How global-friendly are western energy solutions?

Ross Baldick ConsultingI recently presented a seminar, “Meeting Worldwide Demand for Electricity,” at the IEEE Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs workshop in Austin. My point: we can’t just export approaches that work in the west to the rest of the world, because these approaches are often too expensive. So we need to ask: What would be a cost-effective way to satisfy increasing demand for electricity without increasing emissions in the newly industrializing world?

As a first step to an answer, I wanted to rule out what is not cost-effective. For example, solar energy is often put forth as a way to produce affordable, low-emissions electricity. In some contexts, it certainly is; however, cost-effectiveness depends upon carefully keeping costs down and tailoring utilization to specific applications.

To analyze, then, the potential for deploying solar energy solutions, I used the University of Texas at Austin campus solar charging stations as a case study, supported by a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation.

My conclusion: this particular solar solution would be cost-prohibitive for newly industrialized applications.

For details, download the full presentation.

About Ross Baldick

Electricity is an increasingly complex industry in the midst of transition to renewables and decarbonization. Using my 25 years’ experience as an engineer, policy analyst, and academic, I help my consulting clients think through their toughest technical challenges and formulate their best business strategies.
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