In Bill Mckibben’s Rolling Stone article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” he brings up the important fact that firstly the human race is destroying the environment at an unbelievable rate, and secondly that we currently posses the technology to reduce our production of carbon and slow this process down to a sustainable rate. He points to the fact that it is not that we cannot do this, but more so that we choose not to do this because we “lack the will” to change our ways.
In the article Mckibben discusses Germany’s amazing achievement when he wrote, “Germany is one of the only big countries that has actually tried hard to change its energy mix; on one sunny Saturday in late May, that northern-latitude nation generated nearly half its power from solar panels within its borders. That’s a small miracle – and it demonstrates that we have the technology to solve our problems. But we lack the will. So far, Germany’s the exception; the rule is ever more carbon.” (Mckibben) This portion of the article shows that because of the shift in weather (most likely due to our carbon emissions) we have the capability of harnessing the power of extreme winds and hot sunny days to produce enough energy for a large industrial country, proving that there is no need to be reliant on coal and oil and other fossil fuels.
According to wind-watch.org a single wind turbine has the capacity to power approximately 332 households consuming the US average of approximately 888 kWh per month, or 10,656 kWh per year. If every household where to consume green energy, then green energy sources would be providing electricity for approximately one third of the entire US energy consumption. Another alternative to wind energy is solar. What makes solar so appealing is its affordability (kind of) and its ability to be used at a consumer level.
I recently found an interesting article on Tesla’s Powerwall. Tesla, which was originally a high end electric car company has developed a small fuel cell (battery) that can be installed in a house to store energy created by green sources. The battery is the same battery used in both the Tesla Model S and Model X. This would allow for consumers to step away from the fossil fuel driven grid and look towards a greener form of energy. Tesla describes the battery on their website when they wrote, “Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply. Automated, compact and simple to install, Powerwall offers independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup.” (Tesla.com) This also shows the benefit of protecting your home against power outages. Tesla also discusses the how the battery works throughout the day when they wrote, “The average home uses more electricity in the morning and evening than during the day when solar energy is plentiful. Without a home battery, excess solar energy is often sold to the power company and purchased back in the evening. This mismatch adds demand on power plants and increases carbon emissions. Powerwall bridges this gap between renewable energy supply and demand by making your home’s solar energy available to you when you need it.” (Tesla.com) This demonstrates how the battery kicks in when energy costs are at its highest which in turn saves the consumer money and reduces the amount of carbon being released into the environment.
Question: Should the government subsidize at home batteries for the storage of green energy?