Wind power could help provide a relatively quick and inexpensive solution to increasing demands for green energy in the next 20 years, according to a major US report.
If they haven’t memorised it already, it is a sure bet that European Union decision makers and US President-elect Barack Obama will soon cast their busy eyes over the just-released National Intelligence Council report that predicts what the world will look like in less than two decades.
The report, which is released every four years and is based on information from all US intelligence agencies, predicts a startling transformation in world affairs between now and 2025. It states there will be more people, less water, less food, and a lot less oil. There will also be a seismic shift of influence fleeing from the western world to the eastern, with the United States and Europe both losing ground. Swirling over everything will be the consequences of climate change.
And yet, included in this sobering document is the assessment that wind power can possibly help provide a secure source of green electricity while the world begins the inevitable transition away from oil dependency.
In a chapter dealing with the “dawning of a post-petroleum age,” the report also notes there will be increasing demands for energy since Earth’s population is expected to increase by at least a billion in the next 20 years. As a result, the report adds, access to relatively secure and clean energy resources will assume growing importance for more countries.
The report says more than US $3 trillion will have to be invested in the diminishing traditional hydrocarbon sector in the next two decades simply to meet baseline energy demand. All current energy technologies are inadequate to replace traditional energy sources on the scale needed, the report says, adding any new form of energy would likely require a similar size investment, and simply may not be available by 2025.
“Despite what are seen as long odds now, we cannot rule out the possibility of a transition by 2025 that would avoid the costs of an infrastructure overhaul. The greatest possibility for a relatively quick and inexpensive transition during that period comes from better renewable generation sources (photovoltaic and wind) and improvements in battery technology.
“With many of these technologies, the infrastructure cost hurdle for individual projects would be lower, enabling many small economic actors to develop their own energy transformation projects that directly serve their interests – e.g., stationary fuel cells powering homes and offices, recharging plug-in hybrid autos, and selling energy back to the grid.”
The European Wind Energy Association understands the complexity and severity of the problems threatening the world today, and that they will almost certainly become greater obstacles in the near future.
EWEA would like to remind EU politicians, Obama and other foreign leaders dealing with these issues, however, that wind power is already a proven technology. A job-creator, wind is a local, affordable, non-polluting, fast, dependable source of energy.
Governments should pass green legislation, promote renewable energies, and clear administrative and regulatory hurdles which hold back non-traditional technologies.
The verdict has been in for some time now: There is no more time to waste. Get on with it.
24 November 2008