Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pickens picks the right one

They say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Today, the world more than at any time needs new ideas to get going on alternative and if possible renewable sources of energy.

I hope billionaire Pickens has made his best investment till date. It should be noted that Business and money is the driving force behind Picken's adventure more than the notion of 'Larger good of society'. But who know's that can be the side effect.

There are few things going for Wind Energy and as always as is case with most things in life, there are few things against it. As far as the pros are concerned - Wind Energy is renewable, clean, can be widely distributed and is plentiful. On the down side of course is the problem of inconistency (as they say "weak" winds) and very large initial investment. For most business men, the second of the cons is the demotivating factor. They fear of diminishing returns for huge investments.

Thankfully Pickens (I never heard of him before) has taken a positive lead. And I hope it clicks for him. Because if it clicks for him it will encourage more billionaires like him to take the plunge.

While reading through one of the issues of TIME, something struck me. One of the problems that got mentioned in a few articles was that Wind Engergy is produced in short bursts. As in, there is a sudden generation of power and then there is a lull period. Which means there is a need to store energy during those inconsistent phases. And that is a challenge for technologists. Some engineers have suggested the use of Wind Energy in tandem with fossil-fuel energy. Meaning, the regular "gas" Energy be kept in ready to use state as soon as Wind power dwindles.

I drive a Toyota Prius. I find it's technology fascinating. Whenever I stop at a light, the display shows a green bar come up, showing that the energy is being conserved. On shorter distances Prius uses Electric energy and uses the residual energy for as far as possible. This mix (or Hybird) is in my opinion a simple but awesome technology. What struck me about the issue in TIME magazine was that there can be a parallel drawn with this and the Wind Power plants. If wind power is being produced in bouts, the intermittent period can be used by the regular energy source. In simple terms, I am thinking Hybrid Wind power plants.

Who knows, it may be possible (or it already is)?

Bottom line is the world needs to get rid of its oil addiction. For one, this will render the powerful Sheikdom in middle east and their partners in Houston, impotent. As long as they have the reigns of Oil, world will have to act on their whims and fancies. It's also reported in some quarters that some of the Oil money goes into "wrong" hands; and that can't be good, no?

Great inventions and discoveries have been made my man, out of few things like curiousity, adventurism and most of all Necessity. Man is enterprising by nature and I am sure, he will stand up to this challenge. Hope we have more Pickens picking up the baton.

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