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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Coming Era of Free Energy

We've explained many times that the future will bring us virtually free energy. The argument is sound, but most people simply can't accept the fact that we already have a running fusion reactor which is providing us with 10,000 times as much energy as we currently use.

Of course, the trick is in capturing that energy, converting it into a usable form and storing it. We're talking about our nuclear reactor at the heart of our local region of the Milky Way Galaxy—our Sun. It's an all-natural fusion reactor which is safely located almost a hundred million miles away.

The coming era of unlimited — and free — clean energy presents an analogy involving a well-known and ubiquitous product you may own:

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. McKinsey & Co. noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn't last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units and advised AT&T to pull out.
McKinsey was wrong, of course. There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use in 2000; there are billions now. Costs have fallen so far that even the poor, all over world, can afford cellular phones.
The analogy is apt. As the technology progresses, we will bring the cost of energy down to zero. The “energy deniers” have been telling us that we are running out of cheap energy and present graphs of oil to prove their point. Well, of course, we are running out of cheap energy from oil. That's absolutely certain. But, barring a major catastrophe on the Sun, we look forward to having billions of years' worth of free energy raining down. All we need is a way to capture it and use it.

Or, as Robert Heinlein wrote in his speculative fiction novel Friday:
Those who spoke of "energy scarcity" and of "conserving energy" simply did not understand the situation. The sky was "raining soup"; what was needed was a bucket in which to carry it.