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Friday, December 26, 2008
  Thomas Edison - a Peak Oiler before his time
The point about the Peak Oil Theory is that it is not a theory. It is a fact that Fossil Fuels are called such because they were made a long long long time ago and are not being made any more. Hence at some point global production will peak.

The only question is when (and in part what happens to production after that whether it falls off a cliff or gently edges downward).

The link is to a 2007 NY Times article in respect of Thomas Edison's views on sustainability.

Quoting from part of the article:
Edison also, like other scientists of his day, was beginning to understand even then that fossil fuels wouldn’t last forever. In 1913 Scientific American published an issue on energy problems, observing: “The question of the possible exhaustion of the world’s oil supply deserves the gravest consideration. There is every indication that we are face to face with this possibility.” Articles delved into technologies to capture the power of the sun, the wind, the tide and even the earth’s rotation. Inventors like Edison were modernizers who couldn’t bear the inefficiency of letting an abundant energy source like wind go untapped.

In 1912 Edison unveiled an energy-self-sufficient home in West Orange, N.J. Billed as an experimental “Twentieth Century Suburban Residence” and designed to showcase his batteries, it bulged with luxuries like air heating and cooling units, a clothes-washing machine, an electric cooking range and, of course, plenty of light bulbs. Completely off the grid, the house received its juice from a generator that charged a bank of 27 cells in the basement. For this first attempt, Edison used a gas-run motor, but evidence suggests that he hoped to hook up to a wind turbine. The system would allow the prospective homeowner to be, according to The New York Times, “utterly and for all time independent of the nearness or farness of the big electric companies.”

The conglomerates struggling to control the nascent energy sector regarded that as precisely the problem. For them, a world of independence, in which householders created their own power using renewable resources, was a nightmare. The companies’ profits depended on electricity from power plants run on cheap fossil fuels.

In the end, Edison’s proudly free-standing Suburban Residence was hooked up to the grid, and neither his in-home wind-generated electricity plant nor his battery-powered vehicles ever reached the mass market. In 1931, not long before he died, the inventor told his friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”


If you want to understand why things happen in a particular way - follow the money. This applies to the Child Protection industry as much as energy production.
 
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