Review of 2014

So many ghastly things are happening in the world, from ongoing civil wars and the emergence of genocidal fundamentalism to the climate disrupting consequences of business as usual politics. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Yet at the same time very many amazing and positive things are happening.

Evidence is beginning to mount that several countries may have passed peak energy demand, and renewable energy is rapidly gaining ground in most parts of the world. The possibilities of a 100% renewably powered global economy look better and better as each year goes by. The pace of innovation is breathtaking, especially in relation to many forms of solar power. I can’t choose a single technology of the year, so here are five of my solar favourites.

  • In January I blogged about Naked Energy: Combining solar water heating and photovoltaics into a single panel with improved efficiency.
  • In March I blogged about solar powered desalination. In Australia Sundrop Farms are planning a huge expansion of their Port Augusta project, which I’ll blog about as it happens.
  • In July I blogged about Airlight Energy using solar heated air to help bake limestone into cement at Ait Baha in Morocco
  • Also in July I blogged about Solar Roadways: re-imagining road surfaces as photovoltaic electric generating infrastructure.
  • In September I blogged about Clique Solar using Fresnel Dish technology to heat water and steam for a multitude of uses in India.

Last year I chose the then Uruguayan President Jose Mujica as my Person of the Year. Again this year Pope Francis is a contender, as are many others, but I’ve chosen Molly Scott Cato as this blog’s Person of the Year 2014. Last May she was elected for the Green Party to the European Parliament representing Southwest England. She is proving a powerful voice for social justice and ecological sustainability. With more such voices in the world perhaps some of the ghastly things we read about in the news can be overcome.