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Why I’m blogging about energy issues

September 14, 2011

I began this blog mostly as a project to keep myself well rounded in current technology (and to a more limited extent science).   Further, writing about technology, whether it’s computer hardware or software, industrial technology, materials, or energy, is interesting and fun.   Finally,  I viewed it as a way to put myself forward to help me market my web software development business, the thing called “branding” in current business-speak.  But I’ve always viewed the self-promotional aspect as a distant third.  There are many more efficient means of generating leads for my business than writing about the range of technology I cover here, and I only intend to write directly about software development (the LAMP stack, PHP, MySQL)   if there is news worth reporting, or if I have something really useful to offer.

Lately I’ve focused on energy issues, because there are a number of questions I want to answer for myself, and mulling over those questions in public is a very good way to focus, and get feedback on the answers I come up with .

I have a strong bias toward energy policy which results in lowering overall consumption (hence my attraction to cycling, public transit, and traditional walkable towns and cities as opposed to auto-centric suburbs).   Of the options available for providing energy on a large scale I’m biased toward solar power.

But those are just biases.  I want to explore the issue fully,  and shed any unwarranted wishful thinking I may have.

Some of the questions I’d like to answer to my satisfaction are:

1) What are the real prospects of replacing the existing  level of energy consumption supported by fossil fuels with less damaging alternatives?  First, is it even mathematically possible under ideal circumstances?  And if so what sort of political and economic will would have to be brought to bear to make it real?

2) Would it be possible to avoid the economic shocks of diminishing supply brought on by  peak oil simply by drilling more in the US (whether or not we decide that’s a good idea)?

3) Further, would it be possible to avoid the shocks of diminishing supply by turning to non-conventional fossil fuel sources  (shale oil, tar sands)?

4) Would it be possible to support the current population levels, both of the U.S. and the world, with a significantly lower expenditure of energy?

Each of the questions above needs dozens of other preliminary questions answered, starting with the most basic one of just how much energy are we consuming?

I look forward to asking and attempting to answer these questions out loud, and I look forward to any comments, criticisms, or rants, anyone might have.


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