Peter Diamandis, the head of the X Prize Foundation, recently gave a TED talk titled Abundance is Our Future. It was an inspiring, energetic talk full of optimism for the ability of technology to solve the world’s biggest challenges. In all areas of technology but one, Peter is on target.
When it came to his segment on energy, he showed just how deluded even the most educated people can be about the potential for solar energy and how ignorant they are about the potential for atomic fission. Instead of stating that the Earth is endowed with an incredible natural resource of fissionable material that will last as long as the Earth lasts, he stated that we are bathed in energy from the sun.
He off-handedly mentioned that it is only currently useful in rare, sunny locations. He ignored the challenge of providing solar power at night. He did not mention atomic energy at all.
Interestingly enough, the Chinese government, whose fast paced alternative energy programs have been frequently held up as examples for the world to follow, announced that they have figured out that they were wasting their money.
Instead of continuing to build wind and solar monstrosities that are failing to deliver useful power for inherent reasons, they have decided to redirect their investment into their nuclear energy program. That program is already the world’s largest, representing almost half of the nuclear power plants that are currently under construction in the world.
China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.
I do not like the way that the Chinese government treats most of its people, but I sure admire their rational, fact driven technology decision making.