One of my favorite alternatives is the MDI Compressed Air Powered Car, I would love to get one of those and never have to buy another gallon of gasoline again! Years ago I had an idea that a house could be powered entirely by compressed air, through underground pipes. If the pipes burst, what harm would it cause? So a bunch of compressed air pops, and a bunch of dirt goes flying, big deal. That's not nearly as bad as the fires caused by natural gas pipes exploding, and electrical transformers and wires getting destroyed and blown around by storms and overloads. And if too many systems try using the compressed air being provided, that would just reduce the air pressure a bit more than usual, rather than overload equipment, overheat transformers, and cause whole system outages.
My idea for generating the compressed air for homes doesn't involve a compressor and big tanks, like what you would probably think of. My idea involves big weights and giant tubes, with a machine that lifts the weights when they reach the bottom of the tube. The more tubes, the more constant the system's pressure can be, even if there is a slight power outage. Because taking pressure from the system to provide power to homes would be purely mechanical. If there is a Sudden drop in pressure due to a break, a burst pipe or something, a computer can sense that and instantly shut off the affected part of the system. Rather than a cascade failure shutting down the Entire system. The weights and tubes would be kind of like really big pistons in an engine. And raising the weights would be done by turning, ratcheting them up, not using cables. But, then again, maybe current Elevator technology can be adapted to do the work, they have a pretty robust cable system.
We already use pressurized water for every building in a city, it's how you get water out of your tap at the kitchen sink, or the hose in the front yard. So, I was thinking, what if every house had a turbine at the water main that feeds to that house, converting that water movement into electricity, storing it in a battery that would provide at least a short backup for when the grid goes down. Why not, it's going to move through that pipe anyway, right?
As far as Wind generation goes, I really do not like the big long bladed turbines, they are very inefficient, very dangerous, have to be turned into the wind to work, etc. But there are far more efficient designs I really like. There is one that looks like a helix, it grabs wind from All directions, and converts it very efficiently, without causing a lot of danger for things like birds. Also there is the kind of wind generator that takes it's idea from swaying trees. When wind blows these things, they sway, in any direction the wind blows, and the swaying itself generates power at it's base. I love that idea! http://www.ecofriend.com/windstalk-farm-combines-aesthetics-with-clean-energy-generation.html
I really like ocean wave generators, they look like connected tanks floating out on the ocean, and the slightest motion can cause them to change their angle, which then forces hydrolic fluids through turbines, which in turn generate power. I love that. There are so many places out on the open ocean that would be Great wave farms!
As for solar, I've seen on PBS and Discovery Channel that exciting new means of capturing the sun's energy are being used right now, that are far cheaper and better than photovoltaic cells we are used to. For instance, we can capture CO2, and the Sun's energy, to produce algae that can then be easily turned into fuel, and lubricants, and maybe even bio-plastics! There is a new kind of paint that turns sunlight into electricity too, it's absolutely amazing. You could put a coat of this stuff all over your house! There are paper thin sheets of stuff being made that is several times more efficient at turning sunlight into electricity than normal photovoltaic cells! http://inhabitat.com/new-quantum-dot-solar-cells-could-double-efficiency/
Alternative energy is NOT a myth. We do NOT need to build giant generator plants, and plug them into the grid we all depend on. We can provide every house, every building, with all they need to get completely Off the grid. The major hurdle to doing that is Cost. Each owner of a home, or business, would have to be able to purchase these things, or at least put in the major part of the investment.
But if it's a giant power plant you want, there are new plants being built that can turn all kinds of garbage and industrial waste into electricity, while recycling 100% of the material into pure, separated chemicals and material that can then be used to manufacture new things. Instead of dumping everything into a giant pit in the ground, allowing the nastier stuff to leach into the soil, and water supply. And the power plant does not pollute at all, absolutely Everything gets turned into purified materials to be used for new manufacturing, or processing, or whatever. Imagine your entire car can be recycled, 100% of it, while at the same time generating enough power to run your house for a week, or something. I think it is called a Plasma Reactor, but I could have something mixed up in my head.
And apparently we are close to getting widespread Cold Fusion, which has excited and intrigued scientists for a long time now.
Have you heard of the amazing Bloom Box? These amazing thin sheets that are really really efficient at turning natural gas into electricity. Fuel Cell technology is absolutely wonderful, it can transform hydrogen and oxygen into water, and produce electricity in the process.
We have the technology to CREATE pure water, the ability to take any water source, no matter how nasty, turn it into pure Hydrogen and Oxygen, then turn that back into Water, add a bit of minerals for taste, and you've got perfect, pure water. I love the idea of Water as Fuel, this guy invented a technology that separates water into Hydrogen and Oxygen gas, without the massive amounts of electricity for normal electrolysis, by employing Frequency manipulation. The molecules can be Vibrated apart. Then the gas can be recombined in a combustion engine, and burned, just like gasoline, producing more electrical energy than is needed to continue splitting more water into gas. Thus as long as you have plenty of water, you can generate lots of energy!
And one of my favorites for a long time now is Magnet Motor generators, I've seen so many examples on Youtube of these amazing devices, spinning at a very high RPM, which would provide a lot of electrical energy without any fuel. And don't tell me how impossible it is, that you can't get something for nothing. Magnetic force is itself a form of energy! This is nothing more than converting one form of energy into another form, just like allowing the completely natural nuclear decay of radioactive material to heat water, which then turns turbines, or allowing hydrogen molecules to combine with oxygen in a fuel cell, thus making electricity in the process. It is real, it works, and the law of the conservation of energy does not make it impossible. If this method of making electricity is incompatible with the law of conservation, than that law is wrong, or flawed, in the first place. Take off the blinders and see reality!
The world we live in is full of abundant energy. Even if the idea of Abiotic Oil is true, even if there is WAY more oil underground than we've been told by the big oil corporations, I still think it's a good idea to get off our dependence on oil as fuel. I still think there are too many pollutants, and terrible ecological risks, attached to oil.
I don't think Global Warming is caused solely by mankind, I think it's part of a cycle, something we can't stop. I do think it is happening, and I don't think we are about to get into a new Ice Age unless Global Warming actually triggers it. I do think we are doing bad things to this planet, and we must stop that. By not continuing to do nasty things to our planet. Not by forcing people to pay a Carbon Tax. Maybe we are addicted to energy, in the US, and the Western World. But, you know what, I don't think energy use itself is what is wrong with this planet, it's what we do to transform available resources into electricity. Back before electricity became so widespread, it was seen as the thing that could Save people from the horrible ecological problems caused by Coal burning, wood burning, and gas burning, to provide the heat and light everyone needed. We've all used energy, in one form or another, since we first figured out Fire!
I do not advocate people reducing power usage to pre-industrial levels, all around the world. I would prefer that people switch to clean, renewable, energy. Energy is not our enemy. Pollution is. Local pollution causes illness, and big areas of pollution can cause changes in weather, that are unpleasant, even damaging. Pollution can be dust, smoke, nasty gasses, acid rain, etc. We need to reduce, as much as possible, the pollution we create, in all areas of our lives, as individuals, nations, and the world.