As dyed in the wool PC-users, the resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs has left us largely cold, even as it caused uproar in the tech world.
Now the MIT’s Technology Review, usually a very pro-nuclear power site, states that the next Steve Jobs will be in energy not in computing, because energy has the highest innovation potential at the moment. Found via Jay Lake.
I was initially skeptical, but the more I read this article, the more persuasive I find it. Not only is the future of power generation a hot topic with conventional solutions such as nuclear power and fossil fuels becoming increasingly unsustainable, there also are a lot of small companies developing new solutions. In the past few months and years, we have looked at companies offering small-scale windmills sufficient to power a single house or two (alas, none of the solutions we found struck us as implementable) as well as a battery which stores solar power (this one looks good – more as we have it). So there is definitely not just a lot of potential for innovation but a lot practical innovation going on.
Besides, the US is still underdeveloped with regard to alternative energy solutions compared to Germany. Wind power is big business here and the area of solar power the initial start-up garage tinkerers have grown to established companies.
Besides, according to this post from GristList, an independent green news site, all solar panels in Germany taken together generate more power at peak level than the entire Fukushima nuclear power complex before the tsunami.
What is more, the total share of renewable energy sources in Germany crossed the 20 percent mark in the first six months of 2011 for the first time. This includes not just solar power, but also wind power (the biggest renewable energy source at the moment), biomass, hydroelectric power, waste incineration and other smaller sources such as experimental geothermal plants.
Meanwhile, the Fukushima disaster no longer makes headlines, though the situation is still far from resolved. Now an operator of clean-up robots in Fukushima has written a tell-all blog which also includes information about safety issues.
Frankly, what shocks me most about Fukushima is not that it happened at all (the risk was always there), but how badly the disaster has been handled both by the operator TEPCO as well as by Japanese government officials.