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NIMBY Land is in search of an abundant energy source with a sustainable, elegant footprint. Let’s hold a ball to find our Energy Cinderella.



This is a proposal to develop a “Cinderella Energy” themed event in which we compare all our energy options.  We bring them together in a “ball” venue to showcase their attributes.  Then we take each option through a rigorous, publicly refereed “footprint test.” The ball is held on a regional basis.  Each regional unit (States, watershed areas) has its own ball. 

The goal is clarity, local connection and holistic overview.  The goal is to help people who are overwhelmed by all the energy numbers flying around to get a clear, definitive picture of the best energy options out there.  The goal is also to engage and activate those who are otherwise apathetic about energy, to compel them to action.  Once all the dust from irrelevant numbers has settled, and you’ve seen the clear, side by side comparison of the different footprints trampling through your own backyard, and you’ve got that shoe sparkling in your hand, you’ll know what is in your best interest.

The event has a strong educational component as well as a strong community decision-making component.  It even has a consumer products dimension (shoes, landscape modeling).  We look forward to your feedback on how to organize this event and the platform to help launch it from.  Fairy God Mothers and sponsors welcome!

What is our stake in the process?  This project is a coalition builder. Fusion won't win the shoe/footprint test any time soon (the day will come!)  In the meantime, we are happy to initiate this process.  It fulfills our commitment to “bring people together” to improve everyone’s quality of life through better energy decision-making. 

Who will have the best footprint today?  My bet is on Nuclear Fission, but the information signal is full of static and vitriol.  So we’re going to systematically start measuring footprints. 

Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change

What actions do you propose?

The Energy Cinderella Project: Let the Contest Begin

The candidates face a two part test. 

Part One is is the invitation to the ball.

Each candidate shows up at the ball in full regalia, all the bells and whistles, all your present and planned innovations.  At this event, candidates share their vision for the future with full optimism.  You make the case for why you are the best mate for the Prince of NIMBY land, and best source for the people.  You make your case for a flat out push for your type of energy.  This can be an actual real world event - help organize it.  A mingling of fashion, pageantry, and energy conference.

Rather than a fancy dress, though, each energy source dresses up a model of NIMBY Land with all the energy construction and infrastructure required to deliver the 1TW of energy.  Everyone gets the same base model of the land to work with, and you make it over to the world that will exist with your type of energy dominant.  To scale.

Part two is the footprint test, rigorous and transparent. 

The units of measure will be the same for all contenders.  In this we are inspired by David MacKay and his book, “Without Hot Air”.  The footprint will be based around supplying one Terrawatt of energy in NIMBY Land.  What is each candidate’s footprint to do that?  There are many layers to this shoe.  Best overall footprint wins.  And the layers are: 

  • Reliability - How many power plants/units/backup power/storage devices will you need to reliably meet that 1TW goal? 
  • Power Plant footprint - How much land used for the power plant?  Show us on the scale model of NIMBY land.
  • Aesthetic Impact - What can I say?  It’s NIMBY Land.  Folks are concerned with appearances.  How does your energy supply strike people visually, once you have the whole thing up and running?  For example, people like the idea of wind, but then they start seeing all the windmills going up, and they get surly.
  • Carbon footprint - CO2 per TW.  See Footprint Network.
  • Water Footprint - Nuclear is a bit of a guzzler, but there are some mitigating developments.  Fracking is contested.  Coal is evil.  Hydro - think of the salmon.  And how safe you feel in the shadow of a dam?  Speaking of which:
  • Fatality Footprint - Deaths per TWH by type of energy - Note that nuclear is less lethal than solar, and both are thousands of times less lethal than oil or coal.  This includes accidents.
  • Cancer Footprint - a detail of the above footprint.  Nuclear accidents are rare, but when they occur, they raise the risk of thyroid cancers.  In contrast, burning fossil fuels ROUTINELY raises the risk for lung cancer.  Which has the bigger footprint?  How much bigger?  And solar, too.  Has some chemicals the workers are exposed to when making the panels.  How do the respective shoes all fit?
  • Volume and Type of Waste - chemical, radioactive, material.  Disposal complexities and impact issues.
  • Mining Footprint - How much land use taken up to mine per TW-Type plus quality of land after?  Any peak mining issues?
  • NIMBY Efficiency Coefficient: How many legal battles over NIMBY per unit of energy?  Per Project No Project, every energy source has battles.  Is there a way to calculate the full range of NIMBY legal woes you face per TWH by energy type?  The implication is, the greater the energy density, the fewer battles you have to wage.
  • Cost - of Mining, Power Plant, Maintenance, Decomissioning, Regulation
  • Insurance and Safety Costs
  • Employment footprint - jobs created/destroyed?  Apparently, some miners love their jobs. 
  • Infrastructure requirements - any advantages?  Disadvantages?  This video was illuminating on the subject.
  • Investment Risk - future price volatility
  • Investment transition - how much have you invested in this and would you gain/lose if chosen/rejected?  Lawsuits and other resistance are a factor.
  • Subsidy correction - how much of an advantage or disadvantage do you have with subsidy.  See Subsidize this.
  • Innovation gains - What improvements are possible in this energy supply, and how would that affect the future footprint?  (Here’s Nuclear Fission.  Need to write one up for fusion)  What is the best future case envisioned?
  • Sustainability - How long can it laast? 
  • What else? 

There are a number of studies that look at one footprint category at a time, or compare things in a skewed manner, obscuring the choices.  The goal here is to do the ultimate, side by side footprint breakdown, to come up with the ultimate footprint algorithm.  We can start by generating footprint infographics for each category.  We can reduce it to ratios.  Take this Death by Type of Energy image as an example:

Now turn it into a footprint infographic.  And a T-shirt.  And continue with the other criteria.  Design the composite shoe infographic for each energy source.

While we’re at it, let’s use all of this information to come up with a Power Source Desirability Index to rank different energy supplies.  We can refine it still further to show the footprint for various power plant types within each energy group.  A NIMBY score, like a KLOUT score.  There are many different types of nuclear power plants, and next generation models are being looked at.  Solar power includes a range of approaches which each have very different footprints.

Winner doesn’t take all.  It’s a mix

This isn’t Highlander, in which “there can only be one.”  Think of this as a broader matchmaking exercise.  The Prince isn’t the only one looking for a wife.  NIMBY land is not uniform terrain.  The dukes and earls of NIMBY Land are also looking for mates and some energy supplies will work better in their part of the kingdom than others. 

The Ball and footprint exercise can also take place in different countries.  Each country can host an energy ball and do the subsequent footprint test to come up with a different mix of energy brides for their land.  For example, Germany is inclined to solar and wind. That’s their preference.  The heart wants what it wants.

Let’s get ready for our balls and find our energy Cinderellas!

Who will take these actions?

Our organization with a coalition of other organizations, extending an invitation to citizens and consumers throughout the region to participate. 

Where will these actions be taken?

Starting in our home state of New Jersey.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time, thought and enthusiasm.  Costumes.  Refreshments. Some money. 


Time line

Related proposals

This project was first proposed on the Fusion Energy League Website.

As you can see, the initial proposal has a bit of a nuclear bias.  This is to counter the stronger anti-nuclear bias out ther. The "Nuclear Pride and Prejudice" to be overcome.

However, the referrees cannot be biased.  The Solutions Project will be invited to the ball, as will any other projects out there.  A big buffet of options, made legible by unbiased referrees, for the citizens and consumers of NIMBY land to pore over, and select their favorites.

Power to the People!  Create your ultimate NIMBY paradise.


Cinderella Energy Project on FEL Website:

Leveraging NIMBY:

David MacKay Book Without Hot Air:

Solutions Project:

Year Zero Inspiration:

Hans Rosling demonstrates Enormity of Energy Problem with Legos:

Jane Austen, Nuclear Pride and Prejudice?