Slow and Steady

In the article The Long Road to an Alternative-Energy Future recently published in the Wall Street Journal, Micheal Totty writes about the hopeful promises new energy technologies offer to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Although he believes in the beneficial impacts these technologies have for the future, he admonishes readers to not hold their breath because their affects are a long time coming.  The reason for the delay has to do with the size of the energy market, money, technology, and policy.

The second portion of the article is comprised of a list of the most promising clean-energy alternatives, and the reasons they are merely works in progress. Totty describes each alternative three ways: the technology, current status and why it’s going to take so long. The alternatives described include new nuclear reactors, carbon capture and storage, algal biofuels, wind and  solar energy and  electric vehicles. Money and technology were the two big factors I saw reapeated throughout the article. Often the biggest obstacle for implementing these alternatives and putting them into practice is the transition from small scale to large scale. Both the technology and money necesary to make small scale reactions comerical are not available and prevent the widespread use of such technologies as nuclear power, algal conversion into biofuel and efficient carbon capture.

This article is insightful and promising yet realistic. It shows hope for alternative energy sources but does not make false promises. It also informs readers that multiple projects are ongoing and explains their progress and may alleviate some frustration as to why there have thus far been no significant breakthroughs.

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