Will Oil Companies Block Alternative Energy?

Yesterday I read an article over at the TimesOnline from the UK, which described why Intel and Microsoft attacked the OLPC [One Laptop Per Child] project. I have written several articles about how Intel and Microsoft tried to circumvent this worthy project and basically have limited the ability of the project to function as it originally was intended. OLPC had hopes of a $100 laptop to be distributed through out the poor of the world. OLPC projected that tems of millions of units would be sold, but in reality that number has dwindled to around 500k.

The problems first began for OLPC when they decided to use Linux for their OS and AMD as their processor. Microsoft and Intel saw the little laptop as a competitor and immediately started to bad mouth the project. Intel went so far as to come out with their own project laptop and Microsft slimmed down XP to run on the little crank operated systems. But what was most notable about what Microsoft and Intel did, was that they could care less about the children of the world. They only cared about their bottom line.

Which made me stop and think about the oil companies and how they will react to alternative fuels. Lets face it. Alternative fuels are a real threat to the oil industry. Ever since the energy crisis of the 70’s and 80’s, the oil companies have done a fairly good job in hiding how defendant we had become on foreign oil. Along with the car companies, who kept telling congress that Americans didn’t want small cars, the oil industry had been one of the biggest contributors to the policticians that run our nation.

So now with energy prices climbing to record highs, and the public demand for alternative sources of fuel, what will the oil companies do?  I guess they will just roll over and play dead. :-) You know that are going to go on a campaign of misinformation as to why any alternative fuel will be bad for the country. I am sure they will continue to give money to those politicians who support their campaign and who may slow down the process of developing new power sources.

What do you think? Will we be able to wean ourselves off of oil, or will the oil companies try to hinder the process?

Comments welcome.

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I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Neal Babcock

    I have a friend who works for Chevron, and the bulk of his work recently has involved alternative energy sources. Chevron is fully aware, for example, of the drastic differences between corn-based ethanol and cellulose-based ethanol.

    That’s not to say that they and the other oil conglomerates won’t be resistant to new alternative energy companies taking some of their business, but they seem to be aware that they can’t survive forever on just oil.

    I’ve often questioned the cotton industry’s resistance to legal hemp growing in the US, as they could simply start growing it themselves and retain most of their business while gaining new business in hemp seeds, hemp oil, etc. The oil industry should have that mentality as well with regards to wind, solar, geothermal, cellulose-based ethanol, etc.

  • Leo Yale

    They’ll at least slow the progress down until they can control it and get the price where they want it. They can’t be trusted.

  • Urban Underbrink

    I believe that the only competition to oil is Nuclear Power. I dare anyone to prove otherwise, and please use facts. I also believe that Electric Power is best for the Future and the sooner the better!

  • HarryH

    Competition will open the marketplace, regardless of oil companies. Oil companies are valued based on their reserves and those have been steadily shrinking. Obviously, those companies must continue to explore for more reserves, but they also must develop alternatives or face elimination.

    I doubt a conspiracy from the oil firms would be effective. But there remains a need for research into solar improvements. Solar has been steadily researched since the late 60’s and there has been incremental progress. Someone will find more efficient technologies – most likely not someone from a big company.

    As a nation we simply must stop acting foolishly about alternatives particularly about nuclear fuels. And we must expand our use of solar energy in our homes in terms of active and passive uses; all new homes should be equipped to capture solar energy. How can oil companies stop that progress?

  • http://robertglenfogarty.com/ Robert Glen Fogarty

    Darn it. Now I’m hooked! Thanks a bunch!

  • Iwontgiveyoumyaddress

    3 years later, $150 for a barrel and still not much really changed…