Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Hasn't the Meltdown in the Nuclear Industry, Sparked More Serious Discussion about Solar Energy?

“Solar energy” has apparently become the most vulgar term in the English language,  to be avoided as though it were a racial epithet. 
In fact, I’ve just finished reading a rather informative article in the March 20, 2011 edition of Newsweek called:   “Is There Any Safe Energy?”     However, "solar energy" is not mentioned even once.  The article does point out the following.  Nuclear energy is losing its popularity as a clean energy source, because of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan caused by the damaged reactors at Fukushima.   As for the safety of oil, we are reminded of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico last year.  The massive oil spill claimed eleven lives and did irreparable environmental damage.   Less than two weeks before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, 29 coal miners were killed at the Montcoal mine explosion in West Virginia.  The use of corn and other biofuels as a substitute for oil drives up the price of food to unacceptable levels, because farmland is turned into “energy resources.”  Wind turbines chop up thousands of birds a year and when constructed at sea, confuse whales, leading them to become beached in growing numbers.  The Newsweek piece also describes the newest technology in natural gas extraction,  hydraulic fracturing or “hydrofracking:” 

 “[it] pulls natural gas out of the earth by driving water, chemicals and sand a mile below the planet’s surface. . . Opponents, including actor Mark Ruffalo, say the spray is poisonous, leaching radioactive and carcinogenic substances into the soil and water supply. . . helath risks of fracking include brain damage, respiratory problems and cancer.”
What is going on here?   Why is so little discussion going on in the mainstream media, Congress or the White House about solar energy?  Might it be because harnessing energy from the sun would be virtually free were the price of solar panels not artificially inflated.  As for why solar energy is so expensive, there are government and industry reasons, and then there is the simple truth, which I came across on EnviroCitizen.org::

  • The biggest reason is that, Government regulations do not allow property owners to have their own solar systems installed.
  • Being a non-profitable effort for builders, most of them don’t prefer to spend time & money on such architectural designs.
  • Difficult to get approval from architects about new solar house designs.
  • Competition is minimal. 
RELATED POST: Where do I Sign Up for the Anti-Nuclear Movement?
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