Monthly Archives: November 2016

Climate Challenges – What role is energy technology playing in reducing the effects on climate change?

What is climate change? Climate change speaks to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer. Global warming speaks to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth’s surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

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We all have noticed that climate change is happening. The temperatures have increased over the years. Statistical data have been released whereby it was noted that the earth’s average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees in the past century. Although these changes seem small in nature overtime they will cause major changes in the climate and weather. There has been a great shift on the weather, in some parts of the world there has been heavy downpour, other parts drought, in recent years there has been major heat waves lasting for a longer period of time. The temperature on Earth heavily relies on the balance of energy in the planet.   We are seeing the earth’s ocean being affected by being warmer and the high level of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater.   Ice glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. The culprit of this global warming is predominantly due to human activities which have caused to be released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are derived from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil to produce energy. The greenhouse gases are emitted into the air which forms a blanket around the Earth, the energy is disbursed around the atmosphere and it gets warm. This “greenhouse effect” is vital for the survival on earth. Also, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased the greenhouse gases. As a result of this built up of greenhouse gases it can change the Earth’s climate.

 

How is climate change being addressed globally?

 

As per the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate Change (UNFCCC) which states that every country commits to implement modifications to help lessen the impact of climate change. The target is meeting was to limit warming of 2 Celsius; this will be accomplished only by a reduction of 41% in total energy related to carbon dioxide emissions, and 70% reduction in power sector emissions. Every country will be facing different challenges due to their limited economic development, access to the developed energy infrastructure, access to cheap domestic fossil resources and renewable energy potential. The commitment includes the omission of fossil fuel and changing on how we use land. The energy challenge for the future will be to meet the challenge of achieving the world’s growing energy needs in a reliable and competitive way at the same time help to fight against climate change. The plan is to curtail the three quarters of global GHG emissions, which are energy related, as such major changes and transformations are necessary in order to satisfy the UNFCCC agreement. In order to meet the 2C deadline we must consider utilizing nuclear power as among the energy sources and technologies available today that could meet the climate-energy challenge. Transformation of the energy sector will play an important role in accomplishing to meet the 2C requirement; energy is the primary contributor to environmental warming gases, but the energy transition plays a key factor to a cleaner and more secure energy future. The transitions of energy companies by implementing improvements in low-carbon energy technologies are dropping costs of renewable energy. The implementation for onshore wind and new utility-scale solar panel installations has improved the decrease of the impact on climate change.   Action that must be taken in order to achieve the 2C requirement is to ensure that we address the coal and gas fired power plant emissions since coal and gas power plants generate 63% of today’s global electric supply. The use of renewable sources might solve this problem instead of using fossil fuels. In California, the utility company PG&E made a commitment that they by 2031 will be 55% using renewable energy, and will be closing their Diablo Canyon Plant. The use of renewable resources is one of the ways to fight against climate change.

Another option will be the utilization of nuclear energy to mitigate further the cause of global warming. The application of nuclear energy where it utilizes electron beam irradiation, are effective for the removal of gaseous pollutants, including harmful gases such as dioxide, nitrogen oxide which are emitted in Carbon fuel power plants. Nuclear energy can be useful to mitigate the problem of pollution in the ocean. Recently it was reported that European scientists developed a multi-band gas sensor (i.e. Miregas) which can be used to detect poisonous gases in the atmosphere. This device uses a novel light source to detect dozens of emissions effectively. They hope that this gas sensor will be able to help to reduce global warming by detecting harmful gases at a faster rate; this project is estimated to be in its final stage of completion by 2020.

 

Climate change in the era of Trump

Many countries have taken action to accelerate their plans to adopt procedures to address climate change in the wake of president elect Donald Trump. President elect Donald Trump during his campaign has on numerous occasions took the stance that any increase in global warming is not due to human intervention today, president elect Donald Trump has changed his outlook and commented that he thinks that there is some connection between human activity and climate change. Trump has made energy one of the hottest topics in his run for presidency. He has committed to undo President Obama climate change initiatives. One of the ways is that Trump has declared that he will fight to remove the U.S. from the agreement signed at the UNFCCC by President Obama. Trump has stated that he will throw out the Clean Power Plan, where it was implemented in order to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, predominantly those plants which were using coal. Trump also has stated that he will bring back coal and will create many jobs; this action will put U.S. back many years in the fight against climate change. Canada has announced earlier this week that it is planning to move up the transition from traditional coal power to clean energy by 2030 and will result in an improvement of air quality and an increase in health of the Canadians citizens. China has become the forefront in satisfying their commitment to clean energy by the production of huge amounts of solar panels. Countries are being held accountable for their commitment to implement proper strategies to deliver a greener future. It is estimated that 60% of global energy demand growth over the next 20 years will come from either gas or zero-carbon fuels such as wind and solar. If U.S. goes back to revitalizing the use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas it will mitigate the work that has been done to date to provide clean energy.

 

 

Visualize The World In 2050- Transportation and Energy Here And Now

-Transportation in the Future – Revamping the U.S. Transportation system by 2050

The technologies of traditional transportation require the use of fossil fuels for vehicle energy. The combination of the rising cost of fuel prices, and the detrimental effects of petroleum as a fuel source there has been an uprising interest in finding alternative in transportation technology.

 

For many years companies have been working diligently in advancing with the development of sustainable transportation alternatives, as discussed throughout the semester about the development of hybrid and electric vehicle technology. Hybrid Cars use a rechargeable energy storage system to supplement fossil fuel energy for vehicle propulsion. The hybrid’s smaller engines from the regular cars are more efficient, and have the capability to use a combination of different fuels such as petroleum and ethanol. Hybrid electric vehicles have a battery inside and are able to be charged from the main power. Hybrid cars also have the capability for an energy recovery mechanism, which slows a vehicle by converting its kinetic energy into a form which can be either used immediately, or it can be stored and used later on. Jaguar Land Rover will be building electric cars for Britain according to Fortune. According to Forbes Britain has committed to investing $485m for the introduction of autonomous cars and for the improvement of greener technologies for their cars.   China has invested approximately $4.5 billion in 2015 to build electric cars in order to decrease its fuel imports as well as improve its air pollution. China automakers have introduced into the market various electric vehicle models; it was estimated that between January through October 2016 there were 337,000 new-energy vehicles, which includes all energy and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It is estimated that there will be approximately 5 million new energy vehicles on the road by 2020.

 

According to Feng An claims that by 2050 China’s transportation sector by introducing all motor vehicles free of exhaust emissions; China is strategically addressing its energy deficiency my implementing new-energy powered fast trains and bio-powered airships. Boats and ships will be able to be powered by underwater energy stored stations utilizing wave and solar energy.   The future of transportation is full of new prospects. Various car companies are approaching the increase in demand for energy in various ways.

 

Another means of transportation is the introduction of vehicles powered by fuel cells. Japan is the dominant country which is introducing the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.   It has been estimated that approximately 40,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will hit the road by 2020 as well as 160 fueling stations. The fuel cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle which uses a fuel cell, instead of a battery, or in combination with a battery, to power its on-board electric motor.

 

Public Transportation in the Future – Solar-Powered Trains

 

What is in the future for public transportation? Californian Tom Hunt claims that renewable energy such as solar power trains can be utilized in the train system. The company Solar Trains LLC which has been founded by Tom Hunt has initiated the probability to construct a solar canopy over miles of the train tracks, enough to solar-power the nation’s electric train system. The concept is to install the solar panels above canopies instead of putting them on the trains and the trains would travel under the canopies. The introduction to use solar as canopies above the trains would result in trains going faster and more efficient. The use of solar train canopy has the capacity to reduce enormously the use of fossil energy on trains. Currently the NJ Northeast Corridor, Midtown Direct, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley Line use overhead wires to run its trains, just imagine if the system would convert to using solar powered trains there will never experience overhead wire problems due to temporary power loss. According to Hunt the trains would be more efficient. The Obama administration had provided funding for this type of rail improvement but the Republican governors declined. Currently California is making an attempt to improve its rail system for high-speed rail linking the Bay Area to Southern California, which will be entirely powered by electricity; this plan is a long time away from being completed. This type of rail system overhaul is a huge undertaking, which needs to be thought out carefully.

 

 

 

Public Transportation in the Future – Solar-Powered Cars

 

Solar powered cars get their energy from the sun by converting it into electricity. These cars are powered by electricity, which fuels the battery, which also runs the car’s motor, but some solar cars direct the power straight to an electric motor. Solar cars use photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into energy. One of the major benefits of a solar car is that they are efficient for the environment since they do not create greenhouse gases. The Solar powered car of the future would entail a car being covered in solar coatings which will be able to be charged up while going down the highway or being parked in a sunny spot. Currently, a German solar company by the name of Heliatek is introducing this idea whereby constructing a car whose sun roof is replaced by an organic solar cell windows.

 

 

Transportation in the Future – Fly Electric!

 

It has been projected that by 2025 Electric Planes will be the way to fly.   In 2015 a plane was tested to fly in the French Alps. It was a two-seater aircraft, which ascended more than 20,000 feet in under two minutes, and reached speeds of 142 miles an hour; an overall flight duration of 300 miles. This plane did not burn any fuel and did not release any gases, and used an all-electric powered by a single battery. Engineers at the University of Stuttgart built the electric powered plane. It is estimated to be cost effective as well as safe to the environment. Currently it is estimated that an airplane releases around 500 million tons of carbon dioxide into the earth each year, which is an apparent factor for global warming; electric flight will replace petrochemical. By 2025 if these electric planes are utilized they have the capability to carry 100 passengers, and due to advances to these technologies flying might become cheaper in the long run.

 

 

Transportation in the Future – Fly Solar!

 

On July 13, 2016 after sixteen months and a 17-leg journey, a solar powered plane concluded it’s around the world flight touching down in Abu Dhabi. The plane as it is named “Solar Impulse 2”. The solar powered plane was the result of the commitment of providing clean air flying. The plane’s wings are compiled with 17,000 solar cells that power four electric motors. The solar cells recharge lithium batteries that allow the plane to fly at night. There are numerous improvements that need to be made; as such it might not be a means of air transportation any time in the near future. Flying solar is not a possibility now, but might be in 20 years from now with further research into alternative aircraft power.

How Will Climate Change Affect Energy Transformation?

As the world discovers new ways to meet its growing energy needs, energy generated from Sun, which is better known as solar power, and energy generated from wind called the wind power are being considered as a means of generating power. Solar power is one of the widely used methods of renewable technology or alternative energy which is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells. In the past these solar panels were predominantly used in remote locations, but today these solar panels are being installed on top of roofs of homes and schools in the urban areas as well. Whereas French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions, their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and ponds, and hydro-electric dam reservoirs. The combination of solar power and wind power to produce enormous energy called the solar wind power which will satisfy all energy requirements of human kind. Power companies are increasing their efforts to address Climate change. Energy technology innovation is essential to addressing climate mitigation goals, as well as supporting economic and energy security objectives. Companies must meet these demands by providing cost-effective technologies. The reliance on fossil fuels and recent trends such as unexpected energy market fluctuations strengthen the reason to make sure that energy companies evaluate the future demand in order to adequately plan accordingly. In 2015 global climate change became a very hot topic of discussion among government leaders throughout the world. The energy sector is involved in innovations to address clean energy technologies across all sectors important for an economy based on low carbon power sources that as a result will have a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions into the biosphere. According to iea.org wind and solar PV have the potential to provide 22% of annual electricity sector emissions reduction by 2050. With growing demand for energy, there is also a need to provide the infrastructure to provide this growing demand it forces the emerging careful management of available resources to reduce carbon dioxide by inventing low-carbon solutions.

Climate change has been such a concern on a global basis. A conference was held in Paris on December 2015 whereby all of the world’s nations agreed by consensus to all work together to take action on the issue of climate change. They reached an agreement that countries would make every effort to limit the use of greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement disallows for countries to utilize fossil fuel and an energy producer. As President Elect Donald Trump takes office we should see what his actions will entail. As of now Trump has as much stated that he will attempt to renegotiate the agreement. During the campaign Trump has as much expressed that he does not believe that climate change is manmade. There have been numerous discussions lately on the subject, but we should wait and see what transpires once he is in office.

 

Energy Storage- The New Power Supply House

A UK based company, Highview Power Storage, has introduced its Liquid Air Energy Storage technology. In 2014 the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change awarded them approximately $11.6m grant to build a plant which is designed to convert low-grade waste heat from the onsite landfill gas engines into electrical power. It was assumed that this system will be cost effective, clean and will bear no environmental impact. It has integrated storage energy technology by using cheap, off peak energy to cool air using a conventional industrial refrigeration plant. The technology comprises of three basic principles of Liquid Air Energy Storage which is: a charging system, energy store; and a power recovery. When it’s charging at off-peak or has excess electricity it is used to power an air liquefier, which produces liquid air. Then the liquid is stored in a tank at low pressure. When the power needs to be recovered, the liquid air is pumped to high pressure, evaporated and heated. The high pressure gas drives a turbine to generate electricity. When heat is added gas is released which makes the process more efficient.   According to Highview liquid air energy storage has advantages over other storage technologies since it does not require the same material as the lithium that batteries need. The material that is used in the industrial refrigeration plant is stainless steel. The advantages of Liquid Air Energy Storage is predominantly due to no geographical constraints, low capital cost, long lifetime of over 25 years, scaleable to 100MWs/GWhs, mature components available for a global supply chain, integration of industrial low-grade waste heat and waste cold, uses no scare or toxic materials.

Highpower International Inc. is a company which engages in providing clean energy storage and manufactures lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Their products are being used in various electronic products such as solar energy storage systems, backup power systems as well as electric vehicles.

 

General Electric is one of the leading energy sector where is always thinking of the future of Energy Storage. The management and control team of energy supply and usage is always surveying new ways for the search for new, more cost-effective energy storage solutions. These systems main purpose is to store energy for use on demand. The United States is the leader in providing these services to develop and developing countries. There are various types of storage systems: solid state batteries, flow batteries, thermal and hydro, but batteries have become the company’s main business target. The US Government has taken an interest in ensuring that utilities companies are addressing energy storage and offers $4.5 billion in loan grantees for these companies to develop innovative energy solutions.   GE’s energy storage solutions are currently present in 25 countries where it has the capabilities of producing over 50 megawatt hours of grid storage. In 2015 to increase its business model GE has announced a spinoff of energy storage, solar and electric vehicles into a startup called Current. GE’s aim is to utilize Current’s business model in order to cut energy waste, simplify power by combining separate energy products, manage demand and ultimately cut customer energy bills. https://www.gerenewableenergy.com/innovative-solutions/energy-storage.html

 

 

Another company by the name of Southern California Edison believes that supply from batteries is ready to compete against gas-fired peaker plants. One of the largest power grids, PJM Interconnection LLC, believes that lithium-ion batteries are already competitive with gas when it is needed short term. The battery storage systems have three basic parts: the DC battery that stores the energy, the AC power conversion that converts the energy from AC to DC and a control system that manages the operation of the storage system.

With the technology always changing companies are forever dipping into diversifying its business model. Tesla Motors, In., one of the leading electric cars maker in 2015 announced that it has produced solar-rechargeable, whole-house electric battery. Tesla is one company that its aim is to develop green technology. Tesla introduced its first electric car of which one of the advantages of driving an electric car is that if you forget to power the battery and leave it to drain completely the car will lock, all the wheels lock and the car won’t move again without a new replacement battery of approximately $30,000. To resolve this problem it partnered with Panasonic to manufacture the lithium-ion cells for their electric vehicles.  Tesla Motors is also planning to enter the market of creating solar roofs that will be integrated with battery storage collected from the rooftop solar panels. Mercedez Benz is another company who is also planning to offer its consumers a garage-mounted battery pack to store energy collected from rooftop solar panels.

 

 

 

The Future In Energy Transformation

What will the future of Energy be like in 30-50 Years? There are higher future energy demands; in the next 30 to 50 years and our global environment will demand more and more energy. There are three driving forces that will make energy more in demand. There is a vast increase in technologically dependency. The emerging technologies (i.e. autonomous vehicles, advanced genomics, mobile) have the potential to change and reshape the surroundings in which we live and work. The extensive use of the Internet whereby people rely extensively to communicate through email, the use of online banking, tools to find information and many more. These are just a few of things that people are so reliant on the internet. It has been estimated that by 2051, the US population is projected to reach the 400 million threshold, and 420 million by 2062. The future of energy is also affected by the supply side of energy, whereby various sources of energy are working together to make fuel in order to satisfy the increasing demands in the next 30 to 50 years. As we noted earlier coal was the dominant source of energy in America, but in recent years the use of coal has decreased drastically, as such in the future will be the second most protrusive source used in the future as energy over the next 30-50 years. This decrease in coal is predominantly due to coal plants becoming older and obsolete. As a result, the closing of these coal plants mean that there will be less coal being produced. The closing of old plants does not necessary induce for new coal plants to be built. It is estimated that coal with drop by 30% of the nation’s energy in the year 2064.   Another agent of energy change is the increase of renewable energy. Solar and wind are two examples. It is vital that both government and businesses are knowledgeable on the upcoming new technologies so that they can begin implementing strategies and start preparing for its impact.   In recent years there have been numerous disruptive technologies introduced into the public sector. Natural Gas will be considered the primary source of energy. The growth of natural gas will be the biggest change. Natural gas is considered to be in abundance and cheap. Currently, 25% of natural gas accounts for the production of electricity, and the majority of homes are being heated by natural gas. Due to the high gas demand, low cost, and the abundance of it, natural gas will be the driving factor of utilization in the future. In the year 2040, natural gas is estimated to make up 35% of US energy production, resulting in being the driver source of energy surpassing coal consumption. It is apparent that the advancement will forever revolutionize the lives of many people, businesses and especially the overall economy. Energy transformation is being driven by five global megatrends interacting with and amplified by a set of shifts taking place within the power sector. The five megatrends-technological breakthroughs; climate change and resource scarcity; demographic and social change; a shift in global economic power and rapid urbanization – are challenges for businesses. Is the Energy sector ready to revitalize its business model to sustain current and future disruptive innovations? In the near future, society will be forced to find new ways and will be required to research and develop alternative energy sources. If no action will be taken in coming up with new ways to generate energy there will be an energy crisis in this century. Breakthroughs and advances have been made in the technology sector of renewable energy. Energy companies are addressing the growing demand of having to provide new products and services by making strides in how energy sources are extracted, created and used. Renewable energy technologies are being utilized such as solar wind and hydro power, which are more efficient for meeting today’s growing energy demands. According to Forbes “The development of energy storage technology is going to be one of the defining features of the 21st century’s energy landscape”. Energy storage technologies allow you to get the most out of renewable energy resources such as wind, which produces more power than it is needed at night where much goes to waste. They can use this wasted energy to heat homes and offices. One of the future sources of energy storage as we said is batteries. Batteries are an integral part of an electric vehicle. This energy storage technology, i.e. “zombie” batteries are being used in the existing electronic vehicle. As the demand increases and the number of electronic vehicles are increasing in purchases, charging stations are being set up in various places. It has been estimated that a lithium ion battery could last from 5 to 20 years and still retain 80% of its charge. The lithium ion battery afterlife can be utilized in homes.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000397437

 

 

 

Various countries utilize solar power, wind power and water power as their renewable energy. It is estimated that in the future renewable energy sources will be a thing of the past. Korea is planning to invest $36 Billion in renewable energy by year 2020. They are planning to use this money to develop renewable energy industries, such as solar and wind power and eco-friendly power plants by year 2020. It is estimated that power plants will generate 13 million kilowatts of electricity manually which is an equivalent of 26 coal plants. In addition, 4.5 trillion is to be invested in energy storage and 2 trillion in eco-friendly power plants. Another advantage to this investment of building plants and investing in renewable energy will result in an increase of 30,000 jobs by 2020. The Netherlands has built a high-tech Dutch solar bike path. This high-tech solar bike path is called “SolaRoad”, whereby one of the two lanes has solar panels which serves as the feeder of energy back to the grid. The solar panels are designed to be able to generate enough electricity to power homes. After a year of testing it was concluded that the solar panels generated enough energy to power a home for a year just from operating for only six months. There is still more work to be done with improving these solar panels; an issue occurred whereby a portion of the panels peeled off and the path had to be closed off. Japan has entered the solar panel by placing them on their rooftop. Japan has begun work on what will be the biggest floating solar farm. This solar farm is being built on a reservoir. This is estimated to supply energy to approximately 5,000 households when it is completed in 2018. China, Brazil, Egypt and India are also countries which have joined in putting solar panels on their rooftop. The government is encouraging Tokyo builders to make buildings more energy-efficient with solar panels in addition to having form of storage and other devices such as fuel cells. California installed solar panels which resulted in an excess of solar energy. California is considered the leader in the production of solar energy.

 

 

 

 

Can you imagine a world without energy?

We need energy to live…everything we see, feel, hear depends on energy. There are many forms of energy, chemical energy, chemical reaction, radiant energy, mechanical energy, electrical energy, static electricity and nuclear energy. The future of energy: more complex, resourceful technology and brilliant innovations. Global demand for affordable, reliable energy will continue to increase at a rapid rate. Technology plays a vital role for the increase demand of the transformation of new energy.   How will the world satisfy its need for energy? Demand for energy continues to increase persistently. Great challenges materialize for the increased demand of energy; the long-term environmental sustainability of fossil fuels, vulnerabilities in the energy supply chain, and volatility in energy markets. As it relates to energy transformation, these challenges could have serious impact on how it is produced and used, and will be a critical factor in the future of the global economy, geopolitics, and the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2015 the U.S. produced 4 trillion kilowatt rows of electricity, of which 67% was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum). What are some of the components which will affect the resolution for the U.S. energy markets through 2040? Energy market trends are analyzed and the forecasts of such analysis of trends are being utilized in order to examine if there is a need for changes in policies, rules and regulations. This analysis serves as an indicator to address the role energy will potentially play in the future of advanced technology. In August, 2016 the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) devised “The Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AE02016)” which discloses their long-term forecasts of energy supply, demand, and prices through 2040. This report is utilized to provide an analysis of energy market trends which will be the focal point for the determination of potential changes in policies, rules and regulations. In addition, it reviews the impact that advanced technologies might have on the demand of energy in the future. The report focuses on the revisions of rules and regulations.

 

In the 2016 AE02016 changed its Clean Power Plan to require different states for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel generators, and an extension of tax credits for wind and solar energy. Along with a decrease of natural gas prices, the changes will in the end affect the projected electricity generation fuel mix.

  • It addresses the implications of the changing electricity generation fuel mix for overall coal demand and the coal production outlook across U.S. coal supply regions.
  • It points to the fact that there is a decrease in usage from customers and an increase in onside production (Solar panels).
  • Addresses the implication that resource and technology improvements and prices on the outlook for U.S. oil and natural gas production.
  • Discusses the implications of medium- to heavy vehicle
  • Addresses alternative economic, energy market, and policy scenarios for energy related emissions.

According to the AE02016 report, when the state implements its Clean Power Plan the results disclosed projections from the 2015 Net Electricity production from coal, natural gas, and renewable, reported levels of: natural gas-fired electricity production increases by 26% in 2030 and by 44% in 2040, and generation production for renewable increases by 99% in 2030 and by 152% in 2040. The projected changes are the effect in electricity production with both natural gas and renewable exceeding coal production in 2024 (natural gas) and in 2028 (renewable). Without the Clean Power Plan the levels of: coal-fired generation 436 million kWh lower than in 2015; natural gas-fired generation is 594 billion KWh higher than in 2015; and renewable generation is 828 billion kWh higher than in 2015. Based on this analysis it discloses that the coal-fired generation continues to decline even if there is no Clean Power Plan put in place, and the natural gas becomes the dominant fuel for the production of electricity.

 

 

Technology and the Art World

The age of robots is quickly approaching if not already here, and it may pose a threat to aspiring artists. There are two technological advances that will have a particular impact on the art industry: Virtual/Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

Virtual Reality devices provide fully immersive experiences that allows users to personally interact within a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment. Virtual Reality is not limited to video games. Graphic Designers may want to take a look into this, not only for game design but also for social media platforms and educational platforms. Videographers ought to consider adapting to this trend by training themselves on how to use 360° cameras. Painters may want to have a go at Google’s Tilt Brush, which allows you to paint inside a virtual reality. Augmented Reality devices allow users to function in the real world, supplemented by computer-generated information. There are an increasing number of exhibitions that allow viewers to interact with art pieces that ‘come to life’ through augmented reality with their smartphone. Those who like to stick with traditional mediums may want to consider using augmented reality to show photographs of their artworks at multiple galleries at the same time.

Machines with Artificial Intelligence function in ways normally thought to only be associated with human minds. For example, some AIs are self-learning or are able to understand human speech. What does this have to do with artists? Well, people have created algorithms that allowed them to 3D-print an original painting that looked exactly like a Rembrandt.

Scared now? But Artificial Intelligence cannot possibly encroach on the beauty of the human soul…can it? Take a look at Cozmo, an AI robot designed to mimic human emotions. Of course, this robot is not the end-all-be-all; but neither were flip-up cell phones. It may not be impractical to predict that one day, AI will be able to do everything that we artists can do.

A few consoling thoughts; I expect that ours would be one of the last occupations to be replaced by AI, considering how challenging it is to quantify emotions and personalities. I also imagine that after the robot-craze over digital realities, autonomous vehicles, 3D-printers and AI, people may look once again to the value of the ‘human touch’ and the raw, natural world. Humans are flawed, and we may need to be prepared to market that aspect of ourselves; our struggles are what makes us unique – what makes us beautiful.

It is very important for us artists to begin asking ourselves how we are going to adapt to this increasingly technological world. Once upon a time people bought from whatever artists were in the local area. Now, people can buy from any artist they like via the internet, making it all the more challenging for each one of us to stand out among millions of other artists. How exactly do we do that?

Let me explain one approach with a personal experience of mine. Two summers ago in Anchorage, Alaska, I found a very nice handmade belt with native designs on it, made by a man who called himself Ziggy. We talked briefly about our lives, and he told me that he painted most of the murals in Anchorage, learned more than 100 trades throughout the course of his life, and ran for mayor of Anchorage 3 times. After I bargained the belt down to $75, I watched him finish making it by customizing it to fit my waist. Had I seen the same exact belt for sale at Macy’s, I would never have bought it in a million years. But I got a handmade Alaskan belt made by a man with a scraggly beard who ran for mayor three times – I do not regret a thing.

There is a saying that people do not buy artwork – they buy the artist. Marketing one’s artwork on social media is just the beginning. One needs to market their personality, their character, their visions, and even other passions. Our art is not the only thing that has to be relatable; the more relatable you as a person are, the easier it becomes to make exchanges.

In summary, current technological advances have as huge an impact on our industry as any other. I strongly encourage other artists to think critically about how they can adapt to current and incoming trends in order to share their individual gifts and insights to the world.

 

This is a rough-draft article expected to publish on The Stillman Exchange sometime in the near future.

Blockchain: What we’ve learnt so far

As a group, we researched blockchain and identified multiple uses and functions of this groundbreaking technology. Central banks, corporations and financial institutions alike are understanding the importance of integrating this encrypted ledger. In doing so, they hope to ensure longevity by avoiding disruption.

Please enjoy the video below:

What I Have Learned about Virtual Reality

Along with the rest of the Virtual Reality team, I too made my own video explaining some of the most important things that I learned from the investigations my group and I have done on VR and AR. Extending beyond some of the basic information about virtual reality that you can read on Wikipedia, I hope this video will make you think about the ways that we use these technologies in our everyday lives. Hope you like it and please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or criticisms.