In the previous class, we spent a lot of time discussing energy sources and their viability and it seemed that a lot of feelings were brought up discussing how realistic certain uses are and how possible it is for people to do something. I wanted to write my opinions on things, such as solar power, having experienced all sides of the equation. After listening to a wide array of opinions, the consensus seems to be that we will be unable to move away from fossil fuels and the like for another 100 years or so. Honestly, I don’t think that argument is completely valid. Solar and wind power is very real, and nowadays, more easily accessible. The biggest argument against solar power that I heard was the startup cost associated. What often slides under the table is the amount of money the government has been providing for people to become part of these causes. Even if we just take electric cars, states such as Georgia are basically allowing people to own a Nissan Leaf for free after government subsidies and government discounts. Without gasoline costs, the only thing really left are insurance costs and the cost to charge the car. Solar panels are also discounted through the government. Although the original start up cost may be in the tens of thousands, after all is said and done, this process is doable for most people.
Another thought that came up was with the talk about fracking. This was a very touchy subject for people to talk about and seemed to raise a lot of tempers. One thought that was used to justify fracking was regulation. However, I know as well as anybody else, companies will always do their bests to cut costs. That is human nature. There is very few, if any, people in this world that would willingly choose to go a more expensive route, especially when a large company is involved. Companies are notorious for using any means necessary to get rid of their chemical and toxic waste, whether or not it is safe for the environment. All that matters are their profit margins. While i am under the impression that fracking might not be the most dangerous thing to the environment, and definitely not as much as fossil fuels, I think that solar and wind power are much safer alternatives that are very approachable for the vast majority of people.
To move on to my personal experiences, my house is approximately 75% powered by solar energy. Solar panels were always an item that interested me, especially since the battery is charged by something we have a seemingly endless supply of. While the cost was quite expensive, I would say that my family has made back about 50% of the cost in just 4 years with how much energy we use on a monthly basis. There may be difficulty transitioning to these new methods of energy consumption, but I think it is unfair to say it will take 100 more years to phase them out. Just in the last couple years, electric cars have had a sudden jump in popularity with the release of the Tesla car brand. Additionally, Tesla has released their blueprints and files to build their cars and made them open to the public. This will only allow more companies to create vehicles like the Tesla Model S. Will it take some time? Of course it will, but I don’t think it is fair to say it will take 100 years. I think it is easily possible to see something like this in my lifetime.