Solar Power International, the world’s leading solar energy conference and exposition, has recently announced that it will be coming to Orlando, Florida on September 10. Former President Bill Clinton will be featured as the conference’s keynote speaker from September 10-13. SPI boasts an estimated 24,000 professionals representing up to 128 different countries to be in attendance. Its intent is to spread awareness of the global need for renewable energy sources.
Other countries have previously held similar events to emphasize their own need to adapt to alternate sources of energy. Solar Power Australia 2012 was held on February 28 and 29 in Brisbane and focused on harvesting current solar resources and improving solar technology in Australia.
While the latter focused primarily on Australia’s own energy demands and capabilities, both conferences recognize a common issue: the need for clean, sustainable energy. Not just locally, but globally. Whether those changes happen all at once or country-by-country remains irrelevant as long as the needs are eventually met, both nationwide and worldwide.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not nations can make that adaptation fast enough. While government-funded solar projects in the U.S. total in excess of $2 billion, the change has not been made over to a more sustainable source. For example, most of the U.S. electrical grid is still composed of many different suppliers. In 2008, renewable energy only made up 7% of the total amount of energy generated. In 2010, only about 8.67% of the energy generated in Australia came from renewable energy sources, leaving almost 92% to be generated by conventional methods (i.e. gasoline and other fossil fuels). These numbers are low considering speculations that solar energy, along with other sustainable resources such as wind and water, could make up well over half of the national U.S. electrical grid alone. It would seem we are still stuck in the conversion process. Rather than making instantaneous change, the conversion from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy sources seems to be moving slowly.
Although, that is not to say that nothing is happening. As mentioned, U.S. solar projects have been proposed in excess of $2 billion. The Australian government allocated nearly $21.6 million in 14 different projects in 2010. Some may say these budgets are too high already, yet the end result would seem to justify the means.