Over the week I have become convinced of the ability of renewable energy to help provide our ever increasing energy needs. As I discovered from interviews with the general public and then with industry experts, people’s concerns and fears are often unfounded or can easily be overcome. Renewable energy already makes a large contribution to world primary energy needs; in 2009 it amounted to 13% (Boyle, 2012). Renewable energy production is growing, and this is likely to continue.
A new experience and a huge learning curve for me during the week of Grand Challenges has been writing this blog. I began with a very academic approach so that the first entries I approached like an essay with some reflection added in places. Breaking through a mental barrier prohibiting me from writing in the first person was especially challenging.
A common and frustrating argument against renewable energies that I have been repeatedly encountering, throughout the week of research, is the aesthetics of them.
Exploring the biomes at the Eden Project is an experience that stays with you. It is an emotional encounter, and it’s supposed to be. Whilst you are in that space it changes your perspective, something distant and ‘other’ becomes immediate and surrounds you.
Having arrived at Eden and heard about the vision of Tim Smit, I have become intrigued with the idea of journeys and how humans connect with nature through them. A large part of his idea for Eden was that it should be a hidden paradise. A lost world to be ‘discovered’ by visitors. Visitors get an enhanced experience from having to travel into the wilderness to get there, rather than it being next to a major route.
In recent years the technological advances in harnessing wind energy has rapidly accelerated and turbines have become a much more common site in many countries; in the UK onshore wind generation increased by 7.9% between 2013 and 2014 (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2015).
Leading up to my Grand Challenge, I have been considering how the rising population is putting pressure on the world’s energy needs. Rapid human population growth is increasingly being recognised as a major force acting on our planet and a huge challenge for our future security.