Energetically Speaking

So, if no is the short answer, what is the long one? All of the above; and my “all of the above” does not include oil, coal, or nuclear energy. It could possibly include natural gas if they can find a way to extract it without the currently used method of fracking (toxic environmental emissions and water catching on fire is not my idea of clean energy).  But I can hear the objections to my conclusions already. They will go through each of the clean energy possibilities, one by one, and explain why they wouldn’t work as a solution. And, surprise, I agree with them!

The difference between what they say, and my proposal, is that I don’t deal in sound bytes. I read news magazines and watch political shows. I read the research available. I get as much information as I can before making a decision on how I vote. The result is that I can see a combination of solutions to any problem. And that is what it will take: a combination of the clean energy technologies.

Anyone who really knows me, recognizes that one of my main interests is cars. When I was young I was totally envious of a friend’s Corvette which ge got at a discount because he worked at the Fischer body plant. My sister had a 67 Cougar with a 351 Cleveland which she took to the amateur drags at Quaker City Drag Strip. As an aside, it was quite the surprise to my Mother when she found out about it 30 years after the fact.

I had two fondly remembered cars back then: a beat-up 65 Dodge with a brand new 383 under the hood, which caused severe shock symptoms to several people in Mustangs and Camaros, and a 69 Fiat Spider which is what I learned to drive a stick in…in the middle of winter…in Ohio. My next car will probably be a replacement for that one; albeit 10 years newer.

But if I had the money my dream car would be a Tesla Roadster. It is the first car to prove that electric vehicles could appeal to car nuts like me. And here comes the first argument: What about the electricity it uses? You’re not saving any natural resources because it has to draw from coal-fired, or nuclear energy plants. Wow, that’s it! I’m giving up on electric cars!

Yeah, right. Here in Colorado we get over three hundred days of sunshine a year. Take a drive around Denver and you’ll see solar panels popping up everywhere. Here, at least, solar panels are a clean energy source which makes sense. Buy a home on the eastern outskirts of town , and put up a couple of wind turbines in tandem with a solar array, and you can produce enough energy to not only provide for the car, but to take your home off the grid as well.

Take that same home, bury it halfway into the ground to take advantage of the insulating properties of the Earth and add an envelope around it for a heat exchange system, and you could end up selling electricity back to the power company. Problem solved with American ingenuity!

You may not be able to take advantage of all of these technologies in your area; for example solar panels in Portland would not be a very efficient alternative energy source. But look around and I’m sure you could find a combination of technologies that would work for you. Even if you can’t go as extreme as I mentioned, you can make your household more energy efficient in a number of ways.

And the more people who invest in these true alternative energies, the lower the cost will be for everyone; which, handily, answers  another complaint about clean energy: it can be too cost-prohibitive. As an added benefit it will drive the Koch Brothers, the API,  and all of the other corporate cronies who have bought the politicians, crazy. By the way, Solyndra is not only green energy company who benefited from the clean energy initiatives, but you wouldn’t believe it if you only listen to the right-wing press and politicians.

I believe that it is not too late for the majority of Americans to wake up to the crisis the Earth faces. Solar, geo-thermal, wind, water turbines, and even hydrogen power concecpts being currently developed could save this planet, and provide jobs for many of the people who are unemployed. Money provided for scientific research into energy could even provide more green energy sources that we may not be able to conceive of right now. This could make our country a true leader of the world again.

These solution call for a major shift in our ways of thinking about energy. Do not believe the bought and paid for politicians who will proclaim that one negative thing damns the whole concept. Think outside of the box and tell the energy industry to take their money and shove it.


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