Monday, May 30, 2011

Alternative Energy & Narrow Views


According to Walt Patterson at the London-based foreign affairs, questions the government would build nuclear plants when there are so many other source of energy generations. Patterson said, “Why turn the slowest, the most expensive, the narrowest, the inflexible, and riskiest in financial terms.”

As I was reading this article named Nuclear power: Energy Solution or Evil Cur, by James Melik, I realized that throughout the article “cost” was brought up multiple times. This is the topic I would like to discuss in this blog.I wanted to start out by stating that there are multiple types of cost. What do I mean by that? Their all tangible cost such as capital investment of equipment needed for the power plant, operations cost and others that are easily measured by using a financial equation. The second type of cost is an intangible which are not fully taken account for when arguing the benefits of saving money with alternative energy production.  An example, what is the future cost to society or the environment that might need to be taken account for?

We as a society have a narrow view and short -term mentality. Yes, we can maybe we save on cost of production where one kilogram of natural uranium yields about 20,000 times as much times as the same amount of coal, but what is the boarder view on this subject. In supply chain management there’s a term used as total cost of ownership which looks at broader view of costs, this includes many intangible costs. The most productive and less cost solution doesn’t always mean it will be a better option in the overall picture. In this case the overall picture would be society.

I asked to take all aspects of alternative energy board, narrow, short and long term views, and see if it makes sense as a whole. There also needs to be an analysis of all stakeholders involved. Their might be benefits or influences that make a decision maker make a decision for personal gain. We have seen this throughout the world and our nation.

Is society as a whole, currently and in the future fully benefit from the solution? Furthermore, there are plus and minus for any solution, but we as society need to weigh them out and see which solution is best fitted for our reality.

Isai Montes De Oca

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