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NOVA: Treasures Of The Earth: Power

Ravenswood Power Plant provides 22 percent of New York City's electricity needs.
Courtesy of Doug Hamilton
Ravenswood Power Plant provides 22 percent of New York City's electricity needs.

Airs Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 10 p.m. & Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m. on KPBS TV + July 29 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2

How have Earth’s most extraordinary natural resources driven the rise of civilization?

They grace the crowns of royalty, sharpen weapons of war, and both power and pollute our cities. They are Earth’s natural resources: treasures in the forms of stunning gems that we hold dear, metals that have altered the course of civilizations, and fuels that drive our modern world.

TREASURES OF EARTH, "Gems" (July 11), "Metals" (July 18), and "Power" (July 25), is a three-part series that will take us on a journey deep inside Earth to uncover the mysteries of how these treasures were created, and to explore how they have allowed humankind to progress and build our great civilizations.

But even as that quest continues... we are discovering that some of our treasures may soon run out or have unintended consequences that bring new perils.

Can our ancient treasures reveal new secrets that will help us solve the problems we face today?

Episode 3: “Power” airs Wednesday, July 25 at 10 p.m. & Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m. - Drill down to discover the treasures beneath our feet that power our world. Fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — powered the industrial revolution and allowed us to build a way of life that many cherish today.

The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project will eventually grow to include 500 MW of installed wind capacity, 100 MW of installed solar PV capacity and 110 MW of energy storage.
Courtesy of Doug Hamilton
The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project will eventually grow to include 500 MW of installed wind capacity, 100 MW of installed solar PV capacity and 110 MW of energy storage.

Personal cars, planes, lights, hot showers – all of these are gifts from our fossil fuels… but they have a dirty dark side in that they are polluting the planet.

What is it about these natural resources that has allowed them to fuel our civilization? What secrets are locked in their molecules? Where did that energy come from, and can we find alternative energy resources that come in a cleaner form?

The hunt is on for new treasures that might allow us to power our modern way of life without damaging the environment.

The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project lithium ion batteries.
Courtesy of Doug Hamilton
The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project lithium ion batteries.

Join NOVA as we explore the resources that both power and pollute, from modern-day oil prospecting in California, to a mega-city utility company struggling to keep the lights on during hot summer days, to China where an engineer strives to solve one of the greatest obstacles to the success of solar power.

Travel the globe to see how our energy treasures are changing — and if they can keep the lights on.

The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project field of solar panels.
Courtesy of Doug Hamilton
The Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project field of solar panels.

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

All three episodes from this series are available for streaming on demand!

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