The major difference between the financial and the energy world is that our current energy capital IS NOT replaceable; it is by it's very nature "non-renewable". As a result, our job as managers of our planet's energy portfolio is to create an "energy balance sheet" that has the proper mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources.
The lion's share of oil consumption stems from transportation needs. In 2002, the transportation sector accounted for about 68% of total petroleum use with gasoline accounting for two-thirds of the petroleum consumed in the transportation sector.
As last year's blackout showed, whenever what we know and trust fails us, we immediately seek out the alternatives. Which meant that stocks in alternative energy companies spiked significantly in the days following the blackout.
"We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy - sun, wind and tide. I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931)
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The fuel of the future, according to many, is hydrogen. And recent announcements from California to Canada suggest the West coast will be the first to embrace this vision.
The present commodity nature of electricity is being replaced by a decentralized model where homeowners can supply their own power using their own equipment. This changes the variable and volatile cost of electricity in a "fixed" cost which never goes up.
Fuel cells will be one of the key components in the hydrogen economy. They will replace the internal combustion engine and will convert the future main store of energy (hydrogen) to power when it is needed.
We can lower our healthcare costs, reduce our air, water and thermal pollution, develop a more stable economy and become a far more secure nation if we just begin this inevitable process of evolution toward renewable energy sources.
In the long term we need to move toward a distributed/decentralized power generation network.
Solar energy is part of the solution and is a key to America's long-term energy supply. After all, fossil fuels have a long history of issues with respect to stability of supply and cost.
All the world really needs is a power supply that has no fuel costs, no pollution, and is available to everyone, everywhere, and relatively all at once. There is a technology which makes this possible today.
Consumers are demanding - and advances in semiconductor technology have enabled -- bigger and better color screens, more intuitive user interfaces, faster performance, more wireless interconnectivity, and smaller and more portable form factors. This means that for the same battery size and battery lifespan, all types of electronic products must take advantage of low power semiconductor devices in order to incorporate more features while consuming less power.
Expect cautious incursions into the world of deployed energy management solutions in the beginning. Eventually, however, we believe that commercial deployments in larger numbers will be the norm, at least in certain markets. After 30+ years of watching a market evolve at a painstakingly tortuous pace, the next few years should provide some interest and excitement.
In a survey of high-end entertainment households, when asked about the usefulness and interest of PC-based control services, respondents ranked energy management as the most attractive service option with 54% indicating that they had a strong interest in such a service. Utilities are aware and energized by this new demand, and as telemetry services become more widely available, Parks Associates believes consumers will be receptive to such services.
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