I was recently invited to meet with a class of students studying energy and the future, and as a part of the session, I was asked to prepare a challenge for the students to work through. The result was interesting and showed a glimpse of what may lie ahead. It will certainly be a challenge that will require innovation, new concepts and a lot of hard work.
I showed a small area, powered by an electric utility (20% of total energy), natural gas (25% of local energy) and petroleum products (45% of total energy). The electric utility had capability to increase its energy delivered by about 25% in the next decade, and the students were asked to show how to minimize the emissions in that timeframe. They were free to add solar thermal or solar PV capacity to the system.