A revolution is sweeping the world. It is one that sees mindsets changing. More and more consumers are becoming aware that the way that fossil fuels are being used is doing untold damage to the environment. These are energy sources that humanity must move away from. At the same time technology related to renewable energy is developing at breakneck speed. So fast in fact that it may be difficult to grasp the trends in this type of energy that will be shaping our world in years to come. However, here are some developments that are worth noting.
The first trend is that renewable energy is continuing to capture the minds of not only consumers – but of governments as well. In fact if current trends continue it is entirely possible that the U.S. alone will be producing around 80% of its energy through the use of renewable technology by 2050. This may seem like a long wait for renewable to supply that large a percentage. However, if technology continues to be refined that goal is well within grasp. Although global warming may be ignored by certain governments it has become abundantly clear that renewable are an important part of limiting the effects of Greenhouse Gases on the planet – and that is one of the factors that is increasing its attractiveness.
Wind Power is swiftly becoming the energy generation technology of choice. The advances in this technology mean that it is now more efficient than ever before. China is currently the leader when it comes to power generation of this type. however, consumers in other developed nations can expect a more intensive roll-out of wind generation installations. The U’S. is second on the list of countries turning towards wind power, with Germany third and Spain in fourth place. The geographical spread of wind generation plants should give an idea of how this technology is spreading – and innovation is the name of the game. Discussions about the use of drones, for instance, to harness the power of the wind make it an extremely exciting technology.
One of the most exciting potential developments is in harnessing the power of tides and waves in order to generate energy. It is now a simple cost issue. Scientists have grasped the theory of tidal power generation – but further study is required in order to balance cost with benefit. We are not there yet – but it holds enormous promise. Countries such as Canada, France and the United Kingdom have already installed tidal power generation plants – these initial installations are providing valuable input that will allow the technology to be perfected.
Solar power has long been a mainstay of renewable energy generation – but there is still much more that can be done to more efficiently harness the power of the sun. A new mineral coating known as a ‘perovskite layer‘ holds enormous promise in boosting the efficiency of solar panels.
Other technologies such as utilizing biomass (sometimes from waste) are now becoming more widespread – especially in those areas where energy infrastructure may not reach the standards that those in the developed world enjoy. By burning waste, energy can become much more freely available. Even gas generated by cattle can be harnessed – as is happening in South Africa where an automobile manufacturing plant now powers up to a third of production thanks to the gases generated at a nearby farm.
The future of renewable energy is looking bright. We have the theory – and to a large extent the technology. The challenge is now to increase the effectiveness of the technology so that the cost-benefit analysis makes renewable even more acceptable.