e2: the economies of being environmentally conscious
e2 energy episode summaries
releasing October 19, 2007 on PBS
Chapter 1: Harvesting the Wind
Wind is the fastest growing energy source in the world, yet it has struggled for acceptance in the United States. In southwest Minnesota, however, wind energy is a burgeoning source of local power and income for farmers. Some have joined forces in wind cooperatives to invest in larger farms and reap bigger profits. In the absence of a strong renewable energy policy at the federal level, the state government plays a key role in wind policy, begging the question: Will the rest of the U.S. follow Minnesota’s lead?
Chapter 2: Energy for a Developing World
A cleaner energy future depends, in large part, on responsible energy consumption in the developing world. Founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, the Grameen Shakti organization in Bangladesh distributes small solar systems and portable bio-gas systems to rural Bangladeshis, empowering women and the poor in the process.
Chapter 3: Paving the Way
In America alone, nearly 70 percent of oil consumed is by the cars we drive. Can efficient automobile design mitigate the environmental damage caused by our beloved cars? General Motors unveils The Volt, a super-hybrid vehicle, and the fuel cell-powered Sequel, while technology firm Fiberforge shows off the latest in ultra-light materials for car manufacturing.
Chapter 4: Growing Energy
In response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, Brazil created a domestic ethanol industry that is now thriving on all levels, from production, to distribution at gas stations, to nationwide adoption of flex-fuel cars. The episode examines what we can learn from Brazil’s extraordinary success with ethanol, and whether other countries could follow suit.
Chapter 5: State of Resolve
Could California’s progressive energy policies spearhead a nationwide shift toward cleaner energy? The remarkable laws that California has passed under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to regulate greenhouse gas emissions perpetuate the state’s reputation for environmental leadership across the country, and potentially the globe.
Chapter 6: Coal & Nuclear: Problem or Solution?
Renewables, biofuels, solar, wind and other energy sources may be alternatives to fossil fuel, but it is impossible to ignore the ubiquity of coal and the power capabilities of nuclear, despite their many drawbacks. These controversial resources may be major players in a sustainable energy future, however, thanks to new developments in carbon capture and sequestration and improved nuclear technologies.