I’ve had this comic strip (the one just below) on my poster board here at work for almost 5 years now and it makes me laugh every time I look at it. Generating power using solar and wind technology isn’t feasible…says who?
Many countries are investing a ton on money into renewable energy every year and it is paying off not only with the environment, but financially as well. It is a monumental myth that green solutions cost more than “conventional” ones – very often it’s the exact opposite. So why let big oil keep lying to us that renewable energy based solutions such as wind and solar are not feasible?
Is solar and wind power still expensive? Yes, the initial purchase is more expensive than just staying on the grid and using cheaper, non-renewable forms of energy. But what is that going to cost us in the long run?
The cost of LED light bulbs is way more than for traditional incandescent ones, but when you consider the longer term then only the chronically hard of thinking would still opt for the “cheap” bulbs.
Clean water? Clean air? Good food? I mean really, if we are not able to get clean air and water, our crops and farm animals will get the same dirty water and air that we get, making the produce and meat we eat dirty just the same. What goes around comes around as they say – and there’s a good reason they keep saying it, ‘cos it’s the timeless truth.
But anyway, what about the payback period for renewable energy systems? The fact is that without the help of state and federal incentives, the payback period can be long, up to 10 years or more. If you are one of the lucky ones that get one of the incentives, your payback period is much shorter, but there is still a very high out-of-pocket initial expense. So what can be done to ease this somewhat?
- Supply and Demand – Supply is there, but demand is still low, and thus driving prices down. Hopefully soon though we may reach the point of equilibrium where supply and demand intersect and the resulting price makes solar more affordable and keeps the supply going.
- Financing – There are a lot of companies out there providing financing for alternative energy. Instead of paying the local utility company for the next 10 / 15 / 20 years, take that money and roll it into a loan for domestic solar panels or wind turbines. In the end you will own your own power source.
- Investing in Efficiency – By installing the most efficient appliances and lighting options available, the amount of solar and wind power needed will be less, lowering the price in the end. Even installing better insulation and enclosures such as windows and doors will improve the overall efficiency of your business or home.
- Using Less – Become more efficient in your daily life. Purchase only what you need, use task specific lighting instead of lighting the whole house or room, only run items that are currently needed and cut the power to those that are not needed. Consider using items for multiple purposes if possible, such as charging your smart phone while sitting at the computer from the USB.
Keep it in mind that, more often than not, when someone is so insistent that some alternative (to their) solution “isn’t feasible” it’s either because they don’t understand or (more likely) don’t want the alternative. They’re quite understandably perfectly happy with the status quo and fear the possible consequences of change.
Those who currently wield power (in the political and economic sense) over the source of power (in the physical sense) have much to feel threatened about. Pumping oil and gas out of the ground in those few parts of the world it is found, refining it into usable forms and transporting it to where it is needed is about as far away from micro-generation as you can get. It is only economically viable when enormous economies of scale are brought to bear by massive corporations capable of providing the necessary investment and infrastructure.
Many renewable technologies though, and solar energy in particular, are ideal for micro-generation. In fact, it makes no sense to scale things up beyond the capability to supply individual properties or perhaps a whole town. Which of course means… you, me or perhaps our local district council providing our own energy needs and no place for a few gargantuan cartels.
Ultimately, we can take some of the money out of big oil’s pockets, put it back in our own, and prove them wrong on their “theory” of how renewable energy isn’t feasible. And in the end there isn’t really much they can do to stop it.
Makes you think doesn’t it… what other ways can we reclaim our power (literally and metaphorically)?