09 August 2017


People never give up trying to predict the future though. So test me on these. 

By 2025 (hey, even folks born in the 1950s stand a good chance), over 50% of all new cars will be electric. The cost of electric transportation will drop to less than the cost of fossil fuels, and since the cars are simpler and last longer, the long term transition to carsharing as the norm, with the coming on line of driverless technology, will mean that the paradigm where people will order a car to their house per use rather than own them will have begun to transform transportation, at least in urban and suburban areas. This process will take some time but will be evident by 2025. 

It's already the case that solar and wind energy is cheaper than fossil fuels in some markets. This presumes new plants; it will take a long time for existing infrastructure to be replaced. But by 2025 in the US, which will lag the developing world, especially China, all new electric generating capacity will be solar or wind, with minor hydroelectric and tidal. Nuclear will be phased out, because it's way, way more expensive, never mind waste considerations. (The nuclear industry doesn't like anyone to point this out, but the truth is that no nuclear plant has ever been built without government subsidies, anywhere). Fusion will still be the perennial "ten years away." I actually do imagine fusion energy will eventually be developed, but the Earth receives more theoretically usable solar energy in an hour than the human race uses in an entire year, so the perfection of solar technology (essentially already here), coupled with continuing improvements and cost reduction in battery and other storage technologies, will be the main drivers of the energy economy post 2025 worldwide. 

Combining these two trends, fossil fuels (and not just coal, but oil and gas, too), will be in the beginnings of a long term decline to near zero by the end of the century. Oil and coal will be used essentially entirely for materials, not energy, by 2100. (A use for them that has a bright future long term; we will not stop using plastics anytime soon, and fossil carbon is a great source of raw materials). All energy production will be carbon neutral by 2075 or so, everywhere on Earth.  

OK, enough. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.