I want President Obama to treat the British Petroleum oil platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico the same way Dubya treated 9/11.
This should be a game changer. I want to see an effort on the par of the Manhattan Project or Apollo Project to pry America's lip from the petroleum tit.
Let me start by defining the term "agnostic" for the purposes of this discussion.
It has NOTHING TO DO with religion.
"A system agnostic computing technology (or person, in the case of system administrators and programmers) is one that does not depend entirely on the ideology of another technology, as in "OS agnostic" or "editor agnostic."
What that means for this post is that agnostic electricity is electricity no matter how or where it was generated.
America doesn't have a national power grid. We have these little local power grids controlled by local Public Utility Commissions who contract with power generating companies to generate and distribute power within their jurisdiction. It is an incredibly fragmented system.
There is a better way.
What we need is a national, agnostic power grid that will accept input from any source at a standard, pro-rated, kilowatt-based compensation, feed that electricity into the grid where it is distributed as needed at a standard, pro-rated, kilowatt-based pricing system.
There are so many ways to generate electricity that with a distributed generation strategy and a unified grid, we can have all the power we need without depending on fossil fuels.
There are parts of the United States that are typically very windy. The Great Plains. Coastal areas. By building wind farms in those areas, they can feed into the national power grid.
If you've ever been to the beach, you know that the tides rise and fall. You can harness this energy through buoys attached to turbines that can capture energy no matter which way the water is moving. Buoy farms can feed into the national power grid.
"The heat from the earth's own molten core can be converted into electricity. This core consists primarily of extremely high temperature liquid rock known as magma. This "geothermal" heat circulates within the rock or is transferred to underground reservoirs of water, which also circulate under the earth's crust. Because of the near limitless ability of the earth to produce magma, and the continuous transfer of heat between subsurface rock and water, geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource."
Yellowstone is the Saudi Arabia of geo-thermal power. Yellowstone can feed into the national power grid.
SOLAR ELECTRIC POWER
Sunlight can be converted into electricity using solar cells. This is particularly effective in places like Arizona, New Mexico and Death Valley. Solar electric farms can feed into the national power grid.
NEXT GEN NUCLEAR POWER
We've been doing nuclear power wrong. We've been building nuclear plants the same way we used to build huge, coal-fired plants designed to generate power for the largest possible geographical area.
The U.S. Navy has been doing nuclear power right for decades Small, safe, compact nuclear power plants designed to power aircraft carriers and submarines that are the equivalent of medium size cities.
That's the new direction for nuclear. Small, affordable, Naval-style, plug and play nuclear power plants can feed into the national power grid.
A fuel cell combines hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity and the only byproduct is water. Imagine a refrigerator size fuel cell in your basement. You feed it hydrogen and oxygen, it produces electricity and water. It can supply all the electricity your home needs. Produce more than you need and you can sell the surplus to the grid. Combine your fuel cell with solar electric, wind, tidal, geo-thermal (depending on where you live) and you can have all the power you need and maybe even turn a profit.
With a national, agnostic power grid, we can be independent of fossil fuel and spur a new domestic energy market.
If the winds in New England are strong, they can be making a profit by supplying power to Oregon when it's cloudy.
When it's 120 degrees in Death Valley, they can be making a profit by supplying power to New England if the winds are calm.
If the fuel cell in my basement is generating more power than I need because I insulated my attic, I can make a profit by supplying power to my neighbor because he's inefficient.
Just because I live in Independence, MO, there is no technological reason why I can't be harvesting energy from New England, Death Valley and Florida and paying a fair, pro-rated price per kilowatt.
This national energy grid approach also eliminates the scenario where a local tornado knocks out a transformer and thousands are left without power for days.
Power is just rerouted from places that still have power. Electricity, like water, would find it's own level and automatically fill any gaps.
Nothing I've just described requires any new technology. Except maybe a USB-like interface to link the isolated energy infrastructures into a unified grid. That's nothing.
We can do this if we want to.