An energy utopia is an environmentalist’s dream come true. Is it fantasy becoming a reality?
The earth was designed to be ‘self sustaining’ (At least we Geologists like to think so and constantly find evidence to back it up) Everything in it is expected to keep it running. This piece is mostly opinion related and with facts here and there. Wouldn’t it be nice to understand what an energy utopia is before opinions and facts begin to clash?
An utopia is a society or a situation that is either perfect or closely near perfect. That clearly explains that the energy utopia is a perfect approach to energy generation, supply and use. The question is: Is there really a feasibility of an energy utopia itself?
Don Davis, a space artist, has several illustrations of what future space colonies will look like and what to expect if we are to, one day live in a space Utopia.
Image: 1975 illustration of a futuristic space colony for NASA by Don Davis
Let me mention that the word Utopia itself describes a fantasy and was first used in 1516, by Sir Thomas More to describe an Atlantic Island where everything was perfect. An Utopia is no place or a non existing place. This is validation to my opinion that an energy utopia is not entirely feasible.
What then is feasible and what should be an environmentalist dream?
For me in 2016, it is a simple mix, and because science is not affirmative of the future, time is important in describing possibilities and norms in science. My views on energy mix will be broken down with these few points and are strongly bound in time:
- Energy generation, supply and use needs to be decentralised and deregulated. Small communities should be able to dam small rivers to generate hydro power, same way solar farms should be able to feed smaller communities.
- Each territory has to focus on the resources it has in abundance and seek best ways to optimally utilise those resources. Coastal cities need to be at the fore front of harnessing wind energy and offshore wind energy generation. Desert communities need to give priority to harness solar energy at daytime and may rely on batteries or fossil fuel at nighttime.
- For areas that are exposed to various energy sources, all should be considered giving priority to the one with the least carbon footprint.
Is an energy mix possible with the complete phase-out of fossil fuel? I agree to an extent. But in areas where the energy resources do not allow for a balance mix, there will still be need to make use of fossil fuels at the barest minimum. In cases like this, focus should be on offsetting the carbon produced for local fossil fuel consumption.
What are your thought on an energy mix? Do you think science will ever make our ‘now’ energy utopia a reality?