We need energy to run our automobiles, heat our homes, light our streets and operate those few manufacturing industries that haven’t been outsourced to China. There seems to be only a bit more than a dozen sources of energy available. In the course of my next two columns, I’ll try to outline some of their pros and cons. After that, you’re entitled to your own opinion. The choice is yours.
In order to prevent any bias or favouritism from rearing its ugly head, I’ll express my findings in alphabetical order.
Animal Hey! Don’t laugh! Animal power, such as horses, oxen camels, elephants, dogs an even people is still being used in some remote Third World countries. The animal is harnessed to a geared arm which is attached to a mill or saw blade which can grind grain or saw logs into lumber. This form of energy has been demonstrated at Upper Canada Village. Unfortunately our municipal bylaws discourage ownership of animals that are sufficiently large. However, the droppings by-product is great for the garden.
The OSPCA would look with disfavour if it were to see Chihuahuas, toy poodles and English terriers used for such purposes.
How about harnessing people to generate electricity? Just think how fit our porky children, indolent teens and obese adults would be if they had to pedal generator-equipped stationary bicycles to generate the electricity needed to watch their cartoons, charge their cell phones or watch their soaps.
One down, about a dozen to go.
Current - River Bottom Preliminary studies are being undertaken, one as close as a fishing line toss from Cornwall’s St. Lawrence River. Turbine-generator units are anchored to the river bottom where the current is strong. Hmmm, shredded perch and pickerel anyone?
Current – Tidal Unfortunately, bodies of water that have extreme tides are not very common, especially in Saskatchewan, Switzerland and the Sahara. However, the tide amplifying effect of the landforms that enclose the Bay of Fundy have provided an excellent source of tide-induced hydro power.
Hot air Parliament Hill and the encampments of lobbyists can’t be counted upon to deliver a consistent flow of hot air energy. For example, the Bloc Quebecois and the Liberals all but disappeared after the last federal election. We need a consistent source of hot air to meet our energy needs.
When Parliament is in recess, the supply of hot air hot air would be dispersed throughout the hustings.
Hydro Ah, a clean, pollution-free, benign source of electrical power – NOT! Dams drown out beautiful waterfalls and rapids, flood agricultural lands, alter the ecology, destroy animal habitats and force relocation of the indigent population. Locally, just think of Moulinette, Dickinsons Landing, Mille Roches… Millions of peasants were relocated when China impounded several of its major rivers to satisfy the energy needs of its burgeoning manufacturing industries.
A lot of United Empire Loyalist history is now under water.
Next week, an overview of the pluses and minuses of nine other energy sources. After that, it’s up to you to weigh the options, voice your opinion and make your choice. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary Thomas Hobson’s Choice dilemma.