Part III. The Future of Energy: The future price of renewables

wind power farm WP - smallThe future of energy will be driven by a combination of price and availability, as it always has. But in today’s uncertain world one thing is very sure, and that is that this combination is already in rapid transformation, meaning that we are now looking at a very different energy future indeed. In this four part series, we are looking out into the near term future of a battle  already well underway, the unfolding market contest between non-renewables and renewables. In Part II of this series we are looking for price trends in the economically significant renewables, today, are firewood, hydroelectricity (large or small scale), storage batteries, wind power and solar power. Firewood is not a commercial fuel except in some of the poorest and remote countries. The two most dynamic renewable technologies for electricity generation today are wind turbines (either on-shore or offshore) and solar power.  The number of installations of wind turbines and solar panels is large enough so that both can be treated analytically as aggregates, which we shall now look at here.

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Cross-Current: On the Productive Link between Energy and a Robust Economy

USA Skip LaitnerJohn A. “Skip” Laitner is the first guest contributor whom we are proud to welcome to the important Cross-Currents section of Exernomics.  Cross-Currents is intended to serve as a tribune for readers and colleagues who are working to develop new ideas and perspectives on the important topics focused on here — Energy, Growth and Democracy —  to share their work and ideas with our growing network of international readers. We welcome critical discussion and creative disagreement.

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Energy and Equity, Ivan Illich

– Introductory note by Eric Britton

As the first entry in our new xRx Library corner, we thought it would get us off to a vigorous start if we open with the long essay that Ivan Illich famously wrote in 1973 under the title of “Energy and Equity”, which in many ways is close to the concerns set out here. His approach is of course not scientific, but it is informed and in many ways relevant to the concerns of this collaborative investigation: Energy, Growth and Democracy. When Illich wrote this back in the early seventies, the “running out of resources” and anti-growth notions of the time were deeply colored by the publicity surrounding the Oil Crisis, Club of Rome, The Limits of Growth, etc.

However, Illich’s anti-growth positions were not entirely without nuance. His main target was our unrelenting refusal at the time to “discount any social limit on the growth of energy consumption”. And when he speaks of energy restraint, he is basically addressing the dominant energy technology and practices of that time, namely grossly inefficient use of fossil-based fuels. Not all that far from Ayres’ stated position here. Likewise when he writes: “Participatory democracy postulates low-energy technology. Only participatory democracy creates the conditions for rational technologyhe is close to the concerns that bring us here.

Now let’s listen to Illich.

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Part II. The Future of Energy: Why the price of oil and gas should increase (but will it?)

oil drilling http rccblogThe future of energy will be driven by a combination of price and availability, as it always has. But in today’s uncertain world one thing is very sure, and that is that this combination is already in rapid transformation, meaning that we are now looking at a very different future indeed. In this four part series, we are looking out into the near term future of a battle which  is already well underway, the unfolding market contest between non-renewables and renewables.  The rising price of oil, in particular (because of its unique role as a fuel for mobile applications) together with declining prices of “renewables”  is creating new opportunities for long-term investors, as well as requiring that government policy take into consideration the considerable implications of this transformative  shift.  In Part II, we are looking first at the unfolding and very different picture emerging for oil and gas.

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Part I. The Future of Energy (and the Planet)

– For Exernomics. Robert Ayres, Paris. 24 October, 2014

The future of energy will be driven by a combination of price and availability, as it always has. But in an uncertain world one thing is very sure, and that is that this combination is already in rapid transformation, so we are looking at a very different future indeed.

In my recent book (“The Bubble Economy”) , I have argued that the rising price of oil, in particular (because of its unique role as a fuel for mobile applications) together with the declining price of “renewables”  creates an opportunity for long-term investors. It is estimated that $2 trillion/year must be invested in renewable energy to meet future energy demand without increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Surprisingly, perhaps, current trends suggest that – contrary to widespread assumptions – such investments can be very profitable.

cropped-enegy-penury-nyc-skyline-without-lights.jpg

New York City skyline during power outage

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