We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

On the Future Energy: These Problems Can be Solved

My Bigger Half shared his Newsweek again last week (Newsweek June 7, 2010). He thought I'd be intrigued with the article by Fareed Zakaria about Nathan Myhrvold on the future of energy. Nathan is the cofounder of Intellectual Ventures.

The brief article revolves around alternative energy and geoengineering. I hear Nathan saying that green energy, as in renewable alternative energy like solar energy and wind energy, can't become the norm for generating electricity because those sources aren't reliable enough and we don't have batteries that are good enough to gap the wind/sun outages that happen periodically.

And Nathan is pro nuclear energy, and coal until we have a good alternative. He considers a good alternative being a clean baseload power source, like nuclear. That means you have power that you can run any time you want -- day or night -- and be carbon-free.

I like the baseload power concept, and agree renewable energy isn't ready for prime time, yet. I do know that Europe uses much more renewable energy than the US does, telling me we can improve our usage. But in many ways this discussion is looking at the wrong thing. Clean, reliable energy is important, but using less energy is just as important, if not more so. Energy conservation isn't a bad thing to consider.

Conserving energy takes on many forms.

  • better insulation
  • more efficient lighting
  • more efficient appliances and equipment
  • reduced consumption by turning off unnecessary lights and equipment (read that as that which isn't being used)
  • modifying your home/office temperatures (a bit cooler in the winter and a bit warmer in the summer)

If we used less energy we wouldn't need to generate more, and more, and more.

The power grid needs to be improved to maintain the path we're on, regardless of the type of energy source we use. I believe that energy production also needs to be increased in the individual market -- home-based energy production -- not just at the power plant level.

Put all of that together and you have a better energy system, and healthier environment. That's how I see the future of energy and how the problem can be solved.

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