Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
distributed independent local small-scale generation of wind and solar = heavy industry, because you need heavy industry to produce the solar panels and wind turbines.

That postulate seems limited to our not building larger wind/sun farms, big enough to make themselves so to speak.

Industry heavy enough to create turbines and multi-GW solar arrays is no more energy-demanding than other industries that were localised a century ago. Before we chose location for ease-of-transport reasons more as the international highway and railway infrastructure was not as fortified as it is now, sticking and hubbing mainly around big waterways, the obvious 'freebie'* at that time.

With electricity abundance at low cost these industrial products (panels and turbines) are surely not more labour and resource hogs than building out the Nazi war machine for example in the 30's.

And even if my analysis is wrong, it seems a no-brainer to use dwindling supplies of eco-expensive fossil fuels to build a bridge to the land where we would need less of them. Can't think of a better one in fact!

Throw in bioplastics such as Henry Ford used for the Model T (hempseed easily, quickly and cheaply grown), nanotech and 3D printing and you have the perfect mix of techologies and low footprint energy needs to belie this myth that turbines and panels are advanced rocket science only appropriate to be made in behemoth Ruhr-like industrial centres using oil and/or gas as fuels. From Rurhal to rural!

* Plastic is now being made from orange peels, egg shells, wood 'flour' and pretty much any organic matter, So you would have the knockon effect of safely recycling a lot of 'waste' as well.

The sooner this myth is dismantled the better, imo, as it is really holding us back, especially the biggest is bestest mentality that's baked into it. Surely you don't have to be a Schumacher to understand that.

There's a lot of continuum being skipped over between the poles of Krupp-Thyssen-sized Leviathans and candles in caves.

We may yet avoid the "Black Mirror" scenario of millions of unemployed manning stationary bikes to generate society's juice paid in 'credits' (scrips), but even that would be better than looking out your window at a new nuke plant and wondering if some series of trivial 'oopses' are going to cascade that day, as happened at Three Mile Island.

Or that some combo of earthquake and Climate Chaos-whipped Superstorm is going to make a very ocean-souring joke of our engineering hubris.

There's going to be a lot of re-tooling to do, by leaving it all to the last innings we are just upping the costs and killing ourselves with pollution while doing so.

** Wind and solar are the ultimate freebies, and ever so slightly less predictably dangerous than swollen rivers can be, cf Serbia recently, Somerset last summer etc etc. But that's another discussion more about transport, though it is intimately connected as the sooner we phase out FFs the less extreme our weather will be.

(Pace Bjinse) :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 24th, 2014 at 03:32:12 AM EST
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