12-18-2017: Why Limit Funding to Nuclear, Wind and Solar Energy?

I’ve raised this funding question regarding serious research efforts before, in November about a month ago in fact, but am raising it again because we should be addressing plans for how we’ll meet future energy demand with cost effective, dependable, clean energy sources and I don’t see that happening.  We’re stuck… or at least funding is stuck in a time warp of what we’ve been doing for the past fifty years.  If we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and we can, our energy future requires we start doing precisely that or settle for quantitatively less than we have now, and it appears we like our cell phones, tablets and electric cars, as well as heat and lighting in our homes and offices.  Do we really want to give up these conveniences for lack of realistic planning and funding?  Better doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, but better does demand the hard work of discovering it.

Fukushima Daiichi

Nuclear energy enthusiasts have never resolved the horrific nuclear waste issue beyond out-of-sight, out-of-mind, which certainly isn’t a solution.  Any child knows to hide things.  My son used to park his little Hot Wheel Cars in the old VCR, which didn’t work out that well for movie viweing – at least not without first taking it apart to remove the toys.  Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima Daiichi have scared the pants off people and for the time being, we have no idea what the lasting impact of Fukushima will be on sea life or our own lives; but aren’t many of us wondering if negative impacts already exceed what we’re publicly being told? Pacific fisheries are seeing and reporting some strange things, but the media isn’t saying much about it are they?

Moving on from nuclear, the future of which appears a bit dimmer than it used to be; if we’re the acting director, responsible say, for operating a university, a hospital, medical clinic, factory, industrial facility, office building or something else demanding reliable, continuous electricity, we can’t operate effectively only when the wind blows or the sun shines.  We don’t want to stop surgery because the cloud cover changed.  Storage of electric power isn’t yet economically viable on any commercial scale.  It appears the wind and solar industries are happily feeding off popular government subsidies at present, so aren’t hungry at all nor motivated to invest in significant R & D.  If this circumstance doesn’t change, don’t look for substantive improvements in wind or solar cost efficiency anytime soon.  Feeding at the public trough has never demonstrated ability to stimulate creativity and imagination.

This reliability issue suggests as a practical matter, it’s not likely we’ll ever exceed more than about 20% or so of growing future electrical demand via wind and solar power; certainly not for activities or processes requiring constant reliable electricity. That 20% number may improve if these industries start investing in product development, but that remains to be seen.  For the time being, regarding planning; if fossil fuels and nuclear energy are tossed on the scrap heap of environmental hazard, what technologies are going to meet the remaining 80% of demand not met by wind and solar – or are we going back to the dark ages?  Is that progress?  To my knowledge, no significant monies are being allocated toward research of other, possibly more viable, alternative, clean energy technologies.  Isn’t this a little short sighted?

I apologize for continually bringing this short-sighted funding issue up, but we’re not getting the alternative energy job done and at some point, this will become an issue.  Why not conveniently plan for and solve the dilemma now, instead of waiting till later and trying to do it in a costly panic?

In any event, Z Group Energy wishes you a very Happy Hanukkah, a nice Christmas and a great New Year holiday.  Enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations, visit family and friends and we’ll tackle better energy planning in 2018.  Maybe that can be one of our New Year’s Resolutions?