The Federal Government and private corporations tend to fund large technologies and to overlook small technologies that cost relatively small amounts of start up costs and yet can make significant changes in our quality of life. One example is planting gardens on the roof of apartment and commercial buildings. This innovation can save thousands of dollars in energy costs with a small outlay of renovation costs. Another example is the use of rail systems which are rarely used, but can be used for public transportation in both metropolitan and rural areas. For example, in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area and the Willamete Valley, we have short rail lines which are already in place, and can readily be used with the installation of new platforms for passengers to step onto the train. We have one line which runs from downtown Portland to Wilsonville. This provides cheap transportation and saves commuters time and money which would otherwise be used sitting in traffic on the freeway. This train is composed of an engine car with passenger seats and one other passenger car. We do have a light rail system which has been rebuilt after it was abandoned during the 1950’s. It works well but has problems in the winter time when the overhead lines freeze with coats of ice and the railcar stalls. We could easily connect the coastal regions of Oregon using the existing short rail lines. Our own small community of Sherwood has a little used rail line which could also be used with a similar passenger rail car. At one time there were small passenger rail cars linking communities together all over Oregon so we would only reintroducing an old idea at a small cost.
In the area of power generation, the windmill farms are providing more energy than we can utilize because our power grid is not capable of transmitting all the available power being produced. Having traveled all over the western states in motor homes for several years, I know from personal experience that we have an abundance of wind energy that has not yet been utilized. Many times I have fought the wind in trying to keep the motor home on the road because it acts as a large sail. Large trucks have the same problem, particularly those with smooth sides. We are currently subsidizing oil companies for drilling for oil while ignoring the power grid and the storing of mechanical energy from the windmills until it can be converted back into electrical energy. One way to overcome this problem is to place fiber flywheels next to hydroelectric dams and windmill farms. These fiber flywheels already exist and can be spun up to 60,000 revolutions per minute or more and allow the storage electrical energy as mechanical energy until it is needed as electrical energy. The fiber flywheels run in a evacuated chamber and now have magnetic bearings so that their usable life is greatly extended. The fiber flywheels can also be used in automobile, trucks and locomotives. They can be used to capture energy in braking, or they can be charged through the electrical grid and used in automobiles in place of lithium batteries which contribute to pollution when discarded. The gyroscopic effects of using fiber flywheels in cars has been overcome, so there is no excuse for ignoring their use in cars along with electrical storage.