Everybody around the world uses energy. The concern for energy independence has led countries with few natural resources (such as gas, oil and coal) to develop different methods to produce energy. Energy choices are numerous, and consequences are drastic for our planet.
A few weeks ago, there was an explosion in the Indian Point nuclear power plant on the banks of the Hudson River, just 30 miles north of New York City, when an electric transformer caught fire. According to Jerry Nappi, spokesman for the plant’s owner, the problem was purely electric, the reactor itself was not damaged, and there would have been no impact on radiation safety.
But who wants to live near a nuclear power plant releasing a cloud of black smoke?
And who wants to live close to a nuclear waste storage center … radiation for centuries?
In recent years, America has become a major producer of gas through “fracking”, which is essentially the pumping of a liquid or gas down a well at a high enough pressure to cause the surrounding rock to fracture. There has been many concerns over the contamination of groundwater due to hydraulic fracturing of the Earth. In the 2010 movie “Gasland”, there are images of homeowners lighting their tap water on fire, a truly terrifying prospect. Also, the disposal of wastewater into the Earth’s subsurface is suspected to potentially cause earthquakes.(1)
The wind and hydropower are interesting avenues, but there is not necessarily enough water nor wind everywhere to provide a comprehensive solution. A friend recently brought to my attention that there is a growing interest in tidal energy.
Tidal is an emerging technology to produce electricity that exploits energy drawn from the movement of ocean tides. Tidal energy is considered renewable because the tides move on a predictable, daily schedule, depending only on the orbits of the Earth, Moon, and Sun, and are essentially inexhaustible.(2)
But maybe the best is still to come…
According to Tony Seba, author of Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation, “The world of energy and transportion will be disrupted by 2030, and perhaps before exponentially improving technologies such as solar, electric vehicles, and autonomous (self-driving) cars will disrupt the energy and transportation industries as we know it. The same Silicon Valley ecosystem that created bit-based technologies that have disrupted atom-based industries is now creating bit- and electron-based technologies that will disrupt atom-based energy industries.” (3)
(1) – The Canadian Press. Fracking Causes Earthquakes, studies confirm. April 17, 2012. Accessed May 23, 2012.
(2) – Nicholls-Lee, R.F., S.R. Turnock. 2008. Tidal energy extraction: renewable, sustainable and predictable. Science Progress. 91:1 pg. 81-111. Retreieved at: http://www.energybc.ca/profiles/tidal.html
(3) – Seba, T. 2014 “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas and Coal Obsolete by 2030.” 1st ed. p. cm. ISBN-13 978-0-692-21053-6.