2019 is an exciting year for renewable energy. More and more countries and cities are adopting ambitious renewable energy targets and the technology is evolving rapidly. Many of these technologies, such as microgrids and energy storage, could become mainstream technology in the coming years. At this speed of innovation, it is difficult to keep track of all the changes!
This selection of TED Talks covers some of the most fascinating and promising energy topics for 2019. Be sure to read the 2018 Climate Change Overview and list of Energy Trends To Watch In 2019 before diving into these talks to better understand the impact of these new developments.
1. Accelerating The Shift To Clean Energy, Bill Nussey
Topic: Building local, consumer-driven electricity markets, such as the Brooklyn Microgrid, with renewable energy resources. (2017).
Nussey is an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, clean tech CEO and founder of the Freeing Energy Project.
“Solar and batteries are governed by something called Swanson‘s law, which states the more product you manufacture, the cheaper it gets. If we want to unleash society’s most powerful force for change, the irresistible economics of a lower price, we just need to make more and more solar panels and batteries. This is where you come in. For the first time in energy history, each of us can play a role in creating the future. All we have to do is embrace clean, local energy ourselves. Install solar panels. Purchase community solar. Buy an electric vehicle to drive up the battery volumes. Do business with companies powered by clean energy. Every little thing we do adds up.”
2. Batteries Not Included, Marek Kubik
Topic: How energy storage technologies are transforming our approach to electricity generation with renewables. (2018).
Kubik is an energy and sustainability futurist, Forbes 30 Under 30 Honouree and TEDx speaker.
“Solar and wind are already cost-competitive today. The cost of these technologies has fallen to a point where, in many countries, they are already the cheapest forms of electricity generation. And that trend is set to continue.”
3. Ground Zero For Global Energy Transition, Justin Locke
Topic: The role of leadership that small islands are taking in developing sustainable energy solutions. (2017).
Locke is a writer and speaker on sustainable energy and the director for the Islands Energy Program at the Rocky Mountain Institute. (See also: Electric Vehicles in Barbados).
“Islands have been determined as victims of colonization, occupation and now climate change. But now they are flipping that script and actually providing the solutions to the world’s most difficult challenge: how to combat climate change.”
4. A Printable, Flexible, Organic Solar Cell, Hannah Bürckstümmer
Topic: Efficient, flexible organic solar cells that can be printed in any shape to allow the facades of buildings to capture solar from every exposed surface. (2017).
Bürckstümmer has a background in chemistry and a curiosity about our environment, which she has translated into research into third-generation solar cells and work on the strategy and marketing for organic photovoltaics.
“This is pointing towards a future where buildings are no longer energy consumers, but energy providers. I want to see solar cells seamlessly integrated into our building shells to be both resource-efficient and a pleasure to look at. To exploit the potential of all facades and other areas, organic photovoltaics can offer a significant contribution, and they can be made in any form architects and planners will want them to.”
5. The Thrilling Potential For Off-Grid Solar Energy, Amar Inamdar
Topic: How the factors of distributed generation- lower costs, infrastructure and decentralization- are revolutionizing the energy market, to the benefit of the environment. (2017).
Inamdar works with businesses and entrepreneurs to imagine, create and grow markets that address our biggest social and environmental challenges.
“We aspire towards energy access for everybody, and we aspire towards a fully-functioning low-carbon economy. And we’re getting to the point where we’re seeing the fully-functioning low-carbon economy is not just about getting people onto the grid, it’s about getting people onto electricity and doing it in a way that’s really dignified.”
To learn more about the latest energy trends, you should read the 2018 Climate Change Overview and list of Energy Trends To Watch In 2019. Stay tuned for another selection of TED Talks in February with a focus on the latest science and action combating global climate change. Presented by James Ellsmoor is a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur.
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