I don’t do a lot of movie reviews, but this was recommended by one of the silver guys I watch, David Morgan.

Here is how you can watch it, for free:

 

Summary: What is it?  It’s a movie by a self-proclaimed tree hugger that essentially says all green energy is a scam and run by banksters and big money and still uses fossil fuels.  Add pictures of greedy capitalists, show some blatant hypocrisy, and flash images of big corporate logos with cheesy emotive music playing in the background.

What it got right?  

  • Solutions imperfect – it shows that in order to get “Green”, you still need a lot of fossil fuels.
  • Funding – it shows how capitalism marched in with the money and makes substantial profits off of things called “green”, which aren’t as green as you might think
  • Substance – it does show how a lot of the renewable energy components are not renewable and needs substantial mining and fossil fuels to replace
  • Lying – it shows how most are duped into how green things are meant to “save the planet”, where they actually do little to do so and in many cases can make things worse.  Gross profiteering by big money misleads people.

Overall, the idea is green energy is not what was promised.

 

What it got wrong?

  • Hydro – zero mention of hydroelectric in the entire movie.  Not one.
  • Biomass – a good portion of the movie was focused on biomass.  Essentially, cutting down trees is renewable, so companies are burning trees to create energy.  While it is renewable, they point out you are still polluting the atmosphere and taking down trees, the lungs of the planet.  Instead of being a take-down of green energy at large, it comes off mostly that “green companies” are just taking down trees and calling it “green”.  So it’s somewhat misleading to attack all green – but then focus on one element of it.
  • It does not go an extra step of analysis to point out how much green solutions may have cut usage of fossil fuels.  It feels disingenuous to call out a solution as completely misleading when you do not mathematically measure the effects of these measures over the last 50 years on such things as air and water pollution, fossil fuel usage, or power consumption reductions
  • It seems to indicate the only solution is to curtail population and energy usage.  It doesn’t realize fossil fuel usage in machineries and factories are what allowed us to produce the food for population growth.  Meaning, the solution is to discourage people from having children, forcing off machinery that can feed millions and kill people through starvation, or implementing government policies to reduce offspring.  There is ZERO effort given towards addressing more usage of hydro, nuclear, or how items like solar panels are increasingly becoming more efficient to use less things like silver (that need to be mined).
  • The movie focuses a lot on centralized power solutions and doesn’t take 5 seconds to discuss something that popped right into my head – decentralized solutions.  California requires new houses to have solar panels.  It stands to reason they can all have some form of battery packs as well, similar to Tesla solar roofs/batteries.  For argument’s sake, if all new homes over the next 50 years everywhere had some form of solar and battery solution, you’d pull less from a centralized grid.  Homes would have battery packs that get more robust and efficient over time, and can store more energy.
  • It focused a lot on the evil rich men who profit from this, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that capitalism drives a lot of this.  Over time, products can be better.  But if you have a billion dollars and you want to get to a “perfect” solution 20 years from now, you have to start with solutions that may be imperfect now, profitable, and then use profits for research and development to make improvements.
  • It did mention how biofuels and the like would not be profitable, if not for subsidies.  True.  But the miss here is this is the first generation of solutions.  Trees for bio fuel may not be ideal now, nor is taking seaweed from the ocean.  However, I did recall seeing something years ago where they were creating seaweed farms to then harvest the biofuel that way.

Overall, it seems the documentary wants to throw the baby out with the bath water and go full hypocrite on Gore.  I’m not sure it’s entirely fair.  Yes, there is some hypocrisy in this, no doubt.  But it leads people to believe that these entrepreneurs are thus evil and sell outs rather than the first of their kind – I see them as energy entrepreneurs who demonstrated a problem and a profitable capitalist solution to the problem.  Is the solution perfect?  NO.

I would encourage others to also understand that nuclear is also a clean fuel that runs 24/7.

Believe it or not, I feel Musk might end up 300 years from now being thought of as a Tesla, Newton, Einstein, etc.  Not in that he has a 200 IQ, but I believe Musk’s largest contribution to society will be this.

Energy storage.

Where most of you see a Tesla, I see a car with the promise to go 300+ miles on a single charge, and one that has promise to get to 600 miles on a charge.

I need you to understand this.  The problem with power generation we have today is that storage is nearly impossible, and is made on-demand.

Musk is doing things with battery research that IS the BEST imperfect solution to our energy crisis.  The downside is the materials need to be mined.

But I want you to step back and look at our world problem from a 50,000 ft view.

Renewable energy is plentiful, but it cannot be stored for later usage. 

Enter Musk’s batteries, and 10-50 more years of research based on his work.  How will this look?

  • All homes, businesses, etc in the country inside of 20-30 years will all have solar panels.
  • All of these homes will also have power storage for days or weeks in batteries that sit outside their houses.
  • Home batteries will all be part of a “smart grid”.
  • Power companies like hydro and nuclear will generate power and store in giant battery depots.  If it is a rainy day or week, your house’s battery should be able to backfill your energy needs.  As you take from your battery, the central stations’ batteries backfill your battery needs.  If your battery is full and you are generating power from solar that is excess, your house can send power back to the central stations.

Meaning – de-centralization and single home energy storage solutions could be the next 100 years’ “green moment”.

So – the documentary wants to spend a lot of time talking about chopping down trees, but misses on what the next big thing that could replace that be in generation 2 or 3 of a “green” solution.

While electric cars today need to store power in them generated by gas (and not coal, mostly), it’s not a perfect solution, but a consumer-based solution that can then feed the rest of the solution.

How?

  • Profitable e-cars can make driving fun and make you “feel good” about creating zero emissions.  No smoke from your cars.
  • Houses get batteries and Tesla roofs to charge cars
  • Batteries get better and can start powering your home
  • Batteries and solar get more efficient and your home is mostly self-sustaining with solar and batteries.  Your car and home no longer need power from natural gas
  • Hydro and nuclear are 24×7 reliable solutions that can produce massive amounts of energy to be stored in local and regional battery warehouses.  Homes and businesses can draw power from local warehouses, when their batteries go down, and can help charge local/regional warehouses when not in use.

Fossil fuels – could we ever be done with them 100%?  Probably not.  But what we are doing, I believe, is significantly reducing their usage through a capitalist solution that is not perfect, but better than 40 years ago.