A new energy revolution – similar to shifts from wood to coal to oil – is inevitable as climate change and oil scarcity drive a global search for sustainability in power production. But even the promise of renewable energy holds drawbacks.
Climate change and sustainability will shape a new era in which renewable sources such as solar power will ultimately replace oil. A solarplant near Seville, Spain uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays onto towers where they produce steam to drive a turbine, producing electricity.
A worker atop a power-generating wind turbine at the Alpiq wind farm in Switzerland is dwarfed by one of the giant blades. Alpiq claims the farm can power 4,000 households a year. Climate change and the need for sustainability are shaping a new energy era.
Corn on the stalk in Arkansas is used to create ethanol. Biofuels and other renewable energy like solar and wind power will be the basis of a new era of energy.
A villager in Central Java, Indonesia, carries the age-old source of fuel for cooking – wood – as she passes through the new-age Dipa Energy geothermal plant. Climate change and sustainability are shaping a new energy era.
Laborers near Buenos Aires, Argentina work on the assembly of a new nuclear reactor at the Atucha II power plant. Argentina's pioneering nuclear energy program was sidelined for years, but is ramping up again for a new energy era that is moving away from relance on dwindling fossil fuels.
Nord Stream employees monitor new cut-off valves on the Russian natural gas pipeline where it comes out of the Baltic Sea at Lubmin, Germany. Siberian natural gas is expected to start flowing to Europe through the pipeline by the end of 2011.