Sunday, February 19, 2012: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 118 (VCC West Building)The key to energy independence is often seen as replacing Middle Eastern oil with other sources of fossil-based fuels found closer to home. However, the cost of exploration and exploitation of such resources, often found in the most inhospitable and technologically challenging areas of the developed world, makes such transitions cost-inhibitive and economically unjustifiable. Moreover, the environmental risks associated with the exploration and exploitation of such fossil-based resources, e.g., Gulf of Mexico's oil spill, makes the public and policy-makers wary of entertaining further work in this area. On the other hand, recent technological advances have made it possible to produce energy from a host of renewable sources of energy that do not emit greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, the adoption and penetration of clean energies into the mainstream energy market has been slow. Recent surges in the cost of oil have not changed the situation. Clean energy sources still account for a fraction of the world's total electrical power production. This session will assess whether the adoption of clean sources of energy is being hindered not simply by their diffuse nature or higher cost, but also by the absence of a smarter electricity grid that is capable of providing a secure and reliable service for its customers, using a portfolio of often intermittent renewable sources of energy.
Hassan Farhangi, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Chris Marnay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory