Amber Plante for Zondits, April 23, 2015
Grease your bikes and shine your solar panels: Experts are predicting that 2015 will be seen as the jump-start of the green energy revolution. There is a current shift toward efficient technology and energy solutions that’s gaining the right kind of momentum – the kind that, if it’s sustained, could signal a dramatic shift toward storing, producing, and funding green energy solutions.
Nevertheless, as with all important changes, this one will include baby steps. According to some experts, it could take years if not decades for green energy resources to out-fund fossil fuels. In fact, the Department of Energy predicts that “the share of world energy provided by renewables, nuclear, and hydro combined will climb from 17% in 2015 to a mere 22% in 2040,” according to Michael T. Klare, via TomDispatch.com.
However, others believe that the growing acceptance and proof of climate change could be slingshotting this effort forward now. Despite some politicians’ ties to the fossil fuel industry, fuel efficiency and carbon emissions regulations are gaining traction among lawmakers. On a world scale, just as China’s energy needs skyrocket, so too does its interest in using renewable energy solutions to cut back on the cost it would otherwise incur using only fossil fuels.
Even developing countries are looking to downplay their dependence on fossil fuels by investing in renewable power solutions, as these are more dependable. Of course, cost is always the biggest factor – but even that is getting a boost from the falling prices of renewables.
2015 Could Be the Start of a Green Energy Revolution
The Nation, April 16, 2015
Don’t hold your breath, but future historians may look back on 2015 as the year that the renewable energy ascendancy began, the moment when the world started to move decisively away from its reliance on fossil fuels. Those fuels—oil, natural gas, and coal—will, of course, continue to dominate the energy landscape for years to come, adding billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon to the atmosphere. For the first time, however, it appears that a shift to renewable energy sources is gaining momentum. If sustained, it will have momentous implications for the world economy—as profound as the shift from wood to coal or coal to oil in previous centuries.
Global economic growth has, of course, long been powered by an increasing supply of fossil fuels, especially petroleum. Beginning with the United States, countries that succeeded in mastering the extraction and utilization of oil gained immense economic and political power, while countries with huge reserves of oil to exploit and sell, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, became fabulously wealthy. The giant oil companies that engineered the rise of petroleum made legendary profits, accumulated vast wealth, and grew immensely powerful. Not surprisingly, the oil states and those energy corporations continue to dream of a future in which they will play a dominant role.