Energy Race or Pure Optimism?

Although there has been much talks of increasing the use of green, renewable energy (focusing on wind and solar), its usage and productivity in generating electricity is minuscule (only 3.35%). Just looking at the statistics above of increasing energy usage, it should be clear that we cannot continue to rely on the limited amount of fossil fuel and coal as our primary energy source. We need to transition to cultivate primarily wind and solar energy if we are to continue the increasing energy usage. The question is, how fast?

From both the PlaNYC 2011 Report: Energy and “The Long Slow Rise of Solar and Wind,” they suggest that transition to two types of renewable energy will take a long time, perhaps too long. The other article, “A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030” is much more ambitious, calling for “3.8 million large wind turbines worldwide” and with enough solar panels to cover “0.33 percent of the planet’s land,” (Jacobson, 2009). There are, however, more than enough wind and solar energy to supply the world many times over if we have the equipment to harvest and store it.  Do you think there will be an energy race in the future, where countries scramble for materials to build wind turbines and solar panels? Or are we looking at a society that will slowpoke it?

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3 Responses to Energy Race or Pure Optimism?

  1. Sunny Xu says:

    Although it’s not immediate, I’m sure in a decade or so, we will be using more energy efficient ways to generate energy. Nowadays with programs like PlaNYC, they are finding more ways inform the public and to find alternative ways to harvest and store energy. There already has been many plans to move toward a greener future, such as green buildings, improving regulations to increase sustainability of buildings, provide energy efficiency financing and information, and so on. According to PlaNYC, just within 4 years from 2006 to 2010, energy use decreased almost 60 kBtu/sf. People are slowly aware of the importance of saving energy because they know that eventually we will run out of it one day if we don’t find alternative ways to make and save energy.

  2. Phoebe Lau says:

    I believe once the sense of urgency is great enough, there will be a greater call for action to build wind and solar powered energy sources. In a sense, we are currently working diligently towards renewable energy for the planet.”PlaNYC” states that we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 26% since 2005. While that is promising data, there is still room for improvement. As more people realize the benefits of shifting to renewable energy (as stated in “A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030” only 17 to 20 percent of energy in gasoline moves a vehicle while 75 to 86 percent of electricity in an electric vehicle is used for motion), the greater the demand will be for it and we will not be the society who procrastinates.

  3. Jon Park says:

    I think you pose an excellent question, which has been a great topic for debate in the past few decades. As technology continues to develop, the efficiency of these alternative energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels have increased immensely. In the same way, pollution in New York City is becoming reduced due to innovation. However, innovation comes at a price. With the city being strapped on cash, the ambitious call for large scaled projects don’t seem feasible. So to go back to your original question, I believe that energy will one day become a scarce resource, but the rate at which our world will reach that point will slow down increasingly.

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