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Revolusi Hijau yang Dimotori Pemerintah

LONDON – Diskusi tentang membangun masa depan yang hijau cenderung berfokus pada perlunya meningkatkan produksi energi dari sumber-sumber energi terbarukan, namun itu baru awalnya saja. Menemukan mekanisme yang lebih baik untuk menyimpan dan melepaskan energi – ketika matahari tidak bersinar, angin tidak bertiup, atau mobil listrik sedang bergerak – juga penting. Dan berlawanan dengan kepercayaan umum, justru sektor publik yang memimpin jalan menuju solusi yang efektif.

Sejak pengembangan baterai lithium-ion secara komersial – baterai isi ulang yang umum terdapat pada barang elektronik yang digunakan sehari-hari – di awal tahun 1990-an, isu mengenai penyimpanan dan pelepasan tenaga secara efektif agar sumber energi terbarukan bisa menggantikan bahan bakar fosil masih menjadi tantangan yang menyulitkan. Berbagai upaya dilakukan pengusaha-pengusaha miliarder seperti Bill Gates dan Elon Musk untuk mengatasi tantangan ini telah menjadi fokus spekulasi media yang terlalu heboh. Jadi sebetulnya berapa banyak miliarder yang diperlukan untuk mengganti baterai?

Ternyata jawabannya adalah nihil. Minggu ini, Ellen Williams, Direktur Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), bagian dari Departemen Energi Amerika Serikat, mengumumkan bahwa kantornya telah mendahului para miliarder ini. ARPA-E menurut pernyataannya telah menemukan “cawan suci dalam baterai” yang memungkinkan kita “merancang pendekatan baru dalam teknologi baterai, membuatnya berfungsi, menjadikannya layak secara komersial.”

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