OpinionIf a major breakthrough extinguishes one wealth source, another one will occupy its place.
      – BorgClown, 2008-10-30 at 20:27:29   (5 comments)

On 2008-10-30 at 20:30:00, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Isn't it the breakthrough itself that replaces the original technology?
On 2008-10-30 at 20:36:25, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Off-topic news item... (-: http://devicedaily.com/misc/mit-researcher-mimics-photosynthesis-to-turn-water-into-hydrogen-and-oxygen.html
On 2008-10-30 at 20:39:51, BorgClown wrote...
That was the article that inspired this opinion. Imagine if the electrical power grid became obsolete: Bad in the short term, but very good on the long term. Instead of earning money by selling electricity, money would be earned by manufacturing, installing and maintaining this new power source.
On 2008-10-30 at 21:10:13, Lee J Haywood wrote...
You have to ask why everyone isn't already using solar panels, if the energy is free? It seems that the reason we have central power production instead of local generation is a historical accident, linked to the networking provided by railways which pre-existed the widespread use of electricity. In practical terms, you have to collect the solar energy in one location and use it in another. If you own a factory, would you rather have tanks of hydrogen fuel delivered on-site for use or have it burnt somewhere else and use the grid? You either employ people to drive hydrogen-powered vehicles to do the delivery or accept transmission losses - I don't see the grid dying off no matter how good solar/wind power becomes. This topic has been linked to the story of the horse traders, who laughed at the first motor cars - shortly before going out of business. The oil companies are still increasing the amount of oil and gas they sell - they study renewables, but won't change their business model.
On 2008-10-31 at 00:33:17, BorgClown wrote...
Per-house solar energy infrastructure is expensive, frail and inefficient. It pays off in the long term, but the initial investment is steep. And having hail can be really costly. Still, generating power out of an efficient solar collector and plain water is very tempting. What advantages has the grid if the new system is transparent to all your current appliances?