- lack of fresh water,
- saving the climate and life on the planet.
1. Instability of climate of the planet - http://bioticregulation.ru/index.php
"Environmental parameters that are favourable for life on Earth are physically unstable. The liquid state of terrestrial hydrosphere, a major prerequisite for functioning of the contemporary living systems, is unstable with respect to spontaneous transition to either complete glaciation of the planetary surface or complete evaporation of the oceans. Without the stabilising biotic impact the environment and climate of Earth would rapidly degrade to a state prohibiting human existence."
Thus, the problem of climate imbalance - this is not just an issue of comfort mankind. This is a problem of the possible existence of life on Earth. In our solar system, there are two nearest neighbors - Venus and Mars, which demonstrate just what will happen to us if we do not immediately stop it and Earth fell into one of the stable states. Despite the fact that different climate models give different predictions for period of destruction of the Earth's ecosystem stability, we need to focus on the worst predictions that give us just a few decades before the irreversible consequences.
2. Emission into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide - the main source of the climate problem
All that nature has garnered millions of years in the form of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), humanity will spend just a couple of centuries since the industrial revolution. At first we thought that the main problem - the energy that we just do not have enough resources soon. But now it is clear that at the present rate of consumption, we will destroy the Earth even earlier because of global climate catastrophe.
I recommend everyone to see a wonderful performance by Bill Gates on TED - http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates
"So this is a wish. It's a very concrete wish that we invent this technology. If you gave me only one wish for the next 50 years -- I could pick who's president, I could pick a vaccine, which is something I love, or I could pick that this thing that's half the cost with no CO2 gets invented -- this is the wish I would pick. This is the one with the greatest impact."
Bill Gates does not know an acceptable solution. Of despair, he proposes the development of a very exotic options in the area of nuclear energy - a project Terrapower. I think that he himself did not believe in the success, but we need to do something...
About renewable sources Gates said the following correct words:
3. The problem of the existing energy resources
There are many studies that examine separately the problem of energy resources, such as - http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8717
Basically it comes down to the following understandable diagram.
Hopes for a quick development of fusion energy, to put it mildly, did not materialize. Billions invested in these studies led to the conviction that, in principle, it is achievable, but it requires huge resources, which leads to economic failure of this concept for the next century at least. Of the rest , you can use either the nuclear energy (which after Chernobyl and Fukushima greatly slowed its development), or fossil fuels (which creates a problem with CO2, climate and ecology ) or renewable (of which really only solar panels and possibly, wind turbines are acceptable by resource) . Result analysis of existing technologies usually has pessimistic conclusion that until fossil fuels are finished (which is about a couple of hundred years), mankind will be forced to use it, along the way trying to minimize the problem of accumulation of CO2 and praying to avoid the problem of global climate change. What's next - God knows...
If you do not blow over, the disaster could occur as early as 2050-2100 years... If the climate catastrophe becomes evident then immediate transition to renewable sources is forced, but even at the maximum rate, we can only rely on ~50% substitution of energy to 2050. That would mean the collapse of the deepest in human development, reducing its numbers due to hunger and lack of energy and other resources, etc.
4. Fundamental limitations of renewable energy
Again, there are many studies on this topic, such as - http://oneinabillionblog.com/energy/renewable-energy/fundamental-limitations-of-renewable-energy/ and other materials on this site. Actually, the main was said in the above quote by Bill Gates - resources are dispersed (dimension 2, whereas conventional energy - dimension 0) and intermittent (which is equivalent to an additional investment in storage).
In this resource, as was explained above, only the Solar and (possibly) the Wind are sufficient. Traditional hydropower, which is also a kind of solar energy does not have enough resources - for example, http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/12/how-much-dam-energy-can-we-get/
However, using Clouds Power by technology AIR HYDRO increases this resource is almost 200 times (see picture above) and radically changes this assessment.
Fundamentally here comes into play Her Majesty ECONOMICS (see Feasibility study). All three methods of conversion (Solar , Wind, Clouds) are of the same order of magnitude of the energy density (~ 100 W/m2), but only for AIR HYDRO all this energy with virtually no loss can be merged into a single point (pipe / turbine), making part of the proportional m2 far cheaper than other alternatives. This implies the 1-2 orders of magnitude smaller specific investment (~ 10-100 $/kW) and low payback period (~ month-year) that will quickly rebuild the energetics and successfully avoid energy and climate collapse in the region 2050-2100 period.
That is, despite the fact that in AIR HYDRO the capture of energy also has the dimension of 2 (proportional to the area of the kite or mesh in sky, but not the area on land), the actual conversion of energy (which is the most capital cost of any power unit) can be performed at one point (dimension 0), in contrast to solar panels and wind turbines, where expensive converters are also necessary reproduced in proportion to dimension 2. Moreover, AIR HYDRO itself can smooth out unevenness both by a small hydro accumulation and much greater (at 600 times!) by accumulation in the form of hydrogen storage in ballonet balloons. And this accumulation (and possibly shipping) energy in the form of hydrogen creates a possibility of a gradual and smooth transition from natural gas to existing traditional power plants and transport on hydrogen.