Monday, June 16, 2008

Where the Hot Wind Blows: Some Odder Ends

Archie The Guardian has an interesting article about the harder look being taken at microgeneration:

British buildings equipped with solar, wind and other micro power equipment could generate as much electricity in a year as five nuclear power stations, a government-backed industry report showed today.

Commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Regulatory Reform (DBERR), the report says that if government chose to be as ambitious as some other countries, a combination of loans, grants and incentives could lead to nearly 10m microgeneration systems being installed by 2020.

Apparently, Germany is investing the euros necessary to jump start the industry, but Germany is also roaring along economically and most European countries are not. The upfront costs of microgeneration are gasp-inducing and fall on builders and owners retrofitting their houses.

Other possible incentives include 50% grants to help people meet the high initial cost of equipment and installation. If the government subsidised 50% of the cost of the some of the technologies, Britain would save 14m tonnes of CO2 a year, or 3% of all emissions for a cost rising to £2.2bn a year by 2030.

Frankly, we think making individuals do this without shutting off their electricity will take a massive education effort or government dictum (which would mean shutting off the electricity ultimately.) That can be tough, as can be seen in the effort here to get people to switch off analog TV before the government does it for them – and that’s just TV and pretty cheap to do. If done on a large scale, a transition like this could also send unpleasant economic shocks through various energy-generating industries that the government has to somehow accommodate. Oh, and one more thing:

Conservative leader David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Malcolm Wicks have all had applications to erect wind turbines on their roofs turned down by planning officers.

Not on my roof’s backyard, thank you very much.

Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pursued. Not much mentioned in the U.S. so far, it’ll be interesting to see how Great Britain pursues this in their upcoming energy plan.

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As always, Archie Comics – yes, this would be a change of subject – has been looking for ways to keep their characters interesting to the mobs of young girls (mostly) who have lots of other things to gobble up their time. Archie’s gang has been around since 1941 and has always been in high school, so relevance here means keeping Riverdale High more or less in sync with the times and with the cultural touchstones that interest kids. (Which should mean Manga Archie, but so far, no.)

So it’s no surprise that Archie is going green and promoting it:

Just as "Freshman Year" writer Batton Lash [wonder if he was named after Bat Lash, a western hero of 60s comics] is turning back the timeline for a fresh look at Archie and his friends' beginnings, the publishers of Archie Comics are giving previously used paper a fresh look by printing this storyline on recycled paper! Beginning with ARCHIE #587, all five issues featuring this special storyline, through issue ARCHIE #591 will have their interiors printed on recycled paper.

We’re not sure why this story merits the paper rather than a story about the kids’ eco-efforts, but maybe the coverage missed it. And do high school kids have “beginnings”? Since all these kids grew up together, it isn’t even a question of meeting each other for the first time.

Archie Comics may be letting itself in for it, though, as recycled paper is fairly expensive and these issues are probably loss leaders. If Archie’s readership begins to militate for all the titles to be printed this way all the time, trouble for someone’s pocketbook.

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Well, Planet Green, the Discover channel outlet we mentioned last week, debuted. Slate has a first review, but we’re loath to quote from it. If Troy Patterson is right, it’s everything we made fun of and more. But as we said then, early days – Discover has generally found the right balance in their programming before and likely will here, too.

Picture of the first of the green Archies. Note the backpacks and outfits – they do keep up. If you grew up on the Dan DeCarlo version of Archie – and who didn’t? it lasted 50 years – Bill Galvan’s variation is a nice spit polish. Not much diversity, though – where are these kids, anyway? Utah?

1 comment:

Robert Synnott said...

It's also worth noting that the offending study identified gas boiler CHP as the source of the vast bulk of the microgeneration energy, so if grid electricity is generated cleanly (through nuclear, say), the government is actually paying people to produce dirty power.