The US case for radical energy use efficiency and for switching to alternative energy sources

I have been looking to blog on this for sometime, but it came out in a comment at TDAXP:

The best case for the US to move to radical energy use efficiency and to switch a lot more to alternative energy (while sharing or selling the techniques and technology to the rest of the world to use as well) is that it will reduce the economic power and freedom of action of lots of bad actors in the world who tend to work against the interest of the US and other democratically inclined actors.

To be clear: I am not a green, I am not a watermelon. I have not been sucked into the faux-science quasi-religion of Global Warming. I don’t secretly want to de-industrialize the west. I do not advocate lower growth or less industry.

I want to drive an affordable electric or gas/electric or some sort of flex-fuel vehicle as a mobility device. I want to take a train once a month to Madison or the Fox River Valley. I want to see a new nationwide network of smart electrical grids powered by small scale nuclear plants, municipal plasma furnaces, wind and solar (where the make sense) or whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up and successively execute. I long for the day of orbital solar power.

I love the idea of (and the change it will make) of Russia and Saudi Arabia and the others of their ilk being deprived of their ability to make mischief  and misery for the rest of the world. I welcome their fall. This will be a good thing for the world.

I want the science fiction future promised to me as a kid, and I want it shared with the world.


One day…
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5 Responses

  1. Excellent post!

    It’s striking how this debates highlights Boyd’s conception of the correlation of forces — if we get a gas tax to reduce US oil consumption, it will be because of people who don’t particular care for each other (environmentalists, anti-consumptionists, national security conservatives, etc), uniting against a common enemy, but to no common end except an instrumental one.

  2. You might be interested in developments since early this year that suddenly make power satellites look a lot better. It seems that a really large project over the next 35 years would be able to replace all sources of fossil energy with low cost solar energy from space.

    What it depends on is low cost access to space. When considering power sats, the traffic model is a million tons per year and up. At that level, it is possible to use high efficiency methods.

    The case is made here:

    http://htyp.org/dollar_a_gallon_gasoline

    and on the linked pages.

    Keith Henson

  3. Thanks for the link Keith. The nukes can be done now, the PowerSats later.

    I am hopeful given all of the private space flight activity going on.

    I really want the holy grail – space elevators!

  4. I want the science fiction future promised to me as a kid, and I want it shared with the world.

    Personally, I am all for that, but what I want are the kinetic rail guns that can be used to strike a planetary target from orbit with no chance of interdiction. That was what I was promised.

  5. I am thinking more of a prosperous democratic capitalist society exploring inhabiting the solar system.

    That can only happen if the US keeps the “high ground” in space.

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