Clean Energy / Dirty Energy

It is striking how energy is either really clean, or really dirty.

Solar power – nobody gets harmed. Takes up huge acreage in the desert, where there is nobody to be bothered by it anyway. If it breaks down, it stops producing energy and costs money to get fixed. Potential is infinite.

Wind power – huge turbines can be an eyesore and earsore. If it breaks down, it stops producing. Nobody is harmed. Potential is infinite.

Hydroelectric power – dams are green and healthy, as long as you don’t have to flood towns to build them. There is danger downstream, however. If a dam breaks, due to terror attacks, earthquakes or bad design, it can be disastrous. However, beyond that, potential is infinite.

Nuclear power – small footprint, high output. If it breaks down, however, vast implications for anything alive within a radius and downwind,  and poisoning of entire county-sized stretches of land for thousands of years. Disastrous implication on the food chain for hundreds of years.

Oil drilling in sea – small footprint, reasonable output. If it breaks down, ecological disaster for decades. Fishing and tourist industry devastated for years, possibly decades. Pollution on the maritime food chain for decades.

Where should we be putting our research dollars?

Leave a Reply