When I was researching green technology, I was disappointed to find out that no amount of solar panels can get you off the power grid. You also need a way to store the power for night use, and that technology is not yet economical or convenient.
There’s something cool about the thought of being totally off the power grid. It’s a psychological thing. I could rationalize being off the grid by saying it would come in handy if the rest of the world runs out of energy. But realistically, the big worry in that case wouldn’t be powering my iPod so much as not getting eaten by cannibals.
This week I saw some stories that reactivate my fantasy of being off the power grid for no practical reason whatsoever. First, you will soon be able to have your own nuclear reactor for your house.
I don’t know about you, but I would look for ways to weaponize it. I’m sure they’ll say that isn’t possible, but I’d still try. I want nuclear superiority in my neighborhood.
There was also a recent breakthrough in battery technology. It will take a few years, but it looks as if you will be able to economically store your solar power after all, both for your home and your future electric car.
And the story wouldn’t be complete without a story about a solar panel company that can now get you energy cheaper than coal and is already shipping product.
I think these three technologies, if they all proved real, would provide the tipping point. Every new home would be energy self-sufficient, and all cars would be electric because you could charge them for free at home. Nothing new needs to be invented to make this happen.
Now please enjoy the brief period of optimism before you learn some reason this won’t all happen.