A person might wonder where the smart money might be in the process of being invested right now. The money being invested in secret ways so as not to upset the balances… balances that are toppling some traditional towers of bureaucracy and economics. Petroleum products are valuable, but the cost of production is increasing and even though price can be increased, the higher the price the more efficiently people will use it.
…they will also seek alternates!
There are alternate energy sources to invest in like direct and indirect solar power. Direct like solar panels and solar heated fluid power plants — reflected sunlight might heat a fluid like water to steam to turn a turbine or another fluid in a radiator to otherwise turn generators or pumps. Possible alternates to invest in include wind, wave, tide, and falling water (often held behind a dam) all somehow turning a turbine or pump. Traditional oil and gas giants are investing in these things.
Of course they are also investing in soy, corn and Canola fields. Bio fuels are alternates with many vehicles running on ethanol or ethanol gasoline mixes already. There are more local moves to collect methane as well. Bio-diesel is an alternative that is being looked at.
Still, there are a lot of red herrings. Solar panels can only gather so much energy per square metre or even square kilometre. The Sun only puts out so much energy and every bit of Sunlight captured by a solar panel does not strike the land below it. That is something to consider. If you cover an acre of land with solar panels, that field does not get direct sunshine — or at least a very reduced amount of it. The same goes for other solar power.
Harvesting water’s power has effects too. Every hydroelectric project covers acres of land and even if that land is not farm-able or log-able, it would be lost from an ecological point of view. Tamed rivers also are not necessarily the same as wild rivers. Wave power stations also reduce wave action of the waves that pass them and tidal power plants have their effects on tidal flows. Granted they might be less than damming a river.
Even wind farms have an effect on the wind that passes through them and large enough wind farms would have an effect on in the very least local micro-climates.
Now some of the effects might be desirable. Solar panels can shade and cool buildings and perhaps other areas that we might want cooled. Tidal and wave power-plants might reduce errosion of some shorelines — which might become very important in the near future. …and wind farms… hmm…
There is a definite conflict of interest when it comes to bio-fuels. We need food too!
All the corn, soy, and Canola that is sent to the hydrocarbon industry is diverted from the food industry. When there are hungry mouths to feed this is a problem. The amount of ethanol that can be produced from crops is much less than can sustain the amount of fuel, etc. that we use currently even if we use all of it for fuel.
It is great to gather the methane given off by a landfill or compost to power the trucks which collect it around the city, but that is just a small part of things.
There are other resources. I am not speaking of coal or other fossil fuels or even nuclear power in the form of fusion or fission or something more exotic whether you believe Tesla had a discovery or not. There are projects that work to do what fields of grain do, but better — converting sunshine, air, and water into hydrocarbons.
Actually there are two sorts of projects that I know of. One is looking to produce power more directly with a sort of organic solar power system. That one is using chemicals that do the job of chlorophyll to capture the energy of sunlight by capturing electrons and transporting them from one location to another where they give up the electron… producing a current and so acting as a source of electricity. The chemical after releasing the electron can be reenlisted to be expose to sunlight again and pick up another electron and repeat the process.
The other project is a lot less far fetched. That project consists of large cylinders with transparent panels filled with a type of fast growing algae. The algae grows quickly absorbing water, air, and sunshine and after a short time is harvested to be used to make biofuel, food, and the raw materials for other hydrocarbons.
The towers of Algae clustered close together, but still open enough to absorb sunlight could convert the sunlight much more efficiently than other crops and directly into hydrocarbon. There is still the limit of how much energy the Sun puts out, but they could be put anywhere really, even floating at sea.
Of course they still take up space and can only produce so much.
But, I think the smart money might be going in directions like this. There are a few other green directions that make economic sense. But I’ll leave that for later.