When jet engines began being fitted to airliners, experts suggested it would take 20 years for them to become generally accepted and replace propellers. In fact it took a mere 5 years.
If the threat of massive blackouts due to solar flares becomes better understood it could accelerate breakthroughs in decentralized energy production.
The "extreme" solar emission that narrowly missed our geomagnetic field last month was precisely the type that the NOAA and NASA suggest could bring down power grids.
Imagine NY, Washington, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle and Portland having blackouts that continue for weeks.
See Green Light at http://www.aesopinstitute.org for an overview, supporting documents, and suggested paths toward solutions.
If the temperature rise put forward at Cancun proves accurate, rapid reductions in fossil fuels might be necessary to avoid a tipping point. That is the elephant in the closet.
Fortunately, the same initiatives that might be wise to minimize risk from solar flares, more than 500 of which are predicted during the next decade, can accelerate decentralized renewable energy systems. At least 4 flares of them are expected to produce "extreme" events that can collapse power grids.
See Moving Beyond Oil and Running on Water on the Aesop institute site for radically new, cost competitive green alternatives which, while hard to believe, may prove to be life savers.
Minuscule quantities of water as well as ambient energy may be converted to produce electricity.
Future cars and trucks are likely to become power plants when suitably parked, wirelessly selling electricity to local utilities. They will also be able to power homes and businesses. These vehicles are likely to pay for themselves as investments. Imagine the impact that will have on the economy.
We live in an age of surprising and rapid change. Energy will be no exception. Fortunately, the positives will far outweigh the negatives.
As is well known, the difficult can be done immediately. The impossible might take a tad less longer than conventional perspectives would suggest.
We would be wise to make certain radically new options are carefully considered. Perhaps they are necessary to avoid a life-threatening tipping point.