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Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

Everything is (Old/New) Energy

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The world's energy is primarily rooted in fossil fuels - oil, natural gas, and coal. Add in nuclear power, and you have the fuels behind the vase majority of the world economy. And, we have not really changed the fundamentals of how we harness energy in over a century.

But, according to Roger Duncan - the former general manager of one of Texas's major utilities, Austin Energy - this does not mean that our energy systems are stagnant. Rather, these systems are changing fast - from conventional 1-direction energy flows and a disconnected transportation system to a unified energy system.

What does that mean?

Duncan believes that, while the fundamental technologies behind how we use energy will not change significantly any time soon, how we use them will certainly change. From solar cells on our clothing to new types of nuclear reactors, our energy systems will become increasingly connected, interactive, and intelligent.

At a recent conference held by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA), Duncan took just under 18 minutes to outline how he sees the future of energy. How old energy sources and technologies will be used in new ways.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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