Everybody agrees that ENERGY is essential to achieving abundance. However, there is strong disagreement as to how we should get there. Energy for America advocates for the development of Fossil Fuels…a position that I AGREE with. However I strongly disagree when they make statements like the one shown here.
We need to develop ALL potential sources of energy, not just those that are “proven”. It takes a special kind of company to do this…and Corporate America does not produce them.
Bringing new technologies to market takes GUTS…it is a high-risk (high-reward) venture that only the brave (or foolish) embark on. Established companies are unwilling to take such high risks, and most budding entrepreneurs lack the funding for the large-scale development required for energy production. Thus it falls on government to invest in new technologies…to absorb the risk that industry will not.
Unfortunately, high risk means there are a LOT of failures. 95% of all government investments fail. However, the remaining 5% spawn multi-billion dollar industries, including frozen and dehydrated foods, Velcro, cell-phones, GPS, Computers, and the Internet. It is no different with energy.
In addition to technological development, energy requires huge investments in construction and manufacturing equipment to achieve economies of scale. It is not good enough to get a technology to work in the lab, we must be able to produce it on a mass-scale…this is currently where most advancement is being made.
Eating the Fallen
Solyndra was a failure, and there will be many more. The government does not know what technologies will work or which companies will succeed…nobody can tell at this point. The field is full of promising technologies, all of which have the capability to transform the energy landscape within a few years. Most will fail, but a few will succeed…and they will devour their fallen competitors.
Nothing in industry goes to waste. Better companies will come and cannibalize those who have fallen by the wayside. Buildings will be re-purposed and equipment recycled. Patents will be acquired and technologies merged. Out of the ashes will ascend a stronger, more efficient company with the tools to get things done.
Passing The Flame
Once the technology is fully developed and ready for mass production, then private industry can take over. Unfortunately, we have not yet reached that point. We have made great strides, especially in solar, but it will be several more years before the technology will be able to compete on the open market.
In the mean time we need energy TODAY, and fossil fuels…especially natural gas…are the most cost-effective solution. The infrastructure is already in place, and we have large domestic reserves that are easy to access. We should use these resources, AND continue to develop alternatives.
Achieving Energy Abundance
We live in a world that is awash in energy. We are bombarded daily with particles and energy from space. The sun bathes us daily with its light and warmth. Even the earth itself radiates heat from its core. Unfortunately the vast majority of that energy goes to waste. In fact, even half of the energy we get from fossil fuels goes to waste…in the form of heat.
To achieve energy abundance we must learn to capture and use wasted heat. This “harvesting” technology can be used to capture energy from our current power plants, automobiles, and even our own bodies. It can also be used to capture solar and geothermal energy as well. Wherever we have heat, we have power.
Finally, we need a way to store the energy we harvest. There are a variety of storage methods being explored, including chemical batteries, flow batteries, solid-state batteries, super-capacitors, electron-fuels, flywheels, compressed air, pumped water, thermal storage, and more…all of which are advancing rapidly and show great promise for large-scale energy storage in the future.
Do not allow political rhetoric distract from the facts. Alternative energy…especially SOLAR…is thousands of times more abundant than all the fossil fuels in the world combined. The value of tapping into that energy is incalculable. Yes, it has cost hundreds of billions of dollars to research and develop…but the payoff is thousands of times greater.
By achieving energy abundance, we can increase global output by 10, 50, or even 100 TIMES what it is today. Energy drives both industry and consumption. It extracts resources from the earth, and powers the wheels of trade and commerce. Energy abundance means economic abundance.
The environment can also benefit. With energy abundance we can build our cities in remote locations and design them for minimum environmental impact. We can extract resources safely, and leave nature better than we found it when we are done. Abundant energy will also allow us to clean up our mess…to recycle our waste and remove toxic chemicals from the land, air, and water.
A Brighter Future
Again, the solution is to develop the energy resources we have, AND invest in abundance for the future. We will not create the technologies of tomorrow by starving ourselves of energy today. However, we will not make it much further if we do not find new sources of energy for the future…and SOON. It will only be a matter of decades before the global demand for energy outstrips our supply of fossil fuels.
The good news is that energy is abundant. The sun provides ten thousand times more energy in one day than we consume in a year, and the earth itself gives off more than enough to meet our current needs. Add to that advances in nuclear power, fusion, and waste harvesting, and we can easily provide all our energy needs.