Second Day of Blogging–Plans and Hopes

Well, the first day of blogging about 21st Century Energy issues was really gratifying. About 250 of you showed up to say hi and see what this is–thanks.

It strikes me, however, that I might have a better chance of getting people to come back for a second visit if I lay out my plans and hopes for this little enterprise. This is something that could actually be shaped by your opinions, especially since it’s early days here. So feel free to let me know what would be useful and interesting to you in this regard.

Most of what is below this post is material I gathered together in hopes of submitting a paper to a journal or maybe a magazine as an article. I’ve got quite a bit of it left to post, so I’m going to look a lot busier than I actually am.

This part of the blog is intended to lay out my case–that we’re going to be using a lot more energy than people think. I will post tables and make my data available, and will be happy to discuss it, but I’m pretty sure the case I make is convincing (with some caveats where I will be specifically asking for your help). You’ll see an example of this about an hour after I post this, as I’m going to put up some figures about China as soon as I can.

That part of this weblog will be about 10 or 15 more posts at this stage. I will then start discussing with you what the consequences of this energy consumption are, what the world will look like when we’re consuming 3,000 quads every year. I expect elements of that discussion to be ongoing.

After we lay that out coherently (I say we because I hope to be working with you by that point, as opposed to simply laying out results of my research), I would like to start a discussion on alternatives–if we don’t like the way the future looks without real changes, what real changes can/should we make? I think at that point we’ll start having a lot of fun.

When I came back to San Francisco from Europe a couple of years ago (because I had just predicted a huge recession and thought I should act on my own beliefs), I resolved to choose between focusing on either health care issues or green technology for the next stage of my career. My previous focus on information and communications technologies had started to seem like looking at a plumbing trade magazine–I was sick of looking at routers and virtualization schemes and wanted something fresh.

I chose green technology after writing some industry research reports on both sectors. Both healthcare and green technology are geared towards prevention in the early part of the 21st Century. Healthcare has adopted the philosophical stance that making us stop smoking, drinking to excess, eating sugary foods, etc., is the most effective use of their limited resources for now. Green technology is oriented towards preventing consumption of fossil fuels and emitting CO2. Not that big a difference. But green technology is going to need innovation as much as changing behavior, while healthcare at this point seems to be just going after the way we live.

I’m really happy with my decision–for now. I think healthcare will get interesting again soon, after biotechnology, nanotechnology and robotics combine to redefine it. But those new sectors will affect green technology as well, and I have no doubt we will be discussing them here.

I am going to have a great time writing about all this. I hope that you’ll have a good time contributing to this effort and reading the results.

Again, welcome.

11 responses to “Second Day of Blogging–Plans and Hopes

  1. Welcome back.

    Mis-use of the feel good term “green”.

    There is no “green technology”, reducing CO2 is anti-green.
    More CO2 and extra warmth causes more “greening”, remember your high school biology?

    So if you want less of that, use the correct terminology:
    “anti-green technology”.

    The only large scale CO2-less technology is nuclear.

    Personally, I’m rooting for shale gas, especially since Rossi’s E-CAT is so questionable.

    Energy = prosperity.
    Cheers
    Hal

  2. Although I dislike all forms of energy that require forced user subsidies,
    my least favorite “alternative” energy source is: WIND
    Here are 2 articles worth reading:

    “My One-Time, Tacit Support of Industrial Wind: A Confessional
    by Walter Cudnohufsky
    January 20, 2012

    On a regular basis, friends are surprised to learn of my recently voiced concerns about industrial wind. Enlightened, perceptive and thoughtful people, they share much of my concern for our earth and human communities.”
    http://www.masterresource.org/2012/01/confession-support-windpower/

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/0116/feature-mark-tholke-wind-farm-california-tehachapi-mountains.html

    Just helping your research. 😉
    Hal

    • Hi Hal

      Thanks for this. I’ll be talking a lot about wind, biofuels and obviously solar in the second and third stages of the development of this weblog. I have a lot of things to say about industrial wind, most of them pretty harsh. But I gotta get this joint up and running, first…

      Keep coming back, and thanks for the links!

    • Hi Hal,

      I just went over and read that at Master Resource. Kinda scary. As a solar advocate, talking bad about wind has been considered bad form in the past–we poor renewables needing to stick together and all that. I’ll be breaking this ‘Eleventh Commandment’ as I go forward, but I’m going to have to be a) very diplomatic and b) full of facts and figures when I do.

  3. Hi Tom
    Good to see you back on board.
    Have you looked into Thorium? I have spent a bit of time on this and other nuclear technologies. LIke a lot of other commenters here I have some fairly major objections to industrial wind..

    • Hi Andy

      It’s great to be back, and thanks. I will have a whole section on new nuclear as part of my Alt Energy 2.0 category, but I’m not ready for that yet. First things first and all that. I’ve got to make my case first, even if nobody seems to be arguing against it. Is trust in the DOE and IEA so low that everybody’s willing to accept a lowly blogger’s counter-argument? That’s scary in and of itself…

  4. I don’t make many comments but will be following your writings with interest.
    I would be interested in the use of neodymium in wind turbines and their true environmental costs.
    Good luck with your new site.

    Peter Oneil (real name)

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’ll scoot over to Tim Worstall’s blog and catch up on neodymium before talking too much about rare earths, but my hazy recollection is that they might be more profitably used in other applications, given the efficiencies of wind.

  5. Welcome back, Tom. (its difficult to quit, no?)

    I use solar on my house, but I feel that solar, or wind, are not real substitutes for coal, gas, nuclear or hydro. There is a place in the energy mix for solar and wind, but it will, barring a technolgical breakthrough, be a small part of the mix.

    • Hiya Les,

      Good to hear from you–are you keeping track of progress on our wager with Mr. Romm?

      I broadly agree with you about current renewables being more part of a portfolio than a straight substitution at this point. One thing I hope to do here is walk through the construction of an adequate portfolio mix. But that’s getting ahead of myself…

  6. Tom: I have not been tracking it. Its like my stock portfolio. Sometimes, I am better off just ignoring it….

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