The energy turnaround
The energy revolution has already begun in Germany, but unfortunately it’s running out of steam. The government isn’t really supporting today’s energy concept and the companies don’t get enough incentives to invest high amounts in new infrastructure. On the one hand the German government decided to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and on the other hand it cut the subsidies for renewable energy. The political indecision is far away from a strategic energy concept for the future and jeopardizes the energy supply of the country. The politicians haven’t obviously drawn a lesson from the nuclear catastrophes in Ukraine (Chernobyl 1986) and Japan (Fukushima 2011). If the government doesn’t fully support the energy turnaround, than one day the lights will go out in Germany. (To the delight of candle producers)!
Progress or no progress, taxpayers continue footing the bill.
What is the energy turnaround?
The change from fossil or nuclear energy sources to a sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies. That is easier said than done! We have already the technology to produce ‘clean’ energy. However we need new infrastructure all over the country (and Europe). That means additional transmission lines are needed to get the energy to where it is needed most. This is the biggest challenge and the most expensive part of this concept. Most of the countries are reluctant in that case because they don’t or can’t afford an energy turnaround. The longer the authorities don’t give a clear message to the public the less the industry will invest in renewable energy and its infrastructure.
There are great developments in the field of renewable energy and its technology. Nowadays there are organizations which try to accelerate the development of the energy turnaround.
Within 6 hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year.
The DESERTEC Foundation is a global civil society initiative which invests in renewable energy
concept for the future. It’s a non-profit foundation that grew out of a network of scientists, politicians and economists from around the Mediterranean, who together developed the DESERTEC Concept. Founding members of DESERTEC Foundation are the German Association of the Club of Rome, members of the international network and private individuals.
Desertec has some ongoing projects all around the world. All projects include the solar technology.
Project Ivanpah in California: It’s a BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal system. It is the first project that will deliver power to serve some companies. Investors are NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource. Ivanpah project is currently the largest solar plant under construction in the world.
How does it work? A 392 megawatt gross solar complex uses mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers. More than 140,000 homes will get enough energy.
Project Coalinga in California: This is the world’s largest solar thermal enhanced oil recovery demonstration facility. The 29 megawatts thermal solar-to-steam facility will support enhanced oil recovery efforts at Chevron’s oil field in Coalinga, California. The solar facility demonstrates solar thermal technology’s ability to cleanly and cost-effectively support enhanced oil recovery efforts in California and around the world.
These projects are only some of Desertec’s actions on this field.
It is known that we can’t ensure our energy supply on the base of only solar technology. Solar energy is only useful when the sun is shining. During the night you have to use the stored energy which can be limited. Therefore we’ve to invest in every kind of renewable energy like wind power, biomass, solar, hydro, geothermal etc. The connection of all possible energy sources to one network will ensure the supply and this grid will reduce our dependence of fossil energy and nuclear power. Nevertheless we are walking on a rocky road. For example: When you build solar facilities in north- African countries than you have to consider the political instability in those countries. Moreover wars, revolutions, corruptions, bad infrastructures, shortness of supplies are only some obstacles.
But that’s for sure, fossil energy is limited. Therefore we need an elaborate energy concept for the future which is mandatory for all countries in the world. Finally the reduction of carbon dioxide will relieve our environment and the coming generations will be grateful to us.