Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Comment at Tom Friedman New York Times 19 March

Above you see one element of the Swedish renewable energy system. The big one is called Big Glenn and was made by General Electric USA. There are 10 of the smaller ones surrounding Glenn, and Big Glenn produces as much electricity as those 10 in total. This picture was taken March 15 from Silvertärnan, a ferry taking me to Styrsö to stay in a house partly heated by air-to-air heat exchanger as is the neighbor's house. Up the road a bit about half of the new homes have installed Ground Source Geothermal (GSG) systems and somewhere in this blog I have a picture of one such. Important addition: Yesterday we visited the apartment building of the youngest family member, an apartment building heated as are 90 percent of all buildings in Göteborg, by Fjärrvärme, And, while there, the landlord and friend S sang the virtues of the GSG system that heats his home away from the apartment building.

Today my first comment on Thomas Friedman's energy column names all of these types of systems and more.  The comment is at:

I have just seen that some replies have been accepted but do not have time now to look at them. Each is intended to remind readers that there are more ways than one to heat a house or a building.

At various places in this blog there are posts on some of these. Have added a few links below.

This is posted in order to ask any reader in America "How is your home heated?"

You can reply here or to my Gmail address under my picture.

This addition (picture below) made Sunday 23 March after discovering that the post showing this had disappeared. What you see is the home of my friend, Micke, on an island, Styrsö, from which one can see the wind turbines at the top of this post. What you also see is the drill rig that bored a 120 m borehole in a few hours, creating the key element in a "bergvärme" (Ground Source Geothermal) system that would, the same day, be heating Micke's home. The corner of the house you see is where the kitchen is and just around the corner is the back door entrance to a hallway next to the kitchen. In that hallway is the heat pump that runs the system. The heat pump is in what looks like a refrigerator. In Sweden systems like this are installed in a day and have high reliability. My neighbor has one and somewhere in this blog there is a picture of his yard under which there is a similar 120 m borehold. I add this today and have also sent a Letter to the Editor (NYT) since I have learned that Americans just do not understand what this technology can do - anywhere.


Have heard from several readers, one angry and not interested in learning, the others wanting to know more especially about incineration in Sweden since their experience in America is like mine there-only bad.
NOTE ADDED 21 MARCH 2014. Dagens Nyheter has the Thomas Friedman column in translation to Swedish, and I have written an insändare (Letter to the Editor) for consideration by Dagens Nyheter. Hope to write a Letter to the Editor today about my NYT comment, now recommended by 420 readers. (Now I have sent that letter-8:31 AM Sunday 23d here at Apelgatan.

So here are some URLs to posts in this blog that show elements of the Swedish system.

The following two provide views of the system heating my home

The next one refers to an extraordinary even in the NYT. One line was devoted to Ground Source Geothermal at Ikea in Centennial Colorado.


  1. Concerned Citizen, AnywheresvilleMarch 19, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    You have asked repeatedly and I answered on the NYT, but often comments from those who do not take the lefty pledge of obedience are redacted.

    So I'll post here: I heat my home with natural gas. I live in the Great Lakes region. We sit on vast reserves of natural gas. If we did not sell and export it, we'd have enough for 2000 years for ourselves.

    For many decades, this made natural gas cheap here. But the utilities got greedy. So they've jacked the prices way up. For several years, speculation and investors manipulated the price up so high it was becoming dangerous -- people unable to pay thousands in heating costs. But the bubble popped when the economy crashed.

    I am not an expert, but I don't think every area has access to adequate geothermal activity to heat that way. I do know folks who have heat pumps, and they just do not work adequately in this climate (as bad as Sweden). They can't keep a house truly warm in winter, without backup heat sources like electric or gas or woodburners.

    Lastly: honestly I wonder why you hate the US so much. When was the last time you visited here? have you renounced your US citizenship? If not, why not? You clearly love Sweden and hate the US.

    1. Don't confuse Ground Source Geothermal with Geothermal energy.

      Ground Source Geothermal consists of laying pipe a few meters below the surface of the earth. The earth surrounding the pipes is around 54 degrees farenheit all year long. It is efficient to use this consistent temperature level that is close to a temperature that humans like when running heat pumps. Using the more volatile outside air temperature as the reference for your heat pump costs more energy.

  2. That is a pretty funny comment. I of course do not hate the USA. You state that you are not an expert on geothermal so why don't you read my examples. Your friends clearly do not have satisfactory heat pumps but you tell me nothing about their heat pumps. No problem here in Sweden.
    What has puzzled me about your sometimes pretty severe comments is that you do not seem interested in learning anything new.
    You do not seem to understand that the reason for recommending better energy policy in the USA is to make it a better place to live. But thanks for your reply. Larry

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Just replying to one of your comments in the Times today (April 11), You call out another commenter for his venom in calling Timothy Egan "condescending and bigoted" -- and I just wanted to say to you: Bravo!

    As soon as I hear someone calling those who disagree with him villains or fools (or both), I will tend to discount the value of anything else they have to say. Unfortunately, that does seem the only way some folks know how to deal with disagreement. And the present media climate only makes it worse. There is an old saying concerning news stories: "If it bleeds it leads, if it thinks it stinks." And now, it has to bleed, scream, curse, and generally carry on it if it wants to lead. Opine without ranting, and they think you don't really mean it, I guess. Anyway, thanks for being one more voice for actual discussion, and not just name-calling. -- Bejay.

    1. Thanks anonymous. I actually drafted a new version of John's comment and I think my new version makes it much more clear what his argument is.

      I am still troubled that even more have recommended him, at least until they write to me to tell me the only are recommending the content.

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