The Case for Solar Energy; Morlocks Vs. Eloi.
Energy independence is at the forefront of the economic and foreign policy dialogue, with the overarching issue being technology and business model reliability that can proliferate throughout the domestic and global markets, eventually replacing the need for fossil fuels.
American energy independence fuels the diatribes of political candidates, scientists, and network talking heads alike. One of the most polarizing topics for American energy independence, and the US’s reliance on foreign oil imports, is the viability of alternative technologies at a level large enough to maintain the current energy consumption rates, while allowing room for future growth.
Alternative energy technologies such as wind power, hydroelectric, corn ethanol, and solar are indeed viable, in that they work to produce usable energy. The question facing the US, and the rest of the industrialized world, is which technology can be created, harnessed, scaled, and distributed across the entire global energy infrastructure at reasonable cost, safety, and efficacy. Most importantly, which technology provides a viable model for capital expenditure and reasonable return rate for both governments, and private organizations alike? The international consensus is Solar Energy.
A world where oil is “turned to salt” would be ideal for the United States, especially if the new energy paradigm were pioneered and controlled in the US.
The first nation that effectively brings their private enterprise and government together to lead the world in alternative energy, particularly solar, will lead the world into the future,economically and politically. Cheap, clean, reliable energy will free societies to fund the foundational pillars of successful nations; education, infrastructure, and health care.
Adoption of a solar energy initiative also relieves the American taxpayer of current military and subsidy burdens. Maintaining control over the world’s oil and energy infrastructure is a part of the beast that feeds the military complex in the US that is gorging itself on debt floated on the back of the taxpayer. A revamped and aggressive charge towards solar energy will ease reliance on foreign oil, and wiping “access to fossil based energy” off of the US’s priorities list for national security would be a nice little ancillary benefit.
The Markets Aren’t Fair.
Markets are self-correcting entities if left to their own organic devices. Government intervention in the form of subsidies and propping up of certain industries is not only a pre-cursor for corporatism to take full control of government, but it is an impediment to innovation, as old industries such as subsidized oil, natural gas from fracking, and coal entrench themselves and their infrastructures into the energy ecosystem and become increasingly difficult to change or remove.
As United States policy continues to disproportionately subsidize the oil and gas industry, it ignores an opportunity to maintain its lead in the global economy by being the front running nation to nurture and adopt solar energy.
There is an international casting call happening right now, where nations are vying to take on the future as either Morlock or Eloi.
In his novel, The Time Machine, H. G. Wells described a world with a subterranean race of ugly brutish cave and tunnel dwelling cannibals called the Morlocks, and a race of beautiful sun dwellers, the Eloi. We have already started choosing which of these two species we want to become.
These two races exist today in the US. There are the frackers and the driller, who are obsessed with digging tunnels and caves into the earth, and do all of their dealings in the dark, and have no problem cannibalizing other humans as their actions poison water, air and soil.
And then there are the Eloi, who look up into the sky, and see the sun, and know that it provides us with a deluge of electromagnetic energy in the form of delicious photons, enough for 6,000 times our current use of energy. These proto-Eloi seek to create a future that works for all Americans and all humans and all animals, plants, bacteria, algae, and fungi, now and in the future.
So, which species are we creating? Do we lust to frack and drill the earth, and continue the dependency on carbon for 75% of all human energy needs, while polluting soil, air, and water? Or do we want to put out silicon baskets and catch the tiny fruits falling on fully half the earth 100% of the time, enough to last us for the next five billion years?
We must choose our species: Morlock or Eloi.