“Food and Pollution are not primary problems: they are energy problems”
The above statement by novelist Jerry Pournelle means that if we are provided with sufficient energy we can produce as much food as we like, by means such as hydroponics and greenhouses – and if we are provided with sufficient energy, pollutants can be transformed into useable products.
The whole world when combined consumes 14 billion watts of power, in which 33 percent comes from oil, 25 percent comes from coal, 20 percent comes from gas, 7 percent comes from nuclear, 15 percent comes from biomass and hydroelectric and a mere 0.5 percent comes from the Sun and renewable sources. A Shell petroleum engineer M King Hubbert of the US predicted that there will be an irreversible decline that would set in 1965 to 1971. As a result of their ignorance of this prediction, the US oil production peaked at 10.2 million barrels a day by 1970, to never recover, that forced the US to import oil. The same man predicted that global oil production would reach its apex in about fifty years.
The environmental hazards of burning fossil fuels are not unknown to mankind, it’s just being ignored. The year 2020 has not been great so far and rather than love there is too much negativity in the air – for all we know, by next month aliens might come and visit us too. So I will spare you with the negative narratives and focus on the figure 0.5 percent.
Ironically, the one thing that we have in ‘ultra-abundance’ is being utilized the least and lack of technology cannot be an excuse to this in 2020 – it is all about attitude and lack of awareness.
What the world is doing with the Sun:
While growing up I learned that all the energy comes from the sun. Even oil and coal are in some sense concentrated sunlight, representing the energy that fell on plants and animals millions of years ago. Today solar voltaic production is growing by 45 percent per year, the photovoltaic installation is now 15 billion watts, growing by 5.6 billion watts in 2008 alone. Some countries are planning their own ‘solar goals’ and have started to move in that direction. To achieve this goal, some companies in the US are planning to build a 1.3 billion Watt plant in the Mojave Desert. First Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells announced to create the world’s largest solar plant just north of the Great Wall of China. The 27 million thin-film solar panels will generate 2 billion watts of power equivalent to two coal-fired plants that will produce enough energy to supply to 3 million homes.
What India is doing with the Sun:
As of 31 March 2020, India has expanded its solar power capacity from 161 MW to 36,627 MW, which is 233 times, which is quite impressive.
The Indian government had set an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022 which they were able to achieve four years ahead of the schedule. You would be pleased to know that by the end of the year 2015, under a million solar lanterns, 118,700 solar home lighting systems, 46,655 solar street lighting systems, and about 1.4 million solar cookers were sold and installed pr provided under a National program. Today I am a proud Indian as India has proposed The International Solar Alliance (ISA) by being a founding member of the same. It is giving birth to the concept of “One Sun, One World, One Grid” to harness the solar power on a global scale. Hence It’s Always Sunny in India, indeed!
What can be done by us:
I believe, if you have to go ahead you need to know about yesterday, compare your today and then work on your tomorrow. India has given a push in the clean energy field and now we must spread the awareness on what’s in store for us. We, as a country, have a lot of potential and is still not hit by Climate Change as hard as the other developed countries. All this makes India a paradise for the industrial revolution in a sustainable way. The target is 100 GW Solar Power, which is achievable when hoards of people get to know about the solar power system and thus increasing the demand for the solar photovoltaic system which in turn will decrease the cost, in comparison to today. We have come a long way but we cannot just stop yet. The journey is even longer but I am sure we will get there collectively and see the Indian flag fly in a cleaner and better air.
Remember people together we can and we will Save the Planet!
Sources: Physics of the future by Michio Kaku and Wikipedia