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Ozzie Zehner: Solar Cells and Other Fairy Tales
Published on May 22, 2012
This event was held at the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The seductive tales of wind turbines, solar cells, and biofuels foster the impression that with a few technical upgrades, we might just sustain our current energy trajectories without consequence. Media and political coverage lull us into dreams of a clean energy future juxtaposed against a tumultuous past characterized by evil oil companies and the associated energy woes they propagated. Like most fairy tales, this productivist parable contains a tiny bit of truth. And a whole lot of fantasy.
This talk does not expose a scandal or cover-up in the traditional sense, but rather explores a particular alignment of interests and priorities that presents equally provocative questions to the environmental community. Solar cells shine brightly within the idealism of textbooks and the glossy pages of environmental magazines, but real-world experiences reveal a scattered collection of side effects and limitations that rarely mature into attractive realities.”