A simple energy proposal

The global distribution of fossil energy greatly mismatches energy consumption, creating geopolitical uncertainties in its availability and price. This simple fact greatly stresses our defense and foreign policies, and confounds our ability to derive an effective energy policy. However, the distribution of, and technologies for renewable energy now allow us to begin solving our national energy problems in a sustainable way. Since our energy attitudes and policies have changed little since 1974, problems like the recent ones experienced in California are simply a reaffirmation of a continuing national energy crisis which has existed since then. New thinking in Washington could quickly improve our energy situation. Hopefully, we have learned we can NOT drill, mine or nuclear dump our way to energy independence (although we are easily misled into false senses of self reliance). We CAN however, rapidly increase our harvesting of renewable energy and reduce the uncertainty that results from hunting and gathering of fossil fuels. Distributed power production will play a significantly growing roll in building new, and replacing outdated power plants, and help assure a more reliable and diverse energy supply.

For a starting point, a modest proposal: If our new administration and legislature believe it is prudent to solve our 2001 energy problems solely with fossil fuel expansion, new coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power plants (all non-sustainable, central power production technologies rooted in the 1940s to 1960s), then it is equally prudent for any build up of our armed forces to employ technologies of the same vintage (B-52s, F-86s, F-4s, Sherman tanks, etc.).

Since energy assurance and defense have similar effects on our national security, economy and well being, our legislators should consider such a deal when developing any long-term solutions to energy or defense problems. Example: For every F-22 deployed, let them deploy 100 MW of wind, solar or fuel cell power production. (Similar to the Boulder Dam or Tennessee Valley Dam Federal projects that were so successful in supplying much needed electricity to a growing nation). Want a $100B missile defense system? Here's the deal . . .

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  • Drawing of the basic proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell operation
  • Drawing showing how a stack of PEM cells work
  • Drawing of the basic solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) operation
  • Figure showing configuration options for fuel cell utility systems
  • Figure showing source, process, storage and load options for remote renewable utility systems
  • Remote renewable hydrogen village using a fuel cell
  • Comparison of civilization's development in food and energy
  • Future driver of fuel cell powered cars