Posted by: doug308 | September 11, 2009

No Pain No Lights

Obviously there are debates going on all over the planet right now about the need or desire to phase out our dependence on fossil fuels for power generation and other purposes. And while there are a lot of people talking about the ill effects of fossil fuels and how this thing or that thing is going to save us all from global warming (don’t even get me started on that topic), what I don’t hear any of these folks talking about is the willingness to give up some convenience and share in a little hardship in order to get these plans and methods in place.

Let’s use Great Britain as an example. By the middle of the next decade GB will have several nuclear and coal-fired power generation plants either reaching the end of their functional lifespans or being mandated for shut down. However, based on discussions in the British press and government other forms of power generation are not coming on line fast enough to make up these losses. And the general public is not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to allow that to that happen, most of which boils right down to using less juice. Thus bringing up the old adage; “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.

The US boat is not quite as close to the falls as the Brits, but we’re not far behind, and just like them some decisions are going to have to be made around here PDQ. Can you imagine having to tell Los Angeles or Las Vegas that because capacity exceeds demand there will be power rationing?!  Or how about only having your name in lights on Broadway two nights a week?Well, guess what? Unless they start breaking ground on some new power plants in this country pretty soon, whatever they heat the boilers with, the legacy we are creating is to force such situations on the next generation.

The development of alternate power generation methods such as wind, solar, wave/tidal, and others is simply not happening at a pace that will compensate for the increasing demand on our national power grid. And it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that more people and an aging infrastructure doesn’t add up to everyone being able to blow dry their hair and fire up the big screen whenever they want. At the same time the urging for voluntary conservation of power usage doesn’t seem to be catching on very well and no one seems willing to fork up a few extra tax dollars to get a new power plant built in their neighborhood. So what do you think? Are we going to wake up to reality or am I going to be spending my retirement by candlelight?



  1. Candlelight still works you know. Points well make but I do see people outside of the midwest that take energy consumption much more seriously than we do. It takes many little efforts on a small scale basis to change the mindset of how we have traditionally done things. I’m in favor of progresssive movement towards splar and wind use but you have made good points and good food for thought. Thanks Dougie…

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