Adapted from a post published on this site on May 20th.
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 be discussed in the political realm.
We’ve now seen a spate of articles from well known media sources introducing Andrea Rossi’s energy catalyzer to the public, and it’s interesting that this is happening 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 energy policy. Already a number of candidates have put out plans to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. On the Republican side, candidates seem to see more domestic production of oil and gas as being necessary, while Democratic candidates seem to be pushing for more investment in green technologies.
What will politicians do when faced with the prospect of working cold fusion E-Cat technology that can produce clean, plentiful energy very cheaply?
Candidates will probably want to know what public opinion is on the issue before they take a firm position. It is highly likely that if E-Cat technology becomes understood and accepted by the voting public, it will be something that most voters will want, and want quickly. Winter is almost here and this is the time that people start worrying about their fuel bills. We just had a massive early snowstorm in the North East which has cut off power to millions of homes. Who would not want home based energy production in such circumstances?
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 will run on a “ban the E-Cat” platform if it can be shown 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.
One of the big battles Rossi is going to have to fight is to get regulatory approval for home-based E-Cat units. The main reason that he says he thinks it will take up to two years to see small units on the market is because it will be necessary to get authorization from governmental bodies to allow thier use in domestic settings.
What if a candidate became a champion of the E-Cat and promised to push for quick testing and approval so the technology could be deployed as rapidly as possible? An energy hungry and financially strapped electorate which was conviced of the validity of the E-Cat could be very supportive of such a policy.
When it boils down to it, energy issues are at the heart of many economic and 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 for politicians. 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.