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Why it's important

The future of our energy production will be a mixed portfolio of a number of energy technologies. It is likely to include primarily wind, solar, nuclear, and (hopefully fewer) fossil fuels, although it could also include any number of other technologies. We are going to be moving away from a world where most of the energy comes from one or two sources, and so it is important to keep an eye out for technologies that could supplement the big ones discussed elsewhere on this website.

The best technology for one place may be completely impractical in others
There is a lot of energy that we have access to, but do not take advantage of yet. Geothermal is a great example of this.Credit: Wikimedia Commons
As we move to more variable and distributed sources of energy such as wind and solar, it is important to have a variety of different energy sources. Intermittence has been pushed as a problem for renewable energy technologies, but if your sources are varied enough, you don't have nearly as much of a problem with this. For example, wind and solar can complement each other by wind picking up some of the slack that is left by solar not generating power at night without storage. The more different kinds of power we have, the better we can deal with changes in supplies from the different energy sources.

There is also the benefit of having customizable local solutions for energy needs. The best technology for one place may be completely impractical in others. The best energy is local energy because of losses energy experiences when traveling long distances. A lot of the technologies we discuss in this section are not going to be major components of a global clean energy economy, but may be the best solution in a few places, making them important to the replacement of fossil fuels. Geothermal, for example, is limited in where it can be used, but if you live near a geological hot spot, it's likely to be cheaper and better than wind, solar, or anything else we discuss on this website.
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