Krugman is wrong about most of what he writes (see linked article below) here except in those instances where he is pointing out the advances made recently in the field of wind and solar power. Yes, wind and solar will play a major role in our future generation of power. And yes, that is a very good thing.
Yes, Republicans and the current administration are road blocking the efforts, and for a lot of reasons. It is not just a Ludite viewpoint. Think of the state economies (jobs) that depend on the fossil fuel industry. There are a lot of regular folk out there who depend on fossil fuels. It is not just big companies. There are many reasons we need to hang on to, protect and treasure our fossil fuels. Fossil fuel is not the enemy, it is to our benefit. And fundamental changes take time. Just because a technology exists that might suppant fossil fuels does not make it immediately available for wide spread implementation.
Electricity itself took decades to become what it is today in this country; Something we assume is available. Electricity itself had been around a long, long time before we got much benefit from it. Now we see new ways to generate it and seem to think those generation methods should be in place now. Instant gratification. Ain’t going to happen folks. It takes a lot of work to make changes like that. Questions like:
- How do we transport generated electricity from many points (in the case of wind) as compared to from one point(in the case of a power plant)? Doing so requires a lot more planning than we are used to.
- How do we incorporate the new methods into our existing grid? Grid management is not an easy problem to address. It is complicated by many factors and not all of them are predictable. Adding unpredictable sources of power make the problem that much more complicated.
- What are the best applications for this tech? Should it be incorporated into the grid? Or should it be scaled back to suppliment local and regional needs? In other words, maybe we should look at a less distributed model of power generation and consumption?
There are many, many more questions about the implementation of alternative energy generation, distribution and consumption which need to be examined. That does not mean we need to slow down the development or curb the conversation. Quite the opposite in fact.
However, the one argument that is not going to work is climate change. The whole climate change discussion has become so politicized that it has reached a point of stupidity. Forget climate change relative to alternative energy. There are more than enough reasons to move forward with alternative energy without getting into the climate change fray.
Alternative energy sources make sense from the standpoints of
- energy security
- environmental (other than climate change
- employment (as other jobs phase out for example, think of the coal miners…)
- strategic (the military has been one of the biggest developers of wind and solar)
And there are many more reasons that alternative energy generation simply makes sense in the long run.
Using climate change as a talking point for alternative energy is detrimental at this point. Lets focus on developing the tech and the business models that will make it work here in the US. If we do what we have always done here in the US, we will have our energy, be a world leader in the systems that generate and manage it, and because of that: We will have done more for the overall environment than anyone else likely would.
Lets just focus on what is already a good thing and leave the distractions and detractors behind…..