In Honor of US Energy Independence Day—July 10
Today, July 10, is US Energy Independence Day, an event to mark awareness of the country’s progress toward fully powering its future.
The United States is getting closer to becoming energy independent, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. The EIA reports that by 2022, the US 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 US 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.
Ted Annis is one of the aspiring new energy pioneers. The Ann Arbor, Mich.,-based entrepreneur is in the development stages of creating a fuel-less 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—Annis says his device 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,” said Annis, manager and co-founder of Transducing Energy Devices, LLC. “Each house and automobile could have a PMIG.”
Apart from the innovation he’s been working on, Annis says 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,” Annis says.
Annis lists three reasons entrepreneurs have opportunities that could help make the US energy independent.
Higher demands because of technology. “Our world is becoming increasingly technology dependent, forcing us to rely on new sources of energy to fuel that demand,” Annis says. “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 US population – over 400 million by 2050.”
Clean and green. The EIA projects coal will be supplanted by natural gas as the primary source of energy in the US by 2040. Stricter environmental emissions standards, however, help propel interest in renewables such as solar and wind power. “Solar is still a small market and has a lot of growth opportunity over the next 50 years,” Annis says. “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.”
R&D. Bill Gates is among those promoting more funding in order to substantially escalate energy research and development. “Gates says governments can stimulate innovation by dramatically increasing spending on R&D,” Annis says. “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,” Annis said. “It’s wide-open to innovation and opportunity now. New energy technologies will need to get cheaper, more efficient and more powerful.”