Energy

Ready for a little more realistic but optimistic news (see earlier post)? This time let’s look at issues involving clean energy – and what it will take to transform our system away from fossil fuels.

Amidst all the climate change angst, a look at some 'upbeat' views of clean energy potentials. Click To Tweet

For a useful overview of the good and bad, read Jeff Tollefson’s 2018 piece in Nature, “Can the World Kick its Fossil-Fuel Addiction Fast Enough?” Maybe. “The good news is that clean-energy technology is at last making substantial strides. The bad news is that the pace isn’t nearly quick enough.”

For a fun-to-read, technologically-informed, and cheerful view, see Angus Hervey’s four-part 2018-19 “deep dive” into the energy riddle in Future Crunch, “Homo Electric.” Parts 2 and 3 are especially informative: “How to Make Electricity Great Again: The Wind and Solar Revolution” and “We’re Going to Need a Better Bike: Batteries, Electric Vehicles, Hydrogen and a Modern Energy Grid.”

For more on the need for significant changes in how we distribute energy – that is, in the architecture of our grid – the often-provocative David Roberts at Vox has a clear, thorough explainer (also 2018), “Clean Energy Technologies Threaten to Overwhelm the Grid. Here’s How it Can Adapt.” Changing the grid, Roberts argues, is “perhaps the key step – in unlocking the full potential of the clean energy technologies that will be needed to decarbonize the electricity sector and meet new demand coming from electrification of other energy-intensive sectors like transportation and buildings.”

Finally, since of course it’s unwise to ignore human psychology, go back a bit further and read Chris Mooney’s 2015 series in the Washington Post, “Your Brain on Energy.” Drawing on behavioral science, these three interesting and informative articles focus on how actual people do or don’t change how they act. Our next energy revolution won’t be all about technology: it “will be in our brains.”


This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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