Green Tech Talk: Clean Tech At The Poles

[Editor’s Note: Beginning today Green Tech Chatter is called Green Tech Talk.]

Oil companies have long looked to the Arctic as a potential reserve of fossil fuels, and Shell Oil was recently granted permission to drill four wells in the Beaufort Sea, despite protestations by environmentalist groups, who say that cleaning up a spill in the Arctic Ocean would be just about impossible. The debate has been raging for years about the North and South Pole areas being sources of untapped energy, but the energy is question is usually oil. Besides being a fossil fuel whose use emits greenhouse gases that cause environmental and health problems, drilling for oil is traumatic for the landscape and wildlife. And there’s always the possibility of a devastating spill.

Image via British Antarctic Survey

But what if these regions have other ways of providing energy for the planet? The Arctic and Antarctic circles, during their summers, get constant sunlight, which would make them ideal for solar farms. Organizations like the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are conducting environmental research in these unforgiving climates, and may come up with a way to use the polar regions for safe, clean and renewable energy. We dug around a little to learn about some cleantech progress being made in the North and South Poles.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.