New research by McKinsey & Co. and the World Economic Forum finds new sources of energy, mobility, and industry fragmentation are set to disrupt the world’s energy system. Within two decades, as many as 20 new energy sources could be powering the global economy, including fuel cells; small, modular nuclear-fission reactors; and even nuclear fusion. An economy based on so many technologies is unprecedented. Fossil fuels will still be part of the mix, but renewables’ share is likely to grow owing to environmental concerns, further cost reductions that make renewable energy more competitive, and continuing growing demand for electricity. Electricity demand is expected nearly to double by the middle of the century, propelled primarily by economic development in China and India. By 2050 electric power could supply a quarter of global energy demand. Geopolitics will change. In tomorrow’s world, rather than competing for natural resources buried in the Earth, access to the technologies that harness resources such as wind, sun, water, or heat from the Earth’s core is likely to matter most. By the mid-2030s, electric vehicles could account for between 27% and 37% of new-vehicle sales, depending on the extent to which government regulation, technological changes, ride sharing, and self-driving vehicles further reduce costs and boost EV popularity. And if EVs take off, global demand for liquid fuel used in light vehicles could fall by between two million and six million barrels a day (a drop of between 8% and 25%). These fuels are likely to move to the chemical industry, making it more important than transportation. (You can download the study here.)

A new United Nations report suggests renewable energy will dominate our future, with many experts saying that even large international corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity. The report is intended to spur discussion and debate about both the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100% renewable energy future by mid-century. According to the report, currently renewable energy supplies 20% of our electricity needs. European and Australian experts most strongly supported the idea of 100% renewable energy by 2050. The report is based on interviews with 114 energy experts from all regions of the world.

The Australian Energy Market Operator reports the state of South Australia received 53% of its electricity from solar and wind over the past year. The government had previously set a target of achieving 50% renewable power for the state by 2025.

The US city of Chicago announced that more than 900 government buildings in the city will shift their electricity use to 100% renewable energy by 2025. Combined these buildings consume 8% of all the electricity used in Chicago.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power   in more and more countries, according to a report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last year the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 %. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18%, while those for offshore wind fell a 28%. In 2016 the world added 138.5 gigawatts of new renewable capacity. Some renewable auction prices from last year are: (note $60 per megawatt-hour or MWh is 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.)

  • $60 per MWh for solar in Rajasthan, India, in January
  • $30 per MWh for wind in Morocco, in January
  • $37.70 per MWh for wind in Peru, in February
  • $40.50 for solar in Mexico, in March
  • $29.90 for solar in Dubai, in May
  • $60 for solar in Zambia, in June
  • $80 for offshore wind in the Netherlands, in July
  • $29.10 for solar in Chile, in August
  • $55 for offshore wind in Denmark, in November

Forbes answers the question:  Is There Any Such Thing As Pure Energy?  Hint: No. As Einstein discovered E=mc2. All energy is a property of elemenatry particles (whether mass or massless, like photons).

Business Insider informs us that 7 companies are working on making flying cars.

General Motors announced it is spending $600 million this year to develop self-driving cars. The first self-driving car it brings to market will be a version of the electric Chevrolet Bolt EV.  The spending covers engineering and research and development costs and may be duplicated next year. Its first self-driving cars will be built for car-sharing and ride-hailing businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

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