Green energy is indeed needed, but it won't increase energy independence.
Hydrogen fusion is the only green energy that might completely free the U.S. from dependence on other countries. But "promising" experiments are still far from demonstrating fusion's possibility and economic viability.
The greenness of atomic power is debatable, given radioactive waste and the danger of leaks. And nearly all uranium in American power plants comes from abroad. This is hardly energy independence.
Green energy will consist mainly of hydropower (which has limited potential to expand), wind turbines, and PV panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Solar energy is abundant, but extremely variable, depending on time of day, weather, and seasons. My own solar panels produce only one fifth as much monthly electricity in mid-winter as they do mid-summer.
Storing enough electricity for nighttime might be possible, but it will probably be impossible to store enough to accommodate huge seasonal variations.
The logic of the situation therefore demands that we connect the entire planet into a single electrical grid.
Solar energy can then be produced wherever conditions are currently favorable and transmitted to other places where it is needed.
A worldwide grid is the direct opposite of energy independence!
Is there no alternative to such a grid? One that is often discussed is to place PV panels in space, where they have constant sunlight, and beam electricity down to earth.
If the panels were above the U.S., for example, it might seem that they could provide energy independence without being connected to a worldwide grid.
But even assuming this proved technically possible, which is dubious, it would not provide secure electricity since a small rocket could destroy the orbiting panels.
And rockets putting all that material into space would add tremendous amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The new program under the slogan (One Sun, One World, One Grid) therefore has it exactly right. And plans to implement a grid have taken a huge leap in recent months.
Until recently I falsely believed that I had originated this idea, but it turned out that Buckminister Fuller had actually proposed a worldwide grid several decades earlier.
When I first wrote about a worldwide grid in 1972, I noted that it would bind the world's two leading countries into mutual interdependence, And this interdependence would be a feature, not an unfortunate side effect.
The two countries were the Soviet Union and the United States, the two political systems in which I had the greatest interest, and which were locked into a nasty Cold War.
The connection would have crossed the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia.
It would then have extended to North and South America on this side and Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia on the other side of the world.
Neither the Soviets nor the U.S. could have afforded to sever such a connection. Twelve hours later it would be depriving itself of the electricity produced in the other half of the world where the sun was currently shining.
It wouldn't be at all like the European Union's current unilateral dependence on Russian oil and gas.
Russia could turn off its exports of these fuels to punish the EU for its opposition to the Ukraine war, without suffering immediate harm itself.
A worldwide grid will strengthen interdependence, and interdependence is much better than dependence. This is fortunate, since if we want to avoid a runaway climate we will need to move to solar energy and this inherently requires a world-wide grid.
As I have said before, it is one world whether we like it or not.
CrossPosted from "Newsmax"