The case for solar power: Where the next frontier lies
We as humans living in the 21st Century have the notion that we are the most advanced stage of the human civilization and that we represent the epoch of technological innovation. A retrospect of human history in reality puts todays humans in probably the most primitive of all states. Sure, we have industrialized to such an extent that we do not need to work as much as our ancient forefathers, but this is indeed what puts todays humans in the uncivilized stages of human social development. Todays humans are foraging for energy through oil, gas and coal exploration much like our cave dwelling ancestor foraging for food. We need to make the next step towards stationary agriculture – this in todays world would mean harvesting energy. A closer look reveals that currently there is just that technology out there – namely solar energy “created” through the use of photovoltaic cells (solar panels).
Just as the pioneers of the Americas found the vast arable land suitable for food agriculture, mankind's next frontiers lies in the “arable” land of the sunshine rich deserts where currently very few people live. One such vast solar arable land is found in the Sahara desert with a combined land area larger than Canada. Economically one might be tempted to ask after such vast financial investment to generate the electricity, where are the customers? A look at the map shows us the endless financial potential in just that venture, energy hungry customers likes in Europe, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The manpower can be found in the huge labor pools of the “developing world” where unemployment and underemployment is rife. The governments of such solar arable lands should attract such pioneers to set up solar power installations to generate such clean energy.
Morally, the environmentally conscious people should promote such policies to not just generate clean power, but is also the key to reducing poverty around the world. Just as the discoveries of Australia and the Americas drastically reduced poverty levels of Western Europe; opening up the next frontier should alleviate the unbearable low standards of living found in many places around the world. Furthermore, not only will tapping this near endless energy potential improve the livelihood of people directly involved in such a industry, but the end results will inevitable lead to rapid industrialization and ultimately social stability.
This generation of electricity will also reduce the stress seen in many parts of the world such as India and the Middle East through the increased afford ability of such devices as desalination plants and the production of more rain catching “nets” and in the short term pumps to draw water from underground aquifers. All of this can finally results in the ultimate human dream of making our barren deserts green and habitable for the next generation and lower the stresses on the over populated regions.
One can confidently state that the quest for solar power can be the medicine for the currently depressed economies. Just as the Tennessee Valley Authority made possible the industrialization the Mid-Western United States, solar power in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California and further improve the economic situation these. The production of solar panels will create many factory jobs, installing and operating them will create jobs and the many industries that these solar energy will power is also create new jobs. It might be tempting to state that manufacturing these solar panels is a energy intensive process by itself and that such scarce power should be divested to more profitable enterprises. This sort of thinking is a short time solution and within a few years, these panels will inevitably generate profits in the form of electricity.
As can be clearly seen in the tone of this piece, that many of the things described is nothing more than a dream, but these dreams are reachable. Small steps can be taken such as further studying how to efficiently harness solar energy, installing small solar panels on rooftops to save not just electric bills, but also finite resources. Instead of investments in such destructive wars for resources that will clearly run out within this century, the panacea is opening up the next frontier and to next generation of pioneers which ultimately everyone in the world will enjoy the fruits of their endeavors.
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