Although the price of a barrel of oil has fluctuated considerably over the years, it is clear that the lack of fossil fuel is going to be of major concern in the future. The United States is the single biggest consumer of oil, yet most of the oil consumed comes from foreign areas, causing anxiety with regard to international relations.
When the price of oil is high, shipping costs also rise. This can make it much more expensive to acquire consumer goods from the foreign manufacturers, upon whom we have become so reliant. Here are some key points in the future of consumer energy solutions:
Solar power has proven to be a solid choice for renewable energy, in a wide variety of locations. It is very versatile since panels can be installed on rooftops or special stands, and can also be very portable. Small panels are great for when small amounts of power are needed at remote locations.
Since solar panels can be installed on rooftops, extra structures are not necessarily required in order to install a solar system. As populations increase, this could result in the saving of a lot of land that can instead be used for industry or for growing food.
Wind power is a good choice for areas that have consistent winds. Coastal areas and plains are often prime locations for wind turbines. Areas that have a lot of high wind gusts can make wind power a challenge, since these systems work best with steady winds.
As oil supplies from traditional wells become scarcer, there is bound to be oil from more unconventional sources such as deep-water production and “tight oil”. Deep-water production has experienced negative publicity due to the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Deep-water production however accounts for one third of worldwide oil production, and improvements in safety and technology will help prevent future incidents. Oil shale sands have also become a significant source of increased oil production. Although the cost of oil derived via these methods is higher than traditional methods, the growing demand for energy makes it worthwhile.
The future of energy production
As the population of the world increases and more of its residents enter the middle class, the demand for energy is going to rise. This demand must be met to avoid economic stagnation and worse. Renewable energy will rise to meet this demand. In the past renewable energy was expensive, but over the last decade the cost of wind and solar power has plummeted, making it an affordable and sensible choice for many people. Future innovations will lead to more efficient solar energy cells and better wind turbines.
Alternative methods of obtaining traditional oil will continue to be in play as long as it is financially feasible for companies to do this. Daniel Yergin, an energy expert working towards practical energy solutions for a growing world, maintains that the answer to the world’s energy demands can be met using a combined practical approach to create energy solutions that work for a wide variety of nations and people.