A lot of us have grown used to associating solar energy with square roof-mounted tiles and wind power with the modern version of flour mills. Our interest was perked by see-through solar glass and windmills that started using magnetic non-contact design to avoid the wear and tear of friction, but these were really only pieces of a larger technological revolution in renewable energy.
The new paradigm is using entire surfaces of structures to generate solar energy, for instance using solar roofing, which functions to gather both thermal (so heat energy to heat water and the house) and solar (electrical) energy. When incorporated with self-healing concrete structures, and hooked up to an organic quinine battery, this type of technology can create structures capable of sustaining themselves and limiting the environmental costs of living.
The paradigm shift in wind energy is using less space and reduced ranges of movement. Instead of using huge moving blades, which require a higher degree of energy to start moving in the first place, the new bladeless vibrational wind energy generators are able to generate more electricity while taking up less space and minimizing the threat to birds.
The progress being made is amazing, and if governments were to immediately switch the $5.3 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies to developing and applying these technologies then we might be able to put a dent in one of the drivers of mass extinction.
One hindrance to the success of these technologies is the combination of existing lobbies and unawareness of the new technologies. Although the bladeless Vortex vibrational generator will be ready for distribution next year, it won’t be widely adopted unless the public stands behind the change.