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2050 – Where policy will put us – the vision.

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization, Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Mar 18, 2021

If one reads the CLEAN Futures Act (CFA) an one listens to the various pundits, here is where we will be in 2050:

1) All transportation will be battery zero-emissions – I look to other fuel options.

2) Fossil Fuels will be completely minimized including medicine, lubricants, and materials. – I think for medicine they may still be used.

3) Ocean transport will all be batteries or sail. – I think hydrogen/nuclear

4) Electricity will come purely from solar – I think there will be more off-shore wind, hydro and nuclear.

5) There will be no back up to the electric grid, no natural gas or generators. – I suspect backup will happen.

6) No one will own a car or drive themselves, it will all be fleets of autonomous cars. Most people will work from home – I think 70%+ will work away from home, nurses being a case in point. I think people will fight to own a vehicle.

7) Air travel will be on electric battery-operated planes. – Not if batteries do not get 90-99% lighter per KWH and much faster to charge.

In short there are thousands of engineering and science problems yet to solve.

Get your children interested in STEM.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 18, 2021

No doubt STEM education and efforts will be critical for decades to come-- and there will be intense competition among various nations to lead in each of these potential solutions, so how much we fund that education will really set up what the next generation holds. 

How many of these predictions are actually coming straight from CFA? They read a lot like the hot Twitter takes of passionate environment/climate supporters who aren't necessarily in the industry, so the platitudes of 100% solar and solely electric transport sound like great talking points but almost everyone in any of these industries recognize the truth will never be quite so extreme, at least in our lifetime.

Who really is calling for 100% solar? And I haven't seen any optimism for battery operated aviation outside of very short-duration and light travel (e.g., hopping across a smaller body of water). Those aren't spelled out in the CFA in any real way, are they? 

john king's picture
john king on Mar 19, 2021

It is hard to beat the economy and output of combusting fossil hydrocarbons. A better way to competitively extract energy from a molecule would help.

Methane digesters could be a good bridge technology for a transition from oil.   They put out a useful auto fuel and a good quality fertilizer for farming.  

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Mar 22, 2021

The CFA is just another dumb bill created by self serving politicians who are fundamentally malicious fools. They will be long dead before the economic damage they created manifests itself in vastly lowered standards of living, with no measurable improvement to the climate. A perfect crime.

Doug Houseman's picture
Thank Doug for the Post!
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