Exciting Developments in Green Energy Technology, but Why Is U.S. Lagging Behind?

After taking a week off from discussing alternative energy policy and advances in the field to discuss the idea of the Technological Singularity and its implications with regard to mobile and communications technologies, I want to return to discussing green energy and United States policy as far as it is concerned.

As you can see in the article from Webecoist, several new technologies are on the rise. These advances include the fact that the first ever 3D photovoltaic system has now been developed, allowing for a system that delivers six times the power of the more traditional flat panels; although, I disagree with the author’s assessment that those flat panels that you sometimes see lining the roofs of buildings such are unsightly. Personally, I find them to be a beautiful sight whenever I see them!

Now, these were developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but I find it unfortunate that there has been no widespread public iniative to convert private residences and business as well as government buildings to solar power yet in the United States. I personally feel that having such a push from the highest levels of government would be a great public works project that could provide thousands of jobs, giving our economy a much needed boost. Our country is developing the technology, but we are not pursuing putting it into use as well as we could be.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:

Another advancement in green energy technology is osmotic power, which passes fresh water through a membrane into salt water, thus creating a power source. Norway has been the first country to develop and osmotic power plant, and there are hopes that Norway could be completely run by such power in the foreseeable future.

In developing countries, a San Jose, California based group called From Cows to Kilowatts is hoping to convert waste from slaughterhouses into methane gas that can be converted into electricity and used as a cooking fuel.

In Denmark, wind power really seems to be taking off, with many families realizing that not only can they generate enough power for their family with just a few turbines, they could potential generate enough power for several families.

Lastly, in India, the country’s government has announced a solar power initiative that aims to generate twenty gigawatts of power by 2022. This could result greenhouse emissions by up to eighteen percent.
While it is exciting to see such developments taking place across the globe, I can’t help but question why U.S. policy-makers in Congress aren’t pushing alternative energy sources, especially as we are coming off the news that in 2012, the polar ice caps are at their lowest size ever, a shrinkage which has been most likely fueled by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Even more alarming is that the House Republicans introduced a bill in February of 2011 that would gut the Environmental Protection Agency, stripping it of its ability to enforce greenhouse gas emissions regulations and which would slash Federal funding for research into energy and the climate. If the Republicans can gain control of the Senate in the 2012 election, this bill could very well become law.

At a time when the rest of the world seems to be gaining an edge on green energy development, and with new evidence suggesting that greenhouse gas caused climate change may begin to have a startling effect on food supplies and weather patterns in the near future, we cannot, as a nation, afford to fall behind in energy research now.

The articles referenced in this post are listed below.




  1. With the United States turning to a greener way of life, I find it surprising that they are not doing more to promote green energy sources. Finding alternatives for fossil fuels is essential, since they will not be around forever. Therefore, helping to change over to solar, wind, or finding new ways to support electricity would be a great development to look into now instead of waiting until it’s too late.
    I also agree with you that allowing for even the change over to solar power would help create jobs and help the economy during this time when it is in need of a way to boost it.

  2. Rance great topic man. You show us how if we went green that it could change our lives forever. By going gree with solar, 3D photovoltaic system, and teaching about each of those. It really shows us what technology can do for our country. Now I know some people say that technology is a horrible thing, but I think if they were to read this it might change their minds a little bit.

  3. This is such an interesting post. I also find solar panels to be fascinating and beautiful. It is just amazing how the whole process works. Until now, I have never heard of osmotic power, but I would like to learn more about it. I am in agreement with you in that it is hard to believe that the United States is not pursuing more green energy initiatives considering what is happening to our climate. We have the resources and the knowledge and it doesn’t make sense why politicians are trying impede progress. It is sad that the US is such an advanced country yet we are slowly falling behind the rest of the world in terms of alternative energy.

  4. I agree with ral2w, it is sad to think we are falling behind. I personally do not know too much about alternative energy but it seems to me that it should be a top priority in this day and age. I had not thought about how this could create jobs. What a wonderful idea! This is a subject that should be taught in schools at a young age to get minds turning.

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