Monday, January 15, 2007

The Moon Shot of this Age

Solving the energy crisis will be the Moon Shot of this age. Not only finding clean new sources of energy, but the more challenging task of developing the infrastructure to store and deliver it to wherever it is needed.

Local generation of energy is the ideal - using whatever is locally abundant - solar, wind, geothermal, waves, etc. I had a neighbor who illustrated this in a low-tech way with a solar panel in the bed of his pickup truck, trickling hydrogen into a tank, and running his truck on that.

This is not an insurmountable challenge - if the desire and will and resources are there. People will figure this out. There will be new storage technologies too - better batteries or something even more elegant. Consider the leap we have already made from diskettes to flash drives as an example of the transformation required. There is such an urgent need for this that engineers and tinkerers all over the world are working on it.

Whenever the price of gas jumps a nickel and people start worrying, I always think it should cost $10 a gallon! Maybe then we'd see some serious energy research. In the meantime, it may help to keep framing the Iraq war as Zbigniew Brzezinski did recently on the PBS Newshour, as a colonial war in a post-colonial period. And I would add, a colonial war for energy.

Gail Murray 1/15/2007