York Press: move the world economy away from dependence on oil as quickly as humanly possible. Read the full article ... http://www.nypress.com/18/4/news&columns/AlexanderZaitchik.cfm

'Peak' Movement Argues Supplies Are Running Out

The so-called peak analysts paint a gloomy picture, Tony Wesolowsky reports for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: falling oil supplies plus rising demand will equal shortages -- and perhaps a rising risk of war. Read the full article ... http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/01/f53c9744-9f5b-4aca-ae6c-e9698e72ca01.html

China's risky scramble for oil

The world's oil reserves are finite. And the view is spreading that global oil output will soon peak, writes David R. Francis in The Christian Science Monitor. Read the full article ... http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0120/p16s01-cogn.html

Oil Running Out

Gas and oil together provide 70% of the energy used in both the US and UK. But the world’s reserves are rapidly diminishing, and they don’t have to actually run out before precipitating a crisis, Dr Mae-Wan Ho, from the Institute of Science in Society, explains. Read the full article ... http://www.i-sis.org.uk/OilRunningOut.php

Staring down the barrel of a crisis

The world's oil production may be about to reach its peak — forever, writes Trevor Sykes in the Australian Financial Review. Read the full article ... http://energybulletin.net/4044.html

The End of Oil?

If the actions — rather than the words — of the oil business’s major players provide the best gauge of how they see the future, writes Mark Williams in Technology Review, then ponder the following. Read the full article ... http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/02/issue/review_oil.asp

2) Black holes bend light the 'wrong' way

Jim Giles, Nature, February 15, 2005, www.nature.com

Refraction effect may be distorting astronomers' results

Astronomers could be misinterpreting their observations of distant stars, suggest mathematicians.

Starlight may be bent in odd directions when it passes close to a rotating black hole, the researchers say, unexpectedly shifting its source's apparent position in the sky. The cause is a recently discovered phenomenon called negative refraction, which physicists are still struggling to understand.


The galaxy Centaurus A has a supermassive black hole at its heart – but could its gravity be fooling astronomers?

Astronomers already adjust their observations to account for the fact that light is bent by massive objects such as black holes, an effect called gravitational lensing. But Akhlesh Lakhtakia, a mathematician at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, has studied what happens when a black hole rotates. In this case, light is bent in the direction opposite to that predicted by conventional theory.

"Astronomical measurements, particularly those relating to black holes and other massive stellar bodies, need careful reinterpretation," says Tom Mackay of the University of Edinburgh, UK, who worked with Lakhtakia on the analysis, published online in Physics Letters A (Ref. 1).

Material Fact

Negative refraction is new to astronomy, but has been causing a stir in materials science in recent years. When light crosses a boundary, it is bent in a characteristic way; this is why an oar dipped in water looks as though the submerged part is angled towards the surface.

But in 2001, US researchers showed that certain artificial materials bend light in the opposite direction (Ref. 2). If water had this property, the submerged oar would appear to angle away from the surface

The revelation prompted a flurry of research, most of which has focused on understanding and developing negative refracting materials. "But this is exactly the same phenomena," Mackay points out.

Last year, Mackay and Lakhtakia demonstrated that negative refraction could occur in a vacuum, provided that the gravitational field in the region had the right properties. Now, they have identified something that meets these requirements: a rotating black hole. Very large rotating stars would have the same effect, adds Mackay.

Strong Field

This might force astronomers to rethink some of their observations. "The deflection of light could be significant," says Mackay. In theory, starlight could even turn through a 90° angle, apparently putting the star in a completely different part of the sky. "And the further away the object is, the more likely it is that these effects are interfering with observations," adds Mackay.

However, some researchers question how much influence the effect will have in practice. Matthias Bartelmann, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, describes Mackay and Lakhtakia's paper as very interesting. "But I'm in doubt as to the astronomical relevance," he says. Bartelmann points out that the effect will be limited to small regions of space, as it can only occur in regions where the gravitational field is extremely strong.

The effect could find other uses, however. Theoretical astronomers are currently debating whether the cosmological constant, a key number in the equations that describe the evolution and growth of the universe, is positive or negative. Mackay says that negative refraction can only take place if the constant is positive, so experimental verification of such refraction could help to settle the debate.


  1. Lakhtakia A., Mackay T. G. & Setiawan S. Phys. Lett. A, 336. 89 - 96 (2005).
  2. Shelby R. A., Smith D. R. & Schultz S. Science, 292. 77 - 79 (2001).

3) Energy Bills Would Go Up Under Bush Plan


William McCall

March 1, 2005 Associated Press http://www.ap.org/


PORTLAND - A Bush administration plan to force the Bonneville Power Administration to sell electricity at market rates could boost prices 65 percent and cost Northwest ratepayers $1.3 billion, according to a new report.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council analysis shows the effect would be similar to the West Coast energy crisis of 2000-01.

"It'll slam the brakes on our regional economy and raid the pocketbooks of working families a second time," said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Edmonds).

But a U. S. Department of Energy spokesman said the plan outlined in the president's proposed 2006 federal budget caps any annual rate increase at 20 percent.

"We think it's a minimalist approach to bringing the BPA and other power marketing agencies around the country into the 21st century with respect to operating their businesses," said DOE spokesman Joe Davis in Washington, DC.

Bonneville, based in Portland, is one of four federal power marketing administrations that serve the nation. It provides nearly half the electricity generated in the Northwest, most of it from a system of hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River.

"We don't see it will have a big effect on consumers of electricity," Davis said of the proposed shift to market-based power rates for the BPA.

The power council, however, predicted the plan would boost residential electricity bills for customers of public utilities by $24 per month while customers of investor-owned utilities that generate some of their own power and buy the remainder from Bonneville would see a monthly increase of about $10.

The council estimated the total cost of rate increases at $1.7 billion, resulting in a loss of $1.3 billion in personal consumer income and a loss of more than $300 million in federal and state personal income taxes.

"The impacts would be similar to those of the West Coast energy crisis of 2000 and 2001, and those rate increases bludgeoned the Northwest economy," said Melinda Eden, chairwoman of the four-state federal council established by Congress in 1980 to balance energy needs with the environment.

A spokesman for Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) repeated Smith's opposition to a market-based rate for Bonneville.

"He has promised to do everything in his power to make sure this proposal goes nowhere," Smith spokesman Chris Mathews said Monday in Washington, DC, noting that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) "has said it's pretty much a nonstarter. "

Mark Krasnowsky, spokesman for the NW Energy Coalition, said the proposal "seems to be the first step in an attempt to privatize the BPA," an effort that has run into strong regional opposition since deregulation of the energy industry began in the mid-1990s.

Davis denied the market-based rate proposal was a move toward privatization.


4) Massachusetts State House Session on Peak Oil
Seth J. Itzkan, March 2, 2005,

Hosted by State Representative Ellen Story
Speaker: Alex von Braun of the Karl Davies Energy Resources Task Force
Boston, MA, February 28, 2005

"It doesn't take rocket science", said Alex von Braun, presenter at the
Massachusetts State House session on "peak oil".
"All you have to do is look at the U.S. production curve (which peaked
in 1972)...to project that to a global scale".

According to Mr. von Braun, the world peak for oil production is
imminent, and will soon decline precipitously. By 2030, according to
the research he presented, world production will have dropped by about
one third. By 2050, we will be producing only approximately half of
what we produce now. As our society depends on oil, and as the global
demand is increasing steadily, Mr. von Braun believes this a cause for
concern. Its impacts will be felt strongly here in Massachusetts,
which is highly dependent on oil for heating, transportation, and food.

Mr. von Braun is with the Karl Davies Energy Resources Task Force, a
group based in the Pioneer Valley that
has been researching and educating the public about Peak Oil since
2003. The session was sponsored by Ellen Story, state representative
from Amherst, MA. A handful of other representatives were on hand,
including Jane Eldrige from Acton, Anne Paulsen from Belmont, Peter
Kocot from North Hampton, and Denis Guyer from Dalton.

Mr. von Braun made the point that Vice President Dick Cheney is well
aware of the impending issue with peak oil. Mr. von Braun surfaced a
1999 quote from Mr. Cheney, given during a talk at the Institute for
Petroleum in London. According to Mr. von Braun, Mr. Cheney said,

"By some estimates there will be an average two percent annual growth
in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a
three percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.
That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty
million barrels a day."

The "three percent natural decline (conservative estimate)", referred
to by Cheney, is precisely in the range estimated by peak oil
researchers and corresponded with the graphs presented by Mr. von
Braun. "This from a source that is not in cahoots with Cheney,
corroborated very well", Mr. von Braun said.

Mr. von Braun addressed a range of issues that would be impacted by the
rapidly increasing oil prices in the years and decades ahead. These
areas include housing, transportation, food, land use, government
policy, and even social mores.

Concerning our living choices, Mr. von Braun said, "We are also going
to see implications in the long run of the very viability of an
institution called suburbia...This (peak oil) could actually become one
of the drivers leading to a more urban approach to living"

Concerning transportation, Mr. von Braun said, "I live not to far from
I-91 and I see people, car after car, single occupancy... commuting to
work. This is eventually going to become a non-viable way of getting
to our jobs. We are either going to see people working closer to their
home, or filling up their cars with more people."

Concerning food, Mr. von Braun said that the average distance traveled
by the food in our supermarkets is 1,400 miles. The actual cost to the
consumer is subsidized by cheap oil. As oil becomes more expensive, we
will see an increased viability of locally grown produce.

There will also be impacts to our bottom line, according to Mr. von
Braun, "Every $1 per gallon that gasoline for heating oil goes up,
costs Massachusetts roughly $5 billion per year, or about 2% of the
state's personal income."

The Peak Oil premise is based on the fact that oil production has been
exceeding discovery for about 25 years now. Each year since 1980, the
world has extracted more oil than it has discovered. The capacity for
past discovered reserves to meet our demand is at its limit, and as
demand increases, and supply diminishes, the production, must also
inevitably decline. According to Mr. von Braun, and many other
researchers, that time is upon us.

Mr. von Braun suggested that we should consider taking appropriate
measures to diminish the demand for oil, and to consider supporting
development and market incentives for alternative energy sources.

State Representatives in Attendance

The Host, Ellen Story, Amherst

State Representative Anne M. Paulsen, Belmont

Jane Eldridge, Acton

Denis Guyer, Dalton
Peter Kocot, North Hampton

Speaker Resources

Post Carbon Institute

North Energy Efficiency Partnerships

Peak Oil Resources

National Geographic, The End of Cheap Oil

Scientific America, The End of Cheap Oil www.sciam.com
March, 1998, Colin J. Campbell, Jean H. Laherrere

Peak Oil

Hubbert's Peak

Association for the Study of Peak Oil

The Party's Over

The End of Suburbia

Matthew Simmons &Company, International

Michael Lynch

Peter Huber

USGSå World Petroleum Assessment 2000

Bush Energy plan - see Chapter 8 on global oil

Original Meeting Notice

Representative Ellen Story of Amherst is hosting an informational
session on Peak Oil and its consequences in Conference Room A-1, at
the State House in Boston, on Tuesday, February 8, 10:30am to noon.
The purpose of the session is to inform Massachusetts' legislators,
staff, and the public about the implications of the imminent decline
in global petroleum production. The session is titled "Cheap Oil;
Gone Forever"

The presentation is being given by Alex von Braun of the Karl Davies
Energy Resources Task Force, a group based in the Pioneer Valley that
has been researching and educating the public about Peak Oil since
2003. He is a member of the Energy Efficiency Partnership and a
Master's candidate at UMass Amherst in Mechanical Engineering,
specializing in energy efficiency.

By 2010, many energy resource experts predict that global oil
production will peak and start to decline. As production begins to
decrease, oil prices will soar with dramatic repercussions on local,
national, and global economies.

The issue of Peak Oil has been gaining national attention. The
magazine The Economist proclaimed the End of the Oil Age in a recent
issue. National Geographic had a fall cover story entitled "The End
of Cheap Oil" and a recent issue of the New Yorker explored the
connections between resource depletion and war - past, present and
future. Other extensive reports have appeared in The New York Times
and the Wall Street Journal.

Energy expert Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates in Harvard, MA
notes "No region of the United States is more dependent on petroleum
than the Northeast. On top of the direct uses for transportation,
agriculture and industry, our region has the highest consumption of
oil per capita for heating and electrical generation of any in the
country. It is fair to say that our regional economy is currently
tied in 'lock-step' to the availability of oil and oil-derived

"Every informed analysis of the future of petroleum leads to the same
conclusion", said David Ahlfeld, Professor of Civil and Environmental
Engineering at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. "The
United States should be dramatically reducing its reliance on
energy-intensive housing, transportation and food supplies and moving
rapidly towards transition to new energy sources."

This event is open to the public.


Date: February 28, 2005
Location: A-1
Time: 10:30 AM

Author Resources

Photos from the presentation

Web page with this write-up


Seth J. Itzkan
Planet-TECH Associates

5) The Future of Alternative Energy

Cameron Walker, National Geographic News, October 28, 2004 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1028_041028_alternative_energy.html

Residential energy use in the United States will increase 25 percent by the year 2025, according to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) forecasts. A small but increasing share of that extra power will trickle in from renewable sources like wind, sunlight, water, and heat in the ground.

Last year alternative energy sources provided 6 percent of the nation's energy supply, according to the DOE.

"The future belongs to renewable energy," said Brad Colllins, the executive director of the American Solar Energy Society, a Boulder, Colorado-based nonprofit. Scientists and industry experts may disagree over how long the world's supply of oil and natural gas will last, but it will end, Collins said.

While renewable energy is generally more expensive than conventionally produced supplies, alternative power helps to reduce pollution and to conserve fossil fuels.

"People sometimes get caught up in cost-effectiveness," said Paul Torcellini, a senior engineer at the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. "But it can be a question of values and what we spend our money on."

Below, a look at some recent developments in renewable-energy technology:

Solar Power

Photovoltaic, or solar-electric, systems capture light energy from the sun's rays and convert it into electricity. Today these solar units power everything from small homes to large office buildings.

Technological improvements have made solar-electric modules more cost-effective. In the 1980s the average price of energy captured with photovoltaics was 95 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. Today that price has dropped to around 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to Collins, of the American Solar Energy Society.

The cheaper rate is still more expensive than the average national price of electricity, which in 2003 was a little over 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Annual Energy Review.

Other recent advances include "thin film" photovoltaic technology, a high-tech coating that converts any surface covered with the film into a solar-electric power source.

Boats and RVs that use the film are now on the market.

Engineers have also developed a roofing material coated with the electricity-producing film. "The guy who puts on the roof [on a house now] puts on the [solar] panels at the same time," Torcellini said. The roofing material withstands inclement weather and, on bright days, taps sunshine for electricity.

NREL researchers, meanwhile, are working to devise more efficient and cheaper solar-electric systems. Most traditional photovoltaic solar units on the market today convert between 11 and 13 percent of the sun's light into energy. Engineers think they can improve on that.

Jeff Mazer, a Washington, D.C.-area photovoltaic engineer, notes that most thin-film photovoltaic systems today have a 7 to 11 percent efficiency rating. But he estimates that thin films could surpass that rating within three years. He also notes that some new traditional solar modules achieve 15 percent efficiency and believes that figure can climb to 17 percent in the near future.

In the last two decades solar-thermal panels (units used to warm household hot water, pools, and spas) have become highly efficient. Energy costs have decreased from 60 cents to 8 cents per kilowatt-hour since the 1980s, Collins said.

Solar-powered water heaters are typically more expensive than conventional ones, but, as with other products that harness alternative energy, consumers benefit by knowing their energy costs up-front, Torcellini said. "Otherwise, you're hedging your bets about the future cost of [traditional] energy [sources] by using standard appliances," he said.

Wind Power

Compared to other renewable energy sources, wind power competes with conventional energy at a price less than 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, Collins said.

Wind energy projects around the world now generate enough energy to power nine million typical U.S. homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

One of the newest trends in wind power is the construction of offshore wind farms, clusters of electricity-generating turbines erected in open-water areas with strong winds.

Europe now has 17 wind farms spinning offshore. The Arklow Bank Offshore Wind Park, 8 miles (13 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Ireland, is one such project. Its seven turbines generate enough electricity to power 16,000 homes.

While few homes generate their own wind power in the U.S., many power companies allow consumers to opt for power generated at a wind plant or other renewable source.

On Tuesday, Colorado voters will consider a ballot initiative that would require power companies to provide 10 percent of their electricity from wind and other renewable sources by 2015.

"If that passes, power companies will offer more rebates to homeowners" to encourage renewable energy production, said Sheila Hayter, an NREL senior engineer.

Ground Heat

Tapping into the ground offers another option to regulate household heating and cooling.

In most areas of the United States, the ground below the frost line maintains an average temperature between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 12 degrees Celsius).

Ground-source heat pumps, also called geo-exchange systems, use this relatively constant temperature to keep homes at comfortable temperatures.

The devices employ a series of underground, liquid-filled tubes or wells. Liquid flows through the pipes into the home, where a heat exchanger either adds or subtracts heat from indoor air, depending on the season. In winter, that means added warmth captured from the ground.

"If you can [do that], your furnace doesn't have to work so hard," Hayter said.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study found that geo-exchange systems can save up to 70 percent of home-heating costs.

Annual Energy Outlook Conference 2005 Open to Public

The Energy Information Administration will host its thirteenth annual 2005 EIA
Midterm Energy Outlook and Modeling Conference (formerly NEMS/AEO) on April 12,
2005, at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20001 near
the Gallery Place Metro station. The conference includes speakers and attendees
from Federal and State governments, private industry, and trade associations,
discussing energy issues particularly related to EIA's Annual Energy Outlook
2005, which was released in February 2005, and the National Energy Modeling

Conference registration is free, but space is limited. You can register on-line
mail or fax this form to:

Peggy Wells
Energy Information Administration, EI-84
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
Phone: (202) 586-8845 Fax: (202) 586-3045
Or register by e-mail to

Deadline for conference registration has been extended to April 1, 2005.

6) Support a National Renewable Electricity Standard

Union of Concerned Scientists, March 4, 2005, http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/renewable_energy/page.cfm?pageID=1517

On February 17, important clean energy legislation was introduced in Congress. The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requires utilities to gradually increase their use of clean energy–-such as wind and solar power–-to 20 percent of total power generation. A strong national RES would not only decrease pollution and global warming emissions, but would also increase our energy independence and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Please urge your members of Congress to support a clean energy future for America and insist that any national energy legislation must contain a strong RES.

The U.S. Senate has twice passed a moderate 10 percent Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) as part of broader energy legislation, but House leadership opposed the provision. In both the 107th and 108th Congress, the RES died along with the rest of the energy bill during the effort to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills. To secure final passage of a strong RES, we need to strengthen existing Senate support and build greater support among House Republicans.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that a 20 percent RES would be affordable and achievable. A recent Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study, Renewing America's Economy, found that a 20 percent standard would reduce demand for natural gas, lower natural gas and electricity prices and providing consumer savings of $49 billion by 2020. The standard would also boost the U.S. economy, creating more than 355,000 jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance and other fields. This total is nearly double the number of jobs from generating the same amount of electricity from fossil fuels. The UCS study also found that a national RES would help rural communities, providing $73 billion in capital investment, $16 billion in income to rural landowners for biomass energy supplies and wind power land leases, and $5 billion in property tax revenues to support local schools. U.S. power plant carbon dioxide emissions--a major contributor to global warming--would be also 15 percent lower in 2025 under a national renewable electricity standard of 20 percent. The same policy would reduce other pollutants from burning fossil fuels such as nitrogen oxides that produce smog and mercury. Currently, 16 states have enacted an RES, which UCS projects will result in the development of 17,600 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy by 2017. If our country's leaders implemented a 20 percent by 2020 national RES, then we could increase our total renewable energy capacity to 180,000 MW.

Move toward a cleaner energy future by co-sponsoring a strong RES bill (HR 983/ S. 427) and insisting that any national energy legislation must include a strong RES.

For more information: http://www.ucsaction.org/ctt.asp?u=112638&l=81518

To join the UCS Network: http://www.ucsaction.org/ctt.asp?u=112638&l=81466

7) Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough

Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic, January 14, 2005 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0114_050114_solarplastic.html

Scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day.

The plastic material uses nanotechnology and contains the first solar cells able to harness the sun's invisible, infrared rays. The breakthrough has led theorists to predict that plastic solar cells could one day become five times more efficient than current solar cell technology.

Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials and used as portable electricity. A sweater coated in the material could power a cell phone or other wireless devices. A hydrogen-powered car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.

The researchers envision that one day "solar farms" consisting of the plastic material could be rolled across deserts to generate enough clean energy to supply the entire planet's power needs.

"The sun that reaches the Earth's surface delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume," said Ted Sargent, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Toronto. Sargent is one of the inventors of the new plastic material.

"If we could cover 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface with [very efficient] large-area solar cells," he said, "we could in principle replace all of our energy habits with a source of power which is clean and renewable."

Infrared Power

Plastic solar cells are not new. But existing materials are only able to harness the sun's visible light. While half of the sun's power lies in the visible spectrum, the other half lies in the infrared spectrum.

The new material is the first plastic composite that is able to harness the infrared portion.

"Everything that's warm gives off some heat. Even people and animals give off heat," Sargent said. "So there actually is some power remaining in the infrared [spectrum], even when it appears to us to be dark outside."

The researchers combined specially designed nano particles called quantum dots with a polymer to make the plastic that can detect energy in the infrared.

With further advances, the new plastic "could allow up to 30 percent of the sun's radiant energy to be harnessed, compared to 6 percent in today's best plastic solar cells," said Peter Peumans, a Stanford University electrical engineering professor, who studied the work.

Electrical Sweaters

The new material could make technology truly wireless.

"We have this expectation that we don't have to plug into a phone jack anymore to talk on the phone, but we're resigned to the fact that we have to plug into an electrical outlet to recharge the batteries," Sargent said. "That's only communications wireless, not power wireless."

He said the plastic coating could be woven into a shirt or sweater and used to charge an item like a cell phone.

"A sweater is already absorbing all sorts of light both in the infrared and the visible," said Sargent. "Instead of just turning that into heat, as it currently does, imagine if it were to turn that into electricity."

Other possibilities include energy-saving plastic sheeting that could be unfurled onto a rooftop to supply heating needs, or solar cell window coating that could let in enough infrared light to power home appliances.


Ultimately, a large amount of the sun's energy could be harnessed through "solar farms" and used to power all our energy needs, the researchers predict.

"This could potentially displace other sources of electrical production that produce greenhouse gases, such as coal," Sargent said.

In Japan, the world's largest solar-power market, the government expects that 50 percent of residential power supply will come from solar power by 2030, up from a fraction of a percent today.

The biggest hurdle facing solar power is cost-effectiveness.

At a current cost of 25 to 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, solar power is significantly more expensive than conventional electrical power for residences. Average U.S. residential power prices are less than ten cents per kilowatt-hour, according to experts.

But that could change with the new material.

"Flexible, roller-processed solar cells have the potential to turn the sun's power into a clean, green, convenient source of energy," said John Wolfe, a nanotechnology venture capital investor at Lux Capital in New York City.

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