Monday, December 01, 2008

Power, power everywhere

This little gem from the ever-watchful Torygraph, shows just how much power is literally under our noses. I've always known that, given the right incentives (which generally means a crisis of some sort), that is to say, a large dose of Necessity, humans can pull yet another wabbit out of Gaia's capacious hat. Oops, I mean, exploit more sustainably our Ecological Niche.

Whether it be current-generated power (and the original clue was thunk up, oh, 500 years ago by one L. da Vinci), thin-film solar (leading contender here), bacteria engineered to produce whatever takes your fancy (hydrocarbon chains, plastics precursors, or just plain ol' hydrogen), the answer is very clear.

Absent a major cataclysm, (and the current financial storm in a tea cup doesn't even rate on this score: it's simply returning Fings to their Natural Order: P/E ratios in the low teens, yields in the centuries old 6-8% range, house prices to 2.8-3.2 times household earnings), the histories are going to record that, just as the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of rocks, and the Steam age didn't end because we ran out of water and coal, the Oil age didn't end because we ran out of Oil.

As anyone who's actually read Matt Simmonds knows, the Original Oil in Place can only be tapped to the tune of 10-30%. Geology and economics interesect on any given site to set that upper limit.

The forerunners of the new bio-solar age are just starting to ramp up commercially now. By the time the world really does see major disruptions in oil supply chains (think oil nationalism, piracy, pricing as well as field depletion), the alternatives will be there. Just in Time, natcherally.

Oh, and let's not forget conservation of energy. Just last week, I ordered a bunch of LED lights as replacements for those godawful pigtail (and mercury-laden) CFL's that the eco-agencies are pushing us all into. Well, a CFL to get a decent light output will draw 20-23 watts. The equivalent LED will draw 3-4 watts. From here.

Yup, folks, that power consumption is less than 20% of that of the State-Selected Winner. Another triumph of central planning.

And they are standard fittings too: E27 for the downlights, GU-10 for the fancy lights. Who needs State dinosaur selectors when little, nimble, furry competitors abound?

And, clever inventors....another step towards the Resilient Community.

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