The number of plans for developing sustainable energy resources as we face the reality of a global energy crunch are expanding. Many of these plans include crucial elements, which, if combined, would provide us an elemental blueprint for scaling the oil peak, knowing that a solid base camp would be waiting on the other side. However, strong ropes make scaling mountains possible, and no plan to date includes this basic support system.
Our plan, Operation Energy Transition (OET), newly unveiled by the Intelligent Communities Inc. (ICI), does.
Many worthwhile elements are included in some of the more well-known plans, such as the Pickens Plan, released in July 2008 by oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, which aims to dramatically intensify wind energy production throughout the Great Plains corridor and build out an electric grid to feed this power to urban centers. This part of the plan is vital to our urgent need for renewable, sustainable energy production. Plan B, formulated by Lester Brown, pools conservation with a movement to alternate energy sources. And Plan C, by Pat Murphy, posits a form of extreme conservation that he refers to as curtailment.
OET incorporates the best aspects of the Pickens Plan as well as Plan B and Plan C, and goes much further by offering the crucial enabling component of organizing the people necessary to implement the plan through a client/server oriented database network.
The three major components of OET include the following:
extreme conservation (i.e. curtailment) of resources,
the organization of a national movement to renewable energy sources (and away from fossil fuels), and
Let’s discuss the concept of curtailment first. As a population, we’re currently not experienced with the practice of curtailment. We are used to getting what we want when we want it, but while shifting to curtailment is in itself a challenging new prospect, it requires little to no capital expenditure. It’s inexpensive to do. This incredible cost-effectiveness, as well as speed of implementation, makes curtailment the crème de la crème of energy-saving strategies. Within this strategy, there are a wide host of options, including transforming brick-and-mortar businesses into telecommuting businesses wherever possible, reducing the workweek, developing and implementing carpooling software, the creation of intellitaxis, car sharing and a movement to alternative vehicle types such as electric motorcycles. Many of these strategies will be aided by proprietary software programs developed by ICI for the purpose, and made available to communities at no charge.
The second component of Operation Energy Transition is a transition to renewable energy sources. In this part of the program, every centralized renewable energy source conceivable will be analyzed from the standpoint of cost-effectiveness, and will be deployed in those most cost-effective environments. For example, solar thermal power will be developed in the Southwest and Southeast regions of the country, wind in the Midwest, etc. In addition to these centralized forms of renewable energy, distributed renewable energy in the form of solar thermal power, solar panels, and wind turbines will also be deployed in neighborhoods throughout the nation, with extensive training for workers who will be rolling out the new technology.
Finally, we intend to focus on societal re-architecture. The rearchitecturing of society includes a whole host of cost-effective options, including and developing urban villages instead of continuing suburban sprawl. The current societal paradigm of non-multi-use zoning, in which residences, shopping and workplaces are situated in many cases dozens of miles from each other, needs to be rearchitected into a paradigm of multiuse zoning, in which all of these uses are consolidated into a single geographic area.
The significance of OET is seen when we realize that other plans do not address our many societal inefficiencies (i.e. magnet schools with kids coming from miles away, lack of HOV lanes, high schools that allow kids to park [increasing auto use], businesses that operate 5-day workweeks when only 4 are required, businesses that don’t offer telecommuting, etc).
These inefficiencies add enormous costs and addressing them will not only be cheaper than strategies offered by other plans, but will also achieve the desired result of displacing gasoline consumption more quickly. By addressing such inefficiencies, we simultaneously confront many fundamental societal structures that will not work in a post-peak-oil world.
The Intelligent Community Initiative (sponsored by ICI) is currently implementing the initial phase of Operation Energy Transition by providing training for individuals throughout the United States to become telecommuters. By linking with Chambers of Commerce throughout the country, ICI is also connecting workers and businesses. Using the technological methods to network available to us now via databases allows for the circulation of ideas and more importantly, the connection of the people necessary to move the plan forward.
There is much more on OET at our website, with supporting documents, videos, a wall map, and even more on our enabling strategy, the Intelligent Community Initiative. Please visit our website; we welcome your contributions.
Barry Krusch has worked as an instructional designer, senior instructional designer, and project manager since 1991. His client list includes Bank of America, Wachovia, American Express, Chase, Hartford Life, Knowledge Transfer International, Procter & Gamble, and many others. In 2002, he was responsible for the instructional design and editing of 52 audio books for Drive2Learn Inc. He is also author of 2 books: The 21st Century Constitution and Would The Real First Amendment Please Stand Up? He is President and Founder of Intelligent Communities Inc.