If there is to be enough energy in the future, we must change our thinking on energy supply! Governments will probably not provide the answer.
We need to put aside our linear thinking and start thinking exponentially; so what do linear and exponential thinking mean?
If I walk outside my home and take a step of 1 metre each day, at the end of the month I will have travelled – that’s right – 31 metres. That is linear thinking.
If I walk outside my home and take a step on day 1, 2 on day 2, 4 or day 3 and so on – how many steps will I have taken after a month? It may surprise you to know that I will have travelled around the world and back 26 times! That is exponential thinking!
Some further thoughts:
5,000 times as much energy as we need at any one time hits the earth as solar energy (every moment of every day).
If 1% of our power comes from solar at present and growth continues at its current rate of 30% per annum then we will provide 100% within 18 years. Within 28 years that becomes 1500% of global energy needs.
Then there is storage. Not only are lithium-ion batteries coming on leaps and bounds in effectiveness, there are also new technologies that use sodium and water and a liquid metal battery which relies on heat to keep different metals liquid and exchange power between them!
So the vision long term is to provide abundant energy, store it and use it intelligently via a smart grid, energy efficient and smart controls.
Solar is expected to reach grid parity in the UK by around 2020 in the UK – much sooner in other parts of the world (equating to around £1/Wp installed = 6pkWh)
And that is just solar – not to mention wind, energy from algae, nuclear……….
In effect, we want to create an “internet” of energy supply – where energy is abundant, cheap and democratically available.
So it is down to the big thinkers to make this happen – let’s hope we can all make it work!
Eco2 Solar Ltd, Worcestershire, England