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Dave Cline of Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Implications of Free Energy

What if energy were free, or at least so cheap as to be nearly free? What would life be like? What would change? Which industries would die and which would thrive? Which countries would roil in turmoil and which would blossom? Who would benefit and who would languish and suffer?
Free energy would thoroughly disrupt all human activity, all economies, all daily routines, and all projections of the future. In short, it would disrupt everything! Free energy would be a productivity bomb dropped into the middle of an inefficient and power strangled world economy. One would think that a new Utopian society would spring forth and the ills of the world be cured overnight. Although it might seem that way on first ponder, free energy would fail to release humanity from those ancient struggles of the possession of natural resources (and the land on which they exist), and the control of the world’s monies and ideas.

But, what a world it would be! The changes, innovation and shear possibilities seem overwhelming. Focusing though, on the web like intricacies of energy dependence, their myriad correlations and connections are truly mind boggling. From a bushel of corn and a glass of clean water to an Apache helicopter and a desert skyscraper, the assumptions as to why something exists and to what else in the world they are connected would all be questioned.

We can examine this concept in many ways:

• What would the progression of change be, starting with the world announcement of viable and provable free energy and ending in 20+ years when the shift from fossil fuel, fission nuclear and alternative energies to the free energy source has been completed?
• We can explore the winners and losers; those countries, industries and peoples who would be most affected by free energy.
• We can imagine the conversion complete and focus on human activities, the occupations, new and disposed, and the new pastimes and recreations people might adopt.
• And, we can study the earthly impact free energy might have. How would the demise of the fossil fuel economy affect mining and agriculture?

For now, we’ll walk through a calendar sequence and ponder the impact of each theoretical development.
Prior to day 1
The dream of free energy has enlivened many a proletariat’s tavern discussion. Conspiracy theories abound in such discourse. The corporate oil cartel, teamed with the industrial/military complex (all wrapped in political domination), and financial banking manipulation must surely be suppressing scientific marvels designed to produce free energy. True or not, one novel energy generation technique (the basis for this exploration) has risen to the forefront, and, now, with recent reproducible results, has proven that free, or nearly free energy can be had for the taking.

It is here that we begin our projected extrapolation of what may be.


Day 1
The Director of the US Department of Energy (in concert with a majority of United Nations participants--those country’s leaders, and the admission of the President of the United States) has determined that this new energy production technology can no longer be ignored or kept quiet, and, therefore, a formal announcement must be made declaring the United States’ intentions and support for a newly discovered and proven “free energy” technology.

“In the near future, energy will be free. Free to all with no strings, no dependencies, and no power agent controlling it. Energy will be made available wherever it is needed. Whenever it is needed and by whomever needs it. A new day has dawned in the age of humanity. A day of possibilities. A day of unity for all mankind. We are here to announce this new energy, support it and promote it now and in the years to come.”

This announcement, made after the stock market close on Friday, results in shrugs and quizzical looks by most of the world’s population.

“What, more hype by the United States and the UN about…what was it exactly?”
“What did he mean by ‘free energy’?”
“Well, if it’s real, I’m sure we’ll just have a new jailer in our existing energy prison.”
“Does that mean we won’t need oil anymore?”

Those on the edge of the ‘know’ are incredulous and instantly discount the entire premise behind the announcement. “What ploy are the US and the UN taking now, and for what reasons?”

Those in the know, that is, all those within this new energy’s community, as well as the DOE, DOD and other government agencies dedicated to handling the upcoming disruption, heave a sigh of foreboding. And, so, it starts.

Day 2
The scientists behind the breakthrough are inundated with questions and inquiries. New conspiracy theories evolve to rationalize this unfathomable announcement. The media, suddenly directionless, is at a loss as to whom to turn to in order to substantiate this declaration. Government prepared information packages begin to arrive at the major news headquarters and lesser news outlets. The Web has instantly disseminated every available scrap of news and history about this technology to all corners of the world.

Pundits and pontificators lead the media as they attempt to digest the facts as they are currently known. They try to explain the reasoning behind the announcement, and, later, the implications of what such a technology might have on the world around them. Night descends and still, most have no idea what is in store for them. Some stay up deep into the night, debating with cohorts and companions about what this all really means.

Day 3
The smart crowd has begun to make sense of this discovery and what impact it may have. They make lists as to what might happen:
• The world’s demand for crude oil, coal and natural gas will cease.
• Carbon emissions will stop and global warming will no longer be an issue.
• Air pollution will end.
• Alternative energy production--wind, solar, geothermal--will be abandoned.
• Nuclear fission plants will quit. The mining of uranium will be discontinued.
• Shipping, and transport will be reduced to pure service industries.
• Travel and tourism will explode.
• Manufacturing will become vastly cheaper.
• Taxes and tariffs on fuels will vanish.
• Clean water will become nearly free and globally accessible.
• Lifespans and standards of living will increase.
• Arable land will expand and empty deserts converted to farmland.
• Food will become cheap and broadly available.

But these points only represent the broad and future eventuality. What will happen tomorrow?
Sunday afternoon, the world’s currency markets open, including the markets of Australia, Japan, Shanghai, and Singapore.

At the open, countries whose economies are, to a large degree, dependent on the export of fossil fuels, have their currencies devalued instantly. The currencies of Canada, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela all plunge. While the currencies of those dependent on the import of crude oil, soar. As each stock market comes online, it boils in chaos. Oil-dependent company stocks in each market strain at the exchange’s price collars, which limit price movements. Down and down they go. The markets in most of these corporations are suspended after an hour’s worth of continual limit downs. These devaluations elicit sabre rattling threats from the leaders of the countries most deeply threatened by crude oil’s demise. A rash of suicides by those most heavily invested in oil, breaks out. Riots start in eight of the capitals of OPEC nations.

Day 4 - Monday
The US government has planned with the SEC and the exchanges to allow trading for one hour a day for the entire week. Price collars and limit days will allow prices to move, but at a reduced panic rate. Included in the information packets released on Saturday was a transition timeline proposed by the DOE. As the market closes at 10:30 AM EST, the financial media, having ignored this transition timeline, now begins to truly evaluate the actual impact of free energy and the elimination of oil from the world’s energy production and consumption.

“The conversion from a fossil fuel economy to one using this new technology will take years, if not decades. Oil is just as important to the operation of the world today as it was yesterday, and as it will be tomorrow.” The government continues to state that, “The transition to free energy will be gradual.” This announcement has little affect on the revelry that has begun around the world.

Huge parties breakout all across the US west coast. The UK, Japan and other countries around the globe have declared an ad hoc holiday. The impact on the financial markets have justified that this new energy is truly authentic and a new dawn in humanity stands ready, tilting on the cusp.

The secret companies, who have been building out production of this new technology, are made publicly known. Demonstrations of the technology are shown in downtown squares in every major city on the planet. Home-based units, the size of a washing machine, are set up and power a city block’s worth of dazzling light displays. They are turned on and left running indefinitely. Crowds, hundreds deep, surround these demonstrations. Singing and celebration ensues for the entire week.

Week 2
The currency markets have generally rebounded or retraced. Those heavily impacted oil conglomerate stocks have settled to two thirds their price from a week ago. And stability appears to have been returned. The riots in the OPEC nations have burned out as the knowledge that oil money will continue to flow for years to come is comprehended.

However, long term realizations begin to sink in. If you work in an oil, coal, or natural gas sector, your days are numbered. If you are studying alternative energy technologies in school, you will need to rethink your major. Gas stations would become a thing of the past. Oil tankers and LNG tankers will all be converted to scrap iron, as they can no longer be converted to other uses, nor can they be sunk to create reefs. Trucking will expand. Greenhouse agriculture will use free energy to generate light and heat in the frigid throes of winter, growing a profusion of hot house tomatoes and melons. Hundreds of industries will need to rethink their product lines and business models. No economic entity will be left untouched, or left unchallenged.

Month 2
The free energy technology has been fully evaluated, vetted for licensing and patent issues, and made available to every manufacturer willing to take on the construction of new production lines for the technology’s generator units. It has been determined that gas lines and electrical grid transmission lines will no longer be needed. Their disassembly is scheduled. As neighborhoods join together to purchase megawatt level units, they are gradually leaving the grid. Cottage industries now spring up around the globe to service these units.

The new power shift begins to rear its ugly head. Land and resources are now the hot commodity. With enough land, a reliable source of water of any quality, and the availability of building resources nearby, a new agrarian lifestyle sprouts up around the globe. Over time, big cities no longer appeal to those who relish a more natural way of life. Concrete and steel, glass and commotion fail to retain their allure. As cities are drained of their prime commodity (people), crime explodes. To battle the vacancies that plague downtowns, cities begin to demolish buildings and return the land to a more bucolic state. This succeeds in quelling the exodus, and those who stay find themselves tasked with maintaining the culture that still throbs at night and still lures country youth in to experience life in the raw.

Year 2
Although the price of oil has dropped to $19.00 a barrel, it is still very much in demand. Thousands of industrial and household products are still made from oil and its unique long chain carbon compounds. The plastics industry has never had it so good. Cheap oil and expanding demand for lightweight, yet durable, materials has allowed the plastics industry to absorb many of the oil industry’s engineers.

New autos, made to run solely on the new energy technology, are selling as soon as they reach the final gate of the assembly line. People camp out at newly erected standby parks waiting for their freshly-minted new energy autos to roll out from the manufacturing plant. Giddily, they slide into their drivers seats; whole families sometimes pile in, all anxious to experience this amazing technology. Silently, they slip onto the roadway, turning to all points of the compass, heading for home.

Congress has admitted that trillion dollar defense spending can no longer be justified. The task of patrolling the nation’s concerns in the name of national security, i.e., the protection of the oil channel, is no longer necessary. Islamic fundamentalism has begun to unravel without the massive cash flow oil was providing to the nations of the Middle East. With no need to maintain military bases in these nations, to protect the US interests, Congress has agreed to cut the military budget by half. The money saved will be redirected toward the expansion of NASA and a newly adopted dedication to putting humans on Mars.

Decade 2
NASA has just launched the first of one thousand scheduled flights of autonomous terraforming mining craft destined to Mars where they will begin to tunnel into the rim of ancient sea beds in preparation for human habitation. Vast quantities of water have been discovered there frozen in underground aquifers. The tunnels will be used as quarters for the colonists, and as storage and agriculture facilities. An elementary school contest is held to name the first city on Mars. Perhaps expected, “Barsoom” is chosen.

Back on earth the carbon dioxide level has dipped for the first time in human history. 415 ppm has recently been measured at the top of Mt. Mauna Loa. Although too early to declare victory, many climate scientists breathe a collective sigh of relief. The high of 440, measured a year before, had begun to trigger the release of methane from the hydrates sequestered in cold Arctic undersea deposits. An abnormally cold winter shut that event down and now, with CO2 abating, the scientists are cautiously optimistic.

In concert with China and the UK, the US has successfully built and installed 37, separate new-energy fabrication plants in the historic OPEC countries. Nigeria, with its location on the coast and its vast mineral capacity, has become the shining star of this effort. The poverty level there has dropped to 17% and their new democracy has just voted to join the African Nations Space Exploration Union.

Both ExChev (originally Exxon and Chevron) and BPetroGas have emerged from bankruptcy and have successfully transitioned to producing carbon nano fiber construction materials. These materials join the many others being shipped to the L2 space station now called The Azimov, where those on space holiday enjoy, among other things, flying in The Cavern, as well as scuba diving in The Cell.

Greenland has declared independent sovereignty and a vibrant mining industry has transformed the edge of that still-ice-covered island into one big boom country.

There continue to be constant tribal and national altercations occurring across the globe. Borders in mountainous areas are repeatedly contested. Rogue mining bandits travel in heavily armored tanks swooping into niche mining towns, stealing everything of value and leaving in their wake burned ruins and shattered lives.

The markets of the world continue to churn away; across the wires and connections netting the globe, trillions of dollars continue to trade daily. Although vast fortunes had been lost during the collapse of the oil economy, fresh new ones were born as individuals, companies and nations learned to harness the free energy for purposes other than the manipulation and control of the populace. All in all, without oil, the world appears to be a better place.

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