This article deals with the present energy mix and tries to discover how the future energy mix should look in order to be sustainable and significantly reduce environmental impact, for example reduced CO2 emissions. It should be less dependent on the fossil fuels, have increased reliability, have fuel cost with reduced price fluctuations and be able to successfully meet the future demand for energy that just gets larger and larger as world energy requirements increase with the new lifestyle choices.
The US has installed over 25 gigawatts of wind, and thanks to hodge-podge of policy incentives, research and development, and private investment wind has become the poster-child of renewable energy and at the utility-scale has achieved grid-parity with conventional fossil-fuel energy. However not a single kilowatt of offshore wind has been developed, despite it being a stronger and more consistent energy source than its counterpart on land, closer to large populations where the energy is needed, and already proven commercial technology.
"Buildings like trees, cities like forests." When Michael McDonough, author and sustainability architect, suggested this be the new paradigm for the future, he was referring to the creation of buildings and communities that are self-sufficient. He also reminds us that "waste is a human phenomenon", so the concept of recycling and efficiency is central to the attainment of environmental stewardship. Through integration, energy management, efficiency techniques and technologies it is now possible to create buildings that are 'greener' and more ecologically synergistic than ever before.
This month, the Obama Administration proposed cutting more than $130 million for hydrogen and fuel cells, and a total elimination of funds for the fuel cell vehicle program. This unfortunate position is short-sighted, and could prove disastrous. Abandoning these programs now will drive technology and innovation overseas and obstruct private investment. It will also waste state and federal dollars, stifle a burgeoning industry and limit options to fight climate change.
The Obama administration has made alternative fuel research a key objective for the country. Researchers in the area of hydrogen fuel cell research therefore are faced with a plethora of peer reviewed publications that they must read to stay abreast of not only the latest publications but also historical publications that may be relevant to a current discovery.
Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? Everybody loves a good contest. Let's have a national contest to devise a solution for our energy problem. If this plan is launched there will be innumerable business plans being word processed before the next dawn. Can you imagine having the patent on the replacement for oil? How valuable would that be, tax free? As a spin off value of this contest, can you imagine having the patent to create a new source of water, and be able to sell it to the drought stricken Mid East and Africa, and have the profits being tax free for ten years? How valuable would that be? How many people / companies would be lining up to participate?
Jet travel has both been a time saver and a giant waste of energy. More fuel has been consumed in jet travel than by all the cars in the US combined. About 19.4 billion gallons of fuel are consumed by air travel within the US. Since these planes cannot use an alternative fuel, conservation is the only answer.
Somewhere in the mid 1980's, the NAHB Research Center in Washington was run by a guy I knew (whose name I can't seem to dig up) who had a wacky vision. His idea was to reinvent the way electrical power was distributed throughout the home. They called it Smart Home (not to be confused with the Disney movie of the same name or other stuff that uses that name now). I think it was the first use of the name.
Basically, Pigouvian taxes would tax the things we do not want in our society, like toxins and greenhouse gases, and NOT tax things we like in society, like employment and housing. For example, when coal power plants emit traces of mercury, we should not tax the power produced, but the harmful mercury emitted.
The world must now find ways to create the eternal paradigm for the infinite future of life on Earth, and I suggest that we may be able to begin the construction of an infrastructure that will still 100% sustainably serve those who live 1000 generations from now
It is much easier to stress the unreliability of RE if you ignore the fact that wind and sun were never meant for baseload energy production, and that hydro, biomass, geothermal, etc. are continuous, storable and in fact easier to turn up/off than nuclear.
The environmental cost of raising cattle through conventional farming, slaughtering the animal and distributing the meat. Producing a kilo of beef causes the equivalent of 36.4 kilos of CO2.
So what unknown but magical benefit to nuclear power exists to make nuclear so incredibly attractive to some political leaders? Unfortunately and admittedly, this author does not know.
SUV drivers pollute the planet with their gas-guzzling snobbism. Or do they?
It would take nothing short of a sea change to overcome Congressional inertia and recover the ground lost in the last 25 years or so. But though the prospects for a truly coherent national energy policy are improving -- and the need has never been greater -- both the citizenry and the current Congress are far too complacent to entertain changes that might involve belt-tightening and discipline.
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