Thursday, May 22, 2014

What If Electricity Was Becoming Free?

Obviously the title of this post has probably triggered your imagination, or at least your attention. It seems to be an impossible thought nowadays, while we still have not find a solution to stop using fossil energy, meanwhile gas and oil gas are still growing at a steady pace. 

As the Ukranian crisis is still unfolding we can see how it is vital for countries to get energy. Jeremy Rifkin, an expert forecaster has envisioned a new industrial revolution where fossil energy would have disappeared, and where we would have found renewable sources to replace it. This revolution would make electricity almost free as the cost will dive dramatically.

Seems unrealistic? Actually, this very interesting article of Le Nouvel Economiste explains why and how it could be possible

First of all, every industrial revolution have been possible thanks to a new energy source. The first one was possible thanks to the steam machine. The second one has been based on fossil sources.

Secondly, the rise of countries like India, China and Brasil, and their growing need of energy sources to produce more will very soon create high tensions on the energy market, which will speed up the need for new sources in mass. 

Also, what make new industrial revolutions is not only the arrival of a new source of energy, but its convergence with new communication media. Nowadays, we already have the new media, but we are still craving for a new energy source that will allow this economic boom.

What the author envision is a new way to consider renewable energy. What is great with renewable energy (wind, solar...) is that on the opposite of fossil energy is accessible anywhere at a low cost, whereas you need to dig deep to get gas for example. That means that instead of having huge plants regrouped in one place, you may have renewable source close to the place where it will be used, which will lower the cost of both exploiting and transporting. 

Of course, a lot of new technologies need to be found to store and produce this renewable source. Also, we need to invest in those new technologies once it will appear. But it will dramatically lower the price of energy, the same way the Internet lowered the price of access to information. It will obviously also have a great positive impact on the environment, and solve a lot of the problems of pollution we have nowadays.

As a result, whereas energy accessibility remains nowadays one of the biggest conflict issue, the access to information and network will soon become even more problematic as a result. 

I believe that his idea is genius, and it seems pretty possible this will happen. Now that you have read this article I am sure you will follow with another look what renewable energy will become, and how it may change the world.