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EnerGeeWhiz! | February 25, 2017

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Everything we didn’t (and you probably don’t) know about the economics of sustainable, renewable energy.

We hear a LOT of rhetoric from both incumbent energy producers and distributors, and from those who claim those incumbents are destroying the planet.  Those arguments frequently devolve into “my scientist can beat up your scientist” and they become pseudo-religious points of view where it is difficult to see the truth from the lies.

We at EGW! prefer a different approach.  We believe that Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, unarguably two of the most influential and important founders of our modern energy infrastructure, had it right.  They hated each other and were bitter competitors, yet they both agreed on one thing– they both believed there were (and are) better ways to harvest, harness and distribute energy to sustain a 20th Century, and now 21st Century society.  They both felt, as did many of their contemporaries like Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, that reliance on extractive and destructive methodologies and finite resources was inadvisable from the standpoint of the human species living in a closed system– Earth– and just bad business. This is not a environmental activists point of view. It’s the view of logic, common-sense and sound, sustainable economics.

The idea that the foundation of carbon energy was the *only* path to progress witnessed in the 20th century is myopic at best, and shows a fundamental lack of imagination and commitment.

The mass media does a poor job of representing the AMAZING evolution of alternatives to fossil fuels that have emerged over the same 100 years, the development and viability of which continues to accelerate.  We are witnessing a tipping point. Forget about the qualitative arguments. The numbers don’t lie.

Let us not devolve into climate change debates. Though there is compelling science that indicates the presence and expansion of mankind is indeed changing earth’s atmosphere, that argument alone won’t win the day in transitioning us into a future of sustainable living. Add to that argument, though, viable technological justifications with irrefutable and massive economic opportunities in making the switch, then we have something.

The first step in that journey is to ensure we are quantitatively comparing apples to apples. That starts with ensuring we know *all* the costs– private or socialized– of renewables and carbon-based fuels and systems.  Second, we need to understand the all-important “vectors” — the direction and magnitude of progress in sustainable energy practices, as compared to efficiencies, progress and natural resource consumption of fossil fuels. All investment and commerce relies on them, and making comparisons based on point-in-time alone don’t get us where we need to go.

EnerGeeWhiz! is dedicated to that journey, curating and contemplating the massive amount of news and progress occurring in garages, labs, entrepreneurial startups and conscientious, forward-looking corporations.