If You Built It… (They’d All Have to Come)

In the last post, (after a relatively short-lived rant), I highlighted the current state of affairs within our energy sector and offered up a good starting point for reform and improvement.  Today, I’ll be going into a bit of detail as to why and where my home, my commute, and my workplace should, would, and could infuse renewable energy solutions and provide a 100% fossil fuel free energy network.

First, ‘home is where the heart is,’ …and the television you watch, the Wi-Fi that your friend parks outside to steal when they know you’re not at home, the coffee pot that serves as humanity’s last bastion of salvation before you greet it in the morning; you know, the truly important things in life.  But in all seriousness, homes, (in addition to those ‘first-step’ proof-of-concept government projects I outlined in The Fossil You Know…), ARE at the heart of making a green energy network truly viable.

Thankfully, innovators the world around have realized this and brought a plethora of products to market to capitalize on the potential.  Everyone knows about solar panels and personally owned/operated wind turbines.  But even if we were to put a piezoelectric/photovoltaic panel and wind turbine on all 155 million homes in the United States, would that be enough to generate ALL the electricity we need on a daily basis?  The best answer I can offer ranges from a deeply disappointed maybe to an overly optimistic, very hesitant yes.

According to this article, as much as 1/3 of America’s energy demand could be met by photovoltaic generation alone.  Add to that the potential power that could be generated from two low-profile wind turbines and the integration of piezoelectric generation in each panel and you have serious potential to carve out a majority of the current demand for electricity.

But, if you remember this chart, transportation is the second-largest demand sector behind electricity and is primarily driven (pun intended) by the petroleum sector.  Even if we were to incorporate green energy production into every federal building and land grant, that wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand that eliminating petrol from our energy diet would create.  So, in addition to making it imperative for our public works projects to be energy producing, our homes NEED to be energy generators as well.  However, I would be amiss if I didn’t also say that it’s imperative that we do our best to change the way we commute.  A number of ways to do this can be found here.

Finally, say we do kick that dirty old grid out of our homes and off of our roads, fat lot of good it does if our workplaces don’t follow suit, right?  Companies have traditionally been one of the least efficient consumers of energy.  Some are wasting as much as 30% of the energy they consume on inefficiencies related to heating and cooling costs, among others.

Not to mention, there is a ton of space available on the roofs and parking garages of our malls and shopping centers, restaurants, hotels and motels, et cetera.  And hey, if they’re going to put the time and effort into reducing the short term costs associated to energy consumption, why not further affect the bottom-line by incorporating green energy production profiteering into their business model?  This could be especially lucrative seeing as how their roofs, parking structures, and even the corners of corporate America’s tallest skyscrapers could serve as a host to the same green energy production I highlighted for residential use.

To summarize, how do I see the future viability of green energy production in America?  It’s simple, I see it looking up.

Thanks for reading!
J. Vickrey

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