Renewables, at last

© Shutterstock
© Shutterstock
© Solúcar PLatform from Abengoa Solar
© Solúcar PLatform from Abengoa Solar
CNRS Photothèque Emmanuel Perrin
CNRS Photothèque © Emmanuel Perrin
© EWEA/WINTER
© EWEA/WINTER

The burning and brightness of the Sun, the heat of the Earth, the force of wind, the might of water, the bounty of plants. All are infinite or continually regenerated energies on which we are pinning our hopes.

So great is the obsession with renewable energies that a fresh surge of creativity seems to be inspiring government and private research everywhere. Laboratories are teaming with new ideas: solar thermal energy, photovoltaics, geothermics, wind power, hydroelectricity, biomass. Although at times these energies compete, we now know that they will all need to be harnessed and our overly rigid power distribution systems will need to be adapted to supply them. So there is already speculation about the ingredients and mix of our future energy cocktail.

Of course there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, especially when enthusiasm turns into a mindless fad, as has happened with biofuels – a solution that is showing its limitations. But learning is a process of trial and error. And never have we needed research so much.


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