An Abundance of Energy

I’m going to start linking my posts to Facebook from now on — not sure yet about the rest of the social mob! (I’ve been keeping this blog under wraps as I try to figure out where it’s going as well as get it into decent enough shape, so apologies to those of you who didn’t know about it!) I will also be donating $5 to every non-profit I highlight in my posts the day I post, and linking to the Causes app in Facebook. (I anticipate that some of them will be featured multiple times so this will be ongoing.) Please feel free to join in if you want and not if you don’t! This is just one way I thought I might make a tiny bit of a dent in moving our planet closer to 100%!

Sometimes I wonder if in all of our panic to avert global warming by coming up with alternative energy sources, that we haven’t inadvertently invented so much that we will actually have an over-supply of energy in the not-too-distant future.

I know it sounds crazy but: solar energy farms are popping up in deserts from north Africa to the Mojave to the Atacama high desert in Chile; wind power is going gangbusters in the U.K. (especially Scotland which is currently getting 35% of its electricity needs through alternatives including wind), in Texas, and in China; hydro-power is also on the upswing with lots of new dams planned, albeit with quite a bit of controversy surrounding them — Chile wants to build a huge dam across some of its rivers; China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan are all arguing about how to manage both the water and energy resources of the great rivers that wind down from the massive mountain ranges in Central Asia; and in Africa, a proposal for a huge dam in Ethiopia is on the agenda (which will also affect neighboring Kenya); and methane, biofuels, biomass plants, wave and tidal energy, geothermal, all are moving forward.

And all of this isn’t even taking into account the constantly accelerating pace of technological development in energy science. Batteries (able to store wind energy) are becoming likelier by the minute; harnessing the simple difference of electric potential between seawater and freshwater may soon become a reality; and there are too many others to put them all down here. Beyond all that, many energy efficiencies are being implemented (particularly in lighting, where there are huge amounts of waste to that are being rapidly eliminated with new LED bulbs.)

Alternative energy is also swiftly becoming an integral part of development in rural areas of the world, leap-frogging older power technologies altogether in some cases. Some examples of this include The Hunger Project‘s epicenter programs in Africa: in Senegal at the Namarei epicenter where solar panels are providing power for patient care; in Mozambique at the Zuza epicenter to pump water and provide light; and at Iganga Epicenter in Uganda (in partnership with AHEAD).

Yes, we will probably still need oil, gas, and nuclear for a while. But I am not really sure any more how much longer that will be the case!

Thanks for stopping by,

Heather McC

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2 responses to “An Abundance of Energy

  1. Fantastic TED video that I stumbled on right after writing this! http://www.ted.com/talks/amory_lovins_a_50_year_plan_for_energy.html
    Lovins gives a terrific, informed and detailed presentation of where we’re going energy consumption and type-wise. I was particularly interested to see that, in some models, we have already passed “peak oil” as well as some of the gains in efficiency that are coming. Wow.

  2. Heather, As you say in your World at 100 recent May blog, there is much controversy about the dams. I think that I told you about the Balbina dam in Brazil which covered so many thousands of acres because it was so flat that it diminished the very purpose of the project which was to provide electricity. Many of the areas to which electricity was supposed to go were under water! From my point of view, the way to go is solar and wind. There are many more homes even here in this area that now have solar panels either on the roof or in at least two cases adjacent to the house right in the field. It is much less expensive so better returns. Love you, Mom

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