Friday, March 15, 2013

Democratization of Energy.

Considering the amount of evidence that continuing fossil fuel exploitation will have negative consequences for the human race, it is hard for some of us to understand why there is so much resistance to change. The truth is it all comes down to disenfranchisement. The only reason solar, wind and other renewable energy sources haven't been unanimously adopted, is because it levels the playing field for too many Americans.

Our economy is built on winners and losers. The unspoken yet essential component to capitalism is the control of access to goods and services by a centralized private organization. Oil is the perfect medium for this sort of bully capitalism. How many people do you know that have the ability to drill, extract, refine and store all of their own petroleum? Because it requires sophisticated infrastructure; and its ultimately limited nature, exploitation of the consumer is safe guarded intrinsically.

Once democratized forms of energy production; like solar, become ubiquitous, centralized distribution becomes less and less necessary. How do you block access to the sun? Because there is no intrinsic method for controlling access to this type energy, how do you disenfranchise the consumer based in order to extract a revenue stream? This is the exact nature of the fight fossil fuel companies are putting up. They feel entitled to a percentage of your paycheck every month, and they are willing to pour billions into the election economy alone to maintain the leverage to get it.

I believe this puts them squarely at odds with the founding principals of our nation. What happened to the preservation of "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? Life is being directly threatened as the carbon emissions have been unequivocally linked to drought, floods and other extreme weather events. What part of liberty is direct financial disenfranchisement? And I for one and not at all happy with with our elected representatives being solely beholden to the highest campaign contributor.

Today, the price of solar is competitive with fossil fuel energy distribution in all but a small handful of markets. The limited nature of fossil fuels means its price can only go up. The technology behind solar is more than eight decades old and the price is coming down. That means it will, sooner rather than later, eclipse the market for fossil fuel. The solar industry today; at 5% market saturation, already employs 3/4 of the Americans fossil fuels including coal, conventional oil and shale does combined.

There is a clear incentive to transition our nation over to a renewable energy portfolio for the vast majority of Americans. The only real change to anyone's way of life will be those who lose the control from the top.

As always, I encourage comments and critiques, and will not edit or omit anything.


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