75% of global greenhouse gas emissions result from burning fossil fuels for energy. As the global population increases to 9.7 billion and more people move into the middle class, energy demand is set to increase. It could double or triple by 2050, all while we attempt to decarbonize our grid and industrial processes. In that context, it’s clear that the single most important thing we must do to prevent a climate emergency is how to power our world with reliable low-carbon (or no-carbon!) sources of energy.
While decades of investment have led the price of solar and wind energy to plummet, these sources have well-known shortcomings. Seasonal intermittency combined with prohibitively expensive storage means a reliable grid could always require another form of base-load production. Geographical weather constraints prevent many countries from reaping their benefits. Where there’s abundant wind and sun, installation of utility-level parks is often far from cities requiring additional expensive transmission and distribution lines. Centralized and outdated grid infrastructure means we cannot make the most of the renewables we produce.
As we seek to reach our climate goals and build a more sustainable world, developing new renewable energy sources is necessary.