I N · T H I S · I S S U E
The Energy Transformation
Struck I am by the explosion of solar and renewable energy news. As Carlos Santana said of his eight "Supernatural" trophies at the 2000 Grammy’s, “Please do not let me wake up from this dream.”
While the energy news of the world is shadowed by nuclear disaster in Japan, there is an abundance of good news on renewable energy of all kinds. I hear of a planned 100 MW photovoltaic plant and am not surprised! Solar is going to scale in America.
This issue of EcoMotion Network News is full of the future, and it is now: Investors such as Google plan to provide transmission “backbones” for offshore renewables; they are new pioneers in the transformation to sustainable systems. What about this new form of eco-housing using shipping containers? A radical and durable and revealing manifestation of global trade.
Then we focus on cap and trade, a regulatory mechanism being used to protect our climate. California regulators are pushing forward; the first carbon reductions will be enforced in the next few years. Europe’s system is mature and working.
The transformation from a fossil to renewable energy economy is underway. Think global: What size footprint is required to fulfill our energy needs? If you were to concentrate all energy production in one area, how much of the country or continent would be devoted to this use?
In Freiburg, Germany, EcoMotion met Dr. Eicke Weber of the Fraunhofer Institute. His postage stamps on each continent of a global map depict the solar footprint required. Ogden and Williams from Princeton took “a New Mexico” to provide all power and solar-hydrogen for fuels. There was a claim that U.S. electricity demand could be achieved through solar production in an area equivalent to all domestic highways and roadways.
This week’s article on algae features a piece of Arizona to supply half the nation’s diesel fuel, and a full Arizona-sized footprint for petroleum production at today’s national usage rate, give or take “a Delaware” or Connecticut that is. An Arizona’s worth of intensive algae production might provide for the country’s entire petroleum thirst.
Through smart community design and advanced transit, we tread more lightly. The footprints are lessened, perhaps cut in half, making the transition to a green economy that much more cost-effective for all.