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Salon: The technology that will save humanity

Author: Joseph Romm
April 14, 2008

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One of oldest forms of energy used by humans -- sunlight concentrated by mirrors -- is poised to make an astonishing comeback. I believe it will be the most important form of carbon-free power in the 21st century. That's because it's the only form of clean electricity that can meet all the demanding requirements of this century.

Certainly we will need many different technologies to stop global warming. They include electric cars and plug-in hybrids, wind turbines and solar photovoltaics, which use sunlight to make electricity from solid-state materials like silicon semiconductors. Yet after speaking with energy experts and seeing countless presentations on all forms of clean power, I believe the one technology closest to being a silver bullet for global warming is the other solar power: solar thermal electric, which concentrates the sun's rays to heat a fluid that drives an electric generator. It is the best source of clean energy to replace coal and sustain economic development. I bet that it will deliver more power every year this century than coal with carbon capture and storage -- for much less money and with far less environmental damage.

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