Renewable Energy System
Renewable energy must be the foundation for any sustainable economic system. Nonrenewable energy, by definition, can be depleted, that is, used up, gone forever (or at least for millions of years). Thus, by definition, a society based on nonrenewable energy is not indefinitely sustainable. In addition, fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing catastrophic climate change. Wood, which has been a nonrenewable staple for thousands of years, destroys forests, which are perhaps our most precious natural resource, after soil. Wood can be collected in a sustainable manner, but then can only be used sparingly. Catastrophic nuclear power accidents might be even worse than catastrophic climate change.
Renewable energy will be almost totally made up of renewable electricity, except for a small percentage from sustainably collected wood and biomass, and a larger percentage of heating and cooling energy obtained from ground source heat pumps.
A national plan to build an economy based on renewable energy would be composed of many components. There would be a national, interstate component, probably based mostly on wind, interconnected with a rebuilt national grid system. Solar plants and geothermal plants could be added to such a national grid, although only an interstate wind system is explored here. At the other end of the spectrum, at the level of individual buildings, we could plan for solar, geothermal, and efficiency construction that would provide for the bulk of building-level energy use. Since most energy use takes place at the building level, the distributed part of the national energy system would probably generate most of the energy, with the national grid providing extra power, and power for commercial, industrial, and transportation needs.
A renewable energy system requires an electric transportation system, based on electric trains, trucks, and cars, with small-scale use of planes and internal combustion-based vehicles.
The following are the subsystems and programs required to implement a Renewable Energy System: