Why should America make a decisive commitment to a sustainable energy future? Because the global climate, the public health, our economy and our national security depend on it.
A vision for a sustainable energy future
Imagine if one million American households installed high-output solar modules, and utilized the technology of net-metering to eliminate most of their electric bills? What would happen to supply and demand? Probably not much.
What if ten million American households did it? What would happen then? The utility companies would see that they weren’t selling as much electricity. They might be forced to lower energy prices, or slow the burning of fossil fuels in response to the lowered demand.
What if 25 million American households installed high-output solar modules, and used the technology of net-metering to eliminate their electrical bills? Twenty five million residential addresses would no longer pay for electricity. How would that impact supply and demand?
What if every family in the Great Plains put up a wind turbine, and tied them all in to the North American power grid? What would happen then? The demand on the utility companies might drop noticeably. They might have to lower prices significantly. They might even find it necessary to shut down a few of their coal-fired or oil-fired power plants.
What if there is a breakthrough in solar panel design that doubles the electrical output? What if there is a breakthrough in solar panel manufacturing that cuts the cost of solar equipment in half? What if the price of fossil fuel-generated electricity doubles or triples, making solar panels cost-effective for almost everyone?
What if solar panels started showing up at Wal-Mart and Home Depot? What if every homeowner in America began scrambling to install them?
What if, on the heels of this consumer revolution, there came the Energy Farms: Hundreds of facilities, decentralized across the nation, each one tailored to capitalize on that geographic area’s most prominent renewable resources? Imagine wind farms in Kansas, solar farms in Nevada, noninvasive hydroelectric in the Pacific Northwest, biodiesel refineries in the Deep South â€“ each pouring clean, renewable and domestically produced energy into the U.S. economy?
What would happen when people realize they can buy an electric car, charge it from their household solar equipment, and never pay for gas again? Never pay for electricity or gasoline again… would this possibility appeal to the American public…?
“From NPR News in Washington, I’m Carl Castle. Con Ed announced today that it is decommissioning the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. The company cites lack of demand for the closing…”
The Call for Energy Independence
The price of fossil fuels â€“ to the environment, the economy, the American pocketbook, and our national security â€“ continues to increase, and this trend is certain to continue. Meanwhile, the price of solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric equipment and biofuels decreases annually. Methods of acquiring and burning fossil fuels have reached the top end of their efficiency, while these more youthful technologies have not yet hit their stride. The conversion efficiency of solar cells increases annually, and the cost effectiveness of wind turbines has increased by a factor of five. These trends are also certain to continue.
Prodigious amounts of funding will be granted this year to think-tanks and advocacy groups to produce studies on renewable energy, to issue policy guidelines, analyze long-term strategies, and to otherwise intellectualize the issue to the point of alienating the American public.
At the Energy Farm, we say enough with the talk, let’s do this. It’s time to apply the science and deploy the technology. Every kilowatt/hour produced by an individual or household reduces the amount of fossil fuel burned for electrical generation. The less fossil fuel we burn, the less we damage our environment with particulate pollution, greenhouses gas emissions and oil exploration in increasingly fragile ecosystems.
Perhaps most importantly, we are pushing steadily towards a future in which the United States is no longer dependent upon foreign oil; a future in which America’s energy security is no longer a matter of national security. This is to be our greatest reward: A newly independent â€“ energy-independent â€“ United States of America.
An Issue of Freedom
It must be noted that America has always led the way. We invented the automobile and are responsible for popularizing the fossil fuel engine worldwide. We were the first to discover the negative effects these fossil fuels have on our land, our health and our national security.
It should be Americans who lead the world beyond the dead-end technology of fossil fuels, and towards a bold new initiative of national energy self-reliance â€“ wherein our nation’s energy demands are met cleanly and sustainably from within our own borders using emerging technologies.
We are presented with an opportunity to make an outstanding gift to our children and to Americans for generations to come. It is the gift of a self-sustaining energy infrastructure, in the time-honored American tradition of producing from the land to meet one’s own needs. The Founding Fathers enjoyed this freedom, as did countless pioneers across the continent.
We lost this freedom somewhere in the 20th Century when our daily lives became utterly dependent upon energy sources that we are helpless to attain through self-reliance. This loss is tantamount to a loss of freedom. Americans experience this loss of freedom most acutely when gasoline prices soar on chronic shortages â€“ and we are forced to line up like Soviet-era Russians and buy it anyway.
Big Energy spins a complex web of international market forces. What difference can an ordinary citizen make? A suburban homeowner can’t just generate his own electricity! A farmer can’t just grow a crop of gasoline!
Or can they…?
The next definitive steps towards an energy-independent America, and we hope you will agree, are the ideals and goals represented by the Energy Farm.
The Energy Farm mission addresses global and local environmental concerns by promoting energy technologies that are renewable, nonpolluting, and environmentally sustainable. Reduced demand for fossil fuels reduces the potential for environmental catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez oil spill, reduces levels of ozone and particulate pollution around urban areas, and reduces U.S. production of greenhouse gases which threaten to destabilize the global climate.
The Energy Farm mission addresses national security and economic stability in the United States by encouraging energy self-reliance for the American public. We advocate a strategic move away from foreign oil imports and a decisive shift towards domestic renewable energy production. Ending our dependency on foreign oil is a goal we can all agree on.
Sustainable Energy Supplies
The Energy Farm mission addresses future energy supplies by promoting renewable energy technologies with the potential for open-ended production. Petroleum production worldwide is already in decline, while solar and wind energy supplies are expected to remain steady for the next 4 to 5 billion years. The choice for long-term investment seems rather obvious.
The Energy Farm mission addresses the need for greater public awareness. Energy conservation will be a key ingredient in a sustainable future, and energy conservation lies squarely in the hands of the American consumer. By informing the public through media, educational programs, and the World Wide Web, the Energy Farm empowers the public to participate in America’s energy solutions.