hoover dam Manav Gupta/Flickr

¿Cuál escasez de energía?

MARTIGNY, SUIZA – Si seríamos capaces de capturar y utilizar la energía que llega a la tierra en el transcurso de tan sólo dos minutos, esta sería suficiente para proporcionar energía a nuestros automóviles, para alumbrar y proporcionar calefacción a nuestros edificios, y suministrar la energía necesaria para satisfacer todas nuestras otras necesidades de electricidad durante todo un año. En pocas palabras, los seres humanos no nos enfrentamos a una escasez de energía. Estamos frente a un desafío técnico relativo a la captura y suministro de energía a los consumidores; y, una de las maneras más eficientes para superar dicho desafío es invertir en mejores formas de almacenar energía.

Muchos de los problemas del mundo actual tienen sus orígenes en el uso de la energía: desde los conflictos que surgen por los suministros de petróleo y las preocupaciones relativas a las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero hasta las pérdidas de productividad y producción que se derivan de la escasez de energía y de los apagones. En muchas de las zonas más pobres del mundo la falta de energía frena el desarrollo económico. A nivel mundial, más de 1,3 mil millones de personas no tienen acceso a la electricidad; y unos 2,6 millones no tienen acceso a instalaciones modernas para cocinar. Más del 95% de dichas personas se encuentran en el África subsahariana o en el Asia en desarrollo, y el 84% de ellas viven en zonas rurales.

Durante el periodo previo a las recientes elecciones presidenciales en Nigeria, por ejemplo, se le preguntó a una mujer lo que ella quería que los candidatos brinden. Respondió con una sola palabra: “electricidad”. La energía eléctrica, un producto básico, permitiría que ella pueda continuar trabajando y sus hijos estudiando.

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