Bioenergy, Blogs, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Solar, Wind Power

Options, opinions and other interchangeable words


When we look at energy there are as many options as there are opinions as to what those options should, could, will, or may be in our future. I want to see if we can agree, or not, that the need for options is apparent and the need for debate on opinions is still necessary.

Let’s start here, we all are right and we are all wrong. The energy consumption continues to increase. We keep producing more users, new beings, and we continue to raise the need for power. I cannot believe they have electric cigarettes now, they even have to be plugged in. what a boon for the utility, let’s get all the smokers to plug in and then we can raise the rates, and well I will get on that band wagon at a later date. So here we are in need of more power, right, we can agree on that. New regions of developing nations find out that the light bulb and the cell phone are wonderful inventions. Once you turn on a blub in a developing nation just try and turn it out, I can get ugly. Also we can agree, I think, that the provision of energy to areas lacking is a great humanitarian thing to do, when done wisely. Which is a topic for another day, my backlog is growing. Along with all of that we have TV’s that use more power, computers in every home. In my home alone I have four computers three cell phones and all of the things that go with that, and there are two of us. Ten years ago it was two phones and one computer and an old CRT based TV, no LED or Plasma.

So can we agree that consumption is on the rise? Can we agree that is will not slow down, unless contraception increases, another topic for a different blog altogether. So here we are agreeing, not bad for one attempt, I know it will dwindle fast.

So let’s go for one more. With the need to clean up the air, rivers, swamps, forests and barren tracts of unusable dessert land (I am poking fun here) we find our future comeing to grips with fewer options for generation of the needed power, remember we agreed on that need. Those options should be wise and good for the majority concerned. They should be clean and as much pollution free as possible. We also need to review that not one source will do it all and that no one method will work for every location on our little spinning ball. So, do we agree that there are many solutions? Do we agree that not every solution fits every need? Do we agree that the environment, not being environmental here just say “the environment” should be considered in all areas that it is possible? So, if we agree so far we can then look at possible solutions, right? Now here is where the opinions begin, mine, yours, theirs and the ever present they.

Which one shall we pick, which one shall we endorse, and which one shall we say is best? I don’t think it as easy as that, they has to be several options and some will not be to your likening, so what, we need a wide selection that moves people and the environment forward and in some regions it may not be technology you like, I don’t care, really, I don’t. We as a populace need to get off our selective high horses and embrace the deployment of energy and do it wisely with a lot less bickering. Why because we are not getting where we need to be and frankly the only ones making anything are the legal and finance people who have shown little regard for the need to make progress in areas of need. Remember that when a lawyer solves a problem they are unemployed; they don’t like to be unemployed, get it?  So there now you know how I feel. Tell me how you feel, let me have it I want to hear it all. Then we can have a debate and get something started. Eventually the fighting has to come off the horses and on to the ground, where things get done.

So, when we shut down nuclear power, not necessary a bad thing, when we stop dams from producing, save the fish and not the humans, and when we make bio mass so unattainable due to regulation and fees, and we take solar off the market because of a cactus we make our selves look foolish and uncaring. We appear to be running in circles while the investors and legal teams stand on the side lines and bet on our futures. Fine that is good for the economy, the cash is circling, but too far too few in the circle. Now don’t get all Occupy Wall Street on me, I am all about making money and all about seeing it used for the right reason and all about seeing a bunch in my corner, let me use it as I feel necessary, more fodder for another blog. When we shut it all down and we don’t have a plan for infrastructure and development of generation then we all lose, not just the turtle but the human as well.

I know I sound like a politician, and I have not presented a plan, like a politician, to get out of the mess we are creating. This is where your opinion counts, but make it an educated one, even if you think mine is not. Again this is my opinion not yours, remember? As we cycle down those things we think harm us we need to cycle something up in place. I have been working with some folks in India recently, they have massive power issues, blackouts and days without power and we were talking about the city regions not some country substation. Is this what we are heading towards? Is this what we want as a society? I think not, we want power and more of it, so let’s put on the thinking cap boys and girls and see what happens, ok?

It has been a process that solar, I will focus for a moment, is trending towards smaller distributed power generation projects. More distributed and less centralized. There have been reports from Europe that the large sites are creating spikes and waves on the grid that are becoming hard to manage, some of us saw that coming (me). So the projects are getting closer to the population centers and community grid development is a notion on the rise. All good things, I think. The talk about grid technology partnerships, generation paired with storage, is on the rise another good thing, helping smooth out fluctuations in generation processes. CPV has taken a bit of hit by some of the larger projects moving into PV for the remainder of the projects; don’t be too worried the projects are far from getting built. So the solar industry has some things that may add some interesting things in the near future. So where is the rest of the technology.

In the area of fuel cells there are some very interesting things happening, stay tuned, and we may see some new innovations in the area of wind. There will be innovations in many areas of technology and that will be very welcome. I think the next five years we will see innovation in financing and power management, the spreading of “smart grid” technology and overall distributed grid management. I think we need to see less of a monopoly on the ISO portion of the management of the grid. The mystery needs to have the veil lifted, if not for the industry then for the consumer. When we are informed we can make sound decisions, with good data. Most consumers still can’t read their power bill and feel helpless to make any change, other than what they are told by the utility (the guys getting the money at the end of the day) which is like having the dentist give you sugar then charging you for cavities, not right.

So what are we to do? Well you tell me, this is an open blog, give me some feedback. Like I tell others if you can’t convince me of something else then this is what w are going to do. That is the way the utilities respond, they do what they want unless we the consumer says something. Like the new 2 billion dollar rate hike the local (PG&E) utility is getting passed to pay for pipeline upgrades they should have been doing all along, you will all see a monthly rate hike of about $12 per month, that is about $150. Per year, for the next 20 plus years.

Let’s debate, let’s roll around on the floor. Then let’s get up dust ourselves off and get busy with a robust solution that works, not like a pony ride with no ponies.