Why Solar: Gazing into the Alberta winter of 2040

Why Solar: Gazing into the Alberta winter of 2040

Snow falls quietly on a cold winter’s eve in the year 2040. The highway is busy; headlights illuminate the driving lanes from both directions, traffic noise is low dominated by the hum of electric motors transporting commuters. The cacophony of internal combustion engines only occasionally erupts in the darkness, the sound, a scarce relic of the past.

Charging lanes, with their overhead power lines, light up with sparks as tractor trailer units raise their pantograph to charge their exhausted batteries while in route. Service stations ply the sides of gasoline alley, dispensing hydrogen, charging stations, or fresh electrolyte for vehicles using the latest in flow batteries, and infrequently blue fuels produced from air and hydrogen.

The countryside is dotted with large photovoltaic arrays, wind farms, and pumped storage facilities seemingly on every hill of size. With the technical issues of fusion being addressed, finally, civilization and the environment benefit from the suns nuclear process 24/7. Recently two new reactors came on line to serve the masses.

Above the clouds, electric aircraft ply the skies, whisking travelers bound for holidays, business, or reunion with loved ones. The weather is cooler; the carbon content of the air is starting to dip below the 400 ppm mark, due in large part to the massive carbon capture, sequestration, and recycling plants dotting the landscape. Atmospheric carbon once thought to be un-mineable now provides materials, income, and jobs for citizens.

Oil and gas sites still scatter the land, most having never been decommissioned. Instead as the need for oil decreased and marginal wells became unprofitable, they were repurposed, their allotted space covered with solar arrays, wind turbines, or geothermal equipment. Electricity generated by the state-of-the-art equipment is used to power fuel cells which produce hydrogen to fill the existing pipeline infrastructure. Hydrogen, nature’s most abundant element now replacing the hydrocarbon of years past, feed stock for the new burgeoning green economy.

Larger oil sites, which in past decades would have been scrapped, are now converted into carbon recovery systems. Huge fan structures pulling in vast quantities of ambient air, recover the carbon dioxide to produce all types of raw materials for manufacturing. New industrial plants have filled up swaths of industrial real estate creating products for the worlds markets from the raw material recovered by the direct air capture facilities.

Alberta, larger in land mass than most nations, smaller in population than most cities is now its own country, profiting massively from technologies innovative residents had the foresight to implement. Oil revenues initially funded the research, the tax breaks given early adopters and the technical innovators stimulated innovation and ingenuity like never before.

Government’s initiatives had facilitated, and entrepreneurs in the private sector around the province had triumphed. They had made Alberta the “silicon valley” of the energy industry. They had tackled difficult environmental GHG issues while simultaneously addressing the ubiquitous problem of employment and economic growth.

A fantasy, probably; however, is it possible our economic and political leaders are sagacious enough to see this opportunity?

Lorne Oja can be reached at lorne@carbon2solar.com

Just Posted

A gofundme account has been set up for Lilac the husky, of Blackfalds. (Photo from gofundme)
Dog ends up in coma after a walk in Blackfalds

Dog finds a baggie that likely contained drugs

(Contributed)
Red Deer man reported missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

An attendee of the Maskwacis memorial held on May 31, 2021, for the 215 school children found in Kamloops, B.C. the week before, holds a teddy bear. <ins>The grandstand was filled with 215 bears to represent the lost children. They were offered to residential school survivors at the end of the memorial. </ins>(Photo illustration by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven before a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday June 21, 2021. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven faces a no-confidence vote in the Riksdag parliament, after the Left Party said this week that it had lost confidence in Lofven and his center-left minority government. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)
Swedish PM loses confidence vote, sparking uncertainty

Prime minister has one week to call new election or ask parliament speaker to find a new government

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Inuk elder Reepa Evic-Carleton light a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp, at a public ceremony to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the bank of the Ottawa River behind the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Singh blasts Liberal ‘hypocrisy’ on National Indigenous Peoples Day

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes the Liberal government… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Orlando City and Montreal Impact players take a knee before their MLS match, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
CF Montreal finds two new home venues as Gold Cup comes to Fort Lauderdale

Exploria Stadium has been Toronto FC’s home field this year

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Officials say deadly Pride parade crash was not intentional

Driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, a conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. Monday, June 21, 2021, to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Facebook launches podcasts, live audio service

Handful of podcasts will first be available to people in the U.S.

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

Most Read