The world has been rapidly moving toward renewable sources of energy over the past two decades and this has gained further momentum by the ingenious work done by Energy Vault on using gravity as another source of green energy. As more and more countries and companies are recognizing that fossil fuels don’t have much of a future, the change in technology has also been rapid.
The state of the current development in green energy and its future potential is best explained by people who are at the forefront of green energy innovation and its related industries.
Dr. Adrian Gill
Dr. Adrian Gill is the leading expert in wind turbines. His talk takes the audience through the evolution of the wind energy industry from a niche, highly subsidized industry to one of the leading sources of power in the world.
He goes on to illustrate the future potential of renewable energy with a special emphasis on wind turbines. Dr. Adrian brings forward an interesting statistic that one turbine can now power “20,000 homes in the UK.” This is a good micro-look at one specific source of green energy in reference to one region of the world. The talk also gives an update on the recent technological advances in wind turbines.
Moving on from fossil fuels to renewable energy is not as easy as it sounds. Environmental peacemaker Olivia Lazard does a fantastic job of explaining how countries controlling the resources needed for the transition to renewable energy will have an extraordinary advantage in the coming years. Just like a movie character fighting for the environment, Olivia has been involved in political discussions regarding the distribution of resources all over the world.
She also argues that de-competing the battle for resources is important so that past mistakes are not repeated. It will be important to let less developed countries gain access to these resources in the future as the demand for them is expected to skyrocket.
Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment and his talk related to renewable energy has a different take. He doesn’t take the normal approach of just praising renewable sources of energy. Instead, he suggests a balance between using traditional sources and renewable sources to prevent the destruction of the environment necessary for setting up green energy.
He shows two sides of the green energy coin and presents an alternative path, which could also be the solution to the green energy problems the world is facing today. This is one of the unique talks related to the subject wherein the speaker talks about striking a balance between the new and old approaches. According to him, aggressively adopting new technologies might seem better from afar, but it could have other environmental and economic consequences.
Marjan Van Aubel
Solar panels have come a long way over the past three decades. Solar designer Marjan van Aubel takes the audience on a short historical journey of how they have evolved from being extremely expensive and very inefficient to now able to power cars and planes.
Marjan also talks about her mission to turn everyday objects, like tabletops and glass windows, into elegant solar cells. She has the vision to turn every surface into a working energy source. While the vision is an ambitious one, viewers get an insight into the possibilities of solar panels. It is also unique in addressing smaller micro-solutions to using fossil fuel-based energy sources for everyday items which, if converted to solar, will have a huge impact on overall energy demands.
Dr. Rob Maher
Dr. Rob Maher, a professor of engineering and an inventor, talks about how electricity grids operate around the world. He also delves deep into the issue surrounding energy storage with renewable sources of energy.
Dr. Rob explains that an electricity grid only works when the consumption and production of energy are the same at any point in time. He also sheds light on the lack of technology for storing electricity generated by wind, photovoltaic cells, and hydroelectric sources. The talk does a great job of addressing the current issues in expanding the use of renewable energy and gives viewers a very basic understanding of electricity grids, while addressing bigger world issues.
Another talk from Michael Shellenberger makes the list. This time, the co-founder and senior fellow of the Breakthrough Institute talks about the impact and possible potential for nuclear power for providing cheap energy in third-world countries.
One interesting note about the talk is that Michael used to be against the use of nuclear energy, but over the last decade, he and his colleagues constructed a new paradigm about the correlation between prosperity and nuclear power. While other renewable energies, like solar panels, wind, and hydro turbines, require land or the right geographical locations, nuclear power can address the competition for resources and the lack of land in third-world countries.
Federico Rosei & Renzo
Federico Rosei and Renzo start their talk by going through the statistics related to the use of fossil fuels in the world. They tackle the main concerns regarding the use of renewable energy and whether it is possible for the world to move to 100 percent renewable energy.
Some of the challenges mentioned by Rosei and Renzo include economic barriers for third-world countries, the resources needed to kickstart the transition, and the money involved in using fossil fuels, especially to the advantage of big companies. The talk is an interesting look into why the transition to green energy isn’t happening fast enough, plus the animated video to go along with the talk is a great hook for younger audiences.
Rory Monaghan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he led a team of 14 researchers about how green hydrogen can power Ireland’s future. This is especially interesting considering the new types of green energy being discovered every other day.
Rory wants Ireland to shift from being an importer of fossil fuels to fully relying on green and renewable sources of energy. The talk goes through different avenues of renewable power including carbon capture utilization. The talk is a great insight into how focusing on the problems of a small country can lead to an eventual global change if done correctly. The viewers also get a great insight into how future plans of a singular country are laid out, rather than focusing on the entire world.
Soloman Goldstein-Rose is a climate author and through his Ted Talk, he explains the need for the world to set up a global electricity generation system that is capable of producing at least 12 times the current electricity generation. He believes that simply replacing fossil fuels in power plants is not enough.
One of the biggest reasons for doing so would be to electrify everything in every part of the world, not just the wealthy regions. The talk gives a unique perspective on the factors which need to be kept in mind while moving to green energy. The demand for electricity is only going to rise in the future and most experts tend to take into account the current electricity demands, while making claims about the possibility of energy transition.
Gordian Raacke is the Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a not-for-profit organization. Gordian through his talk gives a global perspective on climate change and how things got to the current state.
He also points out the collective actions that not just the governments, but also the citizens can take to tackle, slow down and even reverse climate change, so that the world doesn’t turn into a natural disaster movie. The talk does a great job of recapping how humans got to this point and what changes can be made, both at a micro and macro level.
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