I never paid much attention to energy costs when I started driving since gas was only .32/gallon. That’s $5.76 to fill an 18 gallon tank as opposed to $67 to fill up today. Heating and electricity costs were also insignificant. Global warming wasn’t on the radar and since they only drilled for oil in remote areas we never heard of any oil spills although as in the TV show Beverly Hillbillies there was a lot of unseen “up from the ground came a bubbling crude”. The only times the energy thing would get my attention was when we’d get a New York ice storm and the power lines would go down for up to a week and I couldn’t watch Batman and Ed Sullivan. Why the hell were we transmitting power on ugly vulnerable wood poles and making me miss my shows? That was the start of my negative views on our whole power system. Mind you I’m not a tree hugging, world saving guy and I’d burn rather than hug the tree for warmth if it was the best option. But our energy generating technologies are FUBAR and I think there are or will be some better options.
Our dependence on non-renewable, environmentally dangerous fuels like coal, oil, nuclear, and even natural gas were worth the roll of the dice when there were no alternatives, but today we may be on the verge of having choices. The biggest challenge is steering that huge energy ship to a new course of using renewables. Imagine no more wars to protect our oil rights in some third or fourth world country, no more devastating oil spills, no coal mining disasters, no huge budget busting gas or oil charges, and no huge holes in our atmosphere. But that huge ship that we have to turn is captained by a multi-billion dollar industry and they are fine with the way things are and willing to share their wealth with influential politicians to make sure the ship stays on that oil money making course. The energy industry gets government subsidies to find new oil, install trans-continental pipelines and create new potentially dangerous gas recovery techniques using questionable techniques and chemicals-hello fracking and there is very little left for alternative energy R&D. The industry and their supporting lawmakers defend staying the course because alternatives are unreliable and too expensive. Up until now they may have had a point. Public-conscious companies like Google and Apple have invested millions in solar and wind farms, but the average Joe could never afford to invest in these alternatives unless they mortgaged the farm.
Hello Inventor Ronald Ace! Who’s he? He is from the world of smart that may save our world’s energy problems and cease our embarrassing sucking up to the oil producing fifth world countries and energy barons. A second section story in the Raleigh News and Observer McClatchy News on May 12, 2013 really got me excited thinking that we really may only have to worry about sunburn from our future energy. A short part of the story follows:
In a U.S. patent application, a little-known Maryland inventor claims a stunning solar energy breakthrough that promises to end the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels at a fraction of the current cost — a transformation that also could blunt global warming.
Inventor Ronald Ace said that his flat-panel “Solar Traps,” which can be mounted on rooftops or used in electric power plants, will shatter decades-old scientific and technological barriers that have stymied efforts to make solar energy a cheap, clean and reliable alternative.
“This is a fundamental scientific and environmental discovery,” Ace said. “This invention can meet about 92 percent of the world’s energy needs.”
First of all this should have been headlines and if it isn’t totally true it’s just a matter of time before some of our millions of smart visionaries figure this thing out. It has to be a major breakthrough so it steamrolls all the big energy money and we end up with renewable energy without all those ugly power lines and environmental disasters. It’s time for a change that makes sense. All our research money should be focused on clean inexpensive alternatives to the status quo. Put that sunscreen on and look forward to the days that a power line fried squirrel doesn’t take out the power grid. I hope this scientist really is an Ace.
This is the url for the story we all hope is true: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/08/2879434/patent-filing-claims-solar-energy.html