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View Diary: Solarchy: Our Sun-Worshipping PV Future (33 comments)

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  •  Re energy wastefulness ... (2+ / 0-)
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    PeterHug, Troubadour

    Do we really consider that the manufacture (and installation and maintenance and ...) of solar systems will have zero environmental impact?  Why go out of the way to postulate a version of 'too cheap to meter' with the articulation that it will be so cheap that we won't care about wasting it?

    And, by the way, if electricity power is thus that cheap, how does it become a unit of currency?

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:41:54 PM PDT

    •  Nothing has zero environmental impact. (1+ / 0-)
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      A Siegel

      I'm saying the inherent ecological cost is trivial compared to the historical standards of human activities thus far.  That isn't to say there won't be companies that are reckless in how they do things, but the technology doesn't require it, and has few opportunities to do significant damage even on a local level.  Primary concerns would be things like what they do with the unused waste material from silicon and other rare metal mining.  Disposal of cheap PV modules would be the same problem we already experience with electronics waste.

      Perhaps I was expressing myself too flippantly with respect to "waste."  I meant that activities which would be deemed extravagantly wasteful would stop being so - the bar would move.  People would not be piously offended by something like monolithic kinetic sculptures,  skyscraper waterfalls, or suburban sidewalks that move.  Attitudes change with greater abundance.  "Wasteful" would have a new definition.

      As to how it becomes currency, the abundance is irrelevant to the value - that's why it will become the basis of economies.  No matter how much total energy you have, the amount of energy to do a unit of physical work is always the same.  It is physically absolute (if we don't get into abstruse quantum mechanics).  It cannot decrease or increase in value.  Only other things can decrease or increase in value relative to energy.  You see, it's already the basis of our economy, it's just nobody has tried to reflect that fact yet because thus far energy has been entirely from stored, non-renewable sources.

      The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

      by Troubadour on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:38:55 PM PDT

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