The Millennial Project 2.0

The Open Energy Project would be a special area of the Open Source Everything Project that focuses on the technologies of renewable and independent energy. This would include such devices as photovoltaic and solar-dynamic systems, wind and water turbines, compact turbogenerators, marine energy systems, biofuel systems, fuel cells, and the complimentary power storage and distribution systems for them such as thermal storage, batteries, compressed air storage, water storage, redox systems, hydrolizer systems, and the like.

Renewable energy technology has long been the focus of a community of grass-roots tinkerers and entrepreneurial engineers and inventors and, in the face of a corporate energy hegemony long resistant to it, they have done much to advance the technology and the cause of sustainability. Thanks to such effort, renewable energy is today finally breaking into the mainstream. But as it has slowly achieved this long-sought status, it has had to accommodate the paradigms of old fashioned industrialization. As these technologies have been turned into ‘products’ they have lost much of the progressive egalitarian spirit that initially drove their development. The logic of the Industrial Age and venture capitalism have begun to take over their development, which, near-term, may be helpful in getting this into the mainstream but, long-term, is also a dead-end in the context of the Post-Industrial future.

Today we confront a potential revolution in energy very much akin to that of the Personal Computer revolution. Centralized energy infrastructures are an increasingly impractical anachronism –especially in the face of a society where a billion people will soon be in Global Warming compelled migration and where increasingly severe weather tests the reliability of old fashioned energy infrastructures. The future picture of energy is one of ever-increasing diversity and decentralization down to the personal scale –a picture very much akin to that of future government and politics. (logical, since today energy, economy, and politics are so intimately connected) The notion of energy systems as an end-user product now competes with the older notion of electric power and fuel as the only energy products. In the near future the household or community and their independent energy systems will increasingly become a direct competitor to the giant regional power plant and distant oil and gas industries.

To aid this critical evolution, it makes sense for the Open Source Everything Project to include a special area dedicated to energy systems so as to insure that development of key elements of alternative energy technology does not become impeded by old industrial hegemonies as has traditionally been the case. This is particularly important for technologies like photovoltaics where very sophisticated fabrication methods currently impede the realization of cost-effective production at modest scales and so it becomes necessary to encourage design that can ‘elementize’ and ‘commoditize’ such high-tech components and insure strong competition in their production and development.

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