What if energy production didn't peak?

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jamiefettig's picture
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What if energy production didn't peak?

So 1/3 of the leg of the entire course, is that oil production will be outpaced by demand. and there will be a shortage of energy for growth.

Another 1/3 of the idea says that the environment and its resources are depleting and we are adding new people. 

What isn't brought about, is what about technological advances?

What if solar panels were invented that could power an automobile even on rainy days - right on the car?

What if Wind Towers were produced that could quadruple the production of power, while cutting the cost to 1/4th?

What if ways to manage waste, and people, and productivity were increased faster than the population grew?

What if the current monetary system we now have were to change paradigms to a totally new system, one where technology was not hindered by the "free enterprise system"?

And what if the dollar went back to the gold standard? (the last remaning third)

I ask because I know of a solar company that just made a "quantum leap" in its solar panels cost to production, thus changing the power per cost curve. Same with windmills.

Under the current Monetary system - scarcity is what drives profit, and that is the movtive. and therefore technlogical advances are hindered, because they would not promote scarcity. I.E. like oil companies buying the patents to battery technology that would make fully electric cars possible 20 years ago.  but not letting any one use it, because they own the patent? Or governments spending trillons on war, instead of growth?

What if?

Curious Chris, to hear your thoughts on these things. 




SamLinder's picture
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Re: What if energy production didn't peak?


Valid questions. I hope Chris M. has time to directly respond to your post.

However, in the meantime, my 3 cents:

There is one major concern we all have with new technologies coming on line. Will we have enough oil left to power the world until the new technologies are far enough along to replace the current ones.

E.g. What will power jet aircraft, tanks, ships (beside nuclear fuel), trains, all the millions upon millions of cars and trucks that currently run strictly on gasoline or diesel fuel? What about all the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of homes and factories that depend on oil for their heating systems?

Even if production of alternate technologies could be ramped up to such a degree as to replace the oil based economy we currently run on, where would we ever find the money to replace all the oil-based systems in a relatively short period of time?

It's not that we don't have wonderful technological advances in this country - the problem is time.

And what if the dollar went back to the gold standard?

I don't think there is enough gold in the entire world for every country to go back to a gold standard. In fact I don't think there is even enough for the U.S. to go back.

Rhaegar's picture
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Re: What if energy production didn't peak?

energey production will peak eventually, technology or no. it just pushes the date back. even if technology "saves" us every single time, eventually 100% of all matter in the universe will be convereted either into human bodies, human toys, or energy.

I dont think that will happen though. i dont even think we will manage the jump off of hydrocarbons. I'm something of a pessimist. 

Woodman's picture
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Re: What if energy production didn't peak?

I've heard Chris address this already by saying look at Time, Scale and Cost.

-How much Time will it take to bring different energy systems online relative to declining existing systems?

-Can other energy systems be Scaled up from prototypes to major infrastructure?

-What is the Cost of money, labor, and raw materials to bring new energy systems online?

For example, to build all those solar panels or windtowers takes a lot of cheap energy from oil and a lot of scarce resources, plus we're too insolvent to spend the money, and it would take a huge percent our GDP just to build it.  Population and economic growth has been supported the last 150 years by the pace of technological advance and cheap energy, but we may be losing the race now.

I don't see anything new that under this criteria can meet our present energy consumption and growing population.  The logical conclusion to me is that the only long term solution is to use much much less energy.  I believe this would allow a simpler life actually much higher in quality, not a lower standard in living, so this is also a desirable outcome.  Just imagine a world where we don't have to spend so much time servicing our complex living and transportation systems!  The transition will be rough, and technology may help smooth it, but I don't see technology as the ultimate solution.


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