Alternative/Renewable Energy discussion
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11-21-2012, 10:07 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Athens, GA
Originally Posted by
I'm far from an energy expert, but I feel like that despite our dependence on oil, alternative and renewable energies, at this point at least, are not a long-term solution. There's still a lot of work needed to determine what energies will and will not work or be viable and that I don't see it as government's role to force these energies on us.
The government hasn't forced anything on me (well there's the 10% ethanol requirement, but that's not a big deal to me), they are investing in all potential alternatives, because that's what they [B]must[B] do for the research to happen. Plus, the construction of wind/solar farms put a lot of people to work. Historically speaking, private industry does not spend much time on the cutting edge. That's typically done through publicly funded research. Truly cutting edge research/exploration is not an economically sound investment, as no one knows the end result. Publicly funded research finds the core aspects of the sciences, then private industry comes in and finds applications for a concept and ways to improve efficiency on a system/product to make it profitable. Right now, we are still at the "figuring it out" stage when it comes to alternative energy sources.
Here's a quick vid on it (he's speaking directly about space exploration, but the idea is the same).
And here's a
on the topic, from CERN.
Originally Posted by
Those who make fundamental discoveries generally do not reap the benefits –the laws of nature cannot be protected and the applications are too long-term and unpredictable– and the cultural and educational benefits do not generate direct profits.
Quantum mechanics led to modern electronics and lasers, but even with the benefit of hind-sight, investment in the research which led to quantum mechanics would not have been a good commercial investment; the underlying knowledge could not have been protected, the time-lag was too long and the results too unpredictable.
Whenever profit is easily foreseeable, industry will invest and governments can generally stay away, although they can play some role e.g. by encouraging contacts and collaboration between industry and universities. Much of applied research is therefore the responsibility of industry. However, the situation is not entirely clear cut, since whether applied research will lead to direct profits is not always predictable, e.g. research on heart disease could lead to patentable drugs, or to the need for a better diet and more exercise. Furthermore, public funding of applied research on topics such as the environment or issues affecting transport policy is obviously necessary.
Last edited by TasteofFlames: 11-21-2012 at
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