Raging Pencils
The illuminating web comic, by Mike Stanfill
New comics every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

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And so, the war on terra came to a predictable end, all thanks to one final surge.

When Sunny Gets Green.

For a brief period of time near the end of March 2008, on a particularly blustery day, wind-powered generators supplied almost 40% of electricity for all of Spain. That's 10,000 megawatts of power. In case you're curious these generators generally supply only about 30% of Spain's electrical needs.

Spain also recently opened the world's first commercial-scale solar concentrating power plant, currently capable of lighting 10,000 homes. It's a thing of beauty and you can see a youtube video of it here.

Spain leads the way in Europe in developing wind power and they will have tripled their current output by 2020. You have to stand in awe of any country that will soon provide 90% of its enegry without the use of hydrocarbons or fissionable materials.

America has extremely windy places, too, and it also has vast areas of sun-lit deserts but these resources have been woefully underutilized so far. There are, to be sure, modest wind farms across this country but nothing near so comprehensive as Spain's. Why are we just waiting until now to get on this Photonic Express?

The reason is that Spain's energy system is nationalized, not privatized. So when the Spanish government realized oil was a bad bet for the future back in the 90s it took steps to ramp up the use of naturally occuring resources.

America's privatized energy companies, on the other hand, were happy to continue burning cheap oil and coal on the reasoning that it's cheaper to piss in the streets than install proper plumbing. Thankfully, sanitation isa civil function and it works remarkably well however monstrously complex.

Given a choice, I say nationlize our energy resources.

Wind and solar still face major hurdles in terms of storage to bridge the gaps on those dark nights and windless days but new techniques in chemical storage (essentially storing heat, not volts) hold promise.

It's too bad America didn't sink two trillion dollars into solar and wind power over the past eight years. That would certainly have been a MUCH more effective way of preventing the next 9-11 than playing Musical Invasions throughout the Middle East.


Raging Pencils is a massive conceit courtesy of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Illustration • Animation • Web Design