Apr 13, 2012

How much interest in the cleanweb is there?

Over the past few years there has been a significant focus on clean tech. Locally I've seen an electric vehicle manufacture come....and go, unfortunately....and a big windmill farm established and seemingly doing well. The latest numbers I've seen put spending on renewable energy was around $250 billion per year. It seems that it would make sense to address the consumption side of the equation, and I know that this is being done, but I don't see it very much in the IT models in my neck of the woods. Cleanweb addresses energy consumption through targeting inefficiencies, not just in the way one would switch out an incandescent bulb for a CFL, but through efficient use of time and resources to minimize the energy footprint of a given activity. Has there been much of a push by enterprise for a "cleanweb", which would seem to me to be a ripe target for clean tech, with a smaller investment required and the potential for relatively quick ROI?



Hmm, I'm not sure if it would fit the technical definition of "cleanweb", but isn't cloud computing essentially doing that by minimizing the inefficiency of in-house server farms?  I've never seen direct energy consumption comparisons between the two; it would be interesting data.  Oh, and what about Netflix?  Instead of piling into my 3000lb vehicle and driving 5 miles to get a movie (or on a better day, getting on my 400lb motorcycle and riding 5 miles), then doing the same thing in a day or two to return the movie, I just move the cat off of the remote, and pick a movie.  It uses some electricity and bandwidth, but a DVD player would use electricity as well.  That seems like a pretty huge conservation of resources.  Again, this might not meet the definition of "cleanweb", but tons of little things like that add up.  Add in the elimination of inefficiency through big data, at least in theory, and we should be able to accomplish more using less resources. 


I have to disagree with the earlier point about wind turbines, though.  Bird do get killed by wind turbines, but they also get caught by cats and fly into office buildings in much much higher numbers.  Also, wind turbine design has evolved to lessen the hazard to birds, although there are still bird deaths.  New turbine designs have very large blade surface area, which negates the need of for the blades to move rapidly, so birds can avoid the blades without too much difficulty.  Older designs had skinnier blades which required much faster rotational speeds, and as a result were harder for birds to avoid.  Studies conducted prior to ~2000 do not reflect current wind turbine design, and are essentially meaningless in light of how different current designs are.  Recent studies show that wind turbines currently account for as few as 20,000 bird deaths per year.  For a more direct comparison than cat slaughter, fossil fuel powerplants kill and estimated 14,000,000 birds each year.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148112000857


I despise wind turbines. They kill many, many species of birds every year. Thousands of birds are massacred by those things. And they produce very little value in terms of energy generation. I would like them all to be ripped down. Solar is a much better idea.

Renewable should be researched, but I see nothing to indicate that those sources will replace what we are using in the short term. Still, it's always a good idea to diversify our energy supplies.
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