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Finger Licking Good Ideas Fuel our Future

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Ok, I admit it - I love the smell of frying chicken. Do you recall how you felt as a child when you got home to your family dinner, and walked into the kitchen to be greeted by that smell, and told to go wash your hands? You could not get to the table fast enough. Little did I know that as an adult I would be writing about the role of cooking oil in energy independence. The hotels and restaurants in the United States use 3 billion gallons of cooking oil per year - enough to fill tanker trucks arranged bumper-to-bumper from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and back! Most of it is used by the fast food industry, to prepare french-fries, fried chicken and so forth. This cook…

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 Competition Causes Conservation 

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

When I think about what we need to satisfy our society’s basic needs, water is at the top of my list. Not only do we need it to drink, and raise food, and water our lawns, it is a key ingredient to keeping our current electrical generation system working. 

Making electricity requires a lot of water to cool the generation plants. All told, a United States-wide tally shows that power generation requires 655 billion gallons of water a year.i

It takes just about one gallon of water to cool the electrical generation plant needed to run one 60 watt light bulb for one hourii . The water used to run 4 such bulbs for a year will fill a family swimming pool. Multiply th…

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"Magic Machine" has Many Benefits

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

Imagine a magic machine that replaces old equipment for very low cost and then puts money in the owner’s pocket for decades to come.

Imagine that this same machine could lower the cost of groceries at the supermarket, clothes at the mall, education for your kids — while actually earning local investors a profit and employing local workers at the same time!

Now imagine that if you use this machine, you reduce the number of people suffering from asthma, heart problems and many other diseases, thus lowering health care costs for our country.

Now imagine that this magic machine has existed for years, and still is not used nearly as much as it could be. And that is where we sit today.…

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Brighter Days Ahead for U.S. Energy Supplies

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

There are several reasons for optimism about our energy situation as we kick off 2012.

Americans have been fearful of a repeat of fuel shortages and economic disruptions ever since the 1970s, when Arab nations cut off oil supplies. And there has been good reason for fear: Until recently, our oil imports from countries that did not like us were growing rapidly. Many Americans are not aware this situation is changing for the better.

The first reason for optimism is that our petroleum energy imports have dropped significantly from their all-time high in 2005, when we imported 60 percent of our demand. During 2010, we imported slightly less than half — a stunning drop af…

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Investing in Energy Savings

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

One of the largest contributors to making a community poor is to spend big dollars on energy created elsewhere. A dollar spent on coal or oil or natural gas leaves the neighborhood forever and therefore cannot pay for local labor or local services — an exported dollar that hurts everyone.

A strategy some communities have used to reduce the outflow of money used to purchase energy is to invite private investors to invest in public buildings in exchange for a share of the energy savings achieved.

One example of private money investing in not-for-profit buildings can be found at Wellesley College, located outside Boston in Wellesley, Massachusettes. A private investment group was contract…

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