Norway’s State-of-the-Art Energy Technology
Deforestation, coal mining, and carbon dioxide emissions (the primary greenhouse gas emissions from human activities) continue to cause devastating environmental damage, especially given runaway human population growth across the planet. Norway has taken proactive measures to counteract these problems with such operations as wind turbines, a hydrogen hybrid project, and osmotic power plants capable of producing hydrogen fuel generally emission-free. The vast advancements the country has introduced with state-of-the-art technologies in hydroelectric power have begun to establish Norwegians as true pioneers in renewable energy. Committing to the same energy production expansions across the globe could positively impact our generation and the generations to come.
It’s worth mentioning at the outset that solar power in Norway hasn’t played a major role in renewable energy development as it has in many other countries. In fact, only 1.5 percent of solar panels in Norway connect to the power grid and the country does little to increase the solar energy output. Since the United States widely accepts solar energy as a prevalent source for renewable energy, the average American may not be very familiar with other alternative renewable energy methods outside of solar and wind power due to the lack of availability of the high-tech equipment Norway has invented.
Norway’s groundbreaking wind turbine technology has been gaining worldwide attention due largely to smart turbine placement. An article in Professional Engineering states that the Norwegian Firm Sway developed affordable wind towers in 2011 that can be placed offshore where there are higher wind speeds and less controversy over the turbine’s location. Anchored far underneath the water’s surface, the Sway System swivels accordingly and catches the wind drifts by rotating. Currently, this cutting-edge design can tolerate severe water currents and manage a life span of up to twenty years.
Another significant form of sophisticated design, Hydropower, also demonstrates the extensive knowledge of the Norwegians when it comes to renewable energy. Christian Amodeo of the journal Geographical discusses how, in 2004, Norway established the first hydrogen hybrid project in the world, a power plant that generates enough power for ten homes on a little island offshore using only wind and water. The wind turbines store energy on windy days and create hydrogen fuel to produce electricity using electrolysis on still days. Even with low wind drifts, this method provides a consistent power source where energy is always producing. This method not only proves practical, but it’s an astounding advancement in the way the world perceives energy production. If this method becomes widely accepted and shaped to produce worldwide, a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted into our atmosphere will noticeably and instantly begin to drop.
The renewables firm Statkraft studied osmosis energy for many years and observed that when fresh and salt water meet, it produces energy in enormous amounts. This initiated a prototype for an osmotic power plant that opened in 2009 in Oslo for testing and development purposes. In this method, fresh water and salt water are directed into separate chambers. The particles from the seawater pull the freshwater through a membrane, causing the pressure in the chamber containing the seawater to increase, thus creating enough energy to produce electricity. The possibility of emissions-free electricity production that could essentially be located anywhere freshwater meets the sea could change the viewpoint on resourceful energy forever. Imagine, for a moment, how much the world’s greenhouse gas emissions would regress if we begin to use salt water and fresh water in a contemporary way to generate electricity. Creating energy solely with water could possibly stand as the most resourceful, clean, and effective method for renewable energy production.
Norway has managed to establish not one, but several inventive approaches with renewable energy. It’s worrisome to think that many other countries have not begun to follow suit. 2,300 coal-fired power plants remain in operation globally, supplying 41% of the world’s electricity. If emissions-free energy production become more desirable globally, these colossal numbers will drop significantly. It’s time to start thinking about the carbon footprint we will leave behind us, the impact we inevitably have on the environment, and the world our future generations will have to live in when our time on Earth has passed. We owe it to the planet to renovate our energy production techniques and present a world worth living in to our descendants.