Friday, November 2, 2018

Microstory 965: Renewable Energy

I’ve spoken so much about renewable energy, in this series, and in others, that I’m almost not sure I need to go over it again. It’s frustrating that so many people believe in clean energy, but apparently not the right people. I wasn’t aware until recently that the official political stance on climate change, for democrats and republicans alike, is tha—next question, please. Seriously, if they don’t outright deny climate change, then they still won’t explicitly admit that it’s real, or at least not that humans are the main drivers for it. I remember talking about this years ago with a conservative “friend”. He said that electric vehicles, for instance, require charging from the grid, which are powered by coal, natural gas, and other not-so-renewable sources. His reasoning was that they couldn’t help the environment as long as this true, so we might as well not try, and “hey, look at my gas guzzler, the hubcaps keep spinning!” And he’s not entirely wrong. The energy grid is a terribly inefficient system, and all but the worst way of accomplishing our energy requirements. Instead of building a giant central plant, and piping it all over a massive area, why don’t we build a bunch of tiny ones? In fact, why don’t we just let each household supply its own energy? The libertarians should be jumping all over this one, because instead of relying on the only power option available to me, solar and wind power companies can all vie for my business, no matter where they’re based. If I place solar panels and miniature wind turbines on my roof, and store excess in a wall battery, I can be energy self-sufficient. If I collect and filter my own rainwater, farm my own small garden, and print my own clothes using additive manufacturing, then I don’t need nobody but me. Some would call that a dream. Last year, power went out all over the city. I don’t even know how bad it was, but for some, it lasted for days. My parents and sister had to stay at a hotel one night, and at my place for another. I nearly slept in my downstairs twin bed, of all places. A twin bed! It was horrific. And it only happened because we’re all connected, so one thing goes wrong, and we all get screwed. So let’s fix these problems before they even happen, by investing in microgrids. The more people who start buying renewable solutions, the cheaper it becomes, and the more affordable it will be for people like me. In the end, isn’t that what really matters; what’s best for me?

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