Solar Power to Rule in 20 Years, Futurists Say
BOSTON — He predicted the fall of the Soviet Union. He predicted the explosive spread of the Internet and wireless access.
There is 10,000 times more sunlight than we need to meet 100 percent of our energy needs, he says, and the technology needed for collecting and storing it is about to emerge as the field of solar energy is going to advance exponentially in accordance with Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns. That law yields a doubling of price performance in information technologies every year.
Kurzweil, author of "The Singularity Is Near" and "The Age of Intelligent Machines," worked on the solar energy solution with Google Co-Founder Larry Page as part of a panel of experts convened by the National Association of Engineers to address the 14 "grand challenges of the 21st century," including making solar energy more economical. The panel's findings were announced here last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
And the article (EDIT- dated Feb 19, 2008) also notes his prediction that solar will be cost-competive with fossil fuels for producing electricity in 5 years. Advances in knowledge, understanding and technological capabilities shift paradigms and enable the whole world to operate on the new higher level. Just imagine; the stranglehold of big oil interests on politics being diffused if not broken; elimination of the "need" for wars over geo-strategic resources; electric cars and clean energy; independent people and communities.
Ray Kurzweil is not the only one predicting this from trends in solar and renewable energy advances, but he's a fascinating guy, has made dozens of accurate predictions. A couple links for further info: