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The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century

September 15, 2010

When thinking about what would be the most important renewable energy breakthrough of the last 100 years, the first thing that came to minds was something technological. Innovations that provide more efficient and less costly solar cells, wind turbines that are more reliable and turn a low wind speeds, hydrogen electrolysis at low voltages, algae that produces a consistent grade of biofuel meeting current standards for commercial fuels, low capital cost of geothermal and hydroelectric plants and so on. The list of renewable energy technological improvements that are needed for the U.S. to become both energy independent and environmentally cleaner is endless.

Secondly, non-technological changes in the regulatory control process may help bolster the utilization of renewable energy. For most renewable technologies, there exist a stiflingly mountain of regulations, some wise and some seemingly foolish. The cumbersome regulatory pathway eats up valuable time and dollars. In a time of war, as the dependence on foreign oil should be considered, there needs to be some sensible relaxation of requirements. Safety and efficacy should never be sacrificed in the rush for adoption. Altruistically, common sense should prevail. A holistic assessment of the regulatory impediments should be conducted by an impartial committee of business leaders, industrialists, technologists, military brass and politicians who can produce a joint resolution to Congress. Abridging nuisance standards that creates roadblocks, which substantively do not protect the general welfare, would go a long way in stimulating  usage of renewable energy.

Another non-technical and almost unattainable approach would be political. It is suggested that  the “Climate Control” bill  should be entirely disbanded, if it has not been already,  and superseded by a “National Energy Security” bill. Since bipartisanship on Capitol Hill is rather intense and polarization between believers and non-believers of anthropogenic Global Warming has taken religious fervor, it is an exercise in futility to discuss reducing consumption of fossil fuels in terms of climatic changes only. The emphasis should be placed on reducing imported oil on the basis of national security and economic recovery. National security concerns rather than climate change issues has the potential to bring together these diametrically opposed groups. Sounds a bit altruistic, but doable, if it is important to preserve our political, economic, technological and manufacturing prowess.

Finally, the last and most effective method, is non-technical and actually the simplest of all.  This approach is nothing more than finally calling an apple-an-apple. All that is required is to price oil for what it is rather than some artificial and unrealistically low price forced south by highly paid lobbyist and self-interest groups. Unless I am missing the boat, it would seem keeping  the price of oil below its true cost is not in the best short- and long-term interests of the U.S. Should the price of oil be adjusted to reflect what it actually costs, this would be without exception, “The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century.”

The outcome of this measure would render most renewable fuels cost effective with good returns. Now renewables could stand head-to-head with fossil fuels and become economically viable throughout the economy. Operating budgets would hemorrhaging from excessive fuel costs. The most obvious  remedy would be to adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, aka sustainability. The residential, commercial, industrial and governmental sectors would  have no other choice but to adopt renewable energy.

This could happen tomorrow. By design, this approach could cause some interim hardship throughout the economy.  If one thinks only in the very short-term, like election day, raising the price of oil may politically unacceptable. Though it seems that the $1,080,440,129,804  spent since 2001 on the Iraq and Afghanistan war may not be in the public’s best interest either, see  http://costofwar.com . The obvious benefits of an energy economy based on renewables would be to retain more dollars, help to stimulate the economy and create more jobs in the U.S. The resulting  oversupply of oil on the market would put further pressure on the price of oil. Canada’s interests would have to be considered, fairly and impartially. However, let the other non-OPEC and OPEC countries worry about their diminishing revenues from reduced U.S. oil exports.  Frankly, I don’t give a dam about their balance sheets.

And then something stirred me and I awoke from the dream!

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 5:33 PM

    I’m rather new to these policy issues. Renewable energy portfolios, feed-in tariffs, carbon tax, cap and trade, and so on–it all is a bit confusing. I do know that the right wing in American politics predictably foams at the mouth when you mention cap and trade, so I figure there’s probably something very good about it. But whether it’s a comprehensive solution, and effective, is another matter.

    One suggestion I’ve seen is to create a floor price on petroleum, taxing the product at the pump so that the payment at the point of purchase is fixed. Presumably the oil company would charge just enough that the tax would not kick in, so they would have a steady revenue stream regardless of market prices of crude. Then they could deal with a stable price, which they all profess to want, and when their own profits are higher plow it back into more exploration, or for branching out into renewables, or other products entirely.

    It would have one green benefit, in that it would prevent really cheap energy. Cheap energy, from collapse of market prices, encourages waste, while discouraging development of new energy resources (renewable and otherwise).

    While this alone wouldn’t push us strongly toward a green economy, it seems as if it would be beneficial for the consumer and the producers, and therefore would not meet heavy political opposition.

    Then, with that in place, we could start pushing for stronger measures.

  2. Jim Younkin permalink
    September 15, 2010 10:56 PM

    Barry, It looks like we think alike, check out my CNG Blog at http://www.younkincng.com

  3. Laurence Needleman permalink
    September 16, 2010 6:27 PM

    The “true” cost of oil and any other resources for that matter is reflected in the GNP. The economy is too complex for anyone to isolate the variable costs generated by oil or any other source of energy. What you fail to understand is that free markets solve these problems. It has done so since the Wealth of Nations in 1776 explained the path to prosperity. Wealth creates the means to solve economic problems. The government can’t. It is too inept. It distorts markets and allocates precious resources (our tax dollars) inefficiently and improperly. Unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and it will supply the needs of the market. Please, just get out of the way!

    What happened to nuclear energy?

  4. September 16, 2010 8:29 PM

    Larry, a plausible answer to your question may be reflected in:

    “Obama Could Kill Fossil Fuels Overnight With a Nuclear Dash for Thorium”

    This article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, appeared in, International Business Editor
    Aug 29, 2010; the article can be located at : http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens48 .

    If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

    Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday – produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

    Thorium eats its own hazardous waste. It can even scavenge the plutonium left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. “It’s the Big One,” said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.

    “Once you start looking more closely, it blows your mind away. You can run civilisation on thorium for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s essentially free. You don’t have to deal with uranium cartels,” he said.

    Thorium is so common that miners treat it as a nuisance, a radioactive by-product if they try to dig up rare earth metals. The US and Australia are full of the stuff. So are the granite rocks of Cornwall. You do not need much: all is potentially usable as fuel, compared to just 0.7pc for uranium.

    After the Manhattan Project, US physicists in the late 1940s were tempted by thorium for use in civil reactors. It has a higher neutron yield per neutron absorbed. It does not require isotope separation, a big cost saving. But by then America needed the plutonium residue from uranium to build bombs.

    “They were really going after the weapons,” said Professor Egil Lillestol, a world authority on the thorium fuel-cycle at CERN. “It is almost impossible make nuclear weapons out of thorium because it is too difficult to handle. It wouldn’t be worth trying.” It emits too many high gamma rays.

    You might have thought that thorium reactors were the answer to every dream but when CERN went to the European Commission for development funds in 1999-2000, they were rebuffed.

    Brussels turned to its technical experts, who happened to be French because the French dominate the EU’s nuclear industry. “They didn’t want competition because they had made a huge investment in the old technology,” he said.

    Another decade was lost. It was a sad triumph of vested interests over scientific progress. “We have very little time to waste because the world is running out of fossil fuels. Renewables can’t replace them. Nuclear fusion is not going work for a century, if ever,” he said.

    The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for the thorium fuel-cycle, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator at its UK operation.

    Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase.

    The UK has shown little appetite for what it regards as a “huge paradigm shift to a new technology”. Too much work and sunk cost has already gone into the next generation of reactors, which have another 60 years of life.

    So Aker is looking for tie-ups with the US, Russia, or China. The Indians have their own projects – none yet built – dating from days when they switched to thorium because their weapons programme prompted a uranium ban.

    America should have fewer inhibitions than Europe in creating a leapfrog technology. The US allowed its nuclear industry to stagnate after Three Mile Island in 1979.

    Anti-nuclear neorosis is at last ebbing. The White House has approved $8bn in loan guarantees for new reactors, yet America has been strangely passive. Where is the superb confidence that put a man on the moon?

    A few US pioneers are exploring a truly radical shift to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts, an idea once pursued by US physicist Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee in the 1960s. The original documents were retrieved by Mr Sorensen.
    Moving away from solid fuel may overcome some of thorium’s “idiosyncracies”. “You have to use the right machine. You don’t use diesel in a petrol car: you build a diesel engine,” said Mr Sorensen.

    Thorium-fluoride reactors can operate at atmospheric temperature. “The plants would be much smaller and less expensive. You wouldn’t need those huge containment domes because there’s no pressurized water in the reactor. It’s close-fitting,” he said.
    Nuclear power could become routine and unthreatening. But first there is the barrier of establishment prejudice.

    When Hungarian scientists led by Leo Szilard tried to alert Washington in late 1939 that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, they were brushed off with disbelief. Albert Einstein interceded through the Belgian queen mother, eventually getting a personal envoy into the Oval Office.

    Roosevelt initially fobbed him off. He listened more closely at a second meeting over breakfast the next day, then made up his mind within minutes. “This needs action,” he told his military aide. It was the birth of the Manhattan Project. As a result, the US had an atomic weapon early enough to deter Stalin from going too far in Europe.

    The global energy crunch needs equal “action”. If it works, Manhattan II could restore American optimism and strategic leadership at a stroke: if not, it is a boost for US science and surely a more fruitful way to pull the US out of perma-slump than scattershot stimulus.

    Even better, team up with China and do it together, for all our sakes.

  5. September 16, 2010 8:32 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.
    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Energy & Utilities Network
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (Part 1 of 2)

    Barry,

    Excellent posting!!! I am going to comment here before reading part 2 because I want to be sure this post gets read. commenting seems to be the best way to get more people to read things…

    Your third paragraph is the best. Whether or not you believe in climate change, we are starting to run short of high energy density fuels. (and water). I think the greatest breakthrough will involve methods of converting low density energy (wind, solar, etc) into high density, transportable energy. Batteries just won’t do what we need. Pumped storage seems acceptable right now (use solar power to pump water uphill, then use a turbine to capture the power when it flows downhill at night or on cloudy days).

    Cheap, efficient energy storage is hopefully out there being developed right now in some bright person’s laboratory.
    Posted by Rolf Dinsmore

  6. September 16, 2010 8:33 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.
    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Energy & Utilities Network
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (Part 2 of 2)
    Now I think we must disagree slightly. The energy density of fossil fuels is unmatched by renewables. Renewable energy must be packaged and stored and transported to where it is needed. I was raised in Alaska, and solar won’t meet the needs of an Inuit village. They run their generators on diesel. Until we come up with a way to get the energy where it is needed, we will be stuck with fossil fuels. I also live in Australia when I was a teenager, and I think that they could completely convert their economy to a solar economy if they could come up with a reasonable storage method. In their case, they might need some kind of chemical storage, or maybe a solar/hydrogen economy. I would not want to be around a hydrogen car crash, but maybe something else?

    In either case, no matter what you think, I am very happy to see you talking about these issues in such an informed manner.

    Regards,

    Rolf
    Posted by Rolf Dinsmore

  7. September 16, 2010 8:33 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.
    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Energy & Utilities Network
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (Part 2 of 2)

    Now I think we must disagree slightly. The energy density of fossil fuels is unmatched by renewables. Renewable energy must be packaged and stored and transported to where it is needed. I was raised in Alaska, and solar won’t meet the needs of an Inuit village. They run their generators on diesel. Until we come up with a way to get the energy where it is needed, we will be stuck with fossil fuels. I also live in Australia when I was a teenager, and I think that they could completely convert their economy to a solar economy if they could come up with a reasonable storage method. In their case, they might need some kind of chemical storage, or maybe a solar/hydrogen economy. I would not want to be around a hydrogen car crash, but maybe something else?

    In either case, no matter what you think, I am very happy to see you talking about these issues in such an informed manner.

    Regards,

    Rolf
    Posted by Rolf Dinsmore

  8. September 16, 2010 8:34 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    Jim Younkin permalink
    September 15, 2010 10:56 PM

    Barry, It looks like we think alike, check out my CNG Blog at http://www.younkincng.com

  9. September 16, 2010 8:35 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: CleanTech
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (Part 2 of 2)

    Barry: The price of oil is controlled, overinflated, and under reported in terms of proven reserves. Oil companies now call themselves energy companies, and are trying to buy up/ buy in to both renewable and other fossil fuels such as NG. The Oil industry is a billion dollar purchase is piddling. The gulf blow out showed us that the best Oil companies, experts were silent regarding the volumes of oil that are truly there, and elsewhere. 5K/bbls/ day, turned out to be over 50K. The industry silence underlines the games being played. Another game, is attack a tanker in the straits of Hormuz or a Persian gulf incident. There are solutions, but, the pushback/ politics. Energy seems to be this enormous rice bowl, feeding many, but few are willing to put “skin in”, to improve the situation. As A. Einstein once said, the physics I understand, the politics I do not. Conquering energy will be a disruptive advance, for our planet, and overturn many of the global/ national entities. As they say, death is bad for the individual but good for the species. We have our own steeply discounted fossil fuel and renewable fuel energy devices. Hopefully, these will enter the market. The number of earnest teaming partners, is countable on one hand. JR Sannerwind@gmail.com
    Posted by Jay Rosenberg

  10. September 16, 2010 8:37 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: White House
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)

    Barry, it is in Fashion to Talk about Global Warming and Climate Change.
    People feel that they are doing something for The World.
    Did CFC made a Big Impact for Air-conditioner or Refrigerator? No.It was more Harmful.
    Ozone Layer etc. So who is telling me The Negative aspect of CNG?
    Posted by Jitoo Parekh

  11. September 16, 2010 8:37 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)

    I clicked on this link because I thought you were talking about my design. I see you weren’t. Have you checked out our invention?Together we can create a sustainable society. http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=12EB3117-EA0C-41EB-B657-5A60BD78BD2A&idea_id=E374F9B9-21AC-42DB-981E-2A65D3D53BC7
    Posted by Laura Bailey

  12. September 16, 2010 8:38 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Clean Economy Network
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century
    http://www.icta.org/doc/Real%20Price%20of%20Gasoline.pdf

    This is a bit dated, but might be an interesting read, if you haven’t come across it before.
    Posted by Josef Velten

  13. Jay Rosenberg permalink
    September 16, 2010 10:09 PM

    You outlined a bunch of B-plans! (Barry Plans) You have posited an economics 101 RX, and ostentatiously called it a century breakthrough? Sorry to be rough. You are basically saying, jerk up the fossil fuel price, and watch the US automakers minions put out millions of tiny fuel efficient American cars. Ain’t gonna happen. There was a company called Enron, that did Energy value pricing, except with steroids and chicanery. Renewable energy did not come to the rescue. The CA Gov, good intentioned is looking for 1 million solar roofs. That will suck the oxygen out of a lot of more viable solutions. And send a lot of bucks to China, now number 1 in Solar. In a flat sheltered economic world, Eco 101 works. But we are living on a sphere’s surface, and curvatures mean the angles of our triangles add up to more than 180 degrees. We are misguided, mis-tooled, and worse yet, our culture, which includes your and compatriots bravado, and earnest but effete attempts to conquer energy, is very well understood by the rest of the world that views us as a juicy animal ready to be carved up and consumed. Changing Payee on our utility bills, is not going to free us from our dreadful, strategically, geopolitically, economically and socially intolerable predicament. A. Einstein said, the physics I understand, the politics I do not. Add to that the cultural psychology, that is our world’s swaddling. Tools down for now. Sannerwind@gmail.com

  14. Clifford Goudey permalink
    September 17, 2010 11:54 AM

    Barry, You are suggesting far more than a compromise on the #1 issue facing humanity. You are suggesting abandoning demands for decisive action to reduce AGW in exchange for a limp stance on reducing imported oil.

    Can you call such a worn and minor plan a “breakthrough?” I think not. With the negatives associated with those imports, such a campaign on thinking people is much like encouraging regular breathing. The dopes or the conflicted have their own reasons for ignoring logic.

    What you are suggesting is handing big oil and big coal and big gas is totally undeserved victory in their not-so-hidden battle to obfuscate the AGW debate. I can’t go along with that.

    By the way, I agree 100% with your points regarding the regulatory control process that gives oil, gas, and coal a free pass while putting illogical hurdles in front of renewables. This is the product of 100 years of those companies running the country. However, you should include conservation groups in your list of stakeholders to assess the regulatory impediments. Except for a few stunning exceptions they, more than any business sector, know the potential benefits of meaningful national energy reform.

  15. September 17, 2010 12:34 PM

    I would like to see a complete study of the patents of Tesla. He had built a tower in NJ about 1900 to broadcast electricity. Where was the electricity coming from? I do not know. Tesla knew there was energy all around us. I truly believe he found a way to tap into an energy field that would supply and unlimited amount of electricity. May be this was the zero point field that has been discussed the past 20 years.
    In the case of Tesla as usual the money people won and we lost. JP Morgan could have made enormous amounts of money from this discovery. Can you imagine electricity delivered without any wires? Could you imagine all the copper mines that would not have needed to make wire.
    No trees needed to make poles. Our environment would have been much better off today.
    It is interesting that now some electronic devices work without wires. I read of Tesla being able to produce light from light bulbs without wires.
    Anyway Tesla could potential help us today if we just took the time to look and investigate with an open mind. Tesla said in 1900 that someday everyone would be walking around talking to each other. Of course he was taking about cell phones.
    By the way Tesla was finally recognized as the inventor of the radio and not Marconi as we have been told. I also believe that Tesla has been hidden because his inventions could help us today, but the power companies do not want his work to be known.

    Another company that can help reduce our oil consumption is Amsoil. Amsoil has studies of oil change intervals in excess of 400,000. You read that right. With our oil, filters and oil analysis oil changes could become a thing of the past. The company makes special By Pass Filters that keep the oil basically pristine. Then oil analysis is used to make sure the oil is good to go.
    Many companies with Amsoil routinely run 100,000 and more.
    If all the transportation companies and the public used Amsoil, filters and oil analysis our demand for oil would drop drastically. Not to mention extend the life of the engines.
    If anyone would like to see the test results of the above 400,000 miles please get in contact with me.
    Thank you,
    Terry Riney
    Amsoil dealers are needed nationwide. The demand is huge.

  16. September 17, 2010 4:08 PM

    Mandate that all energy consumed in the USA must be produced in the USA within 10 years.

    Phase out all subsidies for oil, other fossil fuels and renewables over the next 5 years.

    Get out of the way of entrepreneurs and investors.

    Let competition/the market do its job.

    Energy independence, better health, higher employment through the natural development of whole new industries and lower government costs will be the result.

    The question is does the USA till has the moxie to unite and reinvent itself?

  17. September 18, 2010 8:25 AM

    Go to YouTube and watch a few items, in Portuguese, of intelligent uses for PET bottles:

    From the short film you can derive the use.

  18. September 21, 2010 8:55 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)

    There is one and only one breakthrough that makes it all viable:
    Increasing energy costs
    Posted by Jody Massey

  19. September 21, 2010 8:56 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)
    Jody, I get your point, but we are already paying enough for energy. I don’t mean at the pump or electric meter, I mean in social, health, environmental, and climatological costs. The needed breakthrough would be for those supplying and those consuming non-renewable energy to pay appropriately rather than distributing those costs to others.
    Posted by Clifford Goudey

  20. September 21, 2010 8:58 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)
    President Obama after his National Security Briefing increased the powers of the National Security Council to include Energy production, Renewable energy and Climate Change. Secretary Salazar came out with a statement after a USGS report stating that there is over 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Colorado. He said it needs to be researched and developed. Shell conducted a test on the Roan Plateau. They used pyrolysis to convert Shale oil to light sweet crude by heating it to 384degrees Celsius then pumping water to the bottom and the oil rose to the top. The problem with Shale oil is the amount of water used to produce the electricity from coal. One of my target markets is this emerging industry. I could produce power 20 hrs. a day on the Roan Plateau. It blows over 8mph 20 hrs. a day.
    So the story goes what the National Security Council wants they get and if there is something in the way it disappears.
    Posted by Laura Bailey

  21. September 21, 2010 8:59 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)

    Besides, hydroelectric power this renewable energy/ hydrokinetic wave system that I saw posted in other discussion claims to be cost competive with or even cheaper than coal:

    http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=ideas&idea_id=0B523AE2-A55A-4404-8D09-A176CDF5C2C8
    Posted by Brennan Jorgensen

  22. September 21, 2010 9:00 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)
    Ours is also;
    http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=12EB3117-EA0C-41EB-B657-5A60BD78BD2A&idea_id=E374F9B9-21AC-42DB-981E-2A65D3D53BC7
    Posted by Laura Bailey

  23. September 21, 2010 9:01 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Linked:Energy (Energy industry expertise)
    • Discussion: The Renewable Energy Breakthrough of the Century (2 Parts)

    Actually, I just got an update on that other ecomagination idea and apparently it was invalid !

    Hi Laura, I tried opening that link, for some reason it won’t open. It looks like you may have less competition because the hydrokinetic wave system apparently is invalid.
    Posted by Brennan Jorgensen

  24. pattieallbeef permalink
    September 22, 2010 12:20 AM

    Like a heroin addict thinking he can kick the habit on his own; who are we kidding. We are addicted to Petroleum and someone is going to need to wean us off the stuff by forced supply reduction. The stuff has medical and material value we might have some foresight to think it worth saving for such uses.

    Space weather fluctuations can send a million Amps through the ionosphere, inducing large currents in seawater, the rocks in the Earth crust, and long man made things like pipelines, transoceanic cables, and power lines.
    This causes damage to the grid from transformer failure due to the induced current being DC and not
    the AC the grid was designed to run. A smart grid would therefore receive data on solar weather conditions and reconfigure itself to harness the million ionospheric amps induction of DC current in natural and man made conductors (power liens, pipes) which can be stored in batteries or switched and inverted to AC. We have switches that can flip the polarity of inductors to change the topography in real time; dynamically reconfiguring in response to demand and atmosphere conditions.

    Then again we run refrigeration units when the ambient temperature is colder outside for some reason like it’s cheap enough to power compressors instead of a basic heat pump from the inside to the colder outside air.

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