Are we Addicted to fossil fuels? Can we make the switch to alternative power?
It seems that even the politicians are becoming aware that are fossil fuel reserves will not last forever and that the environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions are a major concern.
One of the solutions to this problem is to invest in clean, sustainable energy technologies. But like every thing else, there are many technological and political issues to resolve first!
In the above video with Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California, Berkley, addresses many of the issues.
One of the major hurdles is the upfront cost. With for example a gas turbine, 70-80% of the cost is the fuel. We don’t see that upfront so we don’t think about it, where as say a wind turbine, most of the cost is up front except for a little maintenance so bringing the cost down allows us to think differently, but it’s not just the cost.
The problem is: He says,”"We have lots of industry and vested interest thinking about the current system and seeing no benefit, but lots of risks, in making the transition. And we need to bring those risks down through financing mechanisms, through popular community voter support.”
What about Nuclear energy as the answer? “Nuclear is certainly clean in terms of the CO2 emissions, but we have a very mixed record around the world of managing nuclear,” he says. He is not just talking about accidents like in Japan, but the cost. Too often the cost becomes much more than initially projected.
As Kammen states, the rapid industrialization around the world could be much more of an opportunity than a problem.
“They’re building energy infrastructure very quickly and they see many of the pitfalls of a fossil-fuel addiction,” he says. “The more they can make use of local clean energy resources and energy efficiency, it allows them to chart a path…and be less dependent than many people thought on the fossil-fuel economy that everyone sees as one we need to eventually phase out.”
What I understand from listening to Mr Kammen speak and doing some research on my own, there are many obstacles to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Mainly getting over our self inflicted addiction to fossil fuels and putting the effort into developing, refining and instituting an energy infrastructure that is driven by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
We are also headed in the right direction with EV’s as well, although we are a long way away from making them a viable solution as well. The ground work is in place but we need to be diligent in forcing the automobile makers to give us better alternatives to the gas guzzles that they are giving us now. Companies like Tesla are leading the way, but we still need to find a way to make affordable EV’s that will get a reasonable distance from a charge.
We Want Our MPC’s (miles per charge)
In my opinion, it’s not if, but when we make the transition, and one can only hope that it is sooner than later!
Renewable Power is our future!
Until next time, I leave you with this -
“the earth provides, but how will we use what it provides for us? it is up to us to use her wisely so she will provide for our children, our children’s children and so on!
reference – article written by James Darcy that appeared at physicsworld.com
About the Author (Author Profile)
Creator/Host of Go Green America TV
Jeff (Jf) Davis aka The Go Green Guy is from Maine
Moved to LA to follow his passion as an actor
these days he is still acting, lives in LA with his wife and two boys
an writes about Green Living for his website Go Green America TV
that will soon be a TV show!!