Monday, January 14, 2008

The New Year All Energy Post

As of 2012 the ubiquitous incandescent bulbs that we all grew up with will be gone. But by that time there should be some good incandescent competitors to the rather poor light quality, toxic metal containing compact florescent bulbs that we will have to make do with in the short term. Either way, energy savings could be substantial, and that's all good.

In other efficiency news, a man best known as the creator of the super soaker water gun is claiming a solar energy conversion rate of sixty percent, twice that of even the best current solar cell technology, using a new solid state thermoelectric heat engine. I'll admit that it sounds like hooey, but it is my kind of hooey.

We may need all the energy savings we can get, because California is exploring ways to allow the utility company to set your thermostat higher or lower remotely in times of tight energy supply. The linked article describes the sides in the simmering argument over such a policy as populist versus Orwellian and goes on to note that the libertarian arguments against it rarely note that the technology is already in use in New York. Either way, this is the kind of ethical question that continued progress, and the increased infrastructure demands that go along with it, will only make more important as the twenty first century progresses.

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