Most of the discussion surrounding Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat has focused on the scientific aspects, and the future commercialization of the technology. Sooner or later, however, if this device is indeed a new and improved source of energy it will make its entrance into the political realm.
It’s interesting that the E-Cat will be launched in the Autumn of 2011 — just as the United States 2012 campaign season begins to get into full swing. One of the biggest campaign issues in this election cycle is going to be energy policy. American voters are focusing on the economics of energy policy in a big way, with gasoline (and other fuel) prices close to record levels at a time when money is tight, unemployment is high, and the future is very uncertain.
What is a politician to do when faced with a working E-Cat that can produce clean, plentiful energy very cheaply?
If a candidate is trying to get as many votes as possible he or she will want to know what public opinion is on an issue before they take a firm position. It is highly likely that if the E-Cat works as advertised it will be something that most voters will want, and want quickly. When winter hits, people start getting worried about their fuel bills. If a technology comes along that promises to provide heat at at least one fourth of current heating costs, who is not going to want that?
And if there is a groundswell of support among the general public for E-Cat technology we are likely to see candidates embrace it also. I doubt that any serious candidate would take a “ban the E-Cat” position if it can be proven by Rossi and his associates to be safe. It may actually come to a point where in order to gain support, candidates might actually try and show that they are MORE supportive of the E-Cat than their opponents, and we might start seeing creative and ambitious proposals put forward to bring about a rapid adoption of this technology.
When it boils down to it, energy issues are at the heart of most economic, and many political problems. If cheap, clean and plentiful energy were available people would have much less anxiety about how they were going to pay their bills, business costs would decrease, goods would be cheaper, economic growth would be boosted, etc.
In one way it would be a politician’s dream come true — a candidate could make grand promises about a new and bright future, and people might actually believe them.
On the other hand there might be some nightmare-like aspects to a technology like the E-Cat. There will likely be some segments of the population who will be adversely affected by a much better energy technology. People who work in the fossil fuel sector could very well see their businesses negatively impacted. If oil prices drop in the face of a competitive new power source, some boom towns may go bust. If power plants transition to using E-Cats for power rather than coal, we might see the mining industry suffer badly. And what would happen to the alternative energy sector. Wind and solar projects could end up being abandoned.
So it is going to be very interesting to look at how political campaigns and government policies might be affected if there is a successful launch of the E-Cat later this year.
Do you have any ideas about energy policy proposals that would make sense if the E-Cat takes off? If you do, feel free to add a comment below.
And it might be time to start letting our elected representatives and political candidates know about the E-Cat story — they may need to start thinking about how they are going to deal with what could be a very important reality later this year.