There is a bright future. In Colorado energy researchers at the Rocky Mountain Institute make it their business to know a thing or two because they’ve studied a thing or two.
Battery storage when paired with solar and wind is the cheapest form of energy on the market in 2020. Coal and natural gas can’t compete. Once photovoltaic solar panels are deployed, once a wind turbine is stood up there are no additional costs. You don’t need to buy fuel to make energy.
Natural gas power plants to make any sense built now would have to make electricity well into 2060. If they were shutdown sooner the costs of construction would be stranded. The writing isn’t just on the wall the word is out on Wall Street. Change has come to the future of electricity.
In middle of August this summer I was in smoke from Bend, Oregon until I was past Ogden, Utah. That is over six hundred miles of hellscape.
Last week in Northern California because of the Glass Fire in Napa County exercising outside wasn’t just uncomfortable it was dangerous.
In 2017’s gigantic Thomas Fire health experts calculated that because of the smoke there would be thousands of health related illnesses, that thousands of lives would be shortened, and even if hard to quantify some fragile compromised people would die immediately.
Wildfires are pernicious. People can’t hope to have predictable lives around natural disasters. In the before-time’s, we almost could make a case for slow walking our response to our emergencies. With wildfires growing larger, hurricanes more frequent, a President flummoxed by an invisible virus, because of a fragile psychologically disabling pride, he leaves our nation floundering in the vice grip of these many tragedies.
The date was November 8, 2018. Malibu’s Woolsey Fire had just started. I got a good look at that fire after takeoff from Burbank. An hour later approaching Oakland for landing there was more smoke blowing down from the Camp Fire, this is the deadly fire that killed 85, destroyed over 13,000 homes and leveled the town of Paradise, California.
Researchers at Rocky Mountain Institute are helping to develop hope. Green hydrogen, better batteries, more efficient solar panels and a more resilient national electrical grid are just some of what they are busy trying to understand and deploy.
Fixing what ails the atmosphere doesn’t require the discovery of anything we don’t already have in our toolkit. Wearing a mask, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from others goes most of the way toward keeping us all safe and alive from a virus. Things are not that difficult.
The current occupant in the White House has failed our country. His being voted out of office is job one. Most of what we face after will be the good work of a nation regaining its balance and purpose.