Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Public Brainstorm: Energy

December 6, 2012 will be the 10 Years Anniversary event of the Club of Amsterdam.

We are going to promote and discuss ideas, statements, observations and solutions for five areas that are considered key challenges by Schloer Consulting Group. The main characteristics are exponential changes - the primary cause for critical societal and economic crisis. You find an overview of the Public Brainstorm here.

You are invited to contribute here to our public brainstorming session: Public Brainstorm: Energy


Anonymous Adriaan Kamp said...

I like to kick-start this session.

The coming two decades are key- with respect to the future of energy.

Over 100 years we may live in Energy Abundance , thanks to technology progress, our societal evolutions and our human awareness, but along the way we may have hit a couple of nasty bumps.

OUr world today is in a rapid acceleration. Over coming decades we see a rapid growth and shift in wealth distribution to the BRICS, MIST and other emerging nations. Energy and Wealth are directly related. The more wealthier the world- the more energy it needs.

Expectation is that with the current rate of wealth, population and energy consumption increase- we will have to double the present energy generation capacities. Unfortunately- and as the present trend indicates- this new fuel will still be from our finite conventional energy resources- which may become ever more complex to produce.

So- over coming decades our world (and its evolving geopolitical constellation) will need to determine how, what and how these resources are shared.

Threfore- and Today- Energy and Energy Transition Management in Politics, Business and Society is King.

Energy and our political and social evolution over next decades are also linked: The question of how we relate to each other. IN the East and in the West. The Have´s vs the Havenot´s..

The future is made by our common leadership, actions and decisions on the above- today.

IN invite Energy Professionals all - world over- to start to define and realize the energy architectures of the 21st century. Today.

October 12, 2012 7:38 AM  
Blogger Khani said...

We face a nightmare. Humanity lived in paradise for the better part of a century, but in that period we made ourselves a Hell's Banquet - humanity went from two billion to (this century, largely inescapably) ten billion.

This is goddamn awful.

So oil is essential for everything, and not just transportation. We have been squandering it, filling landfills with useless reduced condensed oil scrapings, and filled the atmosphere with oil residu vapour. We make plastics, medicine, roads, consumer goods, food, clean water and much much more from oil, and assorted petrochemical products. We refrigerate and fly with the stuff.

And it is running out. Now try and convince a very large village of slightly overweight bodybuilders to "cut down on their calorie intake" and you have the situation where we are at. We have a world full of very much empowered people who have grown accustomed to petrochemical gluttony and there is absolutely NO way in the next few democratic cycles or in the market system or in the corporate boardroom to change the acknowledgement of this fact, to get a consensus of the severity of even the consequences of this consumption, LET ALONE to actually do something about this.

Let me state it frankly - I am for listing politicians and corporate decission-makers that may be doing something about this, and aren't.

And let's make some bold statement here - making such a list isn't illegal.

And claiming that this list will be uses, twenty years down the road to drag these people in front of a court and execute them isn't illegal either.

The world is headed for hell in a handbasket and nobody is doing a goddamned thing.

October 17, 2012 6:03 PM  
Blogger Felix Bopp said...

Hardy F. Schloer: “The world will be tested between 2012 and 2025 by more challenges, than it has possibly in its entire existence of human development.

Clearly, I am not discounting here the challenges of the past centuries, as for example the outbreak of the black pest in the dark ages, where there was no medicine or sufficient understanding in how to deal with such far reaching epidemic; or perhaps the two world wars of the last century, that caused more then 80 million death by senseless violence. Neither should one discount the emergence of nuclear technologies or weapons, which posed for the first time in history real and omnipresent danger of destroying the entire planet in a timeframe of only few minutes.

Nevertheless, many real dangerous and catastrophic events are less violent and much less visible. For example, the human discovery of cereals or potatoes enabled human population to grow in exponential pace, and in only the past two centuries of exponential growth to overpopulate the planet in such way, that it is now near impossible to keep vital dynamics of this planet in a sustainable balance. The real problem is ‘us’.

The fact however is, that we do not experience separately a crisis of overpopulation. With it came the systemic faults of money and its creation, which lead to economic breakdown. Exponential overpopulation also caused vastly emerging food, water and farmland shortages, and a predatory and now often violent battle to use the resulting energy shortage in the most profitable ways. Then there is the exponential environmental decay, which poses also accelerating effects on the food, water and farmland problems. Accelerating global warming and its effects come here to mind.

The fact is, that we experience all these climactic disasters concurrently, coming together in one dynamic model, like the proverbial ‘perfect storm’. We are living in the next 20 years in the ‘Age of Final Exponential Change’ where relatively flat growth curves have all begun concurrently to transform into fast and vertical growth that is unsustainable and also complimentary to produce disastrous magnifications to all other here identified problem domains.

To manage this ‘perfect storm’ of complimentary disasters, we must begin to analyze our problems in much more complex and more inclusive models. Unless we begin to think in inclusive and interdisciplinary models, we will not even begin to understand; much less solve these problems.

Understanding is the first step, and it is vitally important. The world, and mostly its politicians and economic leaders are in deep denial about these problems. Misinformation, driven mostly by self-serving dogma, or greed for profit, cement this denial as necessity, to defend specific and selfish goals. However, just as we must look at all our challenges in the context of all concurrent problem domains, we also need the entire human population to come together, and participate in the understanding of this complex situation and also in the definition of solutions.

Ultimately, we will need to do two separate things to solve these problems. First we need to analyze data in an all-inclusive way, using modern supercomputers and cloud computing infrastructures to analyze all available global data and so manage the scientific understanding of the ‘interrelated problem fabric’. Secondly, we must decide on a global level, how we furthermore instruct intelligent supercomputers to search for possible solutions to these problems.

We do not have time anymore, for politicians to ‘play the omni-intelligent rulers’ of our world. We must hurry to find globally acceptable solutions to this perfect storm of apocalyptic problems, because it is the fear in society, that we don’t know where we are going next, that causes global fear, aggression and finally global conflict. To prevent this we must come together, and solve our pretext of sustainability. This will be the first step to begin living together as one human race, in peace, freedom and sustainability.”

October 19, 2012 2:02 PM  
Blogger Felix Bopp said...

Hardy F. Schloer: "I did read all your comments. Interesting! Those of you, that think, that these problems are all just go away, if we do nothing, because 50% of them are not true (not scientific) and the other 50% will solve themselves before they become too critical. Well, all of you, that believe this may be in for a very big surprise… and soon.

I don't know how to put this any simpler, or any more polite….

The problem is not the 100s of predictions prophesying the end of the world, coming from all kinds of crazy paranoia groups, or pseudo scientists that could not even understand the plunder they wrote themselves. The problem is also not churches that tell us, that the Revelations in the Bible are about to tell us from the end the world. We know, what to think about them.


The real danger of exponential change is, where a timeline/data correlation is located in the near vertical curve segment of the observed exponential change.
We are living in a world, where more then 74% of our vital indexes (SCG Analysis 2011) have crossed over into the dangerous exponential acceleration point of the curve, as opposed to only about 8% in the 1950s. In only 10 more years we will see likely over 90% of our vital indexes operate in a near vertical rise or decline, depending on what you observe, or what the focal point of your research is.

If this this was just all to complicated for you, then here is a very simple exercise I ask you to do:

Please watch the following lesson by Prof. Dr. Albert A. Bartlett from the University of Colorado:

Watch all of it. Watch it twice, if you have to! Then we can open the discussions again about what exponential changes we want to observe, how they influence each other, and what the mathematical outcome they MUST produce!

Do your homework. Start, what we have started decades ago. So far the predictive analysis of our group has been exactly on target for these decades. We use holistic models, and we strip all the soft data, and assumptive elements (and other nonsense) as much as possible, and only use, what is left: very hard data; hard change-over-time observations (Stochastic Time-Series Data); and continuous error corrective optimization methods and offsetting factors, as new data and facts becomes available. We need such error correction method, since we live in a dynamic world after all, and new information becomes available continuously.

After you done all of this, and use a very complex and inclusive investigation model of the planet (as inclusive as modern supercomputers and cloud computing infrastructures allow you to be) and include as a minimum global and regional models and data of Population, Energy, Environment, Economy, Finance, Logistic, Food and Water into the overall model. Furthermore, lay over all this a sociological probability model of expected human behavior. Now you begin to do useful science!

When you begin to trace all the exponential changes and compile the potential effect corridors in the data, then you will be confronted with a most uncomforting reality: 2012 to 2025 will be very hard to manage, unless we start looking NOW at the real facts and expected futures, and not wishful thinking, or masking such facts by the needs of special interest groups. There is no more time for minority rule of the planet. We need to arrive at consensus of the global community NOW, to prevent a meltdown.

Our politicians are not equipped to deal with these problems. Al they know is, how to get elected. We need to begin to vote for problem-solving strategies, rather then presidents, because this is all that matters from now on."

Hardy F. Schloer, President and CEO, Schloer Consulting Group - SCG

October 22, 2012 2:14 PM  
Blogger constab said...

The world has always been in some kind of crisis because humans experience something that is not in line with their expectations as a crisis. When we look at the big picture we see that Nature takes its course and this course is very predictable. The big problem with humanity is that people don't believe the predictors of bad times. At the moment that we could adjust we don't want to adjust because we love to enjoy the very (!!) good times and sadly enough it can be predicted that the very (!!) good times create the crisis. To prevent this to happen the Wise people introduced the Seven Virtues but the people that enjoy life at the top don't like virtues. They always fight something that is restricting their expansive behavior and virtues only intensify their feeling that they have to break the limits when they are alive. Expansion and not-Expansion (Compression) are part of the essential pattern of our Universe. What goes Up must come Down, Spinning Wheel all the way round. Don't worry Nature takes care of itself and is now stopping everything that was tooo expansive. Do we have to do something ourselves?? Yes, don't compress toooooooo much. If you do that the recession will take tooooooo long.

October 22, 2012 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Our politicians are not equipped to deal with these problems. Al they know is, how to get elected. We need to begin to vote for problem-solving strategies, rather then presidents, because this is all that matters from now on."

Very interesting thought and concept. It makes good sense. How would you propose this practice become implemented?

October 23, 2012 9:22 AM  
Blogger Coatless said...

Is energy a problem? We have a society geared around oil. Our food, our transport and culture is very dependent on this.

There are alterantives and we might jump over some bottle necks (population, climate) with them? But is there enough time to roll out water, wind and sun power generation? To decommision all the nuclear powers stations?

It is a political question - one that China, most of all must face. It is China that is opening a coal fired powerstation almost weekly

and although the Australian tries to put a shine on this, added to South African and Indian demands it is not looking good.

With nuclear, perhaps the biggest risk is if we had an EMP from the Sun and all the powerstations went critical. It could happen tomorrow. If we had another big solar flare like in 1859.

October 25, 2012 11:30 AM  
Blogger Felix Bopp said...

Andrei Kotov: "Interestingly, the topics of the Public Brainstorms are connected through the overarching narrative of the food-water-energy nexus problem cluster. As the ecosystem is coming under strain, sustainability is increasingly becoming recognized as non-optional. It's about time, too - the very definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.

The way forward? Quite agree with Hardy Schloer, in that we need broad-based overarching approaches to problem solving if we are to minimize unintended consequences.

Einstein is believed to have said that major problems cannot be solved from the mindset in which they were created. Fortunately, the boat of innovation is being lifted by the rising tide of progress. Increasing deployment of such innovation tools as supercomputers and crowdsourcing holds promise.

We are facing no small array of challenges - however as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. There are clouds gathering on the horizon, that much is true. Let's hope this cloud has a silver lining."

Andrei Kotov is Commercial Adviser Global LNG, Shell Upstream International

October 26, 2012 8:19 AM  
Blogger Lee on Engineering said...

Though it may seems that developed nations are the key to reducing global warming, the biggest threat we face in the future is the continuing use of fossil fuels for energy by developing nations, as there are billions of people living on the margins who have no alternative but to slash and burn for farming land, burning wood and coal for cooking and heat, and increased use of oil for transportation.
The problems are environmental, economic, and political, but finding a political solution will not happen. What we need is a realization that those billions of people need an alternative to their way of life which makes environmental and economic sense to them.
I propose a effort to create very inexpensive methods of generating A.C. electricity ( pennies per watt) that can be used by individuals, but also attached or linked to other source (such as neighbors or a local grid). To make this solution a real and on-going effort it has to be profitable for the supplier and have high value to the user. By making electricity a communal and scalable commodity which is affordable you reap the benefits:
1. Very small microgrids can be established in villages for local benefit such as operating small tools such as sewing machines and small manufacturing shops. It also allows for small scale irrigation which should increase the disposable income which can be used to expand their energy grid for greater benefit (think self sufficiency). Also, pumping drink water from rivers or well which is then purified by electricity generated ozone would make a dramatic difference in disease prevention.
2. Microgrids could grow to include macrogrids, even linked up to their national grid eventually. If the technology is frequency and voltage variation tolerant, then reliable electricity could be the marriage of solar, wind, heat pump generated power, and even occasional use of integrated fossil fuel generated power.
This then begins to look like a technical problem which is much easier to solve than a political one. The key will be technical and economic motivation, but very doable.

October 26, 2012 8:07 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I'm fairly optimistic about energy because, unlike a lot of doom theorists in the tradition of Diamond's catabolic collapse paradigm -- I see the demand for energy as being actually quite elastic, and I share Lovins' and Hawken's positive view of all the low-hanging fruit out there. Peak Oil (and everything else) will probably result in fuel prices of $12/gallon or more within a decade, which means the potential of micromanufacturing for radically shortening corporate supply and distribution chains will be taken advantage of as a matter of necessity. When truckers start abandoning their rigs on the shoulder and the GE and Westinghouse supply chains break down, people will of necessity turn to the nearest garage manufacturer with tabletop CNC tools to keep their appliances running. And that goes triple for local truck farmers breaking ground to meet the demand from people snatching produce off the table as fast as it appears at the farmer's market. $500/month electric bills will be a powerful catalyst for word of mouth from people who already know someone with a passive solar cooling system. And so on, and so on.

When energy prices reach a level high enough to overcome existing path dependencies, I think we can expect a phase transition pretty quickly.

I'm especially optimistic because I see almost zero chance of reducing CO2 emissions by political means (although ex ante geoengineering projects are more credible). OTOH Peak Oil (and Coal and Gas) estimates are generally isomorphic, over the long term, with goals for reducing fossil fuel consumption.

November 02, 2012 1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand the question fully, but I do think there's a non-negligible chance we start to feel the pinch from lack of cheap oil production. If food production, transportation, and other sectors become hyper-expensive in a decade, I could see it seriously curtailing certain economic growth curves and perhaps even slowing top-end tech growth.

But most worlds probably never suffer a resource constraint like this before the dynamics of the first powerful AGIs end up dominating the abundance/scarcity curve.

November 06, 2012 7:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We have no problem generating energy ecologically - all the technology is available today. The big problem is storage! Wind farms and solar power are rendered ecologically -ve by way of their huge material and pollution costs v there poor utilisation rates. Sadly, Nuclear Power is the only Eco Friendly technology we can deploy right now!

We need a huge R&D investment on home, village, town, city scale energy storage systems for those nations without the geography of mountains and 'rock' to exploit. Random schemes and investments in fashionable/emotionally driven energy projects will not solve this problem.

November 09, 2012 8:26 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Mancuso said...

We have the science and technology to move beyond a fossil fuel based economy but we lack the political will and foresight to act on it. Not too mention powerful lobbies to ensure the status quo.

November 10, 2012 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Jose Cordeiro said...

This is a fascinating topic of discussion. We are now moving quickly towards a world full of abundant and cheap energy, what I call the "energularity":
Energetically yours,
Jose Cordeiro (

December 30, 2012 6:18 PM  

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