Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Jun 11 2007

Stop laughing and start building

This past weekend I caught a bit of video on TV depicting The Solar Tower. The first one is planned for Australia, but it sounds as though they're also looking at other locations, including a possible site in Texas. I hope we see more of this kind of innovation.

I'm still disappointed that car manufacturers have not done more to develop non-fossil fuel burning vehicles. There are at least some people looking at other alternatives. the Panasonic World Solar Challenge is coming up this fall.

I guess there just hasn't been a big enough incentive for car makers to get serious about it all. They want to be able to sell many of one kind of car. Consumers want either cheap transportation or powerful, sexy transportation. Or both. Safety has to be figured in. Lawsuit and regulatory issues have made it nearly impossible to build cars economincally in our country. The rising cost of health care and other benefits have made it tough for management and unions to come together to produce vehicles with an eye toward innovation. And just about the time manufacturers churned out all those big SUVs the public was demanding, political and social pressures mounted to scale down our gas consumption and reduce our reliance on oil. If car manufacturers started a serious roll-out of solar (or any other alternative fuel) cars on this very day, it would still take years for the move to make a real difference in our environment and in our political when it comes to big oil-producing countries. I'm just not convinced that major U.S. car manufacturers can really do anything fast enough to help now. The solutions are going to have to come from independent manufacturers or other countries. I hope there are enough people with the freedom to produce the solutions we need. And I hope there are politicians out there with enough intelligence to get out of the way and let them develop ideas that can appeal to Americans who do want an alternative to the current type of car. You folks who make cars can laugh at solar cars all you wish. Have a good laugh and get it out of your system. But then, let's see your better idea on the production line ASAP.

posted at: 10:38 | category: /Science | link to this entry

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