Here’s a summary of Kristina Ross’s summary (Big Think, March 24) of where we are going with sustainable energy. “Our top scientists and field leaders seem to think: Solar Power will prevail.” The (“notably conservative”) International Energy Agency says “solar power could very well be responsible for over a third of our energy supply by the year 2060.” Ross continues,
If they’re predicting over a third, who’s to say we can’t reach a half, or even two thirds in solar contribution? Europe could spearhead the charge…. The European Renewable Energy Council has predicted an entirely renewable energy supply for European Union residents by the year 2050 (or earlier)…. The world will run on 100% sustainable energy by 2050. Or 95% or 80%. It depends on who you ask. The point is, we’re going to be a heck of a lot closer to complete sustainability than we are now. And that’s something worth celebrating.
Ross ends with a rallying cry to all of us.
What all these reports of augmented renewables have in common is their reliance on a smarter, more earth conscious society. If we’re going to get anywhere in the next half century, it has to be through our own doing. From the scientists at the tippy top of the production line all the way down to the consumers, it’s our privilege to be stewards for renewable energy.
I look outside at my modest array of solar panels. They were affordable, and they supply most—say 80%--of the electricity I use at home. The other day a friend told me we’ll soon have paper-thin solar collectors, which would mean they could be all over my roof as well, and I and anyone else could produce several times the electricity we use. Hearsay it may be, but the paper-thin thing is an exciting possibility.
I’m presently watching a heartrending documentary on the children of Fukushima, lives devastated by the nuclear power plant accident. (Children of the Tsunami, BBC, on YouTube). There is also the matter of climate change, which is taking all of us toward devastation. In these contexts, the vision of a solar future makes my heart sing.--Julian