Alternative Renewable Energy

Biodiesel Biofuels (general) Commercial sites
General Home Generators Inverters
Methane Petroleum Photovoltaics
Refrigeration Solar Water & Space Heating Transportation

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For information about our plans for adapting our"urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for our home.


Steve's Renewable Energy Musings , a discussion and educational resource for do-it-yourself home built off-grid energy production. Wood gas, bio diesel, hydro, steam, hydrogen, methane, wind, alcohol, photo-voltaics. Tutorial on off-grid and renewable energy , a quick overview of the basics.

Alternative Energy Links , from Frugal Living at , lots of links to all aspects of alternative energy.

Alternative Energy , the guide to going grid-free. Links, articles, product evaluations, access.

Green Energy News , covering clean, renewable, and efficient energy for transportation, home, and business.

Green LA , Los Angeles residents can voluntarily agree to pay 6% extra on their electric bill, with the funds used to subsidize the purchase of electricity generated by renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) This electricity tends to cost a bit more than power generated by fossil fuel plants, but the price of the fossil fuel plant doesn't include the cost of the pollution. As of November 1999, 20,000 households had signed up for the program. This program is designed to allow consumers to encourage alternative non-polluting energy markets to create new productive enterprises to provide such renewable energy.

Renewables for Sustainable Village Power Program access to information about local and village electrical power programs not dependent upon importing electricity from a grid.

WIRE - the Worldwide Information System for Renewable Energy, sponsored by the German government (site is in English, however), tons of resources (click on "guest access" or do a free registration which allows more options (such as providing information to the database).

International information on renewal energy , Geothermal, Biomass, Waste, Hydro, Solar, Wind, PV

Atlas , reviewing and prioritizing Europe's future energy technologies, from the European Commission.

The evolving renewal energy market , from the International Energy Association, which is part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Full text of report.

Energy Efficiency , collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on cost-effective energy efficiency projects. Many details found here.

Solstice , an on-line source for sustainable energy and development information from the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology, accesses several interesting and useful email listservs.

Renewable Energy Resources , a report for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution Study on Energy and the Environment.


PV Power , from the Dept. Of Energy, a set of detailed pages about generating your own power with solar cells.

A Homemade Portable Solar Panel Generator an excellent page that explains how its author built a homemade portable solar power system, lots of excellent links, completely explains each step.

Build a solar power generator for less than $300 , enough power for a small TV, or radio, cassette player, small fan, blender.

Mr. Solar great access to information about living "off-the-electrical-grid". Has numerous articles about all facets of alternative energy.

Solar Energy International , renewable energy education and sustainable development. Among other activities, they offer on-line classes in designing a PV (photo-voltaic) energy system . Why choose renewables?

International Solar Energy Society , membership society, global outreach.


Solar Water & Space Heating

How to make a solar water heater , an online VITA technical publication.

How to build a solar heater that fits into a standard window.

Society for Renewable Energy , European cooperative supporting self-building of renewable energy devices such as solar water heaters, by small neighborhood groups.


Double cropping corn and land , farmers leasing their fields for wind generation, but also continuing the farm the land underneath the turbines. $2,000/wind turbine to the farmer, per year. As the price of electricity increases, this will go up.

The Penren Windmill Book , should be subtitled, "Everything you need to know to build your own windmill to pump water or generate electricity from off-the-shelf parts." It is well recommended in the non-profit windmill enthusiast community. It costs $35, I haven't actually bought it yet, but during some recent cyberspace research on windmills, it was mentioned everywhere.

Windmills , there is a lot of information here about historic and modern windmills and their uses. I got sidetracked by this site for more than an hour when I stumbled across it. Did you know that windmills were a primary energy source for flour milling during the colonial era of the US? Every farm neighborhood had one or more.

Windmills and how they work , nice little page explaining windmills, has diagrams and pictures.

Windmill design and construction , "windmills were works of art, no two were ever alike," history, design, milling.

Mills of the 18th & 19th centuries in Camden County, North Carolina , nice site describing early windmills in this area of the US.

Wind Energy Link Page , at the Sandia National Laboratories renewable and wind energy pages.

Ben Sluder's Wind Energy page , a personal page devoted to wind energy information and links.


Biofuels (general)

Converting an engine to run on alternative fuel such as alcohol or vegetable oil , discussion thread from last year about some of the details and options.

Carbohydrate Economy Clearing House , from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, making fuels (and other industrial projects) from veggies and other carbohydrates. Carbohydrate Economy E-bulletin , December 2000, monthly publication chronicling developments in alternative economic development.

Phyllis , a database on the composition of biomass and waste. If you need the details, they are here.

Bio-energy List Archives , searchable, this is one of the lists I archive.

Making your own fuel alcohol, hydrogen gas, and methane.

American Bioenergy Association , industrial strength, corporate bio-energy.



Turning sewage into cheap power , 2 million watts, to be exact, report on a functioning plant in Ottawa, Canada; they estimate they can get its production up to 10 megawatts using methane gas from the city's sewage treatment system.

Methane Production , detailed discussion by someone who's done it (that is, produced methane gas from manure and chopped plant matter. Can be a substitute for natural gas or propane (



Grassroots Biodiesel Page , making fuel from vegetable oil, Recipes for home-made biodiesel .

Veggie Van , OK, you take any kind of vegetable oil (used frying oil from restaurants is fine), mix it with a bit of methanol and lye, and you get glycerin soap and BIODIESEL. Pour the biodiesel into any diesel engine, and it will work fine (no modifications to the engine are necessary), and the exhaust smells like french fries. These people drove all over the country in a biodiesel powered van, and wrote a book about it. You can buy the book here, and or read for free about the wonderful world of bio-diesel.

The World of Biodiesel , links, discussion group, bio-diesel worldwide.

Biodiesel research and the University of Missouri , bibliography, some on-line academic papers.

National Biodiesel Board , all the news that fit to print about all things biodiesel.

Biodiesel , a do it yourselfer shows how he makes biodiesel from used fryer oil, lots of pictures.



Green Cars , organized campaign encouraging automakers to make "green" cars (high full efficiency, low pollution/emissions, perhaps alternative non-fossil carbohydrate based fuels or electric hybrids.

The full costs of the car , from Car-free Ottawa, an accounting of the real costs of auto ownership, including the externalities our economic system allows us to avoid.

Do it yourself automotive LPG conversion , convert your car to run on propane or methane. Complete on-line text of the book.


Electricity-free Refrigeration , here are do-it-yourself plans for building an absorption refrigerator that does not use electricity.

Solar Frost , a European start cooperative offering solar refrigeration and cooling technology.



Value Priced Inverters , an inverter is the gizmo that converts DC power (like you get from your car battery) into AC power (like runs your television, computer, or refrigerator). This is a commercial site, but their prices are really good, best I've found on the web.


Home Generators

Build your own generator using a lawnmower engine and an automobile alternator. No kidding, detailed plans, built it yourself.


Commercial Sites

Central Vermont Solar & Wind , commercial site, but it offers a great overview of what is involved with getting off the grid. Easy to understand, which is something when we're talking about alternative energy. Their packages run $500 to $25,000, and all are "hybrid", featuring wind and solar generating capacity.

SBT Designs

sells and installs home automation, accent lighting and renewable energy power systems for residential and light commercial structures. Has a nice consumer products with some interesting items for solar power afficionados.



Internet Resources from sci.geo.petroleum , one of the most comprehensive link collections relating to the petroleum industry.

Utility Connection , links to nearly 4,000 electrical, gas, water, and waste water utilities.

Running On Empty , "convince sheet", discusses evidence that we are heading for petroleum depletion faster than the "conventional wisdom" believes.

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