Essential for the Industrial Revolution but what about today?
Having a look at some of the oil exploration figures and pricing for electricity last weekend, I thought I might see how much the cost of oil might need to be before it is more economic to run cars and other transport on electricity. With the sun shining brightly and lots of electricity going into the grid from my PV panels, I started to think of how far away it might be before we are living in a very different world. A world as different as it was when my father was born into a world where private transport was by horse or walking, telephones were rarely in private homes and electricity was only just becoming commonplace for lighting.
As any reader (there are some of you) would know by now, I am firmly of the opinion that the most reliable and economic way to supply the energy needed for a fair and equitable world (this means a roughly even standard of energy consumption globally that matches the middle ranks of OECD countries) is to generate electricity from solar thermal power plants and also take advantage of geothermal energy sources. The impediments to these technologies are industrial inertia (because the dominant paradigm is to dig up and burn coal) and the relative cost differential for solar generated electricity vs fossil fuels.Continue Reading →