Imagine this, every home in the US with solar panels on the roof. Each one feeding power into the national power grid. Or, industrious individuals producing biodiesel out on their suburban or rural homesteads. How about wind generators on buildings in cities making power and sending it all into the grid.
Historically energy has been produced by big enterprises that build big facilities to generate power and then sell the power to the consumer. Maybe it made sense at one time but it no longer does. Please do not think I am implying we should scrap our
current infrastructure and start tearing down generating plants, although that might be a worthy goal in the future. But with the technology we have now we should be looking at a different model.
Decentralization makes sense. It is far more secure than a big power generating facility because it is safe from terrorist attack or sabotage. Decentralized power generation is also more resistant to weather disruptions. Last winter a transmission line went down in our area during a storm and we were without any power for nine hours while the temperature was below freezing with a blizzard going on.
Local fuel production seems to be worthwhile also. Can you imagine who will work at shooting down this idea. But, why not produce some of your own fuel for your vehicle. I live in the country and could produce my own biodiesel. Interestingly enough, a man in Central Illinois was fined by the Department of Revenue for producing biodiesel. They said he had not paid fuel taxes on his production. Now they want him to fill out a monthly multi-page form just like a major refinery.
This idea is not for everyone. Most people do not have the space to make a fuel like biodiesel or ethanol. Especially if you live in a town or city. But, most everyone has a roof of some sort, or, at least their apartment building has a roof. The electric generation would be good for what I think of as the “helpless” members of society. That is those who either think it is too much bother to do something for themselves or they just are too fuzzy brained to understand how to do it.
The power companies could provide the solar panels themselves. They could also do the installation and maintenance. I know there are some utilities that will let you interconnect to the grid with the proper equipment. And the price of that equipment is coming down all the time. The homeowner really would not have to do much of anything which seems to be the standard for too many Americans.
The greatest thing about implementing these approaches to energy production is the reduced need for new massive coal or nuclear power plants. Did you know there are people trying to revive the nuclear power industry on the grounds that it produces no green house gases? They fail to point out that it produces radioactive waste that no one knows what to do with. There have been no new nuclear power plants built for decades and it should stay that way.
What this will all take is individual initiative. Government does not seem to have the will to do much of anything except get re-elected. Industry just seems to have its head in the sand and wants to preserve the status quo. Do a Google search on some of these ideas or technologies. You can buy cheap solar panels on Ebay. I bought six of them this year to power small fans to blow heat into the house from heat collectors. They make a small contribution to our heating needs in the winter. I will continue to expand this idea to cut down on my heating energy needs.