Alternative Energy Part III
I left out an important comment on hydro power. One more very important drawback is that a large dam could be a prime target for a terrorist. If a suicide plane were to crash into one it could cause more loss of life than happened at the twin towers.
A reader expressed a view that solar power is more viable than I mentioned because when living in New Mexico she was able to get 60% of hevr power from it.
I think my information was accurate and it doesn’t seem to contradict what you say in any way if you do the math.
I am all for being independent and if one can afford solar, is willing to pay for it, and happens to live in a feasible area with enough sunshine a person can indeed gain a little independence as well as have clean energy.
I would guess that Taos, New Mexico (one of the sunniest spots in the country) is much more productive for solar energy than New York where you are currently living. I notice that you did not include heat or air conditioning in your list which are the big items where I live.
Shortly after the oil crisis in the seventies there seemed to be quite a lot of promotion of solar equipment in my home area. In fact my mother bought a unite at considerable cost for the time.
I was disappointed when she told me that she did not seem to have any noticeable savings in her bill.
Perhaps such experiences is a reason why the market seemed to dry up in this area.
Since then, I’m sure efficiency has increased so I checked out the current costs. Providing that I live in a sunny enough area and I wanted to invest $15,000 I could save $300 a year on my power bill. I would have to invest over $30,000 to completely replace the electricity I am using. This is based on Idaho rates where I live, which is lower than most states, but I think you can see here why I am not eager to convert.
(Note from 2020: I recently got prices on getting solar panels and batteries installed here in Idaho for maximum self sufficiency and the cost was around $50,000 and I would still have to supplement.)
Some states give a rebate of 20-50% to those who convert to solar, but even here this is not free money, but is paid by the taxpayer and still few are willing to make the necessary investment.
I have a nephew who has invented an extra efficient generator using propane or natural gas that sounds like it may be a good alternative. It will only cost a couple thousand and will supply all the power you need at a lower cost than most power companies. The good part is that it will make a person completely self-sufficient powerwise.
I haven’t seen him for a while, but the last time I talked to him he said he was lining up some big investors. I’ll be checking on his progress at the next family reunion.
(Note from 2020: Haven’t seen this nephew for some time and not sure what became of his project.)
Another alternative is to develop electrical engines powerful enough and that will carry a charge long enough to replace the internal combustion engine.
Every so often I hear of some innovative engine and then never hear of it again. For instance, I remember reading a series of articles way back in the 70’s about a guy who claimed to have invented a battery that yielded more electricity than went into it and claimed it could run an electrical motor without ever running down.
Who knows if there was anything to it? The last I heard of the guy was that he was labeled a fraud by government agencies who refused to run tests the inventor desired. It seems like he was also being sued by some car manufacturer.
Now I find it interesting that some Australian inventors are promoting something similar.
The fact to consider is that, even if there has been a cover-up of technology the tide today is turning and progress is being made. It is only a matter of time before we have 100% non polluting electrical vehicles.
This will be a terrific breakthrough IF the electricity can be supplied from a non polluting source. As it is at the present, an all electric car using today’s technology would do little to do to reduce pollutants, for the chances are the power for it would be generated by a coal burning plant. The purchase of an electric car may create the illusion we are helping the environment more than is the case, but all we are doing is cutting down the pollution in the immediate area we are driving while contributing to it in the area where the electrical power is generated.
Unless we have a clean source of electrical power.
Is there such a thing as a source of economical energy with little pollution using current technology that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gasses and other pollutants as well, as supply clean power for future electrical engines that in turn could drastically reduce our need for oil, perhaps making us completely free of dependency on foreign oil?
We will discuss this possibility next.
Copyright by J J Dewey
Oct 22, 2001
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