This Saturday, at Hermann Square Park in downtown Houston, CEA will showcase some of the latest technologies that are letting us find more fuel, produce more fuel, conserve more fuel, and ultimately use energy to improve our lives. We’ve worked hard preparing for Energy Day 2011 because we recognize that our energy future depends on a generation of youth becoming engaged in the business of energy, intrigued by the science of energy and motivated by the power of energy – pardon the pun – to transform our future.
This week, we are also struck by the timing. You may ask, what does the passing of Steve Jobs, a great innovator in technology, have to do with an energy event in Houston. But there are many parallels to be drawn. All of the always on/constant connectivity we have come to expect in recent years, often accessed on technology that Jobs created, is supported, quite literally, by energy.
A question like, “How much energy does the Internet use”, is pretty hard to quantify other than with the answer “An awful lot.” According to one estimate, the data centers that power our technology will this year use 3% of all electricity consumed in the U.S. That’s enough electricity to power 24,000 homes.
The explosion in Internet use at the end of the last century is in some ways like the rise of the automobile in the beginning of the century, in the sense that both were transformative innovations that ran on energy and succeeded because of our ability to continue to access the fuel.
This week as the world reflects on the loss of a high-tech visionary, we are reminded of the power of science and technology not only to expand our lives, but also to inspire us. The energy industry is far more mature than the Internet, and does not enjoy the same “gee whiz” reception as the latest high-tech device. But poke around at this weekend’s Energy Day, and you will find a lot to be wowed about. As the children in the video say, energy makes everything go.