chapter  9
21 Pages

Energy Production: Our Sun-ny Prospects

ByMichael Carolan

While our thirst for energy is growing, as long as the sun exists we'll have plenty available to quench it, as electricity can be readily generated from solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave, and biomass. The sun, thanks to its energy and gravitational pull, is the source of all these renewables. The Nuclear Energy Agency (2010) has proclaimed that nuclear power "could provide around 25 percent of global electricity with almost no CO2 emissions." A recent study examines the cost of nuclear power relative to electricity generated from coal, natural gas, and wind. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the United States spent $4.36 billion on nondefense energy research in 2012. Governments of affluent nations are spending tens of millions of dollars annually in renewable research and development (R&D). Households historically have not responded to rising energy prices by making sufficient energy-efficiency investments.