Powering the Future | on The Science Channel

January 1, 2000

The Science Channel | Powering the Future is a four-part television event forecasting the world of energy in the not-too-distant future. We address the Earth’s energy challenge from every angle, and cut through the noise by establishing a simple target: a clean, limitless, and secure energy supply by the middle of this century. The show puts energy on the national stage with programming that builds to the inescapable logic: we must act.

As the crisis in the Gulf deepens, the ongoing search for viable alternative energy sources is more urgent than ever before, but navigating the complex web of options is both complicated and confusing. Discovery Channel and Science Channel are pulling back the curtains to reveal our quest for clean energy. From economics and climate change to national security and global politics, energy is the driving force behind most everything on the planet. Powering The Future puts energy on the national stage, addressing the challenge from every angle and cutting through the noise by establishing a target: identify a clean, limitless, secure energy supply and address how that energy could possibly be delivered. The show travels to more than 30 different locations around the world — from an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil sands of Canada, Washington, DC to Beijing, China — to meet with the movers and shakers whose work is at the heart of the issue.

Powering the Future, a brand-new four-hour special series, is hosted by Dr. M. Sanjayan, lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy, the special closely examines where our energy could come from and how we are striving to create a clean, limitless, secure supply of energy. “We are the energy generation, but we as Americans do not fundamentally understand what energy is, where it comes from, how we use it and how much we need,” said Dr. Sanjayan. “Watch the show and you won’t throw a light switch, eat a hamburger, drive a car, fly a plane or look at the New York City skyline the same way again.”

Powering the Future episodes:

The Energy Revolution
Our host, M. Sanjayan, explores the beginnings of a shift in energy use that will change the world. Whether for national security, the economy, or the health of our planet, there are as many drivers for change as there are technologies vying for a top spot. The hope is for a silver bullet to solve the problem all at once; the reality is that mankind is looking at the next industrial revolution, requiring the greatest minds and all the creativity we can harness. The episode looks at cutting edge technologies that could allow us to break our dependence on fossil fuels.

The Energy Planet

Starting from an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Sanjayan looks at how the abundance of the planet’s energy fuels every aspect of life on Earth. From wind, water, the sun, volcanoes and hurricanes, to the smallest cells to the tallest trees, Earth has the natural energy to power the planet but mankind is not using it. What can humans learn from the creation of the natural world that will help create energy?

Striking a Balance
We are bombarded daily with conflicting messages about energy from sources with vastly different agendas and motives. This episode filters out politics and special interests by looking at numbers: How many people will be on the planet by 2050 and how much energy will we need? What happens if we grow and consume at our current rate? It’s common knowledge that we use enormous amounts of energy, but until it’s quantified, it’s impossible to grasp the true extent of how much is wasted.

Leading the Charge
Unlikely characters and companies are leading the charge in an energy sea change. The U.S. Navy, China, and even the Empire State Building (or your next-door neighbor) — when it comes to energy, these unlikely forces are slashing their carbon footprints and propelling the new economy. But it’s happening around the world faster than in the United States. From highly efficient wind turbines to cutting-edge solar cells, the U.S. has an unprecedented track record for discovering the technologies to break our fossil fuel addiction, but rather than developing and employing them here at home, it has also developed a knack for giving them away.