Monday, May 23, 2011

Alternative Energy Sources
and Energy Conservation

With the current national discussions on decreasing availability of petroleum and rising energy costs, it is important to consider the use of alternative energy sources and energy conservation when discussing the future of our community. This would be applicable to both how we fuel our cars, as well as how we serve our homes and businesses.

What alternative energy sources – water, solar, wind, bio-fuel – would be the most appropriate for Forsyth County?

What policies or tools can be implemented in the future to encourage conservation of energy?

Give us your thoughts -- click "comments" below:


Anonymous said...

Solar is probably the most applicable to Forsyth county, because although our streams and wind could provide a small measure of energy, the sun shines everyday and is only sometimes clouded. Solar systems can go on closed landfills, downtown, on houses, and anywhere else except in a cave.

Policies to implement conservation could be achieved by setting a standard comprised of the average of a resource used per person per household for the whole county and charging extra for what resources used above the standard.

Anonymous said...

All types of sustainable energy sources may be used in differing the methane from the landfill being used to power anything? If not, why?

Legacy 2030 said...

The City-County Utilities Division extracts and combusts methane-containing landfill gas from Hanes landfill to produce electricity. Methane- containing gas is extracted and flared at the Ebert Road landfill.

Since 1985 the Muddy Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant has utilized 100% of the methane produced to fuel engine blowers that supply air to the activated sludge basins and boilers that heat the digesters at the plant.

From 1958-1995 the Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant utilized 100% of the methane produced to fuel engine generators that powered the plant operations. The heat generated from these engine generators also heated the digesters at the plant.

From 1995-2008 the Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant utilized methane to heat the digesters at the plant. The surplus methane was flared.

In 2008, 100% of the methane produced at the Elledge Plant began being utilized to fuel a biosolids dryer that converts liquid biosolids into a pelletized product that can be marketed.

Walt Kinsey said...

The open free market always has and always will take care of us. We don't need to put any 'invented' programs into place to 'force' us into a direction that is not economically feasible. In other words, no more rules; preferrably fewer.

Anonymous said...

There is no real free market in Energy. Oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear development are all subsidized by tax payers. To balance this out Forsyth and Winston-Salem should work through national organizations like the National Council of Mayors to eliminate or reduce these subsidies or to provide equivalent subsidies for alternative fuels such as solar, wind and bio-fuels. California, NJ, Germany and other locals have shown that local solar use increases dramatically when utilities are required to purchase surplus energy from solar users at favorable market rates.

The cheapest energy is energy not used. Forsyth and W-S should offer incentives for energy audits and Green Building (LEED, NAHB, Energy Star) construction and renovation.

Janet said...

In the short term, solar provides the best opportunity for individual home owners and business owners to immediately generate some of their own energy to replace or supplement coal burning electricity generation. The local and federal governments should support this technology by providing tax incentives for those who invest in solar.

Governments should investigate the use of bio-fuel and hybrid technologies when replacing or adding new government owned vehicles.

Long term, local governments should keep abreast of emerging new technologies in energy and encourage companies testing and developing those technologies to do business in our area by providing tax incentives.

Terri said...

It is imperative that we identify alternative energy sources for the future -- all of the options mentioned should be explored, but there will be many more identified in the coming decades as we get serious about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. In the meantime, every individual and business in our community should work to reduce their own consumption of energy. There are many ways to do so. Local government, though the Legacy Plan, should lead by example and should promote energy conservation by every individual and business resident of our community.

Gus P. said...

Energy is a local, state and national issue. Forsyth County residents should be educated about it in schools, churches, our public libraries, government TV, Go Green Expos and other public forums. Our local elected leaders need to take the initiative on this. Only then will educated voters be able to hold our State and National elected officials accountable. We all suffer from the lack of a State and National Energy Policy. Until this is resolved, we in Forsyth will continue to pay for energy with soldiers lives and billions of dollars to defend imported oil. This is truly a local issue.

Gus P. said...

The least expensive energy is energy that is not wasted. First, make sure that every existing government building in the county is properly insulated and the its heating and cooling systems are properly operated and maintained. Second, adopt a standard which requires that every new or renovated government building meets high energy efficiency standards such as those promoted in LEED certifications. Third, inform homeowners and business about the many incentives offered by Duke Energy, the State, and the National government to add insulation, solar panels or geothermal wells and buy Energy Star appliances. Fourth, ask big box stores to periodically offer big discounts on energy saving products. Fifth, promote competitions where neighborhood blocks can compete against each other to accumulate energy savings and win recognition from the County. All of these things are being done now in other Cool Cities.

Henry Fansler said...

Tapping new sources of energy, hot water from solar heaters, electricity from solar cell panels and wind turbines, and geothermal heating and air conditioning will do more than reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Promoting these alternatives shows that Forsyth County is on the leading edge of technology.

JRL said...

Stop sprawl.

Outlaw “open burning” as this is wasteful and unhealthy. Biofuels are inefficient and should not be subsidized or supported since it increases carbon input into our air.

The existing Idols Dam should be removed or upgraded to provide power. The same can be said for the dam used for the water intake on the northwest portion of the county. As is, the dam(s) provides no benefit (water intakes can be run of the river) to the river or to us that could not be done using bioengineering methodologies. If upgraded, boating and fisheries passage should be provided to increase recreational use of the river. The Yadkin should be treated with better respect than to dam it unnecessarily when other options are available. The river without dams would be a regional amenity of greater use and enhanced significance.