Reading, seeing, watching, or listening to what passes off as news these days can inevitably bring a sense of doom, uncertainty, and fear (FUD) that some politicians love to bathe in to justify their middlemen role and push whatever pet project they have for their business buddies. But there is also good quality news out there if you let independent journalists communicate what they know best, fields they master for the purpose of bringing more light to important matters.
5 Trends That Will Give You Faith In Humanity
If you feel like packing and leaving for another country, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. But we do have some good news to share that should give you faith in more of your fellow countrymen/women.
1) Electric Vehicles Are Arriving
It may feel like it has taken forever, but electric vehicles (EV) are finally arriving — really arriving. We’re entering a point where the good groundwork from thousands of leaders putting in the sweat over the course of decades is bringing us commercially available electric cars that are better than similarly priced gas cars in practically every way. We’re also getting into an era of autonomous electric vehicles, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft (electric, of course), competitive electric scooters (e-scooters) that are also intelligent and can tell you if someone is tampering with them, competitive and diverse electric bicycles and motorcycles (e-bike and e-motorcycles), electric skateboards (e-skateboard) that will knock your socks off, and perhaps even the first commercially viable passenger electric airplanes (e-planes) of decent size and capacity. Electric vehicles have gone from a naive view and hope to a fast-growing industry moving serious cash as well as human flesh. With diesel car bans on top of this, life looks good for EVs.
2) Renewable Energy Is Up
Our understanding of renewable energy has also developed dramatically in just the past few years, with a lot of naysayers finally caving to the reality of clean energy’s potential — and remaining naysayers clearly trying to live in a warped and worse alternative reality. Utilities are connecting more renewable energy than fossil energy — all over the world — and cities are welcoming it as a way to take stronger climate, clean air, and public health action than states and nations are willing to take. New wind energy generation has been cheaper than electricity from new dirty energy projects in most of the world for a few years, and solar energy is increasingly undercutting wind energy — even in grey, northerly Europe!
3) The Demise Of Fossil Fuel As A Safe Investment
This one has been making waves constantly and consistently, but the story gets more and more clear. Now that renewable energy is on financial par with fossil fuels — well, cheaper than fossil fuels — and prices are still coming down at a strong clip, investing in fossil power plants doesn’t make much sense. Oil is facing a similar reckoning point as batteries and electric vehicles hit that key crossover point. The demise of fossil fuel investment is a real thing. It’s not just a hippie case, but a business case. Money is shifting in the massive energy market from dirty sources to clean sources.
4) Batteries Keep On Getting
Perhaps the star of the pack is batteries. Batteries are at the heart of some of the shifts above. They have consistently shown to grow in density while falling in price and now result in entry-level EVs below $20,000, or even below $10,000 in China. They also allow the Tesla Model 3 to outcompete traditional giants like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Prices for lithium-ion EV batteries have dropped by 75% in 6 years, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The price drops aren’t stopping either.
Batteries, by storing energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind blowing, will help renewable energy reach its full potential as well. That just grows the renewable energy adoption trend, and especially as solar panels + batteries or wind turbines + batteries are becoming more cost-competitive than polluting fossil fuel power plants.
5) Energy Efficiency Is In & Cool
Energy efficiency is not nearly as hot of a cleantech “brand,” but it is actually one of the greenest avenues to take and it is also following a strong forward and upward trend.
Data shows that efficiency in homes, transport, and industries throughout the European Union improved by about a fifth since 2000. US homes and business also keep getting more efficient as they learn that switching to LEDs, more efficient appliances, and simply newer products leads to significant energy and financial savings.
In Conclusion, Life Is Good?
We’ll hold off on passing that judgment but suffice it to say, it is better than many of us expected a few years ago it would become. The road is still tortuous and there is a lot of work to do while we reel in the lethargy and lack of action from companies and some of their political representatives. These 5 trends should make you a little hopeful, if not at least give you a better feel for the reality of things.