The Fossil You Know… (No Better Than the Fracking You Don’t)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m quite tired of hearing about, ‘the big fracking deal’…

First things first, give it up ya’ ‘frackers’…it’s bad for the environment.  The evidence keeps mounting against you at such an exponential rate that it would take

Nick Naylor and his fellow M. o. D. just to keep a shred of credibility.  My fellow ‘Smokers,’ (consider this the coining of that phrase), please go share that movie with the rest of the world again so that it’s not just the three of us laughing.

Last thing on fracking, enough with the puns.  Well, the same one over and over and over again.  It’s great and all.  In fact, I’m a big fan of a variety of puns.  I even have a book titled, ‘The Pun Also Rises.’  But it’s much like the way I’m a big fan of red velvet cakes. No matter how delicious I find red velvet cake to be, it’s better when I give myself some time to almost forget the taste of it.  So for those both for and against fracking, cut it the frack out with the puns already.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten THAT out of the way…on to what I wanted to write about today.  A renewables-based, green-from-the-ground-up, grassroots network, good.  An uninspired, status quo, bridge-fuel trickling-down to nowhere grid, bad.  Let me explain…

Of our four primary sources of energy in America, renewables remains but a dream to many, though it’s desired by nearly all.  As you can see from this chart, renewables barely outpaced nuclear energy for third.

Waaatt?!?  (Couldn’t help myself).  Yep, ahead of renewables was coal, natural gas, and petroleum.  Now, I’m going to forego the mention of how ‘dirty’ these non-renewable fuels are and instead focus on some commonly overlooked problems they create.

One, the process of extracting them from the ground can have massive unforeseen consequences to the composition of Earth’s surface.  We’ve seen a rise in the number of sinkholes and earthquakes in close proximity to where drilling and pumping operations exist.  Don’t just believe me though, check this article out and visit the links at the bottom.  Better yet, do a search and make sure you give yourself the best chance at getting just the facts.

Two, the amount of effort it takes to get such energy is incredibly illogical with the presence of passive energy collection methods.  From solar panels, to small-scale wind turbines, and even piezoelectric panels, these power generators themselves are scalable in a way that a drilling rig will never be.  Anyone with any amount of available surface area, of any kind, can employ any combination of these devices to produce their own electricity.  How efficient is that!?!

Okay okay, I get it. I’ve sufficiently beaten the dead horse.  We all know these things already, right?  We hear them, they bounce around in our brains a bit, and they leave enough of an impression as to be unforgotten; seemingly stuck in that ethereal no man’s land between the known and unknown.

Yes, knowledge isn’t the problem here.  The problem is that what we haven’t done is sit down and draw out a comprehensive plan for incorporating these technologies that doesn’t call into question the credibility of some aspect of said plan, (be it the plan itself or the people behind it).  Well, fear not…I’ve got this one covered.

A green energy ‘network’ design is a simple puzzle, at least physically.  I mean, everyone could eventually figure out that the ‘square peg’ of wind only fits in the ‘square cutout’ of a wind turbine.  In other words, you wouldn’t put a photovoltaic cell that’s meant to passively collect energy from the sun anywhere in Washington state.  Beyond that it’s not rocket science to figure that to maximize the ‘fit’, or efficiency, between the ‘peg’ and ‘cutout’ above, one only need a bigger foil and maybe a can of WD-40.  What it seems has been the most difficult thing for us to work out, that massive threat to credibility, is how to afford the upgrade.  This problem, my readers, is not as difficult a problem to solve as those in Congress and ‘K Street’ would make it seem.

First, the crux of THAT problem is the idea that investing in the research and development of a product somehow stimulates demand for that product.  So, the first part of my plan would be to kill all energy subsidies.  Every.  Single.  One.

True, that means no more price controls on the product, no more cash in the hands of consumers, no more tax breaks for retailers, et cetera.  But, that also means that we cut out the excess ‘pork’ that goes to earmarks for large-scale green energy products that miss the mark on the economy-of-scale necessary to make green energy feasible.  What do I do instead?  I stimulate demand directly…

By that I mean we leverage those same funds to make every new federally funded construction project be a net-positive, green energy producer in addition to consumer.  This means that new public library that was just given a block grant, it gets a shiny new solar panel array to power it and other structures nearby.  That new park in the middle of downtown?  It gets new, vertically-oriented wind turbines for the fence posts so that the lights for four blocks in every direction stay lit.  That massive new public transit hub…a piezoelectric floor and enough turnstiles to generate enough power to run the train or power the quick-charging bus.

This helps research and development by creating appropriate test-beds for product efficiency, durability, and design.  Furthermore, it helps consumers by creating a proper inflation in demand as to make mass-production of such technologies a viable business model.  Lastly, and more importantly, it helps to prove the concept.

It does so in that it’s proof will be made evident to every man, woman, and child that bears witness to, and/or comes in contact with, such federal buildings, public land grants, or pieces of infrastructure.  And people, it’s ultimately THAT, (the widely accepted belief in green energy), that America really needs for the ‘network’ envisioned by so many dreamers to be realized.

One last parting thought offered in summary. The devil is not in the details…it’s in the disbelief…

Thanks for reading!
J. Vickrey

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