y Keith Breene If you think of geothermal power having a national home, it is probably the frozen expanse of Iceland or perhaps the volcanic springs of New Zealand. Both countries, on opposite sides of the world, owe their famously prolific geological activity to their position on shifting tectonic plates. In fact, the region emerging as the world’s leading geothermal power is thousands of miles away from both of these countries, in the verdant hills of East Africa.
As old technologies shake up old manufacturing models, Fortune Global 500 mainstay Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is getting ready for the next industrial revolution.
The excellence of Japanese aerospace technology is widely recognized, yet original airliner development has taken a back seat since the YS-11 turboprop airliner flew for the first time in 1962. A revival of the Japanese commercial aviation industry has long been the dream of many. The 50-year wait is over. With the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s MRJ project, the enduring dream comes true. The MHI Group has established a dominant presence in the aerospace industry, and the new regional jet represents the crystallization of its technological know-how and leadership.
Beside the Pan-American Highway, almost 600km (375 miles) north of Santiago, Chile’s capital, lies El Romero, the largest solar-energy plant in Latin America and among the dozen biggest in the world. Its 775,000 grey solar panels spread out across the undulating plateau of the Atacama desert as if they were sheets of water. Built at a cost of $343m by Acciona Energia, a Spanish company, last month El Romero started to be hooked up to the national grid. By April it should reach full strength, generating 196MW of electricity enough to power a city of a million people. A third of its output will be bought directly by Google’s Chilean subsidiary, and the rest fed into the grid.
It’s an exciting albeit confusing and risky age for the energy sector, as researchers turn to new sources for clean, renewable forms of energy. For the layperson, the infrastructure of solar and wind power is easy to see and perceive as “clean,” but there are a host of others that come into play, as well as behind-the-scenes infrastructural and energy logistics oriented technologies involved.

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