If you want to create an effective energy policy for your company, you need to understand how energy consumption and production are likely to change in the foreseeable future. At least two broad trends are important to keep in mind. First, while renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, receive a great deal of attention, they will remain minor contributors to our overall energy mix. Nearly all our energy is derived from fossil fuels, whether petroleum, natural gas, or coal, and that will remain true for at least the next few decades. Second, demand for energy will continue to grow, keeping prices high. Although industrial energy consumption fell in 2009 as a result of the worldwide recession, by 2017 or so the industrial sector will consume more energy than all other users combined. That will not change for decades to come.
There is, of course, a wild card. If consumption trends continue and economic growth is strong, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use will nearly double by 2035. If, as climate scientists predict, this buildup of carbon dioxide begins producing dire effects related to global warming, all bets are off, because governments are likely to consider radical remedies to increase the use of cleaner energy sources.
How SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket might unlock the solar system—and beyond
With the first orbital test launch of Starship on the horizon, scientists are dreaming about what it might make possible— from trips to Neptune to planetary defense.
DeepMind says its new language model can beat others 25 times its size
RETRO uses an external memory to look up passages of text on the fly, avoiding some of the costs of training a vast neural network
The therapists using AI to make therapy better
Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.
What it will take to unleash the potential of geothermal power
Four new pilot plants funded by the US infrastructure bill could help expand the range of the “forgotten renewable.”
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.