Electricity For The Future: What You Need To Know
If you’ve been a fan of science fiction for years, you’re probably wondering where our free fusion energy is. Whether it was fusion generators powering cars from trash or converting helium or hydrogen from space mining into free energy, we expected to have something far different producing power by now. Instead, we remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels. But power sources are changing. Just maybe not how you expected. Here’s what you need to know about electricity for the future.
More Renewables & Different Hydrocarbon Sources
We can’t yet power a car from solar panels on the roof, but many of our homes have solar panels providing at least part of the power we need. The best solar power producers are “farms” where they take advantage of scaled up operations to bring the cost of solar power down. The same goes for wind turbines dotting a large expanse of land rather than a lonely wind turbine on a rancher’s roof. In terms of other renewable sources, wave power is currently deemed inefficient, but the flying kite wind turbines seen in the movie “Big Hero 6” are actually in beta testing. But for now, wind and solar are the main renewable power sources connected to the grid, barring the lucky places where hydroelectric power is an affordable option.
Hydrocarbon power is also becoming more eco-friendly in its own way. For example, we aren’t importing as much oil for power. That mostly goes into cars. Nor are we burning as much dirty coal. Instead, we’re burning more eco-friendly natural gas. Another shift has been the collection of methane gas generated by decaying trash. Instead of being released into the atmosphere, a growing number of trash dumps are collecting it and channeling it to be burned like natural gas.
The Cost-Competitive Renewable Plans
The price of solar power has been coming down rapidly. It now approaches the cost of coal and natural gas power, even more so when government subsidies are factored in. You can now run an energy comparison with iSelect, and choose between renewable energy providers and conventional ones, weighing up the benefits.
The Evolving Energy Grid
One of the factors driving the internet of things is the need to accommodate the evolution of the power grid. We’re connecting every renewable source of power we can to the power grid, whether its wind farms five hundred kilometers away or solar panels on the neighbour’s roof. Smart sensors track energy consumption, too, allowing utility companies to only produce the power that is required and generate user specific advice on how to save power. For example, it might recommend you turn off the pool pump to prevent brown outs from becoming blackouts. The energy grid is changing. So start considering what you can do to make the most of it, for the environment and for your savings.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.