Sunday, October 16, 2005

Alternative Energy II

Based upon the energy generated by my last post, I have decided to make all of my future posts on things I am mostly ignorant about. That way, I will at least generate a lot of blog traffic by people correcting my misstatements. (Just kidding).

Clearly there are a lot of people out there, some of them down right brilliant, who are big believers in alternative energy, especially solar, wind, and biomass. A lot of these people have ideas on alternative energy schemes and systems that are very well thought out and make a lot of sense. However, one of the problems that I have with many of these schemes is that most presume a highly dispersed and distributed energy infrastructure where we all are our own power generation company. This idea works great for engineers, electricians, and technogeeks, but it kind of falls down for single mothers, senior citizens, and average Joe’s who can change a lightbulb, but wouldn’t know how to change a circuit breaker if their life depended on it.

Although the sun and the wind is everywhere, and there may be efficiencies, from a pure energy standpoint, to having distributed power generation, do we really expect a wind turbine in every yard, solar panels on every roof, and a battery of batteries in every garage/basement/utility room? I think not. If alternative energy is to have a future, I believe it has to be within the context of energy delivered through a centralized system to a customer base that is relatively ignorant. Think of how much penetration the PC would have if we all had to learn BASIC to use one. Any thoughts?

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