It is time — to really start thinking about conserving energy

Dear Diary,

it has happened again…

For the younger ones, it was 1986. No, I’m not talking about the Space Shuttle accident, but of Chernobyl, Russia. Some idiot thought it was a good idea to run some out of the ordinary tests… in a nuclear power plant…

I don’t want to start a rant about wasting energy again, but deep inside I feel I should do it anyway.

I feel that considering the facts – several core meltdowns in a Japanese nuclear power plant in Fukushima after the earthquake + tsunami – it’s about time. The best way to avoid having to deal with this abominable technology is to use less power. If we don’t ‘blow electricity out of the window’, we simply don’t need need any of this totally uncontrollable, quasi ever-lasting lethal waste generating foolishness. Nowhere on this planet there is a place where to store this crap until it has decayed away. In Germany there have been excavations and test (for billions of monetary units btw.), to find such a magical place. There is one salt mine called ‘Asse’, which was used to supposedly keep this stuff safe ‘forever’. Guess what happened… Water came in and is dissolving the salt, corrosion does the rest to the containers. Now we have to deal with hundreds of liters of highly contaminated salt water per day, floating around and searching for a way out, probably already leaking into ground-water. And it was also found out that much more of this stuff was dumped there as was agreed upon before. I bet quite a few dudes who made that decision got a lot of money for that. I hope they rot in hell (or atheistic equivalent).

We don’t need any of this shit. We don’t want any of this shit.

In 2009 the ‘energy mix’ in Germany was this:

Nuclear power plants – about 20 20.3 GigaWatt
Coal, Gas, Oil 71.3 GigaWatt
Water 10.4 GigaWatt
Wind, Solar, Bio… 37.5 GigaWatt
Total 139.5 GigaWatt

About 15% of our total energy conversion comes from nuclear fuel. Nobody can tell me that we can’t shift that towards the water/renewable energy section. And then do even more to get rid of the fossil fuel problem. Don’t the Germans always say that they’re good at engineering, power plants, heavy industry? I bet we’re just blinded by our lousy government and all the bean-counters who have taken over our economy.

Don’t understand me wrong. Using coal/oil power plants is not a good thing either, or trying to liquefy CO2 and pump it into the ground. That can’t be considered as safe as well. We need to conserve energy, not waste it. Death to the incandescent light bulb, death to badly insulated homes, death to badly insulated office spaces that need excessive cooling in the summer. As long as we get it from fossil / nuclear fuels, we need to treat electric energy just like pure drinking water. It is limited, it is scarce, we must not waste any of it. We need water power, geothermal power, wind power, solar power, off-shore wind/tidal power and the likes – no lame excuses (too expensive, not reliable, not safe (haha), not …whatever…), and we need it NOW.

Our politicians have put this change to regenerative energy sources off for decades. A few years ago we had a green-ish government and it was decided to phase out nuclear power plants. The next (and current) government has reverted that decision and even extended the total runtime of all nuclear power plants. Yes even for the old and run-down ones. Now this will have to be reconsidered. I do hope these bloody idiots have heard the message.

This madness has to stop.

When designing products, make sure to consider power consumption (yes, including stand-by) as one of your primary goals. Don’t just waste power, every single Watt hurts. Just do the math and see how much you pay for just a few Watts of stand-by power in a year. Use sleep modes in your micro-controller designs. Don’t let the mcu run idle, put it to sleep. Sleeping is good, for mcu’s and humans alike. Try not to use resistors as a means of current control in high-power LED applications. If you have to, get a good switching power supply – high efficiency and +-10% output voltage adjust – and adjust the output voltage to the minimum value you can use. Don’t just burn the ‘excess’ power in the resistors. If you can use proper buck controllers.

Don’t use your car to go to the bakery / butcher / supermarket around the corner. Use your bike or just walk – whenever possible. It will do you good.

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