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Special Edition Magazine, Fall 2019: Sustainability

English

The Energy Revolution Is Here

Not too long ago, ushering in a societal shift toward clean, renewable energy seemed impossible, given the costs and level of government intervention required. But that has all changed: far from being boondoggles, green-energy options are beating out the fossil-fuel competition where it counts: the bottom line.

BOULDER, COLORADO – For the longest time, the prevailing narrative about renewable energy featured clumsy technologies, high costs, and burdensome subsidies. In the absence of strict mandates and far-reaching policy changes, the chances for mass adoption seemed slim. Electric vehicles (EVs) simply couldn’t go the distance, and LED lights were unattractive and unaffordable.

But now that these technologies have come of age, a new story is being written. Around the world, businesses, governments, and households are taking advantage of more cost-effective low-carbon technologies. Owing to advances in information technologies (IT), green solutions can be integrated into business operations seamlessly. And as public support for these technologies has grown, so have the prospects for scaling up to a fully sustainable energy system.

As in any rapid transition, a full understanding of what is happening has lagged behind events. Many incumbent energy producers find it hard to believe that their world is undergoing a revolutionary change, so they insist that their heavily polluting technologies will remain relevant and necessary for some time to come. Journalists, too, describe the transition with a degree of caution, because it is their job to be skeptical. And politicians and regulators are reticent to adopt a new perspective, even though they are already struggling to keep up with the pace of change in the energy industry.

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