Technology is changing so fast! Can our attitudes about what is possible keep up with the pace of change?

Should we shoot for the moon and see where we land?

Image: Wind turbine blade with the moon rising on it

Source: Pixabay

Just for fun, I googled “Fossil Fuels Versus Renewable Energy” and got more than 542,000 results for my search. Seems like there’s a lot to learn.

Just a decade ago, it wasn’t plausible to even think that our world could run on 100% renewable energy. But where are we now on that?

Keep in mind, the first iPhone was released only 10 years ago, in January of 2007, and Facebook had just become open to everyone in that year. Since then, the impact of knowledge-sharing would be incalculable.

One thing we do know is that the pace of change is astounding, and most of us are doing all we can just to put food on the table, much less keep up with the state of our current energy supply chain.

I found the following photo and I think it sums up the accuracy of my knowledge base about renewable energy before I did the research for us on this topic.

Image: Renewable energy from biofuels, an electric cord plugged into a carrot and some cheese

Source: Pixabay

So let’s get up to speed…

Here are a couple statistics I found early in my research on this question about what is possible:

There are countries in Europe getting over 40% and 50% (Denmark and Sweden, respectively) of their energy from renewables now! 1

Coal-fired power plants in the U.S today provide only 30% of the country’s electricity, compared with 50% in 2008. 2

Fortune Magazine referenced a Bloomberg report from 2016 that said the price of electricity from solar sources is now about 50% the price of electricity produced from coal. 3

I suspect that most of us have no idea things had come this far.

Those are some enormous leaps of progress. My knowledge and understanding just haven’t kept up!

Here’s a quote from a Time magazine article a few months ago that really raised my eyebrows:

In 2016, clean energy grew at a record pace as the United States added 22GW of capacity — the equivalent of 11 Hoover Dams — to the grid from renewable sources, significantly trumping new fossil fuel additions, according to a new report. 4

11 Hoover Dams!?

There had to be a couple good videos from credible sources on this issue from a historical perspective, and sure enough, I found one by the respected Bloomberg News. This describes what is going on, in a way that is completely devoid of an agenda. Take a look…

And what about the job market?

Again I was back to a recent Bloomberg article which, like this website, is well-known for operating without political bias. Here’s a graph that is simple enough and gave me the impression that the writing is on the wall:

Image: Graph of trends in jobs rising for renewable energy sector, declining in fossil fuel sector

Source: Bloomberg

So the trends seem to be going in a direction that indicates a lot of brain power will be focused on the possibility of a 100% renewable future for our planet. It could happen. Human beings are remarkably clever.

Here’s what happens when we leave a little room for serendipity in our lives…

What are the odds that about a week ago, a delightful email showed up in our Contact Us box and it was from a woman named Johanna who had found Ever Widening Circles (EWC), and thought we might want to share the video she made after doing her own research on this subject?

Timing is everything, so I called her to sort out the credibility of her sources and her agenda, and we had a lovely chat! She works for a company in Denmark called GreenMatch, which is a resource for consumers who want to learn about the kind of renewable energy that might be best for them, based on a host of things like their location, their budget, and the specifics of their home.

GreenMatch has a nice business plan that seems like it would be a win/win for everyone. Here’s what they say about their vision:

GreenMatch is a comprehensive guide designed to help you navigate the transition to renewable energy. We care about the environment and believe that everyone has a part to play in making the UK a little greener – one house at a time. 6

We will probably see more “resource and referral” based business models popping up in this field all over the planet.

In fact, the event that inspired this article was a chat I had with a nephew of mine, living in Illinois (near Chicago) who had recently taken a job for an electric supply company, as one of their “resource” salesmen, counseling people about energy conservation. (He has written a great article for us. Check out What if Trash Pick-up was Annual? )

23 minutes

What if trash pick-up was annual?

What if you could save money, time, your conscience, and fit your entire year's worth of trash in a mason jar? This is surprisingly very do-able!

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Here’s the video Johanna made after finding that researchers are predicting that it isn’t unreasonable to think the world could be entirely powered by renewables by the year 2050.

Food for thought…

Interesting! I had no idea.

And yes, there will be the naysayers who point to obstacles too numerous to count. And yes, we will have to change our whole infrastructure, as ours is fundamentally built for fossil fuels.

But we have done hard things before.

We re-invented civilization after the advent of the wheel. When we discovered how to harness electricity,  all the primitive infrastructure that came before became obsolete in a matter of a decade.

The bottom line is that many generations have had their printing press or steam engine moments; those leaps of faith that change everything. 

Looks like the next 20 years is going to be one of those eras!

Stay open, curious, and optimistic!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few of my favorite articles that continue a few of the trains of thought here!

Notes:

  1. Frangoul, Anmar. “10 European Countries That Are Going Big on Renewable Energy.”CNBC. CNBC, 19 Apr. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017. <http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/19/10-european-countries-that-are-going-big-on-renewable-energy.html?slide=11>.
  2. Worland, Justin. “Renewable Energy Growth Outpaces Fossil Fuels.” Time. Time, 8 Feb. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017. <http://time.com/4662116/renewable-energy-fossil-fuels-growth/>.
  3. Hincks, Joseph. “This Just Became the World’s Cheapest Form of Electricity Out of Nowhere.” Solar Has Become The World’s Cheapest Form Of New Electricity | Fortune.com. Fortune, 16 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 May 2017. <http://fortune.com/2016/12/15/solar-electricity-energy-generation-cost-cheap/>.
  4. Worland, Justin. “Renewable Energy Growth Outpaces Fossil Fuels.” Time. Time, 8 Feb. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017. <http://time.com/4662116/renewable-energy-fossil-fuels-growth/>.
  5. “Why 2016 Could Be a Turning Point the Energy Revolution.” YouTube. Bloomberg, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 08 May 2017. <www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cp8-lVo2A8>.
  6. “Match Quotes & Suppliers | GreenMatch.” Greenmatch. Greenmatch, n.d. Web. 08 May 2017. <http://www.greenmatch.co.uk/>.
  7. “Can We Run on 100% Renewable Energy?” YouTube. GreenMatch, 24 Apr. 2017. Web. 08 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcWXdsjEp6M>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.