Energy Shift

We are on the verge of a major energy transition. The days of oil being our main supply of energy are quickly coming to an end, and giving way to new and better energy sources. Not only is the world’s supply of oil and other fossil fuels running out, but the price of oil has already surpassed the point of being affordable for most people. Our "cheap and plentiful” energy source has become expensive and scarce. Soon we will see the world switching away from fossil fuels, and switching toward sustainable sources including solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power.

Fortunately, we now have a lot of great options to choose from. Many of these, such as solar and wind power, have been around for ages but were just too expensive or too inconvenient compared to fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas.

It is interesting to see how we shifted away from the sustainable sources of our past, such as wind- and water mills and "solar powered” clothes lines, and moved to the more energy dense fossil fuels, only to now have to come back to similar sustainable sources again! The energy sources of our past are also the energy sources of our future! Luckily we have learned a lot in the meantime, and we can make much more effective use of such energies now, in ways that already surpass our current fossil fuel engines.

The most noticeable aspect of this transition is a shift in the way energy is delivered. That delivery system is electricity. It’s nothing new – it’s been around longer than the gas stations we have become chained to, and it’s so easy to access. For some reason governments and corporations have been trying to sell us on the idea of a hydrogen powered future, but that technology is still not viable for general use even after all these years, and it requires some very expensive infrastructure costs to get the hydrogen to all of the users. Electricity, on the other hand, is already available everywhere! You might say, "Hippie dude, there are places on Earth that do not have electricity”, but all we need to do is install some solar panels or windmills and we can harvest clean electricity anywhere. As it stands right now, it’s pretty safe to say that everyone who drives a vehicle also has access to electricity.

Electricity can easily be created in many different ways, including the now old-fashioned way of burning fossil fuels. Nuclear power also remains a big option, of course, as we can get an awful lot of power from a very small amount of material that way. Nuclear energy is risky, but if properly taken care of can be a very nice clean source of energy to help us get away from our oil addiction. More importantly, we can also create electricity using clean and safe renewable resources, and if we choose to, every single one of us can create electricity at home.

Thankfully, more and more car companies are working on electric vehicles now, with Toyota and Chevy promising vehicles for 2010, and even Zenn for 2009. With this shift already happening right now, I will definitely not buy a "new” vehicle that uses old technology, promising to keep me enslaved to the oil companies!

To make this transition, we just have to start using what we already have, demanding better technologies and unchaining ourselves from the gasoline addictions that make us hostages to fuel prices!