California’s failed renewable energy programs

If you live in California, you’re likely all too familiar with all of California’s green and renewable energy initiatives. Many of these eco-friendly programs are funded by taxpayer’s dollars. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that California doesn’t want you to know. Many of the renewable energy programs in California are dysfunctional at best.

Last week, I decided to take a trip to Death Valley National Park. In the 500 miles of driving I did, I passed by two wind farms. The first wind farm I passed was small, only containing about a dozen wind turbines. Because the turbines were built on top of a hill, it was easy for me to drive and keep an eye on the turbines for a couple minutes. None of them were turning. That’s right, not a single wind turbine was turning, and that means no electricity was being generated at all.

Later, I passed a much larger wind energy farm, containing at least a few hundred wind turbines. I kept a close eye on them, and I’d guess that only about 10 percent of them were turning. It appeared that many weren’t even pointed in the right direction to capture any wind. Maybe it wasn’t a very windy day, but it looked like an absolute economic disaster.

The fact of the matter is that the technology needed to make reliable, clean, renewable energy just isn’t here yet. Sure, there are reliable sources like hydroelectric dams, but California’s wind energy programs are a complete failure. There is absolutely no excuse to have a wind farm where barely any of the wind turbines were spinning at all. On my way back a few days later, perhaps 25 percent of the turbines were functional. Still, I shudder to think of how many tax payer’s dollars are wasted on trendy yet dysfunctional systems. The state of California is nearly broke, and the taxes have been increased very recently. Yet the state still manages to lose an incredible amount of money to projects that barely work.

Posted under Politics, Saving Electricity, Technology

An AAA membership is worth the money

Sometimes, you need to spend some money in order to save money at a later time. Such is the case with an AAA membership. The current rate for the American Automobile Association, or AAA, is $75 for the first year, and $50 for each year after that. It’s best to think of AAA as a form of insurance. For the membership price, you get a magazine about once every two months, along with special discounts at hotels, car maintenance, and more. Just with hotels alone, I was able to save more than a hundred dollars simply by being an AAA member, which is great. A lot of businesses claim that their product pays for itself, and often times that simply isn’t true. However, I have found that an AAA membership truly does pay for itself.

Not only do you get discounts, but AAA also gives massive discounts and free emergency roadside assistance. Just last week, I took a vacation to Death Valley national park. I was driving on a desert road with gravel shoulders. I tried to zoom out on my GPS unit while I was driving. Unfortunately, I went off the road and onto the shoulder, slammed on my brakes, and spun out off the road. There I was, stranded off the road, in the middle of the desert. Fortunately my cell phone worked. I took out my AAA card, dialed the number, and within an hour and a half, a tow truck pulled my back onto the road, and I was back to my vacation! How much did I pay for this service? I paid absolutely nothing. If your car is less than 30 feet away from the road, AAA pays for 100% of the service! You don’t have to get your credit card out or anything; it’s all a complimentary service. I did end up tipping the tow truck guy 20 bucks because he kept complaining about how little AAA pays him, but that was my choice. Had I not had AAA, it probably would’ve taken much longer and cost much more in order to get my car back onto the road. Please keep in mind that there are limits to the free service. If you’re car is fifty feet away from the road, for example, it could cost you.

In short, if you drive a lot, or spend a couple nights in a hotel each year, AAA might very well be worth the membership fee. I’ve found that having an AAA membership truly does pay for itself if you know how to take advantage of all its benefits.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on March 9, 2009

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How to burn salt water as fuel

In the ultimate quest to save money, people often look at how to save or reduce their gasoline consumption. There has been a lot of buzz about promising technologies like HHO, or burning salt water as a fuel instead of gas. First, let me be very clear; HHO technology is nothing more than a scam. Many HHO venders use pseudo-scientific explanations and videos of electric cars (which don’t use HHO) as a well to sell their fake gas-saving product on the unsuspecting masses. But this article isn’t about HHO; it’s about burning sea-water as fuel.

About 70% of the planet’s surface is covered with salt water. This means that if there were a way to burn the sea-water and use it as a fuel, it would completely solve all of the world’s energy problems. There has been a lot of buzz about an invention by John Kanzius. His invention uses radio waves to actually burn saltwater. The chemistry is a bit complicated, but for now, it’s confirmed that 14 MHz signals do indeed ignite saltwater.

This is great, isn’t it? Well, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, the amount of power needed to generate the radio waves exceeds the amount of power produced by burning the saltwater. Unless an even newer technology is developed, this means that it is impossible to generate any power from seawater. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is what it is. So the next time to you a Youtube video about the saltwater torch, just remember that an enormous amount of electricity is used to generate the flames, and that electricity has to come from somewhere! While it was an interesting discovery, it is extremely unlikely that this technology will ever be able to power cars, power plants, or anything else. Save your money and don’t buy any fuel savings devices that claim to work by burning saltwater.

Posted under Avoiding Scams, Saving Gas, Technology

This post was written by admin on March 1, 2009

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