Sustainable Development – On the Way to the Second Solar Civilization
Wind turbines, central station solar thermal plants, solar photovoltaics, and biomass and urban waste fueled power plants are all now ready to compete with fossil fuel based systems, in spite of the market structures that still favor fuel based choices. Not only is their use expandable and sustainable, but there is still room for major improvement of these technologies, unlike the “leamed out” fossil and nuclear technologies we rely on now.
A vision is nothing; its fulfillment is everything. We must make good choices now if we are to put in place the new sustainable infrastructures in time to avert the consequences of our current profligate and unsustainable resource use.
Specifically, our energy policies must be informed by an overarching ethic that emphasizes stewardship versus ownership. Likewise, we must engage a relentless practice of energy efficiency involving informed decisions at every level of production, delivery and use.
Cost-effective efficiency technologies not only mitigate environmental harm and strengthen regional economies, but they open the economic window for renewable sources as well.
Further, we must carefully attend to business and economic issues, learning lessons from commercialization successes and failures, and tearing down barriers to renewables and efficiency that are imbedded in current markets.
Government R&D priorities and risk sharing policies must also change, creating new structures for risk sharing in commercialization and market regulation, and a balance between funding for “efficiency technologies” and “supply technologies”.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1994
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