No industry is fully immune to the challenges presented by climate change. In fact, no one in the world is sheltered from the changes that are happening all around us. Technological development of alternative methods of obtaining oil and renewable energy has made it clear that the future of energy all over the world will be a multifaceted endeavor. Here are some of the new energy technologies that will help the world get the energy it needs.
Geothermal energy works by bringing heat from within the earth to the surface. This is caused by the circulation of water and molten magma coming up to the crust of the earth. This energy is harnessed by tapping into geothermal cavities in the earth and recirculating the steam and water through an electric generator and then back into the earth. Although geothermal technology can be expensive to set up, the cost of maintaining such a system is very low. This makes geothermal energy a good long-term energy investment in areas where such systems can be implemented. Geothermal energy is usually only an option in areas that have shown volcanic activity in more recent times.
In coastal areas, tidal energy has been on a lot of people’s minds. Tidal energy is created by lowering gates when the tide is going out. The water going out passes through turbines that generate power. It can be challenging and expensive to maintain machinery in salt water conditions, but technology is making this easier to achieve as well. Tidal systems are also only able to produce energy an average of ten hours per day. The regularity of tides makes it easy to predict the amount of power being generated and use it wisely during peak energy demand.
Solar panels have become a lot cheaper to produce and more efficient over the last few years. This drop in cost has caused many industries to look towards solar power to supplement their energy needs. Solar cells can be printed more quickly. The technology for lightweight solar panels that are thin and flexible has become more affordable and accessible as well. This literally allows for panels to be rolled out and installed with less trouble than conventional cells that are built into rigid frames.
Technological developments have made it possible for oil to be extracted from sources that were not feasible before. Shale oil extraction has become more common. Tar sands have also become a viable source of oil as the price for a barrel has risen considerably on average. Daniel Yergin has extensively studied the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of extracting unconventional oil. From his work, one can gather that the future of energy on a worldwide basis will be determined by the use of many different energy sources. The best method of producing energy in a given area will be based on the climate and resources available in that area.