The fight to clean up the world’s energy portfolio needs more than opposition forces. It needs champions of viable alternatives.
It also needs informed public discourse if we are to progress beyond emotional sloganeering and political posturing.
Regardless of protest volume or hysteria, the world is not about to pull the plug on fossil fuels, which still account for approximately 80% of global energy, without a viable replacement at hand.
The need to find that replacement is driving the search for real alternatives. Fortunately, some are on the near horizon. And B.C. could be at the forefront of being more than a hotbed of fossil fuel opposition. After all, it is home to Ballard Power Systems Inc., a pioneer in harnessing the promise of clean hydrogen energy.
A recent report from U.K.-based ITM Power explores the potential of establishing major centralized production of renewable hydrogen in B.C. It follows the release of an International Energy Agency report on tapping hydrogen as a source of clean and affordable energy that could decarbonize a wide range of global industrial sectors, including long-haul transportation and chemical production.
The Future of Hydrogen also chronicles the versatility of the gas, which can be produced from various sources and is a leading option for storing energy to supplement power generated from renewable sources whose energy production is not always available to meet demand.
The challenges in tapping hydrogen’s potential are significant in part because infrastructure for its widespread adoption is largely non-existent.
Far more also needs to be done to develop its production from renewable sources rather than coal and natural gas. But perhaps the biggest challenge hydrogen faces is regulatory, not just within regions but around the world. In short, its development and the development of standardized international regulations for transporting, storing and using hydrogen energy will require an element that is scarce and getting more scarce by the hour: international co-operation.