In the United States there is a legend about Johnny Appleseed, based on a real character, John Chapman, a conservationist of the XVI century.
The story sums it up: The apple trees are apples, year after year, but the day one cuts their branches for firewood and heating and with their trunks makes a table and chairs, it will be anything but apples.
In an effort to prevent further cutting of apple trees, in other words, altering the global climate and out of addiction to oil, back in the summer of 2008, the industries of solar and wind energy lived their best moments. That year a barrel of oil was worth $147.
In 2009 the story want wrong: the world entered a severe economic crisis with banks suspending credits for any project, including environmentally friendly energy. Consumers went into aggressive spending cuts.
In this scenario of uncertainty, the winds changed direction and investment in renewable energy, a tendency to counteract the effects of climate change, began to subside.
A wave of unemployment in these industries experienced over the past two years. That pattern has not changed and the installation of solar and wind power has been reduced from 30 to 50%.
In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore challenged the Washington political establishment to generate one hundred percent of electricity with renewable and clean energy in 10 years. “If we put the dots on the i’s to discover that solutions to the climate crisis, the same we need to lift the economy and escape the trap of high oil prices,” he said.
In this and other appeals echoed President Barack Obama when he offered to campaign two years ago, leading the country towards development of clean energy. But the economic slowdown is leaving to go his offer with the wind.
This month American Wind Energy Association figures say more than words: this is the industry’s lowest period since 2007. This year, the U.S. installed half of the wind plants which is a half of what Europe did and only a third of those planned by China.
That means investments of nearly $35 billion, figures that the United States can not achieve the absence of a policy on renewable energy. Also, the pressure of the oil and coal corporations to maintain the “status quo” and the skepticism that these new alternatives will help do not help pull the country out of crisis.
The Congress does not pass the energy bill, among other reasons for not hurting the American lifestyle.
If Walter Berglund was not the fictional character in the novel Freedom (the new “great American novel” written by Jonathan Frazer) his words today would have more life than they have on paper.” The system is perfect, while they have their plasma TVs and electricity to operate, no need to think about the horrible consequences (climate change and acid rain). You still can watch the reality show “Survivors in Indonesia”, but Indonesia will disappear.”
In Freedom, which has been the most widely read fiction book last summer in the U.S., Berglund has the voice of conscience of a sick society of consumerism and frivolity, unhappy and obsessed with defending their freedoms, to the point of self-destruction.
“We increased our dependence on oil, instead of diversifying our portfolio to include more renewable energy. If we continue like this will have an impact on our national security,” said Denise Bode, president of the American Wind Energy Association, which unites 2,500 companies. Despite the current against us, she is optimistic that if the government supports the industry it still can be railroaded to train and increase the supply of generation faster than other sources.
It’s a race against time, the recession and the conservative political resistance force to go back. Examples abound: the states of North Dakota and South America, among world’s best places for wind energy, announced the reduction of 20% of its workforce by a slump in sales.
Another alternative in mind is nuclear energy, for the time impracticable. According to The New York Times, the costs of expansion of nuclear power plants will reach eight million dollars per megawatt. Seven projects in several states are suspended until the winds blow for the economy.
Electric vehicle with lithium batteries do not emit CO2 or damage the environment if the electricity comes from renewables such as wind, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal or thermal. Wind turbines can supply electricity to electric vehicles in the future will also serve to store and regulate the electricity intermittent wind energy sector.
For now, the U.S. will continue beating a Johnny Appleseed apple.