A leaked report from a German military think tank predicts peak oil, the point in time when global oil reserves deplete to the point that production gradually begins to decline, may occur this year. On top of climate change challenges, this event would trigger many threats; but also many opportunities for solar power.
According to an article published on German news site, Spiegel Online, the study is an internal draft document from the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center.
The think tank believes that peak oil occurring this year will see a serious impact on security with 15 to 30 years; with oil exporting countries gaining increasing power and massive market failures due to the relative scarcity of petroleum.
The concept of Peak Oil was once disregarded by many, but increasing numbers of scientists and politicians now believe it to be a reality. Last year, the usually conservative International Energy Agency (IEA), sounded an alarm that global oil production is likely to peak in around 10 years.
While transportation is a major consumer of oil, it’s also used in a multitude of other products. Petroleum and its by-products feature in everything from fertiliser to food and plastics.
Solar power holds some answers for the transportation issue, in conjunction with electric cars.
While it would be impractical to have solar panels directly powering cars due to the surface area required to generate enough electricity, the use of grid connected home solar power systems can provide a clean energy source for recharging.
Solar power recharged electric cars also offer another possibility – mains grid energy storage. Electric cars would take electricity from the grid during low-demand periods, such as overnight, and send electricity back into the grid at times of heavy demand.
A carbon-constrained, oil starved future also battling the effects of climate change may sound like a disaster; but it might also herald a prosperous new age for humanity; one run entirely on clean, renewable energy… but only if we move fast enough.