The right use of technologies and investment in Clean Energy Solutions
Canadians are among the biggest energy users in the world and now they have stepped for clean energy solutions. They burn the fossil fuels to keep the lights on, to keep the buildings warm, and to power the vehicles. We could even say they are Hydrocarbon Hogs as British Columbia produces large amounts of natural gas. Alberta’s oil sands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the country and Alberta burns lots of coal and gas for electricity that also happens across the prairies in Ontario and the Maritimes and in every province, Canadians fire up their furnaces in the winter. But Canada’s energy map is transforming wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean energy, are all ascending together with Canada’s abundance of hydroelectric power are poised to squeeze fossil fuels possibly of the map. This is exciting that there is momentum around clean energy and it is not going to stop as clean energy is where the puck is going. Technology is leading the change and so are some key people like Maren Smith, the head of clean energy Canada. Her group is trying to accelerate Canada’s transition away from fossil fuels with 265 billion dollars of investment last year in clean energy and the price of these technologies has been dropping year-over-year. The threat posed by a warming climate has changed the equation as already evident by the disastrous impacts. Climate scientists warn fossil fuels must stop warming the Earth by 2050 to avoid even more catastrophic damage.
People are nowadays really realizing that climate change has to be addressed that renewable energy is one of the climate change solutions. Last year investment in clean energy in Canada climbed 88% to 11 billion dollars. It’s now a race to see which clean technologies will dominate. Wind and solar are off to a strong start, the super windy days produce over 15% of Ontario’s energy needs. It is a proven technology but with one of the issues still facing, at the solar and wind farm built by Samsung Renewable and its partners in Hamilton, Ontario. On less windy days they used a drone to get up high and see how clean energy is already changing Canada’s landscape. The 67 huge wind turbines are an impressive site and so are the 450,000 solar panels that are spread out in the fields around this area. It’s all part of the Korean Industrial giants, five billion dollars bet than Canada’s renewable energy sector. In other words, renewable energy now makes economic sense. All of the big provinces now have plans for wind power to eventually take over electricity generation, running from coal and natural gas. A study from Stanford University projects by 2050 58% of Canada’s electricity could come from wind power and 13% from solar. Clean energy has passed the tipping point and its gone mainstream. Among those in the investment sector driving the change is Tom Rand, a Canadian venture capitalist whose firm turn ventures has poured tens of millions of dollars into the clean energy race. He agrees with the climate scientists that the big challenge is how to accelerate the use of renewable to avoid the most disastrous impacts of a warming climate.
By the end of the century, fossil fuels will be out-competed by technology-based energy sources but that doesn’t solve the climate problem because we don’t have that much of time but we may have twenty years. So the question is how to accelerate the adoption of these technologies. The big drawback of renewable has always been consistency, at night solar doesn’t produce power neither does wind on calm days. Curtis VanLandingham and his company, Hydro store, have come up with a solution to address that by nine-meter tall balloons towed off-shore weighted down and tethered 50 meters below on the bottom. The balloons act as batteries, electricity from the grid generates compressed air and that’s held in the balloons by the pressure of the lake water. When power needed, the air shoots back through the turbine and the power is returned to the grid. The Hydro store has a contract with Toronto Hydro to provide power during peak times. It also signed a deal with the RIBA to put its giant underwater balloons offshore of that Caribbean Island. Without storage, there is a limit on how much renewable to use and if the future is a hundred per cent renewable, low-cost storage is needed. This solution is dramatically almost order of magnitude lower costs and batteries. The storage challenge is at the heart of the clean energy race and lots of people are jumping in with cool innovations especially Tesla. You can’t talk about energy in Canada though without going to Alberta, the energy industry is the biggest culprit when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions. Canada can end up with all kinds of solar panels and turbines but unless this place changes it won’t make much of a difference.