For the past century, power producers in the United States have been driven to provide affordable, safe, and reliable electricity to the American populace. As the country becomes more aware of the consequences that come with power production, society has continued to ask for cleaner energy options to provide for our growing population and economy, while ensuring the health of our future.
Orkney, a sparsely-populated archipelago 10 miles off the northern tip of mainland Scotland, is not an obvious place to go looking for the future. Yet the windswept islands have become one of Britain’s foremost centres for innovation in renewable energy — including the use of hydrogen as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.
This year the world’s power stations, farms, cars and the like will generate the equivalent of nearly 37 billion tonnes of waste carbon dioxide. All of it will be dumped into the atmosphere, where it will trap infra-red radiation and warm the planet. Earth is already about 0.85°C warmer than last century’s average temperature. Thanks to the combined influence of greenhouse-gas emissions and El Nino, a heat-releasing oceanic phenomenon, 2016 looks set to be the warmest year on record, and by a long way.
The U.S. is rich in energy supply. We are almost unique in the world in having an abundance of coal, oil and natural gas, along with exceptional wind, solar and hydropower resources in many areas of our country. At the same time, we see an increasing focus on local air quality and global climate change. My company is responding to these emerging challenges and amazing opportunities by enabling the power plant of the future.