WE'RE ALL KNOW IT ALLS
By Jeff Stark
One of the most interesting characteristics of the climate change phenomenon is the fact that we're all know it alls. We have known how to solve this global threat for a long time. We've had windmills since the pioneer days when the prairies were dotted with primitive machines which pumped water to farmers, ranchers and growing towns. Solar panels made their debut in the public psyche when they supplied electricity to the first spaceships and orbital habitats. There was something magical about photovoltaics, and adherents tended to be off-the-grid, and sometimes off-the-wall. They even, occasionally, acted like know it alls. This undoubtedly accounts for some of the reasons that solar power had a difficult time breaking through as a mainstream product.
Even though the current versions of these technologies have evolved considerably the basics are relatively unchanged. Both wind and solar devices are more efficient, and less costly, than in the past. They still operate as harvesting technologies for energy from the sun. Most experts believe that solar photovoltaics, both residential and industrial, have the capability to provide over 40% of US energy. Some locales, for example the island of Maui, are already approaching that figure. Today's sunshine harvesters are exponentially more efficient than the early spacefaring equipment. Electric utilities are nearing full implementation of grid upgrades that can be scaled up to provide, and accept, electrical power in sufficient quantities to service thousands of homes from a single "solar farm." One result is that photovoltaic technology is well and widely known. We are a more educated "know it all" populace, an important accomplishment.
We're also "know it alls" about wind turbines and the energy they produce. In the case of wind power technology advances and other positive elements have also dramatically increased the reach and growth of windmill power. According to the US Energy Information Administration renewable sources produced over 17% of US energy production in 2018. Wind power got the credit for 7%. It is now common, as we drive through the country and suburbs to see wind farms. The blades of the new generation of wind turbines appear to rotate slowly. This is because of the scale of the newest technologies. These machines dwarf their ancestors in size and power and will continue to be a major source of renewable energy. But we knew all that, it's easy to see and hard to ignore. It's guaranteed to continue its explosive growth, a fact which we all know. We also all know that the momentum we have collectively generated toward growth of renewables is getting stronger every day. New and bigger facilities are in the pipeline and will provide for double digit growth, year by year, for the foreseeable future.
We know now that we are poised on a period of tremendous growth in renewable energy production. Both wind and solar technologies have scaled up, have new and more powerful equipment, and are nearly universally popular.
However, given the general state of knowledge of the "low information" portion of our electorate, the not yet know it alls, what we know is often not true or at least only part of the picture. Combine this with the fact that we have also allowed climate change to become a political topic, and have hardened our positions in the political discourse, we are bound to be a nation of "know-it alls" who don't actually know much at all. Instead we defend our erroneous beliefs and political orthodoxies. The result is embodied in our current political immobility and our steady march toward the specter of existential threat.
WHAT WE CAN DO
There are certainly technology and science elements in this debate but the basic solution is quite simple. Stop burning coal, oil, natural gas methane and other carbon-based fuels to power electrical generation and transportation. Replace them with renewables and spread the word about the positive results that are sure to follow.
One of the most effective strategies to achieve this goal is to use the power of testimonials and informed reports. Once again, we're all know it alls when it comes to our personal experiences. Here's one from a renewable energy provider in Texas, one of the fastest growing states in terms of renewable energy production. Residential and commercial customers also testify to their renewable success. An excellent source for good words about the good work thanks is a company called Green Mountain Energy.
The biggest user of energy, more and more renewable energy, is the US Government. From office buildings to armed forces residences, to shipyards and airports. Their website details success stories on a variety of projects as recent as February 2019.
Agriculture requires more energy than many other volume users. Below is a link to testimonials from farmers, ranchers and others in the agriculture sector.
Nothing beats the impact of a positive report from an otherwise unremarkable citizen. If we endeavor to become a "know it all" who actually knows something the quality of both our discourse and our results will become more informative and persuasive.
Clean Energy Hawaii Video
US Energy Production By Source
Renewable Energy and Agriculture: A Natural Fit
Testimonials On Government Renewable Energy Projects
Solar Success Stories