Climate Change

Energy innovation

Hindered by the political power exercised by fossil fuel companies and financial institutions supporting those industries, Canada’s federal government has been little involved in development of non-destructive renewable energy sources. For the same reason, western provincial governments have been even less engaged.

Values worth hundreds of billions of dollars flow from the public to private oil, gas and coal operators. Meanwhile, a pittance goes to energy technologies not firmly rooted in the 20th century.

Elsewhere, attention is being focused on new methods of energy creation and distribution, a situation necessary for humans’ long-term survival. Even established opponents of climate science are forced to recognize the need for change.

According to SourceWatch, Wall Street Journal typically “misinforms its readers about climate change.” But in March 2022, Rupert Murdoch’s business paper published The Next Bets for Renewable Energy, a survey of new ways to generate electricity from the air, sun, water and Earth. The review included:

Norwegian Wind Catching Systems is developing a floating multi-turbine technology consisting of several 1 MW turbines. The technology will cut acreage use by more than 80% and increase efficiency significantly in comparison to conventional floating offshore wind farms.

German SkySails Power says high-altitude wind is the largest untapped energy resource on Earth. The company offers an airborne system to produce electricity:

Driven by the wind, the automatically controlled power kite rises in figures of eight. As it gains altitude, it unwinds a tether from a winch on the ground. The tractive force drives a generator inside the winch that produces electricity. This is called the “work phase”. Once the tether has reached its maximum extension, the autopilot steers the kite into a neutral position with minimal drag and lift. While consuming only a fraction of the energy generated during the work phase, the generator now acts as a motor and reels-in the tether. The system continuously repeats this process, flying the kite at an altitude of 200 to 400 meters. 

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French company, Airseas has developed a large kite that attaches to a ship’s bow, using the wind to supplement engine power and reduce fuel consumption by about 20 percent.

Seawing integrated solution combines kite-technology with an automated flight control system developed by the aerospace industry to harness the power of the wind. Safe, clean, reliable and compact, the system can be used easily by virtually any commercial ship to reduce emissions and fuel consumption by an average of 20%.

Orbital Marine Power‘s unique floating platform is moored via anchors in tidal streams or river currents. Underwater 65-foot rotors capture energy.

Eco Wave Power Ltd. has designed 10-foot-long floating devices attached to piers, jetties and marine structures. These floaters use the rising and falling movement of waves to generate electricity.

More than 60 geothermal plants operate in the U.S., providing nearly four gigawatts of electricity. But the facilities tend to be concentrated in areas where Earth’s heat is easily accessible. Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) use technology that pumps hot water from deep below the surface. Heat is extracted and the geothermal water reinjected into the ground to reheat and be recycled. Cornell University is just one organization researching EGS.

Solar Space Technologies is planning the development of solar power generation from outer space by using solar power generation satellites, ground receiver sites and associated infrastructure to distribute energy.

Through its Space Solar Power Project, California Institute of Technology is one of many institutions researching the capture of solar power in space and transmission of energy to Earth through microwaves. Energy supply would be continuously available anywhere on earth.

The UK’s Space Energy Initiative will encourage development of space based solar power for secure baseload energy by collaboration between government, research and industry in the energy and space sectors.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the ruling party blocked a bill in Alberta’s legislature that would have prevented coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. British Columbia is relying on armed forces to ensure massively subsidized fossil fuel is transported across unceded territory, whether Indigenous leaders consent or not. Annual subsidies by four gas and oil producing provinces exceed $2 billion a year.

This country could be a leader in developing new technologies but chooses to spend its money to undermine climate progress and worsen the situation that makes conversion of energy systems so necessary.

Categories: Climate Change, Energy

2 replies »

  1. The Business Council of BC seems to think hallucinating politicians are the real problem. While that may be an accurate assessment, it would be refreshing to hear whether the council thinks public subsidies to its fossil-fuel members are a part of the hallucinations, and whether it supports redirection of said subsidies to businesses seeking transition solutions.

    https://bcbc.com/insights-and-opinions/opinion-energy-transition-wont-be-easy-especially-in-canada

    https://bcbc.com/insights-and-opinions/energy-transitions-and-the-things-we-never-talk-about

    Like

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