We’re getting closer to becoming energy independent, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. The EIA reports that by 2022, the U.S. will become a net exporter of energy, in effect making it energy independent for the first time since the 1950s.
That promising forecast notwithstanding, experts note U.S. energy demands will increase significantly over the next 50 years, requiring improved delivery systems, currently developing alternative sources like solar and wind, and more out-of-the-box innovations. This opens the door further for entrepreneurs.
As one of the aspiring new energy pioneers, I am an Ann Arbor, Mich.,-based entrepreneur who is in the development stages of creating a fuelless electricity-generating device called the Permanent Magnet Induction Generator (PMIG). With environmental movements afoot to lessen dependence on fossil fuels – a primary source of air pollution – this device when complete would make them and some other energy sources obsolete.
A successful PMIG could decentralize the production of electricity and eliminate the electric grid, which is antiquated in many areas. Each house and automobile could have a PMIG.
My own experience lets me know that this is an exciting time for American ingenuity as related to the energy industry. With ever-evolving technologies and how they can push us toward more efficient, cleaner, and cost-friendlier products, we will be far closer to true energy independence, and entrepreneurs will have opportunities to further that cause.
Take a look at the higher energy demands associated with advancing technology. Our world is becoming increasingly technology dependent, forcing us to rely on new sources of energy to fuel that demand. And building off that dependency, we’ll see a huge increase in energy demands related to all the stuff that connects to the internet. Then there’s the build-out that will be needed for an infrastructure to support a much bigger U.S. population – over 400 million by 2050.
Then there’s the environmental factor to consider – clean and green. The EIA projects coal will be supplanted by natural gas as the primary source of energy in the U.S. by 2040. Stricter environmental emissions standards, however, help propel interest in renewables such as solar and wind power.
Solar, though, is still a small market and has a lot of growth opportunity over the next 50 years. Solar power prices have dropped, and wind has proved efficient in some places, but there are issues with intermittency and storage, and many people have difficulty breaking with tradition.
Research and development will be key in energy innovation. Bill Gates is among those promoting more funding in order to substantially escalate energy R&D. Gates says governments can stimulate innovation by dramatically increasing spending on R&D. Affordable, dependable energy is a public good. But the private sector has big incentives to assist with the creation of new energy technology.
Ultimately, the way American society generates and consumes energy will have to change dramatically. It’s wide-open to innovation and opportunity now. New energy technologies will need to get cheaper, more efficient and more powerful.
Ted Annis is the manager and co-founder of Transducing Energy Devices, LLC, which is engaged in the research and development of a fuel-less electricity energy device. He received a BS in physics and an MBA at Xavier University. He formerly was with Ford Motor Company and was CEO and co-founder of SupplyTech, Inc.
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