Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Green tech and ALTERNATIVE energy

I've actually been saying this for a while. We have NO long term studies showing Solar, Wind, or anything is in any way more sustainable, or sustainable at all. It's JUST another source that could allow us diversified and safer energy supplies, possibly at lower long term cost. It's really just business guys, and it's not more proper in any way. I read this article that got me thinking today about the "myth of renewable energy." Of course no matter how close we get I don't think the wildest machinations contemplated in something like The Singularity is Near will result in endless energy, though we may make it so trivial it's of no consequence.

I think it's important that people differentiate between alternative energy, and green technology, as I believe there is no way of creating energy that will not have good and bad side effects. I've personally always wondered what effects large numbers of wind turbines for example would do to wind patterns, and could they have effects like El Nino or something else? That being said what we CAN do is persevere through constant innovation to reduce our NEEDS of energy, land, and natural resources through innovative technology. THAT is what green tech is!

If you haven't read Natural Capitalism it's available free online ( I LOVE Somebody who believes in something so much they give away content for free! ) at natcap.org. Reading this book really changed my life. Green Tech = Tech for reducing our foot print like smart meters, more efficient energy production of any type (more efficient solar cells, less wasteful coal plants etc.), motion sensor lights, or even compact fluorescent bulbs.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY is just another way of generating energy. Geothermal (cool for places like nordic region, who I'm guessing are also not ripe for solar), Dams (do affect ecosystems, maybe reducing floods for people but destroying ecosystems based on their sediment, as well as disrupting breeding), Solar, Wind etc. It's VERY likely that in the long term some of these things will be more sustainable, and cheaper than others. It's also the case that some places don't have oil, or natural gas, or have used most or all of it up. For the US for example reducing oil needs would reduce money that mostly goes to significantly more corrupt (Knowing that our politics is just LESS corrupt) regimes which are often politically opposed to us on global policy.

That makes me wonder the impact we'll see from the revolutions in the middle east on the impetus for alternative energy. I always say that it's silly for any entity to not be self serving for some degree, so I don't think democracy will change their policies on oil (like China recently putting a crimp on exports of rare earth metals), though perhaps joining the WTO would make them have to leave OPEC (can anyone comment on that?). But these musings I'll save for another time.

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