How to Power the 2020s?

As we step into the 2020s there is a lot of discussion in the media about the decade that has just passed, and what we might be looking forward to in this new decade in terms of technological development.

There are some general themes that keep cropping up as people make forecasts about which technologies will be increasingly incorporated into daily life. Here are a few that I have noticed seem to keep cropping up:

– Increased use of artificial intelligence in all aspects of life

– Increased use of networked surveillance technologies for governmental purposes

– Increased use of robotics in the workplace and in military/law enforcement settings

– Increased use of electric vehicles

– Increased use of virtual reality

– Introduction of new types of flying vehicles such as sky taxis

All of the above developments will require energy to make them possible, and as we know, energy is a hot-button issue internationally as more and more emphasis is placed on the impact of energy on the climate. How will this energy-hungry future be powered, and what will be that impact on the environment?

There is a lot of discussion and often a lot of consternation about how we power the present and future technologies that are becoming so interwove into our lives in an environmentally friendly way. But there is not really a consensus on how it will be done. There are lots of competing interests around the world with many energy-rich countries and energy companies trying to maintain their economic and political advantage.

Renewable sources (and sometimes nuclear) are favored by many because they are carbon emission-free, but they each have their own drawbacks in terms of cost and efficiency compared to traditional fossil fuels.

So the problem of how to power the future that is in some ways already upon us, is not resolved — unless a game-changing clean technology that is obviously cheaper and more convenient comes on the scene. Many of us are holding out hope that the E-Cat and/or other similar tech will come available in this decade, and it will be interesting to see what happens.