Paula Mints, SPV Market Research – A Vision is more than an extension of the status quo
Changing the way we source energy is now a matter of global urgency. There is no time to argue over whether natural gas is a relatively clean energy source, or about which developing countries should be allowed to continue polluting in order to catch up with industrialized countries. There is no time to debate the pros and cons of fracking. The time is now.
A change to nonpolluting, reliable energy sources will happen and those who are arguing against this change now will in the future be admitting that they were slow to understand and accept the necessity of the change. These people will likely be the very companies with businesses based on fossil fuel production. They will use solar for cathodic protection, to power the pipelines and drilling equipment – they are doing this now. They will produce the technology (cells, modules, etc), install the means of production and sell the electricity at a rate they set.
We need a vision. This vision should not be of the all-of-the-above variety, nor should it be limited to an expansion of the status quo. Our vision for a sustainable, independent energy future should be bold and specific. It should not assume that the status quo (utility delivered electricity) would be the future paradigm.
In the future utilities may play a secondary role in the day-to-day delivery of energy. Residential and commercial needs may be best served by renewable farms, backed up by storage as well as the ability to connect in emergencies. Software will be robust enough and fast enough to stitch together our communication needs. Conservation will no longer be seen as a sacrifice, because … it is not a sacrifice.
If there, can be unimaginable and catastrophic black swan events that rip apart the fabric of our world and leave us devastated, why cannot there be white swan events that rip apart the fabric of our world and knit it together in a wholly new pattern?
Bold, brave, specific and non-derivative visions are required and required now. Table 1 offers a forecast through 2023. The 2023 numbers are only possible if we take bold action, ignore those who argue for an all-of-the-above energy strategy and make changes.
To be clear, the If Things Change forecast can only possibly happens if a major behavior change is encouraged and implemented. Without a major change a major disaster is already coming right at us. With a major change not only can some environmental damage be avoided or ameliorated, many good outcomes are also possible – such as an increase in water supply (water pumping and desalination) and availability of electricity to populations in developing countries that accelerated the economies of these countries.
Solar is inevitable, because a change in behavior is not just necessary, it is required. It will not hurt to hurry this change along.