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Poll: Green futures

Should we invest more in green technology?

View Results

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  • Differing views on fracking's impact
    Studies conducted on the counties above the Marcellus and Barnett Shale for example — where extensive drilling has already taken place — present mixed economic results.
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    Too much solar energy?
    The proliferation of privately owned solar has large power companies in Germany worried.
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    Nominee has industry ties
    Energy secretary nominee had deep connections to industry, including as a paid adviser to BP until 2011.


  • savaskys

     This is a huge job growth thing.  There aren’t near enough

  • Dave

    News and economic reports on oil needs to reflect prices accurately.  Removing perverse tax incentives is a start, but more importantly, including associated health and environmental costs is crucial.

  • Rajohansson

     We cannot presume to have in hand the best alternative energy technology. There are still great things to discover and implement. For example, there are exciting developments in the area of direct solar generation of hydrogen from water. Hydrogen can be burned to provide heat, propulsion, and even electricity. We should be investing in basic science research at our American universities. We do this well and it will be the basis for a future free of fossil fuels.

  • Robert Mayes

    This poll is either just beginning or nearly everyone wants cheap power sources that are Green. I would like to know the definition of Green. Does it mean less pollutants? Does it mean less greenhouse gases, and other etc.s? The media has this need to stir up controversey. It’s their job preservation. Why don’t they be more specific than Green? Dollars! The knowledge of what these polls provide is exploited by them. That’s why the poll questions are never specific.  

  • Robert Mayes

    These are interesting and great thoughts. Heat generation from hydrogen gas combustion was not an economical source of energy if my memory serves me correctly. Is this a new field that has just started some attention in the scientific community? 

  • Rbradt

    Too bad for the US solar panel manufacturers. China has already won that race: their government invested in large scale production capacity. These were inventions originally made in the US!  We need to focus on research and development and industrial capacity of new inventions, both. Intellignet government and enterprise collaboration will get us there. If not, there will be other countries taking the lead. Of course solar power has a great future. But will the US be part of it? We have to be willing to think long term.

  • Rbradt

    Exactly. Add to this that deregulation gives the consumers the power to choose – choose a livable planet fo our grandchildren to live on. In states where enough consumers are choosing green energy supply, the price per kWh has fallen way below the price mentioned in the show. We have a chance to allocate the money we pay for utility supply to make a difference. 

  • Rbradt

    And the more solar panels get installed, the price for electricity will come down over time.Nothing is consumed. the sun shines for free every day. this is particularly important in of-the-grid poor areasthat still have no access to electricity.What are we waiting for?!

  • Jim F

    We, here in the U.S., need to take/make the lead in this industry for health, security, and fuller employment reasons. If we continue on our current course, we’ll have a sicker children breathing worsening air, global foes with more of our money, and an economic state where we try to make the old school jobs work in a completely new global economy. Natural gas is now, more than ever, an excellent “transportation bridge fuel”, an should be recognized as such. Finally a focus on our smart electrical grid and more technical education are vital to get us in the leadership role we desire.

  • Chuck Denk

    Had Reagan not been so dead set against Renewable Energy Sources when he became President and continued what Carter started in the late ’70s, we could essentially be unshackled from the growing need for fossil fuels. We would never have felt the economic pressure that led to fracking, and we’d never have heard of the Keystone XL Pipeline, for there would not have been economic pressure to extract lower grade oil from tar sands.

    Given what might have been and wouldn’t have happened had we been committed to develop renewable energy sources 25+ years ago, consider that if we don’t commit to a serious plan to migrate from fossil fuels **now,** that we’ll have a future need to use even more nefarious means to extract and process fossil fuels that are more tightly bound to its substrate than oil is to shale.

    The sooner we arrive at a point where almost all the power we generate is at least Carbon Neutral, the better off we and the Earth (still our only home) will be. Yet another reason to reelect Obama.

  • Fartsnacks

    Whether green technology will aid the economy of the absolutely redundant, there is NO other choice, resources are finite not infinite hence the need for RENEWABLE Green Technology.The alternative way of thinking leads inevitably to an earth devoid of all life.Green technology mind set is a result of sane rational minds;appreciation of life is a reflection of a more evolved sophisticated style of functioning of mind.Individual and corporate denial of the consequences of ones actions alternately reflects a retarded insecure demonic childlike state  of mind.In addition the alcoholic like greed,so insane as to be steeling billions of dollars, peoples right to water, and their dignity all the time.Oil should be saved for plastics,you don’t burn oil,you don’t burn anything that creates problems and or is not renewable.Oil was life,oil is life.We live in a closed system called earth, even insects know better than to dirty their nest ,hence Green Tech.There is no oil heaven:Consciousness, not just information will be the valued commodity of the future,not much use thinking about a problem if your not even enlightened.As a Canadian we have our share of businesspersons and politicians either plain evil or just drunk on their own stupidity and own ego I personally would like to see dams at our glaciers so we have water for our American cousins.It’s no wonder though why people world wide hate American,people are no longer in the dark about what’s going on instead of  inspiration we see corporations robing Americans of even decent school conditions for their children etc.etc.The list of huge hideous human injustices in the name of businesses and politics is too much,BANKINSTEINS et al.Get green or green will get you.Greens great but the sissies who are so afraid of life that they try to insulate themselves from fear by steeling millions from the U.S.stand in the way. I would like to sum up my response to the question about the U.S.economy and Green Tech. by asking”Who killed the electric car?”

  • Chuck Denk

    RE:  including associated health and environmental costs is crucial.

    I agree 100%. That is just one reason why Cap & Trade legislation needs to be enacted. The full cost of using fossil fuels to generate Electricity to feed the Grid needs to be realized before it hits the Grid. That would motivate the Power Companies using Coal or Methane to trap the carbon dioxide, which can subsequently be used elsewhere, for making soda pop, or whatever. At any rate, it’s much less expensive to trap the carbon dioxide before it gets past the exhaust pipes than it is to extract from the air afterwards, hopefully using technology that’s more advanced than scrubbers, such as were used on the Nuclear-Powered Submarine I was stationed on 30+ years ago – technology that was already at least 20 years old then!

  • Chuck Denk

    I agree that the sooner we stop using fossil fuels for power the better off we’ll be. Unfortunately, the cost of the transition is relevant, as neither you (@FARTSNACKS), nor I, or other like-minded citizens can dictate the change without forming a sufficiently large groundswell of grass-roots support to tell our Representatives in Congress that if they don’t Represent We the People (their Constituents) instead of Corporate America (which has bribed too many members of Congress into Quid Pro Quos), that we will vote them out of office and replace them with Representatives who will. Unfortunately, Citizens United makes our job more difficult; likely, we’ll need to get Amendments passed that will take money out of Politics first.

    If the true cost of using fossil fuels to generate electricity for the Grid, or to power cars, was reflected on Electric Bills or at the Gas Pump, the cost of using Renewable Energy sources would be much more competitive, and the transition would occur faster. Cap & Trade would help, but too many members of Congress have been legally bribed by Big Oil Companies, Coal Mining Companies, Electric Power Companies, the Koch Brothers, et al., in the form of Campaign Contributions, and have their marching orders to prevent Cap & Trade from being passed.
    There is simply too much money being spent to preserve the Status Quo. And while Our Federal Government should be investing in Renewable Energy Technologies, the current debt crisis will motivate a majority of Congress to prevent those investments.

  • Chris

    There is no such thing as alternative energy, it’s all just (accessible) energy.  Some is relatively cheap, the rest is more expensive, and whether the technology is green is debatable.

  • Palkire

    Please do an investigative story on the choke hold Hawaii and maui electric has on our islands.
    On maui , maui electric has stopped the people from going sollar by insiting they cannot accommodate taking back any more electricity on the grid. Of course you can pay $1500.00 for a study and then perhaps they will find in your favor but probably not.
    Hawaii generates electricity by burning deisel fuel.
    Just in the past few days one generator went to biodiesel

  • Jimgartwo

    No further government investment. Enough already.

  • Amberleigh72

    PLEASE..GO GREEN—GO GREEN–GO GREEN–GO GREEN–GO GREEN–GO GREEN!!!!                       .. We need to make it more affordable for the 99%, so it benefits all of us the consumer,the manufacturers and the economy….The only reason why we are not investing in solar is because our public servants in our so called government is  owned they are greedy and corrupt bought by …yes of course we all know ..OIL…..Its time we as AMERICANS fight back and stand up to whats good for ..our economy…childrens future and .our miracle planet ….                                                                                … BUT FOR-MOST.we have got  to get the government doing their jobs…and the repubs to stop only caring about our private social issues womens rights…bargaining rights…voting issues.. to name a few..And do their frickin jobs!!!!!                                                                                                                 …I feel we are moving  backwards…economy wise we are so held back by dirty -expensive oil…quite frankly we are starting to seem a little more like china ,losing basic human rights..AMERICA NEEDS TO MOVE INTO THE FUTURE FOR THE PEOPLE –ECONOMY–AND THE HEALTH OF AMERICA!!!!                     ….GO GREEN –GO GREEN –GO GREEN–..and MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE…. 

  • Sanfiv

    It is easy being green, I don’t like you’re negative title.
    Also, Scientific American lied re 9-11 and is probably lying re green facts.
    I cringe whenever Jeff Greenblatt is on, he is so conservative, needs to get off PBS.

  • lgfromillinois

    I fear we have to accept that the solar panel industry will be dominated by Chinese companies.  We may concentrate on new green technologies or in advancing current technologies.  To abandon any effort in green technology will leave America in decline.

  • Nelson Mendez

    Absolutely. We Need to be “Sustainability Contentious ” . Its not just about the Electricity bill, its about the Planet ! But if a lower electricity bill happens to come via going green, so be it :) btw, you don’t have to wait until the big energy companies go solar, and pay them a for the use of electricity, you can totally do this yourself it is D.I.Y. project that can be done by your average handyperson/ DIY-er. Sustainalbe living DIY Projects

  • Anonymous

    The current stage of solar panels has an efficiencies of a bit under 18%. There are other technologies, using elements other than silicon, and improvements of the current silicon technology, in either its crystalline or amorphous forms, that could change the photovoltaic game  entirely by increasing that efficiency or making the manufacturing process cheaper, and return the advantage to the U.S. (unless the technology owners move it to China for cheaper manufacturing).

    I would give the likelihood of one or more of those improvements occurring here rather than in China as quite good, although there must be a lot of effort in education and research support for that to happen.

    But if you want that to happen, look at the people running for all levels of government particularly their approaches to government support for research and development, as that will be needed in all areas of sustainable energy generation. It will not happen without it; all energy source development since the Civil War has required government support to commercialize it.

  • Anonymous

    Then get ready to see the cost of oil continue to climb; currently natural gas is in big supply and it is not easy to export, but there are already moves being made to build LNG port facilities to export the “excess” natural gas. Without electricity from solar and wind and building heat from geothermal, the use of fossil fuel will be all there is.

    Then there is the climate change from the increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the increasing acidification of the oceans, both from the CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels. The climate change is exemplified by the rising number of over 3 inch rainstorms in the midwest (when the last 50 years are divided into five ten-year blocks, the number in the 2000s is 53% bigger than the number in the 1960s). This is just ONE example among many.

  • Ernie

    End subsidies to fossil fuels.   They’ve already had enough and it makes no sense in this era of fiscal constraint. Subsidize renewable energy with the end goal of driving down costs and phasing out even these subsidies.    Solar, when it reaches “grid parity” in most parts of the world is a “game changer”.  It’s “killer app” is that it can be rapidly and easily deployed and is distributed.  Contrast this to other (fossil fuel or nuclear) plants requiring high capital costs and long transmission lines.  For the developing world it means access to electricity, i.e., access to clean lighting, to the internet, and ultimately education, knowledge, and communications.   This would be comparable to the cell phone is now playing a significant role.

    Getting rid of coal plants is good thing for both toxic pollution and climate change.  Natural gas can be used to supplement solar as a “bridge fuel” since solar is not 24/7 (dispatchable or “baseload”), at least not until the problem of cheap electrical storage is solved.   This is the area where most research is needed.  Solar is already on the way down in costs, now dealing with “balance of system” costs (and not the actual cells themselves).   

  • Mosaictexture

    I believe that we should invest more into solar energy. I believe that new companies should stay focused on green technology and advanced companies such as SpaceEx, who’ve just recently and successfully sent the new “Dragon” space capsule to meet up with our US astronaughts, that they should develope solar space stations that transfer energy back to our population in the States. We need to stop harmful operations like “fracking” whereby our precious ground water and watertables are polluted. (These commercials where the soft-spoken, blonde, executive/concerned mother type touts all that is wonderful about the oil companies new found resources in America and how we need to trust them – do we need to be fooled again?).

  • Honeyducote

    When technology is ready investment should come from private investors.

  • Anonymous

    Is there a monopoly on eletricity production in Hawaii ?
    How much do they charge you per KWh ?
    All it takes is opportunity for private investment to crush monopolies.
    How abou electric cars in Hawaii? Each island being a contained region seems like the prime place for electric cars.

  • boardsailor

    I don’t think there’s really any option other than to begin subsidizing “green” technologies while there’s still time to get them developed before all the fossil fuels are used up. The US government subsidized railways & highways and space exploration. This NEEDS doing NOW!!!!

  • boardsailor

    it’s not like it’s just all about America….  it’s more about ALL of the planet’s residents, human and others as well! 

  • Anonymous

    If help for the development of technology is not given by the U.S. government, that help will be given by other countries, where that development will lead to improvements that will not be available here except at great cost. China knows this from the example of HDTV; Chinese companies pay a use of patent fee for each TV. China spent a lot of money trying to invent its own system, but gave up on that. But it is intent on owning the patents for advancements in technology in the future, which is why it is requiring technology transfer to Chinese companies manufacturing goods for U.S. customers’ use. If you want no manufacturing here, your proposal will achieve it.

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-26450168:disqus  The pricing of carbon to reflect the “externalities” (costs not included in its price) is a crucial step in reducing its use. While “clean coal” sounds nice, the is no place where even a trial plant is being successfully operated. The method that currently appears cheapest is to pump the CO2 extracted from the combustion products underground to a cave or other cavity where it cannot leak out. These places in the Earth’s crust are not available everywhere. One place where they are unlikely to be found is the U.S. Southeast, because of the geology of the region. To overcome this would require building pipelines throughout the U.S. that would more than double the complexity of pipes needed to deliver natural gas around the country. This would be extremely expensive, and does not include the cost of extraction.

    Maybe the CO2 can be solidified in some way (not as “dry ice”), but that is a long way off.

  • Anonymous

    The use of hydrogen would be mostly as one of the two components “burned” [oxidized] in a fuel cell to make electricity (most popularly  expected for vehicles). The problem is that the separation of H2O has been expensive in all methods proposed to date. And the storage and transportation of hydrogen can be dangerous if not performed by trained people and is therefore expensive. A lot of research is being done on all these areas; but a practical system is not yet on the horizon.