Alternative Energy: The Missing Link

Those who accept the idea of climate change caused by human activity call their opponents “deniers”, yet in one way they are also deniers, of technology. Both solar and wind energy have one insurmountable (at this time) disadvantage: the electricity must be used as it’s generated. You can use a battery to power an electric car for some distance and then recharge it (although it takes much longer than filling a gas tank). There is, however, no battery storage system large enough to store the power required by even a small city at night or when the wind doesn’t blow. The technology simply doesn’t exist. Transfer systems that convert electricity to mechanical energy and then back to electricity aren’t practical either due to losses at every stage. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be researching electricity storage, we should, but we can’t assume we’re on the verge of an earth-changing breakthrough, because we’re not. Scientists have been “on the verge of a breakthrough” in fusion power for decades but those super expensive devices have yet to produce a sustainable and commercially viable power output in excess of their input.
This means that a transition to alternative energy sources will happen gradually, not instantaneously. Politics can’t force science or alter the laws of physics. Attempts to do so, like President Obama’s proposed $10 per barrel tax on oil, will not materialize new technology, they will just hurt the people and the economy of the USA while generating more tax revenue for liberals to squander. On the other hand, the goal of UN Agenda 21 is to drag down developed nations, and our president is fully on board with that.
The rational, i.e., apolitical, approach is to plan the dual transition. Start by replacing the dirtiest fuels, like coal, with cleaner burning natural gas. Focus on energy conservation to reduce demand. Simultaneously implement alternative sources on a scale where current technology permits and continue improving that technology.
As for the types of technology, solar power is the cleanest. Wind farms are unsightly, kill birds, and emit low frequency vibrations that can make neighbors sick. That’s a well documented fact, not hypochondria. Another clean power source that does produce electricity 24/7 is hydroelectric power. It’s been a mainstay in eastern Canada for decades. They even have excess capacity that they would gladly sell to energy hungry New England if the environmentalists who demand clean energy would allow the transmission lines to be built. Expansion of hydroelectric power in the US is unlikely as efforts are underway to remove dams, not build them. Harnessing tidal power might benefit coastal cities but this is still experimental technology. What about biofuels? Except for capturing methane (natural gas) from landfills as a transition fuel it’s a dead end. Producing liquid fuel from crops removes food sources that are needed to feed a growing population, and when burned, emit CO2 just like oil from the ground.

The subject of hydroelectric dams raises the question of when does harnessing something change it. People don’t like dams because they substantially change the river. How many wind farms could be placed in one area without altering local wind patterns? How many tidal turbines could be placed in a harbor without altering the currents? Solar energy wins on this one. No number of solar panels on earth could alter the sun.

There are deniers on both sides but one thing neither can deny is that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuels, notably oil.  This reality was first brought to the attention of petroleum producers in 1952 by M. King Hubbert.  As an important raw material oil will eventually become too expensive to burn. The transition to alternate energy sources is, therefore, inevitable. It just won’t be driven by emotions, socialism, or surrender to a corrupt organization like the UN.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s