Toby Barlow on Tue, 26 Feb 2002 05:10:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: the development of a solar infrastructure

Wow, what a trip. Please, before I waste any more of
your time, LOOK AT THE SITE, solar bonds are energy
bonds, bundling conservation and, in some cases, wind
to make the economies work. The math is very tight,
that's why the comptroller of San Francisco endorsed
Prop B. 

As to the powers that be, well, bring 'em on. 

The "mining of raw materials" issue you bring up is
enormously irrelevant. You're going to compare
silicon, the second most common element on earth, to

As for the regions, last time I checked there was sun
everywhere. Germany has a lot more solar than we do
and they're located farther north in a cloudy climate.
And they're pretty damn smart when it comes to
allocating their technological resources. 

Again, check out the site. Goodnight.
--- bc <> wrote:
> Toby Barlow from replied:
> >I think your questions are good ones. I think there
> >are ideas worth studying here. But the question I
> have
> >is a fundamental one. Solar is a mature technology
> >with an immature manufacturing and marketing base,
> so
> >how do you change that?
>   i do not know. many people have tried, though, as
> you
>   are probably well aware of. politicians.
> scientists. and
>   activists.  economics has been the easiest
> dismissal of
>   solar tech in the USA, as it would cost more when
> the
>   statisticians were sporting numbers for various
> game
>   plays. yet the 'cost', as has been argued, is not
> just
>   that of the consumer. but production,
> transmission,
>   conversion, distribution also. and this can lead
> to the
>   issues of mining of raw materials that are
> questionable
>   in their destructive qualities of habitat, and-or
> human
>   health, as uranium mines are a few steps in the
> chain
>   of events to making these computers work, along
> with
>   everything else.
>   so, if it is economics,well, energy bonds and the
> idea
>   of investing in the future, now, is a solid
> approach, if
>   communities can find the critical mass to realize
> it. yet,
>   when a local power company is owned by another
> which
>   resides across the country, as part of its power
> portfolio,
>   well, again, as all know, powerful interests are
> at stake,
>   and any local initiatives risk taking on the
> behemoth of
>   the energy machine in its political-economic
> functioning.
>   if it is evaluated in the vague terms of pure
> force, and
>   friction, a small band or tribe of people who want
> to help
>   bring in the change are rubbing against the very
> foundation
>   of the local interest, if the status quo is the
> default action.
>   whereas the deeply embedded and self-interested
> system
>   of Operation that pre-exists and has superceded
> all of the
>   prior attempts to change it for the better, is
> like a well-
>   greased machine, ready to steamroll anything in
> its path
>   to systematic growth and complete market control.
>   thus, and this is only a guess, but if issues of
> energy are
>   only discussed in economic terms, and debated and
> shared
>   in these lingos, it can limit what is at stake,
> what can occur.
>   that is why energy is so often a 'wonk' issue, it
> seems, as
>   statistics, esoteric techniques, and verbage, and
> also the
>   obfuscation of the issues in sheer public
> relations spinnage,
>   can be an unbearable opponent when aiming for
> clarification.
>   the anti-strategy, fight force with force, of
> ideas, of PR,
>   of propaganda, can destroy legitimacy by walking
> into the
>   trap of doing what the opponent is accused of, the
> bait and
>   switch reversal of a monologic of staid energy
> ideologies.
>   whereas, if the technical aspects of energy were,
> in an
>   open and democratic and public way, understood as
> being
>   of cultural significance, and consequence, and
> debated on
>   these more fully realistic parameters (with
> subsequent
>   but supportive not primary) statistics and
> scenarios, then
>   this educated understanding might help build the
> critical
>   mass needed to transform something that is more
> than
>   about consumption (it is not as simple as buying a
> solar
>   panel and plugging it in, it just does not work
> that way)
>   but also about production, why, how, where, when,
> who.
>   and the point being, not everyone is who (for
> solar, or
>   even for in some cases, given unique
> givens).
>   thus, 'energy bonds' with energy as commodity is
> akin
>   to the enronomics (political economics of enron as
> .biz)
>   of the energy markets, and, in pragmatic
> circumstance,
>   is seemingly unlikely to have critical mass (less,
> is the
>   'solar' bonds, as something like this is not
> universal in
>   its application, as only a portion of a country or
> region
>   can use solar for self-sufficiency, it is not
> plug-&-play).
> >While weather patterns may change, a sudden influx
> of
> >cloudy days, even if it's thirty percent more,
> would
> >still leave you with ten or so free years of
> energy.
> >If it's more than thirty percent, we're all screwed
> >anyway.
>   my delay in responding was i was trying to locate
> an
>   architectural chart of regional sun and cloudcover
> stat-
>   istics to demonstrate that solar technology is a
> science,
>   whereby like the old sliderule books of
> calculations, an
>   area will have specific attributes that are
> necessary in
>   making a judgement of whether or not solar will be
> a
>   viable alternative, by weather statistics.
> meaning, the
>   above '30% more cloudy days = 10 years free
> energy'
>   is highly questionable given the subject. doesn't
> add up
>   to the way the technology works, when it does
> work,
>   or so it seems. (and there are solar 'off grid'
> people
>   on the list, i gather, who might share their
> experience).
>   the point being that if you took a geographic
> region, say
>   california, and put solar panels over the entire
> area, in
>   some places, it might be of great benefit, of
> others, it
>   might be of wasted benefit but if optimized it
> might do
>   what it can do efficiently, and in other areas, it
> may
>   not be productive at all, as the climate is not
> right for
>   the universal roll out of solar (or wind, or even
> coal,
>   natural gas, oil, nuclear, hydro, wave, biomass,
> geo...)
>   this is the reason that 'energy bonds' may bring
> more
>   people into your initiative than solar alone. as
> it is a
>   highly variable technology, given local
> circumstances.
>   whereas energy, as energy, is a universal
> situation,
>   people need it, it needs to change in many ways,
> and
>   to change it requires people, and people who can
> find
=== message truncated ===

Toby Barlow
250 Texas St. SF CA 94107
(415) 385-6679 cell
(415) 863-4069 home
(415) 733-0783 work

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