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Our Wrong-Headed Approach to Utilizing Alternative Energy Sources

1.  The ZIP promoters would be sincerely thanked for their efforts, and asked to submit their information to a federal energy agency that would be roughly equivalent to the FDA. Let’s call it the EAA (Energy Assessment Agency) --  which would have some similarities to the former OTA (Office of Technology Assessment).

The EAA would do one thing: make a scientific assessment as to whether or not ZIP met the standards (reliability, etc.) of our existing sources of electrical power.

2.  The “scientific” part means that there would be a comprehensive, independent, and transparent assessment of the merits of such proposals like ZIP. It would be up to the promoters to provide whatever information is needed for a proper assessment (just as pharmaceutical companies are required to do for the FDA).

3.  All new industrial electrical power sources would be scientifically evaluated in three areas:

1) technology

2) economics

3) environment (which includes human impact)

Again, they would be compared to verify that they meet (or exceed) our existing options. (Why would anything be approved that was an inferior choice to what we already have?)

4.  If ZIP passes with flying colors, then (and only then) will it be allowed on the grid, and supported (as appropriate) with any public funds.

That’s it!

None of this is currently done.

This process (called using the scientific method) would be a radical departure from the political (lobbyist) approach we now use.

The end results would be profoundly different -- not only making real contributions to the energy and environmental issues we have, but in truly benefiting citizens and businesses.

Our current system is so dysfunctional that we are supporting sources that fail all three evaluation areas of item “3.”

For instance, a key consideration in the technical part is the impact of any proposed new source (e.g., ZIP) on our existing electrical grid.

Carefully consider this challenge:

“Compared to our other alternatives, name one consequential benefit that wind energy provides to our electrical grid”.

I am aware of some serious grid liabilities of adding wind energy to the grid, but zero benefits -- but please correct me if I’m wrong.

So it’s our choice: throw away hundreds of billions to support the agendas of lobbyists, or take a scientific approach and get an enormously higher bang for our buck.