Renewable energy

I’m starting a second thread after my frist one about remote work. Topics of “Next big thing” are the most rewarding trends and future technologies, so the best business opportunities.

The first story is not really a ‘next’. It’s an ‘already here’. The de-carbonisation of the energy sector. Climate change is real and we have to start dealing with the outcomes. The CO2 levels are far too high and we raised the pollution level in 2018 instead of lowering it.

The efforts are very different around the world. Germany started scaling photovoltaics 20 years ago and is in the middle of the ‘Energiewende’, the complete shift to clean energy. The US is falling behind after some good approaches by the Obama administration. China and India are investing in PV but cannot generate the power for there economic growth without an increasing number of coal plants. And Australia, geographically one of the best spots for PV and power generation by wind is deep in there ‘cheap’ coal.

The actual calculations are that PV and wind are cheaper than coal and gas, around the world! This came with the fast decline of the cost of PV modules produced in China. It is now everywhere more cost-efficient to install PV and use the free energy from the sun than to build and maintain a coal plant and extract the fossil from the ground – so no excuses left.

This is a good example that everything is easier if it pays for itself. Very few people pay more ‘for the climate’, most are buying the cheapest offer. And here comes what governments should do to avoid the worst outcomes from climate change: install carbon taxes. Only if all operations with fossils are much higher taxed, there will be a be a fair competition. The catastrophe relief which is needed because of severe weather have to be paid by the governments, so the responsibles have to be taxed, even if this means more expensive gas and air travel for us.

This will also fasten the electrification of the transport sector. There are still some people who think hybrids or hydrogen cars are the future. For me it is crystal clear that cheap renewable power generation and battery electric vehicles (BEV) are the future. This is applicable for cars, trunks, semis, trains, ships and even planes. The last one will be the hardest to scale to big planes, but small electric planes are already flying. If you live in Asia you also witness how electric scooters are replacing the gas ancestors.

But back to the power generation: there are all the highly competitive renewable solutions available:

  • Photovoltaics, everywhere, less efficient in the north and south third of the earth
  • Thermal Solar Power Generation, best in deserts, advantage: heat storage
  • Wind Power, on-shore and off-shore, best at all shorelines
  • Hydropower, where mountains and enough water is
  • Biomass, best with waste, bad if corn or grain will only be grown for this

The only disadvantage with most of the above is that the generation is linked to the time of the day or season and the weather. To meet the demand you can install impressive power lines, which is a big discussion in Germany right now with resistance of their new neighbors. Or we have to install much more power storages at home and/or the scaled variant in the grid. The easiest way to store electricity is still pumping water onto mountains, but the learning curve with batteries based on metals and chemicals is still starting.

There are a lot technical solutions proposed to fight the already too high CO2 in the athmosphere. An easy but mostly overlooked idea is to use nature as CO2 sinks, like proposed by the campain natural climate solutions.

And we have a lot of promising stories. Take Mike Cannon-Brooks, CEO of Australian software company Atlassian, who has enough time (or a dedication) to start the campain ‘Fair Dinkum Power’ to transfer Australian power generation to Renewables after getting mad about the fossil-loving actual Australian politicans. He challenged Elon Musk back in 2017 via Twitter, if Tesla can build a 100 MW battery as grid stabilizer in 100 days, after South Australia suffered major blackouts. Tesla not only achieved this, the battery avoided power outages and paid itself already with earnings out of the grid stabilizing.

So all I can say is look for jobs or begin a startup in photovoltaics, wind power, intelligent power distribution, electric cars and everything else adjacent to the topic. Clear, you cannot start producing PV modules or electric cars – but for sure you can install or maintain PV or start an e-car rental business. You will have a bright future with knowledge in this areas and will help fighting climate change.

Please tell us your experience in the field and your thoughts in the comments.

How remote work supports the health of our planet

There are different aspects of reducing our footprint on our planet with remote work. I will go through them and will also highlight, that there are two points where remote work stresses the environment.


We all know that commuting is a bad thing. Not only for commuters and the productivity, it’s at first bad for the environment. For sure it’s better to take bus, train or ferry (i.e. in Vancouver or Sydney) then your car, but in any case you have a significant amount of air pollution and climate gases forcing climate change. If you power your electric car by photovoltaics, you are the extreme rare exception.

Lot’s of cities are now looking closely at their pollution data, maybe a little more since VWs scandal. Some are calculating how many death per year are caused by traffic pollution and some are even banning cities temporarily for diesel cars (“Oslo temporarily bans diesel cars to combat pollution” by TheGuardian).

Now it’s very clear what a big impact working from home has for the health of the environment and the health of the people. And we are not starting to discuss the saving on gas, car loans, parking or train tickets or the danger of accidents in this article.

Less commuting results in less demand for new or wider freeways, streets and railroads. That is a direct impact to longer untouched nature or the possibility for more parkland.


Today, urbanisation is still a mega trend in developped and developping countries. This study (2014 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects) of the United Nations shows it well and is also projecting this till 2030.

But the rise of remote work will slow this process down and I’m pretty sure, it will reverse that trend someday in the midterm future. The reason is clear, without the need to life in a city for work, lot’s of people will seek a place with more nature und less leases (however many will stay in the city, which is ok because actual infrastructure is more than enough for them).

The de-urbanisation, caused by the fact that you are able to live in a quieter, cheaper and cleaner environment, will have a big impact on the environment. Huge areas in metropol regions can be converted into parks or can be completely recultivated. That’s adding large potential space for plants and animals and will increase the air quality to name only one big benefit.

This decentralisation of living will fit perfectly with the new general way of power generation through solar and wind. The power will be generated and consumed decentralised, without the need of increasing the number of huge power plants to feed the demand of the cities or to build new power lines.


But there is, like always, a downside with remote work and the environment. If you are a digital nomad, you like to travel much, including flying a lot with planes and use all the other transporting possibilities. It depends on the commute, that you would do at your home town and it depends heavily on the frequency and lenght of your travelling, if you want to calculate what of both is worse.

But in any case you should consider to reduce your carbon footprint as digital nomad. There are lots of possibilities, donating for forestation projects or volunteering (for sure online) for nonprofits are only two of them.

The other downside will come from the wish to life and work at beautiful places (i.e. in the near of nice beaches). That will bring a pressure on that communities to enlarge their size into untouched nature. Hopefully we can cope that with a modern approach of coexistance of people and nature with as less impact as needed.

What are your thoughts on remote work and our environment? Please let us know in the comment section!