Archive: Environment & Energy

October 24th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy, Environment & Energy | No Comments

Solar energy growing too fast?

iStock_000016699748XSmallInteresting that conversation is beginning to focus on whether solar energy and other renewables are growing too fast for the current electricity generating and grid system to cope with. The basic problem is that current generating capacity cannot be ramped up and down swiftly enough to accept huge amounts of renewable energy, and we still lack storage capacity for excess power generation. Predicted to be a bigger problem in the next 5 years or so, than in 15 years when there is more renewable energy and the system has adjusted.

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May 19th, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Environment & Energy | Comments Off

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways! – You can help

Update June 30 – Solar Roadways made it, raising nearly $2.3 million. Thanks to all who helped. They really have a chance now to commercialize their vision.

I will leave this blog up a bit longer so you can watch this wonderful video. We will get back to some new blogs about the future in July.
GH

10 days left to invest in Solar Freakin’ Roadways !!!!!

Go to Indiegogo and help now.

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April 21st, 2014 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Ecosystems, Environment & Energy, Innovation, Millennial City | Comments Off

The Future of Roadways is Solar, and Brilliant

We’ve been tracking the progress of Scott and Julie Brusaw of Sandpoint Idaho and their federally supported project to build a prototype for a smart highway that generates power and pays for itself. This is Solar Roadways. We’ve chatted from time to time and I show videos of the project in many of my programs (people love it and are amazed at the audacious idea). This is a project worth supporting. The are launching an Indiegogo campaign on Earth Day, 22 April 2014.

We share their press release below with a photo of the prototype parking lot recently completed. They modestly call it an “intelligent” highway system – but I’d call a road that pays for itself, heals itself, generates solar energy, has built in lighting, and heating that prevents ice and snow buildup, and is made of glass… brilliant!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 14, 2014
SOLAR ROADWAYS RELEASES FIRST PHOTOS OF SOLAR PARKING LOT PROTOTYPE
Announces crowdsource campaign to launch on Earth Day
SOLAR ROADWAYS, SAGLE, IDAHO (APRIL 14, 2014)

Parking lot east

Solar Roadways was tasked by the Federal Highway Administration, with a Phase II SBIR contract, to build a solar parking lot prototype. The first photos of the initial installation have been released. “The basic installation is now done, but there is still work to do before the parking lot will be totally complete- LED patterns, covers for mounting holes and mastic to fill the gaps between panels are still to come”, said Scott Brusaw, co-founder, along with his wife Julie of Solar Roadways, Inc.

“One of the biggest challenges of this phase was to explore and test various glass surfaces and textures and test them for strength, traction and durability and all test results have exceeded our expectations. In addition to the solar cells, the panels contain heaters to keep them snow/ice free and LED lights for road lines and verbiage” , said Scott Brusaw.

The company needs to acquire funding to begin hiring a team, streamline the process for quick and cost effective production, and gear up for manufacturing. To this end, Solar Roadways will launch an Indiegogo campaign at 12:01am EST on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.

The Brusaws plan to locate their first manufacturing facility near their home in north Idaho, but envision facilities in most states and various countries as production ramps up. Solar Roadways has already received an outpouring of interest from potential customers, from their home town of Sandpoint, Idaho to remote areas of the world.

Solar Roadways is a company with a single purpose: to replace our nation’s deteriorating highway infrastructure and crumbling power grid with an intelligent highway system that pays for itself through the generation of electricity and doubles as an intelligent, self-healing, decentralized power grid.

Roadway image

Contact
Scott and Julie Brusaw
(208) 263-2537
julie@solarroadways.com

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March 29th, 2014 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Education, Environment & Energy | Comments Off

How to Negotiate a Better Future – Part Two

Diplomacy between Nations

The negotiations that take place between world leaders and their staff have shaped the world we live in today more so than any other types of negotiations. Sometimes negotiations can avoid wars, sometimes they can go wrong and cause wars – history would look a lot different if just a handful of negotiations had turned out differently. An example of ongoing negotiations that have been very unsuccessful between nations is in the Middle East, where countries have been at war for centuries. Generations of would-be negotiators have tried their hand at finding a resolution, but it’s all been futile so far. When the stakes are so high, and negations go wrong, it’s often the innocent who pay the price. A recent example is the current situation going on in Ukraine, and a great quote comes to mind “Deals Don’t Stick if they Don’t Resolve the Problem“. So far, all we’ve seen is examples of negotiations failing, but for the betterment of the entire region let’s hope that both sides are able to reach an agreement.

Takeaways

In life, sometimes it’s easy to hold a grudge but you’ve got to ask yourself, is it really worth it? Even if you’ve been slighted in the past, sometimes you’ve got to start with a clean slate in order to move forward. Set your preconceived notions aside before you get to the negotiation table.

Working Together For Mother Nature

It’s never easy to get countries to come together to protect the environment because that often comes at a price, and many countries will put their own short-term prosperity ahead of the long-term health of our planet which is very frightening. It takes incredible people with amazing negotiation skills to get countries to work together for the greater good of all mankind when the results won’t be seen until future generations are living on our planet. “It’s a great person who plants the seeds of trees whose shade they’ll never enjoy”, says the old saying. A major issue with climate negotiations is that the current global economic crisis is taking attention away from long-term issues like achieving sustainable energy, clean and safe drinking water, having safe and healthy food available, and more.

Take fisheries, for example, over-fishing is hurting ocean life, but those fish are being used to feed humans. As the world’s population grows, we need to make sure that we reach an agreement that will protect wild life and at the same time supply the quantity of fish needed for food. That`s very hard to do when you take into consideration profit-driven fishermen and illegal fishing.

Takeaways

In negotiations, it can help to point out when both parties are working towards a greater good that reaches beyond either group’s self-interest. Then, if both sides are willing to give a bit of wiggle room, everyone can be better off.

BDO_oceanconsumption_infographic_1660x960_V3

The Global Workforce

As multinational corporations, and even smaller businesses, start to outsource from all around the world to expand their operations, they are going to be hiring all sorts of different people. Not everything works the same from one country to the next, including the ways that people negotiate. You could greatly offend someone from one culture with something that seems perfectly acceptable in another culture, especially when you’re negotiating!

Takeaways

If you’re negotiating in unfamiliar territory, and this applies to all aspects of our lives, make sure you do your due-diligence to really understand what you’re getting into.

This is similar to the first situations we discussed, which were globalized trading opportunities. How does this apply to our own lives? No matter where you work, chances are there will be someone from another country who might not speak English, but a friendly smile and a wave of recognition can go a long way towards helping someone feel welcome. There are major negotiations, and then the small ones we face on a daily basis, like smiling at a stranger, deciding not to be rude even if a waitress is ignoring you, and so on and so forth. The way you handle these micro-negotiations has a larger impact on your mood, your success, and your life than you might realize.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Negotiations for a Better Future

More than ever before, we’re living as a global community. Hopefully this helps people to understand that their actions, or lack of actions, have a widespread and profound impact not just on those of us who live on this planet, but for our children and their children and all who come after.

|| Written by Mary Ann Keeling ||
Mary Ann is a writer and a blogger from Brisbane who likes to share her passion for the future through her writing.

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December 31st, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Environment & Energy, Innovation, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

To 2014 and Beyond

Happy New Year to all our Futurist.com visitors and fans.

Looking ahead, here are some thoughts to add to the endless lists of 2014 anticipations – if you like these things see Mark Anderson’s top ten for 2014, or Thomas Fry’s 33 for 2030, or David Brin’s speculations on the year ahead. Brin is an exception but most of these kinds of articles are lists of technologies and anticipated developments. I know these lists ‘sell papers’ as we used to say, and provide a certain kind of infotainment. But I don’t take them too seriously except as brain teasers. Check them out if you want.

Me? I expect the big stories of 2014 will include…

…a shift in politics to debating how and how much to increase Social Security in the United States. This meme broke through in 2013, and moved the Overton Window over by a surprising margin, away from “how to cut Social Security” and at least to ‘how to maintain it.” This shift in the political winds cannot come too soon as we face an impending retirement crisis and looming wave of elder poverty.

…a dawning realization that fracking, however successful in the next decade or two at tapping previously hard to get oil and gas, has not fundamentally changed the longer term (21st Century) energy picture in which conventional (and thus cheaper) oil has peaked, and thus we face a mostly more expensive future in energy. Cheap gas is the exception but the energy picture still demands that civilization prepare for the fossil fuel phase out to come. Negotiating this passage will literally determine whether modern civilization is maintained.

…a continuation in the downward curve in solar energy cost per watt generated, meaning that it becomes more likely that solar will become a dominant supplier of electricity sooner than later. The electrification of the transportation fleet will gain momentum in 2014.

…space exploration and exploitation will proceed more aggressively in 2014. The success of China on the moon, and the amazing drive of SpaceX and other private companies in space will make the next half-decade a likely dawn of the next era in space, the era that leads to truly occupying space.

…it is hard to know when or if a weather event will tip the balance of public concern toward a crash effort to mitigate, slow down, and prepare for global warming. The latest, and most dire, predictions suggest that this had better happen soon.

Photo Credit: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and Mother Jones

Photo Credit: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and Mother Jones

…finally, a global struggle with and about the deep issues of privacy versus security, continued drift to richer and poorer society, and the future of employment and work, will likely heighten in 2014. There is a reason, which is more than artistic or admiration of the actors, that the Hunger Games series has already placed its first two films in the top 20 grossing films of all time and is a world-wide phenomenon. There is a hunger for change that is rumbling. The fact that life imitates art in way that reeks of parody but is all too real just adds to the pressure. (In this case activists hanging a banner to protest a proposed pipeline were charged under an absurd terrorism statute – thus precisely proving the point of the banner.)

2014 will be a year of great opportunity and great challenges – not all that different than 2013 or, I suspect, 2015.

Let’s have a great year!

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