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Energy for complexity: big government vs big business - it doesn't really matter which you hate (environmentalresearchweb blog) - environmentalresearchweb

What has unfortunately been quite absent from most of the political discussions about how to get the economy "back on track" is the true role of energy resources and technologies. With all of the talk in the United States about the need to "connect the dots" for the "War on Terrorism", what we really need to do is accept the way the energy and economic dots are connected in our modern industrial society.

By taking the following factors into account and enhancing our knowledge of how we can and cannot affect these indicators, we will "connect the dots" on our future as well as possible:

  • (1) Jevon's Paradox states that increased efficiency in the use of resources (in this case energy resources) through the use of technology and structural change increases total resource consumption.
  • (a) Policy point: if we target increasing efficiency, we can expect to only delay environmental problems.
  • (2) The energy return on energy invested (EROI) for the combination of energy resources, renewable and fossil, together with technology that converts those resources into services dictates the level of complexity attainable by society.
  • (a) Policy point: society seems to have reached a level of complexity in the last 1-3 decades such that:
  • (3) The EROI of energy services has been extremely high with the use of fossil fuels, and EROI will eventually come to a value such that it is equal for fossil and renewable resources. That time of EROI equality will mark a turning point in human civilization.
  • (4) The human species has now grown in size that it is capable of affecting the environment on a global scale as opposed to only very localized impacts before the industrial revolution.

The connecting of the dots goes as follows:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jevon's Paradox also states that increasing the effeciency with which fossil fuel is utilized increased the rate at which it is consumed (and thus decreases the time to peak fossil fuel.)

The last point of the article seems problematic:

(5) The inherently lower EROI of renewable resources will not enable the same level of economic production and societal complexity as provided by higher EROI fossil fuels. This is because renewable technologies are based upon current flows of energy (e.g. sunlight, wind, waves), as compared to fossil fuels which are based upon stocks of energy stored over hundreds of millions of years.

The EORI of renewable energy sources, such as wind and tidal power, could be far greater than that of fossil fuels, as quality and life span improvements in the devices will increase the total power generated by a given investment over time. It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free. But I suppose concerned investors could always hire hit men to go out and destroy generators that no longer require financing.  :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free

nailed. in. one.

there's a whole lot of kings going to see their crowns rolling on the floor when that happens.

ergo all the misinfo, all the time...

ARGeezer:

This is because renewable technologies are based upon current flows of energy (e.g. sunlight, wind, waves),

haha. nice try! big stupid...

use it as a metaphor for ideas, too. why use ones with no future, stuck in the past, (hey, it worked for granpa), when you can use/initiate ones that are generous in 'current flows', and infinite into the future?

keep spinning guys, your hologram is coming apart at the edges, but you don't see that, do you, as you're paid not to. time turning table...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 04:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free.

They could always charge lower rates over longer periods of time if they're that worried. ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:29:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Had they more than one neuron they might consider all of the possibilities available with cheap energy--AGAIN!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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