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  • Kristin Shrader-Frachette classifies energy generation technologies as following either hard or soft paths. (She attributes this distinction to Amory Lovins.) “The hard path is centralized, capital intensive, large scale, complex, and energy intensive.” On the other hand, “the soft path is characterized by decentralization, smaller capital investments, small-scale organizational structures, and less complex, labor-intensive technologies.”
  • The windmill project, currently under debate in Puerto Rico, seems to have a foot in each. In its earlier phases, windmill technology walked on the soft path with decentralized ownership, small scale operation, low capital investment, and simple design. But the plan set forth by a private company to build a windmill farm in Puerto Rico has been met with local opposition that seeks to locate it on the hard path.
  • The windmills are to be built on a plot of land adjacent to the Dry Forest of Guanica, a fragile nature preserve under the protection of the United Nations and the Puerto Rican government. Some fear that the windmills would kill birds from the many endangered species that have sought refuge in the preserve.
  • Others are concerned that the company proposing to build the windmill farm cannot be trusted to remain focused on windmill technology; they fear it will be used as an excuse to industrialize the Guanica/Ensenada areas with harmful environmental and social impacts. Industrialization would disrupt a way of life for residents that dates back to the sugarcane plantations that operated until the early 1970’s.
  • The public hearings carried out on the project by the Puerto Rican government were poorly publicized and held in an exclusive resort complex located on the far side of the island, a good day’s drive from the Dry Forest of Guanica. Those already concerned about the environmental impact of the windmill project, now added concerns about their rights of participation and social justice.
  • “What,” they ask, “are public officials trying to hide?”

    Gas pipelines

  • Puerto Rico depends almost entirely on petroleum to fuel the plants that produce the island’s electricity. In 1992, a project developed by the private company, Cogentrix, to produce electricity and sell steam as a byproduct using cheap and widely available coal was defeated by groups in the Mayaguez area concerned by the plant’s environmental impacts. Both the proponents of the plant and the electric authority predicted chronic shortages and black outs by the turn of the century. These predictions have turned out to be true.
  • Moreover, the environmental impact of the oil-dependent generating plants combined with the instability of the world oil market has brought the energy crises to Puerto Rico. The EPA has ordered the Puerto Rico energy authority, called the Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE) , to reduce its dependence on oil for the production of electricity to below 50% by the year 2010.
  • To comply, the AEE has turned to natural gas and has begun the construction of a pipeline from the coastal region near Penuelas to electricity plants on the other side of Ponce. The technology surrounding natural gas is sound, safe, and clean. But the location of the pipeline and the environmental and social impact of its construction has caused damage in largely poor communities.
  • Residents interviewed state that they were not properly informed that the pipeline would be situated so close to their homes or that the construction would have such a grave impact. They claimed that they were not able to participate in the public hearings held on the pipeline and have been forced to bear an unjust burden of its social and environmental costs.
  • Does the use of natural gas delivered to electricity generating plants by means of underground pipelines represent good, sustainable environmental decision-making?
  • What should the AEE and the Puerto Rican governmental officials have done differently to anticipate better the social justice concerns of those living near the construction sites of the pipelines?

Questions & Answers

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
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