For Release 11 August 2010
POST CARBON INSTITUTE
The 9 (Overlooked) Challenges of Alternative Energy
Santa Rosa, CA (11. August 2010) The scramble for alternatives is on. High oil prices,
growing concerns over energy security, and the threat of climate change have all stimulated investment in the development of alternatives to conventional oil. Trouble is, many of those scrambling can’t see the forest for the trees and are headed straight for low-hanging limbs, not fruit.
In his just-released report, “Nine Challenges of Alternative Energy”
Lawrence Berkeley staff scientist David Fridley assesses the obvious yet too often overlooked obstacles to the widespread deployment of alternative energies around the world. These nine challenges are--
· Scalability and Timing
· Material Requirements
· Energy Density
· The Law of Receding Horizons
· Energy Returned on Energy Invested
Energy developers and legislators must consider all nine “challenges” when making decisions about the energy future of society. Fridley’s contribution to rational energy planning is his concise packaging and simple explanation of each.
“The public discussion about alternative energy is often reduced to an assessment of its monetary costs versus those of traditional fossil fuels, often in comparison to their carbon footprints,” writes Fridley. “This kind of reductionism to a simple monetary metric obscures the complex issues surrounding the potential viability, scalability, feasibility, and suitability of pursuing specific alternative technology paths.”
Fridley’s report was prepared as a contribution to the October 2010 Watershed Media/UC Press publication, The Post Carbon Reader.
ABOUT DAVID FRIDLEY
is the Renewable Energy & Biofuels Fellow for the Post Carbon Institute as well as deputy group leader and scientist for Lawrence Berkeley’s China Energy Group
which collaborates with China on end-user energy efficiency, government energy management programs, and energy policy research. He spent 12 years working in the petroleum industry both as a consultant on downstream oil markets in the Asia-Pacific region and as business development manager for Caltex China.Fridley has been a staff scientist at the Energy Analysis Program
at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
in California since 1996.
ABOUT THE POST CARBON READER
During the past few decades, growth has become virtually the sole index of economic well-being. But at some point, humanity’s ever-increasing resource consumption will inevitably meet the very real limits of a finite planet.
The 36 co-authors of The Post Carbon Reader
(Watershed Media/UC Press – October 2010) believe that this time has arrived. The authors call upon global leaders to face the need to accomplish four enormous tasks simultaneously:
1. Rapidly reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
2. Adapt to the end of economic growth.
3. Design and provide a sustainable way of life for 7 billion people.
4. Deal with the environmental consequences of the past 100 years of fossil-fueled growth.
The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and community resilience. The collection takes a hard-nosed look at the interconnected threads of our global sustainability quandary and presents some of the most promising responses.
In addition to David Fridley, The Post Carbon Reader features the works of Wes Jackson, Bill McKibben, Erika Allen, Richard Heinberg, Gloria Flora, Sandra Postel, Nancy Lee Wood, Zenobia Barlow, Daniel Lerch, Rob Hopkins, Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Michael Shuman, Peter Whybrow, William Rees, Tom Whipple, Richard Douthwaite, Chris Martenson, Bill Ryerson, Warren Karlenzig, John Kaufmann, Hillary Brown, Richard Gilbert, Anthony Perl, Cindy Parker, Brian Schwartz, Bill Sheehan, Helen Spiegelman, Joshua Farley, Michael Stone, Deborah & Frank Popper, Michael Bomford, David Hughes and Asher Miller.
ABOUT POST CARBON INSTITUTE
Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, and environmental crises that define the 21st century. PCI envisions a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.
POST CARBON INSTITUTE
Tel: +1.707.823.8700 • Fax: +1.866.797.5820