The biggest problem that the energy industry faces is the expected increase in energy consumption in the future. We are expected to increase our energy consumption by 50% in the near future, which will prove to be a huge challenge. It is not a matter of can we just produce enough renewable energy; it is a matter of can we get enough energy from all available sources to make up for this increase.
There are a few huge problems facing the energy industry, including:
1) population growth and technological globalization –> inevitable, unsustainable increase in consumption (as mentioned above)
According to the WorldWatch Institute, population growth threatens to offset progress in conserving consumption. “The U.N. projects that world population will increase 41 percent by 2050, to 8.9 billion people, with nearly all of this growth in developing countries. This surge in human numbers threatens to offset any savings in resource use from improved efficiency, as well as any gains in reducing per-capita consumption. Even if the average American eats 20 percent less meat in 2050 than in 2000, total U.S. meat consumption will be 5 million tons greater in 2050 due to population growth.”
2) dependency on finite natural resources, like coal and oil, for energy production
3) rising costs of fuel (oil, etc.) and high costs for other energy sources (nuclear plants cost billions to build)
4) lack of public and federal support for development of sustainable technologies to mitigate pollution emissions and provide renewable alternatives
5) array of problems with technologies we do have (smart grids, wind and solar power, nuclear power) –> no truly developed viable alternative available now
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