Energy Choices: Myth v. FactMonday, January 10, 2011
Mechanical Engineering magazine   (Browse all news)
The way we power our homes and cars and factories is one of the most important choices our society faces. Perhaps it’s the push of climate change, air pollution, resource depletion, and national security. Or maybe it’s the pull of new technologies and newfound energy supplies that may be cheap and clean. Either way, most experts expect that we are heading toward a virtual revolution in the power and energy industries over the next few decades.
But whether we can revolutionize our energy infrastructure—and how, exactly, we would do it—is not simply a question of technology. Economics will play a deciding role in what unfolds. For alternative technologies to be chosen among the mix of energy sources, they must be able to compete in the energy market. The future costs of energy technologies and the ever-changing price of conventional energy sources will determine the success of alternatives over conventional, fossil fuel-powered technologies.