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Energy Is Money and Energy Is Changing

But there is a threat to this stability. What if there were another source of potential energy?

That's renewable energy.

Whenever I make this argument at Seeking Alpha, I get lots of pushback from the oil bulls. They insist that renewables are subsidized (not as much as oil), that renewables are too expensive (they're getting cheaper) and that you can't store renewable energy.

On the last, they're right.

Battery technology has not kept pace with the growth of renewable supplies. In Hawaii, utilities want to end "net metering," in which they buy the excess power of solar panel owners, because they can't store it efficiently.

This problem is now spreading to California and will become a nationwide concern within five years when the cost per watt of producing energy from solar panels falls below 50 cents -- a new generation of panel makers are now saying they can meet that figure by 2015.

Of course, if you could store excess electricity in a battery at home, you could use that to run your Chevy Volt. If you could turn it into hydrogen, breaking the chemical bonds of water and turning it into gas, you could then use the hydrogen in a fuel cell. You might even go further, turning hydrogen into ammonia, NH3, which is a more stable liquid. Then use the ammonia in a fuel cell, as a Danish company called Amminex proposes.

The point is, renewable energy is about to turn into real money. This frightens the owners of oil and gas reserves, a lot, and they're doing everything they can, within and without the political system, to forestall it, as The New York Times detailed last week.

When renewable energy becomes money, when we can store it and it costs less to produce than oil and gas, the remaining store of oil and gas is going to become worth less. It's going to decline in value. That's the next major revolution in the history of money, and it's not nearly as far away as you think.

The sun shines, the wind blows, the tides roll and we live on a molten rock. Hawaii is our future. Aloha.

At the time of publication, the author had no financial interest in any company mentioned here.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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