Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Exponential Growth Toward Free Energy

There's an energy source which is doubling every two years. As of 2013, the cost per watt of solar power had fallen to just 66¢. Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns allows us to project that by 2027, solar energy will supply 100% of all our energy needs. At that point, the marginal cost of energy will be very near zero. In other words, energy will be virtually free.

Most people don't quite understand an exponential growth curve, but it's exemplified by the huge increase in computing power we've experienced over the last century. Today's computers are billions of times faster than those in the Fifties. Each smartphone has thousands of times the capacity of the most expensive computers in the Fifties. That's a demonstration of the power of exponential growth.

What does the advent of Free Energy in 13 years mean for other forms of energy—fossil fuels, in other words—which have to compete? Simple. It means the end of fossil fuels. And, it means that any fossil fuels still in the ground will be worthless to extract because no one could turn a profit doing so. Thus, the problems of Global Warming will be neatly solved by the marketplace as fossil fuels will have priced themselves out of the economy.

What are the limits of solar power? Currently, if we captured all of the solar energy falling on Earth for just 88 minutes, we would have all the energy we use in an entire year! Moreover, if we just capture 0.0001 (one ten-thousandths) of that energy, we won't need anything but solar energy. That's why all those who are claiming that we are running out of cheap energy are simply barking up the wrong tree.