Illuminate Home
Engineer in hard hat and safety glasses holding a computer looking at rows of solar panels.

How engineers welcome the future of energy generation

The world is shifting toward a more sustainable, diverse energy mix. Engineers at energy companies are at the center of this transformation and constantly work on new solutions to bring customers reliable power with minimal impact on the environment.  

In the spirit of DiscoverE’s 2024 Engineer’s Week theme, “Welcome to the Future”, we asked our engineers what they’re looking forward to as we create a more diverse energy mix. Here’s what they had to say:  

“We are witnessing an energy transition revolution across the planet.”  

The shift from coal-fired energy production to a more diverse energy mix is a significant step toward a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Embracing diverse energy sources, such as renewable energy, is crucial for the health of our environment and reduces our dependence on limited resources. 

“I’m super excited about carbon dioxide battery energy storage systems being introduced to our energy mix.” 

Battery energy storage systems effectively boost reliability and complement energy sources like solar, wind and natural gas. Lithium-ion batteries have grown in popularity for their high energy density and efficiency, and alternative technologies are in development worldwide. 

One of these alternatives is a carbon dioxide gas energy storage system developed by an Italian company called Energy Dome. Its design is a closed-loop system, meaning no carbon dioxide releases into the air.  

“That the air we breathe is becoming healthier as the world transitions away from coal.” 

For decades, energy has been sourced almost entirely by burning coal. We know coal releases harmful gases into the air when burned. These gases trap heat in the Earth’s lower atmosphere and cause global temperatures to rise. Zero-emission energy sources like solar and wind help solve this problem and make the air we breathe healthier. 

“I expect a nuclear energy renaissance. Nuclear is not scary, just misunderstood.” 

The U.S. constructed the first nuclear reactors in the 1950s. The use of nuclear energy grew rapidly across the world between the early 1970s and the mid-2000s, but production dropped after 2008 due to the costs associated with generation.  

New technology is under development to make nuclear energy more cost-effective. One possible solution is small modular reactor (SMR) technology, a cheaper and easier way to produce nuclear energy. SMRs are safer and take up less land than traditional nuclear energy power plants.  

“The transition to a diverse energy mix makes for new and exciting problems to solve and is good job security for engineers!” 

Engineers are natural problem solvers. They’re a large part of why modern technological advancements continue to improve our lives and our environment. With the incorporation of new technologies in our energy grid, engineers help ensure safe, reliable energy is at your fingertips whenever you need it.  
Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

Recent Stories