Power Plants of the Future

Planet Earth is experiencing rapid change in its atmospheric composition. Carbon dioxide concentration has spiked above 400 parts per million and is inexorably headed higher as humans burn increasing amounts of fossil fuels. A vast majority of scientists attribute a rapid spike in global temperature to a greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are produced from burning fossil fuels. The inevitable result of continuing and increasing use of fossil fuels is that the planet will become much less livable for human beings and countless other species of life:

  • Island nations are disappearing under rising oceans.
  • Species are becoming extinct at a rate never before seen during human history.
  • Wild fires are becoming larger, and catastrophic storms are becoming more frequent and more energetic.
  • Crops are failing because of drought and extremely high temperatures.
  • Almost every aspect of human culture is being affected or will be affected.

See here information about developments in power production that are important because they have promise to help stop global warming. Too often, we focus of developments that are incremental and are constrained by scientific or academic discipline. Needed are breakthrough attempts to find solutions to global warming that are large and ambitious enough to actually give hope that global warming can be stopped. Incremental advances are important, but they are now coming too slowly to meet the challenge of rapidly deteriorating environmental conditions. We need to think bigger.

Below is an artist’s conceptual illustration of “Energy Island,” an example of the kind of innovative approach to energy development that is highlighted at this site. Energy Island is an invention that integrates both well-known and new technologies to supply abundant electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources that are safe, clean, and renewable.

Illustration of Energy Island shows multiple devices for tapping renewable energyfrom water, wind, and sun

Scroll down to see synopses of reports about innovative developments in green energy and related topics. Click links to access detailed reports and to find references to more information.

        • Energy Island – generates abundant and reliable electricity from an ocean-based platform. Multiple well-known and new technologies are co-located and integrated to tap energy from wind, water, and sun. A unique storage capacity allows Energy Island to deliver electricity when it is most needed.
        • New Hoover Dam – Energy Island, West of Los Angeles. Electricity generation capacity from a drought-stricken Hoover Dam can be replaced by tapping ocean energy.
        • Proposed Effort to Slow Melting of Glacier in Antarctica – Energy Island in Antarctic waters can use simple, known technologies to slow melting of glaciers by cooling water that is melting them on the bottom and by fostering new snow fall to protect glacier surfaces on top. Melting of top surfaces is quicker when snow and ice become dirty and less able to reflect sunlight.
        • Funding for Research and Development of Energy Island and other Large Projects to Combat Global Warming – Funding to combat global warming will grow with public awareness. The present level of funding in the USA of research and development on solutions to global warming is compared to funding for military preparations prior to the the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Funding for R & D on global warming solutions is expected to increase many fold as public awareness grows that global warming is an existential threat.

Fuel Fix » Google Becoming Big Energy Player

Fuel Fix » Google becoming big energy player.

Google is a leader in determining how the U.S. will satisfy its energy needs in the future. Google has invested in a wind farm in Texas and a solar plant in California. Other investments have shown support for highly innovative developments: flying wind turbines and a network of transmission lines to service wind farms to be built in waters off the Atlantic coast. Google Energy has independently developed assets for generating electricity that exceed the supply that is delivered by Hoover Dam.

As a customer of utility companies, Google has shown an ability to influence utilities to develop generation of electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Recently, Grand River Dam Authority, a utility in Oklahoma, moved to invest in a 48-megawatt wind farm. The utility thus succeeded in keeping Google as a customer instead of seeing Google develop its own wind farm. Generally, Google has been effective in stimulating development of electricity from renewable resources because of its willingness to write large, long-term contracts for the purchase of green power from utilities.

Breaking News from Grist: Vermont’s Yankee Nuclear Power Plant to Close

“… the news came at a surprising time: Just two weeks ago, Entergy won a hard-fought U.S. Court of Appeals case. The court ruled that Vermont lawmakers, who’ve been worried by the plant’s poor safety history, lacked the authority to shutter it.”

… more

We have known green energy technologies that can be used to replace generating plants that are unsafe or use fossil fuels. Political leaders need to pass a reasonable carbon tax to facilitate change to green energy before the planet fries. Can green energy supply what is needed? See report from Reality Drop

America has far more than enough renewable energy resources to meet its entire electric demand.

World-class renewable resources from wind in the Great Plains to solar in the Southwest could power the whole country more than a dozen times over. The fuel for these power plants, wind and sunlight, are unlimited and will always be free. State renewable energy standards once considered ambitious at 10 to 40 percent now look modest in light of recent growth. Given our current understanding of renewable energy resources, technology, cost, and integration, it’s now realistic to envision a future where renewable resources provide far higher shares of America’s electric generation needs — 80 to 90 percent or more. The only remaining barriers to achieving such massive increases in renewable energy use are a lack of understanding and a lack of political will. We are overcoming the former as we discover the truth about renewable energy. It’s inexpensive, reliable, abundant, all-American — and yes, it’s still clean.