Public Notice: Dealing With a Surplus Nick Barbaro, The Austin Chronicle, July 28, 2017
A different type of surplus lies at the heart of The Austin Environmental Directory 2017-18, Paul Robbins‘ massive, sprawling labor of love, released last week in its ninth edition since 1995. Robbins has won multiple Chronicle “Best of Austin” Awards – both readers’ and critics’ – for his environmental and consumer activism over the years, and in this edition he lays out an extended, somewhat fragmented article “on how to create an electric grid based completely on clean energy.”
Calling for “strategy, not stridency” in the long-term shift to a truly renewable energy grid, Robbins warns against quick-fix solutions and “impractical dreams,” and centers much of his argument around the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of renewable energy (especially solar and wind), and hence the currently enormous cost of storing and transmitting that theoretically abundant energy. In the end, he sees some positive routes toward the goal, primarily in efficiencies among consumers and utilities, and in new technologies creating a smarter grid and more ways to store and dispatch energy.
There’s also a deep analysis of Austin Energy‘s proposed new gas plant, plus of course, a ton of useful local directory info and tips on food, water, energy, green building, watershed protection, networking, and so much more. The Directory is available at Half Price Books, Central Market North, Wheatsville, and online at www.environmentaldirectory.