How Energy Storage Can Change Everything
A number of years ago, as part of an international project, I made a short list of the biggest problems the world would face over the next fifty years which included shortages of food and drinking water to name a few. Then I researched what would be needed to solve all of these problems, and I came to an interesting conclusion. The one common thread that connected all of the solutions was energy.
As hugely populous countries like China and India continue their evolution as economic powerhouses, the rural poor all over the world will increasingly move to urbanized environments seeking a better way of life. They will be in search of ways to climb the economic ladder, and as a result, added pressure will be put on our global resources.
It’s estimated that nearly one billion people will make the transition from poverty to the lower-middle class within the next five to eight years. Even though I would classify this as a Soft Trend, something that might happen – not a future fact – it is very likely to happen because the underlying assumptions of this Soft Trend are well researched.
Like all trends, there are both problems and opportunities and it is important to see and plan for both in order to shape a positive future. One of the key strategies to actively shape a positive future I shared in my New York Times bestseller, Flash Foresight: How To See The Invisible and Do The Impossible, – Solve Tomorrow’s Predictable Problems Today.
With that said, let’s go back to my research showing that energy is a key to pre-solving our biggest future problems. When we focus on how both traditional energy and new renewable energy sources can be harnessed in new ways, we can help eliminate the resource issues affecting much of the world, both today and in the future. Whether you’re making brackish water drinkable or sowing your fields using traditional or advanced farming techniques, you need energy to do it. Of course, we’ve been an energy-dependent society since the Industrial Revolution — but today, that notion rings truer as our global numbers continue to boom. Our only choice if we’re going to sustain the way we live is to improve the way we deal with energy.
One of the biggest problems with producing electrical power is that we essentially have to use it or lose it. The new renewable technology we’re counting on to help reduce our global carbon footprint–including all of those solar- and wind-harnessing companies–all depend on the environment itself to generate energy. When the wind dies down or there’s heavy cloud coverage, less power can be generated, and when conditions are perfect, we often generate more than we can use. The same problem applies, to more traditional forms of energy, whether it’s nuclear power, hydroelectricity, or fossil fuels.