A New Approach to Alternative Energy

 Posted by on August 23, 2010  Add comments
Aug 232010
 

I don’t know about all this alternative energy stuff.  Renewable energy.  Solar energy.  Wind energy. Lunar energy. Geothermal energy.  Meteor energy.

It annoys me, mainly because the word energy has been hijacked by so many pseudo-scientific charlatans claiming to heal you with crystals and auras and mantras, except they never use the word energy.  Chancers always say energies, and they never, ever tell you what it means, because they don’t know.

However, enough railing against fake healers and ego-worriers.  Let us speak of energy.

As we all know now, the world has passed the point of peak oil, which simply means we’ve used more than half of all the oil on the planet.  In a little over a hundred years, we’ve sucked out half the oil laid down by millions upon millions of years of decaying dinosaurs.

Do you need to be a genius to figure out that this is not good?

I don’t think so.  I think not.  No.

Now, what is the principal driver of all this oil-sucking?  What motivates this prodigious drainage of hydrocarbons from within the earth’s crust?

What else?  The most powerful force ever to propel humankind.

Greed.

Instead of converting this huge global resource into useful stuff through the polymeric magic of modern chemistry, we turn it into the discarded dross and chaff that circles our oceans — the biggest man-made object visible from Space.  We burn it.  We destroy it in our haste and our greed and our personal madness.

We do more than that.  By constantly reproducing, without bound, without end, without limit, we guarantee that the oil resources disappear at an exponentially-increasing rate, which means that Peak Oil isn’t really half way at all.  If you thought we burned the first half fast, wait till you see what happens over the next thirty years.  All modern wars will be about energy or water, and you saw the start of it with Afghanistan and Iraq, dressed up as the War on Terror.  Watch this space: you’ll see lots more war on terror, but always in places with oil or water.  What a coincidence.

Why can’t we just chill?

If we relaxed a bit, if we chilled a bit, if we did less running around, and if some of us could keep their dicks in their pants, there might be hope for the future.

You see, I think shortage of energy is only part of the problem.

I think too much energy is also the reason we’re in trouble.  Too much energy put into making money and building stuff and running around and lighting cities all night and sailing gigantic cruise ships around the world, and a whole pile of other stuff that uses up dead dinosaurs.  There are only so many dead dinosaurs and we’re running out of them, so it’s time to chill.

Our local university has a degree course on sustainable energy, which I think is great.  The more we harness renewables, the less dead-dinosaur-stuff we’ll burn, and I’m all in favour of that.  Solar power.  Wind-power, which is solar by another name.  Lunar power.  Geothermal, as long as we don’t chill the planet so much we wipe ourselves out anyway, though maybe we could balance global warming against Earth-cooling. Who knows?

I have a personal interest in this because my lazy swine of a son somehow managed to gain the points he needed for college despite lying around picking guitars and drinking beer, and he expressed an interest in this whole area of study.  He has a vaguely scientific inclination, as I do myself.

Bullet, I said to him, isn’t it fair to say that you’re a lazy bastard?

It is, he agreed.

And you came from a long line of lazy bastards, as I did myself?

True, he nodded.

Well, I went on, all of this energy crisis is caused by people running around everywhere trying to do things the whole time, right?

Right, he shrugged.

So, I said, instead of researching alternative, renewable sources of energy …

Bullet isn’t stupid.  He could see where this was going, and as he lay back on the sofa, reaching for his Gibson, he cracked a can of beer.

I could research … he muttered, idly picking out a melancholy blues lick …

You could research

He grinned, and we intoned, as one lazy bastard

Renewable sources of lethargy.

  18 Responses to “A New Approach to Alternative Energy”

Comments (18)
  1.  

    Bock leave Bullet alone his mind does not require this! The occasional kick up the arse to get him out busking to afford his own beer O.K. As for chilling, where is the profit in that? Have you forgotten the laws of acquisition? Greed is good even if it means the destruction of the Human race! Enough is a word long since defunct.

  2.  

    obviously we’re pissing whrough all the oil and will continue to do untill it becomes unprofitable,for capatilistic systems social progress and human wellness is always second to monetary gain.
    Like George Carlin once said “have you noticed that the only metaphor we have in our public discourse for solving problems for solving problems … is to declare war on it. we havve the war on crime.. the war on cancer, the war on drugs… but did you ever notice that we have no war on homelessness. you know why? because theres no money in that problem. no money to be made off of the homelessness. if you find a solution to homelessness where the corporations and politicians can make a few million dollars each, you will see the streets of America begin to clear up preetty damn quick.”
    I just wonder will this shit ever change?

  3.  

    Congrats to the bullet!!
    I was just listening to this last night.

    Betrand Russell In Praise Of Idleness.. (I can’t find any recordings of the man himself for this one)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skHCkCDBrls

    You have it right Bock!

  4.  

    I don’t know BOCK. Remember before the oil was discovered the planet’s supply of whale oil was almost disappeared completely.
    There’d be no whales in our oceans today if not for all those dead dinosaurs.

  5.  

    Windmills of your mind and thats where they should fucken stay. Look at west clare, the place is destroyed with them, or will be if the green party have their say. Fucken things are noisy, destroy the local bird population and drive the local residents insane with the constant humming. Meanwhile Gormley and crew cycle around Dublin on their bikes and tell local farmers in west clare they cant cut turf anymore in the very bogs which are still there, only because of the turf cutting thats been going on for centuries, which has helps to preserve these very same bogs. While at the same time they give permission to erect these big fucken wind turbines in the most beautuful parts of Ireland. Most of which dont even produce enough energy to merit their construction and are in fact a drain on the national grid. Spare us all from this type of alternative energy sourcing.

  6.  

    Hate to say it but you’re off centre about peak oil Bock.

    Peak Oil does not mean we have used half of the world’s oil.
    Peak Oil means that oil production from existing known oil sources has gone into decline. But that ignores the fact that there are trillions of “barrels” of oil in many places all over the world that are known about but left alone for now because it’s easier and cheaper to extract it conventionally (i.e drilling) in other places.
    So we realistically do not know when we will run out of oil; it may get harder and more expensive for the likes of BP to extract it, but they’ll figure that out.

    I completely agree with LSJ, those windfarms are a bloody joke. They have already been proven to be useless, but we’re putting more and more of them up every year…meanwhile we have stupidly expensive campaigns urging people not to leave their DVD on standby (total energy saving over 1 year = about the same as it takes to have a 10 minute hot shower) . And when we had that cold snap – you had some idiots telling everyone to leave their taps running to avoid frozen pipes – when all they really needed, was a few buckets.

  7.  

    You’re right about Peak Oil, but since this isn’t Nature magazine, I thought I might get away with that one. Wrong again.

    Anyway, the point is about developing renewable sources of lethargy.

  8.  

    I’d like to write an erudite long reply but that would require expenditure of energy so I’m off to Nancy’s to listen to the Funk Junkies.

  9.  

    I’m afraid you’re a day early

  10.  

    Nuclear is the best option. Wind turbines are a complete joke, it takes 200 hundreds tons of concrete to build just one, they kill an alarming number of bird life and drive people crazy from the noise. There is a plan to build a wind farm in the thames estuary but this has to be backed up with a coal fired power station to compensate for windless periods, just how crazy can it get. So why do they continue to build them if they are such a disaster. The answer is simple, they get a subsidy. So if they remove the subsidy that will see the end of wind turbines.

  11.  

    I’m interested in your comment about turbines killing birds. Do you have any links to studies that provide numbers?

  12.  

    Any bird that cant see a 40m turbine blade in its flight path probably isn’t going to last long in the wild. Anyway when the non renewable stuff runs out or gets too dear, nobody is going to give a shit about birds, landscape or noise. To argue that wind turbines are a waste of time for the reasons Jack the lad gives is a bit like arguing 100 years ago that cars are pointless because the roads aren’t designed for them. Its true that wind needs conventional power to back it up (not necessarily coal fired though Jack), but its way too early to write off wind farms for this reason. We are just at the start of an energy revolution, and intermittent sources like wind will play their part. More and better ways of storing or using intermittent energy will come into play, and backup power is already becoming more flexible (i.e. it can switch on and off quickly as required, so there is no wastage) and efficient.

  13.  

    Esso Dee Migrating birds fly at night ,also some birds fly whilst sleeping and some fly nearly all the time. Wind turbines are not part of the natural landscape so it will take a long time for natural selection to take account of them, meanwhile large numbers of birds will perish. Your comments are unfair because I did offer an alternative which was nuclear energy. Of course we only have fission at the moment but I am confident that in the near future we shall have fusion. When that happens all our energy problems will be over. It is important to have nuclear personnel available when that day comes so I think it would be wise to build a fission plant now. You must also take into account the amount of concrete it takes to build just one wind turbine and then you will realize what a joke they are. I am not opposed to other methods just wind turbines but hasten to add that they will all be ditched when fusion arrives. We must all get over our prejudice against nuclear because I can assure you that there will be a mad scramble to get a fusion plant when that day arrives. Your attitude towards wildlife rather surprises me I must say.

  14.  

    Bock sorry I dont have any links but if you google it I am sure you will find one.

  15.  

    Have you got the figures on those bird-kills? You can’t make a claim and expect me to do the research to back it up. You have to come up with your own facts.

  16.  

    Bock try this one but there are many more. http://www.savewesternny.org/wildlife.html

  17.  

    Thanks for the link. It invites me to follow other links and process the information, but what I was really hoping for was the figures you based your opinion on. Could you let me have that instead of asking me to do do the work?

  18.  

    I’m no expert Jack, and you might be right about nuclear, and if it solves all our problems, great. But I don’t think we can afford to rule out anything, including wind, at this early stage, that’s my main point. My point about dead birds was phrased a little facetiously, but I think if birds were flying into the turbines then the evidence would be lying dead on the ground in the vicinity, and we would have seen photos of the carnage in the papers. I acknowledge however that the installation of the turbines can interfere with certain birds habitats if not managed right. I do value the importance of wildlife, I was just pointing out that when people have no fuel to drive their cars or heat their homes, present day concerns about wildlife, noise nuisance etc will evaporate.

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