Strongsville resident’s book, ‘Renewable Energy,’ focuses on practical plan for future
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, Sun News By Eric Sandy, Sun News
Driving east out of downtown Cleveland, motorists are sure to notice Lincoln Electric’s towering wind turbine.
For many, the 2.5-megawatt turbine may represent Ohio’s strong foothold on the path toward an energy revolution. For Strongsville resident Brad Linscott, however, the turbine represents yet another step in the wrong direction, in stark opposition to real energy independence.
Linscott, a former longtime employee of NASA, recently published a book titled “Renewable Energy: A Common Sense Energy Plan.” Indeed, with a straightforward approach, Linscott tackles what may be our country’s most pressing issue: How can we achieve a sustainable energy model that will relinquish us from our dependence on foreign oil imports and our penchant for damaging our environment?
Approaching the topic with more than 40 years of experience in aerospace engineering, Linscott has been able to formulate a comprehensive plan for the future. He tackled the project so that readers may “gain insight into the problems that we’re facing and understand more about renewable energy,” he said.
In the book, Linscott points out the objective facts about various sources of renewable energy (wind, solar, biofuels, hydropower and geothermal energy). He also explains why there are better options for the citizens of the U.S. – and for the federal government’s checkbook.
“There are things in the book that I didn’t know about until I started reading about them,” Linscott said. His research for this book became a part-time endeavor over the past three years. During that time, Linscott formulated a five-point energy plan that could feasibly be implemented by government administrations at the federal and state levels. He sent letters to Sen. Sherrod Brown, then-Sen. George Voinovich and Rep. Betty Sutton. Voinovich was the only respondent, writing, “It is critical that we grow more energy independent to increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace and improve our national security.”
Linscott agreed. And the result of his hard work is his first published book.
One of the core understandings that Linscott gets across is that the problem with narrowing the focus to renewable energy, as the federal government has mostly been doing for the most part this past decade, is that there’s still no way to cut ties with foreign oil imports.
“We really need to change our policy,” Linscott said in an interview, getting to the heart of the matter. He said that many federally funded energy programs have been misguided. Taking a reactive approach to the current situation we face — ongoing evidence of climate change, the federal budget deficit and more — the government has staunchly ignored the proactive approach. Linscott highlights what simple measures can be taken to save the fate of the country.
His book serves as both a primer for the uninitiated and as a deep exploration of the economic and scientific data regarding energy in the U.S. Taking decades of experience in the industry, he’s managed to boil down the important facts and figures. It’s in the title: Linscott’s pursuing common sense.
Within his plan, Linscott champions the use of nuclear energy and a conversion to a hydrogen-based fuel economy. It’s all within the realm of possibility, he said, but there are still plenty of obstacles – namely, the political environment in Washington and in statehouses around the country.
Nuclear energy, Linscott concedes, has had a difficult relationship with the public. Disasters such as those at Three Mile Island and the ongoing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan have mostly calcified public opposition to nuclear energy as a legitimate option.
“But we don’t really have much of a choice,” Linscott said. To him, it’s a matter of cost effectiveness and environmental protection – not to mention the underlying theme of energy independence. The long-term costs associated with nuclear energy are considerably lower than any other method of generating electricity (for example, through coal, natural gas, wind or solar power). Furthermore, Linscott noted, outside of the nuclear disasters that dot the technology’s history, these kinds of power plants have a safe record throughout the U.S. and beyond.
An influx of nuclear power plants in the U.S. may also usher in the forthcoming age of hydrogen as our primary fuel source. The U.S. Department of Energy’s “Hydrogen Posture Plan,” calls for fully developed hydrogen-based markets and infrastructure by 2025. In essence, commercial availability of hydrogen as a fuel source is being marketed as an inevitability in the government. But as certain tentative deadlines approach, the process of creating and distributing that hydrogen demands a proactive approach that will keeps costs down and satisfy the imperative of energy independence.
“Together, nuclear energy and hydrogen technology offer the potential to meet our energy security needs,” Linscott wrote in his book. “A transition to a hydrogen economy using nuclear energy offers our most economical energy alternative.” He lays out the science behind that idea in multiple chapters on the subject.
For Linscott, there are many reasons why this exploration of energy is so important. He came to the conclusion that writing an educational book would be the best idea after learning that the surface of this country’s energy research and development, as well as the portrayal of energy initiatives in the mass media, often does not correlate with the truth of the matter. Considering the ever-present significance bestowed on the national economy, it’s a mishmash of dollars and nonsense.
He explained that renewable energy sources, such as the wind energy being created on Cleveland’s east side, only artificially lower the cost of electricity. Federal subsidies and tax credits force most of the costs onto the backs of taxpayers, before electricity even begins flowing. Those tax credits, to which energy companies are flocking en masse, also withhold federal revenue, which further limits the potential spending on nuclear energy and a path toward independence.
The ongoing trend to pump money into a variety of energy plans that ultimately won’t bring about independence is disconcerting to Linscott and plenty of other engineers, scientists and politicians. With his book, he hopes that awareness and education on the subject will flourish.
“Renewable Energy: A Common Sense Energy Plan” is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. It is also available as an audio book through Tate Publishing.
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