It is true: war and oil go together quite well. But what if we lived in a world of windmills and solar-powered machines and collectors that provided us all the power the peoples of the earth could ever use? Imagine a world where oil was not king, a world where first and foremost oil was used to produce plastics and lubrication for windmills and solar furnaces? Is such a world total fantasy? Or is it a reality that was snuffed out long ago with petro dollar propaganda that lobbied, bought, and paid off governments which would thwart green and other forms of energy not tied to oil? Maybe it was no accident that Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House roof when he was president. And likewise, when Ronald Reagan had them taken down.
Just imagine. What if we had solar and wind power up to speed by the time of the Arab Embargo to where we could have kicked OPEC to the curb? What if we Americans had made an intelligent decision to just stop being addicted to oil then and used our splendid technology and factories to rethink and to retool our lives, our very existence, our future? What if we had Germany’s example and instead of giving government subsidies to Exxon and Chevron the United States would have had a solar program such as the stunning one Germany promulgated some 2 decades ago? See, Germany owned its own electric company. It was the only game in town. The going rate back then for electricity was about 15 cents per kilowatt hour. But Germany told all the people, the villages, and the townships that if they were to construct their very own solar panels to produce electricity, that any excess energy produced, the government would pay the producer a whopping 55 cents per kWh??!! It happened. The program went on for years, and as the German 100-year-old, worn out electric grid was replaced with new and more efficient solar panels, gradually, the government weaned the newcomer producers of energy off the higher 55 cents per kwh subsidized price. It went from 55 cents to 50 to 40 until the price stabilized ad a normal price of between 10 and 15 cents per kWh once again. Everybody won. The common citizen made lots of money off selling excess electricity back to the German grid. The German Government and Electric Company got a brand new grid that would not fail like the present day American grid does often and which at best is only 50% efficient and subject to Brownout failures at any time. Just imagine millions of acres of land in America with solar panels, with no moving parts to lubricate with oil. Just imagine how many more sun days we have here than Germany does, where trying to collect energy from cloudy overcast skies is tough to do. And try to imagine a nation that wanted to share in the prosperity of all its citizens by subsidizing them well in a joint endeavor that brought real wealth and prosperity to all of Germany. Just imagine.
Just imagine such an America that produced enough energy from the sun to power not just our own nations’ needs, but with an abundance of electricity to sell to Canada, Mexico, all of Central America, and South America as well. Just imagine.
Such an America would not need to filter smokestacks because there would be none. Neither would there be exhaust tailpipes in a nation of electric cars powered by electricity from the sun. There would be no desperate need for nuclear power or the dangers associated with radiation and disposal of radioactive waste. There would be no mercury and other toxic chemicals in every cubic centimeter of the Western Hemisphere because there would be no coal-fired electricity production. Burning any fossil fuels which puts the mercury into every trout, salmon, mackerel, and bass in every pristine lake and stream in the world, would be a faded memory of a time back when we thought as a stone age people that cared little for our planet, our home, and yes, the very earth. Global Warming would be an argument that would ring hollow because the demise of a society that burns oil in internal combustion engines would be history.
Imagine if we had put our solar furnace technology into force the way Germany did. Schott Solar, a German company that makes extruded hollow glass rods as a component to carry a saline solution, the apparatus of which is cradled in a system of long convex mirrors to track and follow the sun, produces megawatts of energy. Just from the sun. The saline solution heats quickly to a temperature that will turn water into steam which is used to propel giant electric turbines. Megawatts. From the sun. No CO2 production. No mercury. No acid rain and no pollution of the planet. No more need for the EPA.
One such Schott system could power a medium-sized city.
Spain is no slacker either when it comes to creating wind and solar power. Gamesa and Acciona, 2 of the top 10 producers of electric generating windmills account for the installed power of over 3,880 megawatts in various countries of the world. Denmark companies (Vesta and Siemans) at almost 6,000 megawatts take the title of the world’s largest producer of installed windmills on earth.
Spain has fields of solar-powered furnaces where acres of mirrors are programed to follow the sun’s path and to focus a concentrated solar beam to the top of a tower where steam is created to propel electric turbines. It is ingenious and all powered by collecting the sun’s energy.
So now Spain has sold its technology to the United States where millions of megawatts of these solar electric generating devices are placed and to be expanded in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and New Mexico. It means billions of dollars for Spain and over 100,000 new jobs. America had the technology to do all this and more, so why didn’t we rise to the demand and the challenge? The answer is simple: MONEY.
Instead of leading the world into the 21 Century, the United States is dragging both feet in the new and promising field of alternative energy. Why? Why can’t we make the change? Why cannot Exxon and Shell Oil retool and get with the transition to solar and wind power? Why do we want to just give up on alternative energy that just might save the planet, our jobs, and our dollar just to maintain the status quo of BIG OIL? Simply put, the Big Oil and Big Electric and Gas want it that way. They are quite mad about making money for the short term and letting the rest of America go to hell in a hand basket.
First, it would take too much money and time for Big Oil to retool and rethink the problem. It is easier for them to just keep on doing what they have known to make billions of dollars of profit each quarter. They have paid billions in ads to demonize Environmentalists who support Green Energy. “Tree Huggers” they call them. When oil controls the purse strings of the world and every country, it is not likely that Big Oil will give it up or transition to other forms of energy. Oil is power, and the real estate, the very ground over which the oil is pumped and flows is the most valuable dirt in the entire universe, at least according to Big Oil.
Second, just think of all the secondary businesses and companies that would get screwed and blued if the world switched to a kinder, softer, quieter, less-polluting technology like solar and wind power. The first to feel it would be all the companies dependent on the protection business. This means the Military Industrial Complex of War Corporations. General Electric, Boeing, Lockheed, the missile companies that charge $1 million dollars per Tomahawk Missile and even more. All the nuclear weapon facilities that manufacture bombs and delivery systems would go hurting. There would be no need for arms and weapons if there was nothing to protect, namely, Oil and the real estate where it is sucked out of the ground. Small arm companies would shrink to insignificance no matter how many Billy Bob’s still might clamor about protecting themselves with a rifle in the gun rack of their pickup truck rear window.
Third, there would be no more need for the United States to have overseas foreign military bases. With over 797 military bases and over 2.5 million overseas billets, it would be high time to bring them all home were Oil to become a secondary energy source for Planet Earth. China, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Denmark (imagine that) are all leading the way to the inevitable: conversion to alternative means of energy production such as wind and solar. There would be no more real estate to protect such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, ad infinitum when it comes to oil sources. Instead of fretting about Iran and nuclear weapons the world would have to make up its mind if it wanted to keep to the old ways. Instead of protecting oil and feuding with, occupying, and fighting with countries and terrorists who want to hurt us because of oil and our addiction to it, we all would just make the switch to solar and wind power for all the planet’s needs. All our soldiers could retrain for meaningful jobs in saving the planet and producing electricity for all of mankind.
It is likely though, that it will never happen. Big Oil and the money behind it and maintaining fear of the threat of terrorism in the hearts of humans are too lucrative. Think all the no-bid government contractors could give up selling Uncle Sam (nee us taxpayers) all those $500 hammers? Think those good old boys could get by on selling a hammer for the reasonable Wal-Mart price of say, $9.95? If you think they could make the transition tune in next time for Oil Part IV when we discuss some of the devices and chicanery involved in keeping the vast American population dumbed down as to what is going on with Energy in the USA. And why George W. Bush, in this land of the free, exercised Executive Privilege to seal the minutes of Cheney’s Energy Department Meeting minutes from all of us right before Cheney met with Ken Lay just 4 days before Enron fell. The US Government Accounting Office really got pissed off over that and filed suit against Bush and Cheney. But Executive Privilege got exercised once again and slam dunked the GAO and the truth. Again.