Clean energy will continue to grow despite the utter ignorance and abject corruption of the newly elected American administration. However, we cannot avoid the realization that those interested in creating a sustainable future are in for a very difficult four years.
America has voted for a climate denying, racist and misogynist who has promised to gut regulations designed to protect the environment and ramp-up production of fossil fuels. The Trump administration is a kakistocracy that is far worse than most people realize. It is no exageration to say that the incoming administration will augur death on a planetary scale.
Many people are feeling justifiably terrified and hopeless. The situation is undeniably grim. Nonetheless sustainability efforts will continue led by clean energy. Trump will be a horror-show, but actions at the state and municipal levels will continue. As will corporate sustainability efforts and investments in cleantech.
Energy is a key part of a sustainable future and there are a wide range of innovative clean energy solutions on the horizon. This is particularly true of solar. However there are also some interesting innovations in wind power as well. One of these innovations is being developed by Vortex Bladeless. This Spanish innovation may be the wind power source of the future.
Rather use a blade to turn turbines the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. This type of turbine has a number of advantages over traditional wind turbines. There are no gears, bolts, or mechanically moving parts, which will make the Vortex cheaper to manufacture and maintain.
While each turbine captures about one third less wind energy than traditional turbines, the vortex wind systems can be far more dense than traditional wind fields.
One of the most important trends for the future of clean energy involves the rapildly falling costs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the domain of solar power.
According to a study from researchers at MIT, “Solar electricity generation is one of the few
low-carbon energy technologies with the potential to grow to very large
scale.” The 350-page The Future of Solar Energy report and othere publications suggests that a “massive expansion of solar
generation worldwide by midcentury is likely a necessary component of
any serious strategy to mitigate climate change.”
As installed capacity has grown prices have declined.
Here is a video about the declining cost of solar from Singularity University:
The report suggests that, “federal R&D
support should focus on fundamental research into novel technologies
that hold promise for reducing both module and BOS costs…Federal
PV R&D should focus on efficient, environmentally benign
thin-film technologies that use Earth-abundant materials.”
Federal concentrated solar power
(CSP) or solar thermal generation R&D efforts should “focus on new materials and system
designs and should establish a program to test these in pilot-scale
facilities.” Storage solutions partner very well with solar energy. Energy storage, which has seen tremendous cost reductions as well, should also be part of the R&D effort. The report warns
that drastic cuts in federal support for solar technology deployment
would be unwise.
For more information on the future of solar energy click here to access research from MIT.
There are a number of different futuristic energy concepts some of which can be expected to power our future. Here is a review of some of these
The Growth of Renewable Energy in 2015 and Beyond
The State of Renewable Energy: Summary of the Key Findings in the REN21 GSR 2016 Report
Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy and Efficiency
Graphics – Renewable Energy: Economic Benefits and Scaling
Infographic – The Cost of Renewable Energy
Solar Innovations are Revolutionizing Energy
Solar is Now the Cheapest Form of Electricity on Earth
Solar is Destined to Defeat Fossil Fuels
The Rapid Growth of On-Site Solar Energy in the US
Solar’s Prodigious Growth in the US
Solar Power’s Prodigious Global Growth
Our Future can be Powered by Solar Energy (Infographic)