Well, actually, power from the people:
I’ve always thought it’d be cool if we had giant turbines powered simply by brawn, sort of like that mill-thingy that made Conan so strong in the first Conan movie. I’m not talking slave labor, but if we could work out the technological kinks we could hire people at minimum wage to push a giant wheel around and around generating electricity much the same way dams do. Teenagers who couldn’t find other work could do it. They’d get in shape, stay out of trouble, and earn a few bucks. Unemployed people would always have at least one fall back job available to them. It would help with health care costs as it would provide ample exercise. There would be no damage to the environment and pretty much the only foot print would be, well, footprints. People who worked nights or in bad weather would be paid a bit extra. PIRG hippy volunteers could do it too, in their spare time. Every human turbine spin is one less gallon of oil pumped from the ground.
Though, as he notes in the preamble graf, he’s not sure about the economics of it. I can assure him that it’s nuts.
But it reminds me of an idea I and some colleagues at Rockwell had back in the eighties about how to get the public more involved in space. Since one can view the space program as the modern-day equivalent of a cathedral, or building pyramids, why not get the masses into the act? Instead of using those big diesel engines on the Crawler at the Cape, why not harness human muscle power? We could have hundreds of people–volunteers–pulling on ropes, hauling the giant vehicle down the causeway. I think that it would be quite symbolic of…something.