We are reaching sci-fi levels of technology, and the digital world is evolving at an incredible pace. Holograms and additive manufacturing are the next big thing, and they’re here to stay. While we’ve been evolving at the surface of our world through apps and services, our infrastructure has stayed the same it was 20 years ago. We’re still connected to the grid, paying for utilities, and pollution is killing more than ever.
Decentralization of energy production, also called microgeneration. There are many companies already looking at houses as if they were power generators, like Solar City, and many other green energy companies focused on microgeneration.
Some of the benefits of such a distribution of energy include:
- Less energy losses
Transport is the place in which most energy is lost, as 8-15% of energy is lost in transport across power lines.
- Freedom of choice
Consumers get to choose products for the homes, versus offerings of a power company
Photovoltaics and wind turbines are extremely reliable, and can generate electricity for tens of thousands of hours without interruption, unlike a power grid, which is so fragile it’s single biggest enemy are squirrels
You’ll probably be asking yourself, “then why haven’t we always been generating our own energy at home?”
Many people already are, in remote locations, where the problems of grid power are more apparent. Home power generation needs mass production of small scale generators which is less cost effective to having a big generator in a remote area and transporting that energy back.
That was true… before the advent of 3D printing. The amount of technology advances in 3D printing will take an ever more important role in manufacturing everyday objects. The worldwide 3D printing industry is now expected to grow to $12.8B by 2018, and exceed $21B in worldwide revenue by 2020. You can already 3D print your own wind turbine, meaning if you wanted to you could have free-ish energy (at the cost of the materials and 3D printing).
Ahead of us lies a future in which people will have their basic needs met, for example during an economic crisis, they won’t have to worry about not being able to afford food or water, at least in the middle class of the developed world. It is not clear what will happen in Less Developed Countries, yet.
One thing is clear, though, we live in the most exciting moment in human history.