I decided that sometimes my rants are, in fact, good ideas gone wild. Three years ago, I harassed a friend at length about how Obama should take advantage of the need to create jobs and boost flagging industry to boost the green industry. Well, he kinda sorta did that in the way that he kinda sorta did most things, and the fall out has been headline news this week. The green industry is poised for innovation and technological development of the kind Ford implemented, which sent the US hurtling along its hegemonic 20th century course. Simply put, industry in the US has to be innovative, creative, and successful to be a global leader. Green energy is a good bet, because almost every other industry depends on energy as a key resource. The financial industry may be an outlier here but even Wall Street likes to have the lights on. However, China has already positioned itself as a rising player in the green(er) energy industry, which means the window of opportunity for the US is creaking its way shut.

There’s a difference between what China has done and the US could do, however. China has developed a bright and shiny business environment rich in low wages and low environmental standards – and thus a low overhead even with shipping costs. Yet China is also notoriously bad at producing creative thinkers – and known to jail those it does have. Herein lies an opportunity for the US to foster the kind of creativity and innovation for which it is known, and develop products that do not depend on existing systems OR seek to replace them, but work instead side-by-side. Obama wants to foster such development; unfortunately, he has yield tangible results.

To elaborate on side-by-side: current alternative energy sources of electricity have to tie into the “electrical grid” in order to send electricity from where they are to where we are. One commonly referenced problem is that electrical supply from wind or solar is not constant the way a power plant is, and so storage is necessary to avoid power fluctuations. Yet, storage of electricity is easier said than done. Batteries can store electricity, but would be expensive and take vast amounts of space to be even somewhat functional for an urban grid. At the same time, it would be the ultimate redundancy to imagine creating a secondary grid. What does this mean for product development?

A successful product would be straightforward and easy to adopt, both financially and logistically. Right now, installing local energy-producing equipment in a home is expensive, complicated, confusing, bewildering, and… you get the point. You need *something to harness energy, another *something to turn it into electricity, an additional *something to store excess electricity for when you need it, and more *something(s) to tie all that in to your home’s electrical service. You might not be surprised to know that this is a specialized skill, beyond the scope of your average electrician, let alone your average homeowner. Information about such systems are often homespun directions, like how to turn pvc pipe into a windmill using an old junkyard generator. But I am astounded that it could be so incredibly difficult to turn your rooster-weather vane into a constantly spinning electrical source that plugs in, literally, to your home’s electrical grid. If an average consumer can go to their *Local-Big-Box-Home-Building-Super-Duper-Store* and buy something for <$50 that takes an hour or two to install… they would do that, especially if it saves them on their ever-rising electrical bill. Fine, so a $50 part won’t revolutionize industry. The idea is that we need creative ways for people to adopt new habits of energy consumption – and by “ways” I mean products that one innovates, produces, and sells, or it doesn’t really count as an industry.

Unfortunately, I am not an engineer, and my mama-skills can’t seem to produce this magical energy source. If only I could bottle my kids’ energy! And that, folks, is why Obama is responsible for the creation of this blog; if he would have just listened to my sage advice… through his obviously telepathic… psychic… oh, never mind.

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