Perhaps more interesting than the technology itself is the huge public reaction -- the curiosity, the buzz, the hope for that holy grail of energy independence. Nick over at The Triple Pundit nails it on the head:
Despite the legitimate questions above, the cleantech world and the public at large remain captivated by the gee-whiz possibilities of fuel cells and the Jetson’s-like fantasy of limitless, magical power.
Indeed, by giving a company or a home complete control of their electricity generation, in a relatively green way (after all, end users could still supplement the bloom box with wind or solar), there’s a secondary appeal that emerges beyond price – independence. In terms of the general public, I think it’s this “off the grid” mentality that’s really driving enthusiasm, and which played so perfectly into the product’s launch hype. Generating electricity off the grid may ultimately be more efficient, but it’s also potentially safer – think about the east coast black-out a few years back. Especially in the United States, the quest for independence (whether fantasy or real) remains a bigger psychological driver than limiting one’s carbon footprint.
Whether or not Bloom can live up to the hype that’s been built remains to be seen, but even if they don’t, the excitement that’s been generated around fuel cells and even the criticism that’s been levied are proof of the public’s thirst for something new. People are very much ready for new energy technology, for greater efficiency, and for a greater feeling of independence – whether they’re particularly ‘green minded’ or not.
Let's hope the Senate gets this message and passes a bold climate change and clean energy bill that helps give the public the transition to clean energy technologies that we're hungry for. Why should so many countries be so far ahead of us in high speed rail, clean energy policies and vehicle fuel efficiency? Why can't other countries envy America's clean tech leadership in driving the transition to a clean energy economy? It's time for you and me to help the Senate make it happen.
To write your Senator in support of bold climate change and clean energy legislation (and get some free music for doing so), check out HeadCount and NRDC's new Music for Action campaign. I wrote up their climate change information page.