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GRM Monthly Documentary Film Event - May

Seminar & Lectures

2019/5/29

A documentary film event was held on Thursday, 23 May 2019.
We watched a film, titled
Breakthrough in Renewable Energy”.
 

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Date: Thursday, 23 May 2019
Time: 17:30 P.M.- 19:30 P.M.
Venue: Meeting Room, Shikokan Building, Karasuma Campus
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■Commentary
Written by Iyas Salim

Are we living a clean energy revolution? This documentary film tries to convince us indeed our lives are being unprecedentedly influenced by alternative energy; namely solar. The film takes us to decision makers and key corporations, leading the way for a new future of energy consumption. The key to the change from carbon-based energy consumption to renewable energy is cost, as the film states. It argues industry and research are actively working on improving related technology in many different part across the globe, and as time passes, energy cost will go down. China appears to be leading global efforts in making renewable energy useable and affordable at the level of consumers. At this moment, it is claimed that solar energy cost has gone down by 80% and cost of wind energy down by 50%.  As the cost of renewable energy is going below the cost of natural gas, many regions and countries are likely to join the “clean energy revolution.”

The film highlight a mega renewable energy project in the city of Masdar, near Abu Dhabi. Masdar is deigned to be a model city, dependent only on renewable energy. Designers/architects planed Masdar as a city centering chiefly on people and pedestrian. Temperatures records show 15 degrees Celsius than the near-by city of Dubai. Proponents of the project predict that future cities will be designed around people and not cars, making it possible to supply communities with renewable energy. In the Netherland and California, the film shows also projects where renewable energy from wind and solar are implemented to support communities with clear and sustainable energy.

In the discussion following the film, one participant criticized the film for sounding promotional. The film is not critical enough. There are many challenges to implement wide-scale renewable energy infrastructure, as one engineering student pointed out. Another critical point was raised on the question of storing energy. Research and technology still need to solve issues of affordable technology for storing energy. A participant who happens to be from Abu Dhabi pointed out the Masdar is considered to be a future model.  Yet, solar panels, providing energy for Masdar city, do take up much space.

Technology is always evolving and changing in the hope that efficient and affordable sources of renewable energy will become a reality. With global warming causing much rupture to the eco-system, extreme weather is indeed a fact of life in our present time. Thus, renewable energy is not only an alternative but also a necessary pursuit for the survival of millions of people across the planet.