“It’s not good enough to say ‘yes’ to re­new­ables, you also have to say ‘no’ to fos­sil fu­els. And that will re­quire a change of pol­i­tics and un­der­stand­ing”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

and very strong arith­metic re­la­tion­ship be­tween en­ergy use and the level of de­vel­op­ment per per­son. The ques­tion is what kind of en­ergy, and right now the en­ergy is petrol for au­to­mo­biles, its nat­u­ral gas for power trans­mis­sion or coal for power gen­er­a­tion. We are a so­ci­ety that is tech­no­log­i­cally de­pen­dent on fos­sil fu­els. We now un­der­stand, though, sci­en­tif­i­cally, that those fos­sil fu­els are cre­at­ing global warm­ing and cre­at­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal stress that has its feed­backs into dis­lo­ca­tion, war, famine, heat waves, and many other dan­ger­ous con­se­quences.

“We want en­ergy, but we don’t want the side ef­fects. And the solution to that is pri­mar­ily tap­ping re­new­able en­ergy – wind, so­lar, geo­ther­mal, hy­dro­elec­tric power or nu­clear en­ergy, which does not have the car­bon emis­sions – and the way to tap those re­new­able en­er­gies is to trans­form them into elec­tric­ity. And to trans­form the ma­chin­ery, in­clud­ing our cars that now use petrol or other fos­sil fu­els, to be able to run on elec­tric­ity pro­duced by zero car­bon sources. I think the fu­ture is zero-car­bon elec­tric­ity from th­ese non-fos­sil fuel sources, plus elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, and that also means trade in elec­tric­ity the same way we now trade in oil and coal, or nat­u­ral gas; we will trade across bor­ders in elec­tric­ity on a very large scale. This, I be­lieve is the fu­ture. It’s a good one be­cause the qual­ity of life would re­ally im­prove be­tween mak­ing this big trans­for­ma­tion from fos­sil fu­els to ze­ro­car­bon elec­tric­ity.”

“The idea of en­ergy in­ter­con­nec­tion aware­ness. And when our cars are is gain­ing a lot of elec­tric, then the in­ter­con­nec­tion of our ve­hi­cles with the power grid will also be re­cip­ro­cal. Some­times the grid will be charg­ing the ve­hi­cles, some­times ve­hi­cles will be charg­ing the grid, putting elec­tric­ity back into the grid.

“We’re mov­ing to a much more so­phis­ti­cated en­ergy grid that is transna­tional and that is also in­ter­con­nected across dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy. Rather than hav­ing just one power plant that feeds the econ­omy, we’ll have the whole econ­omy some­times feed­ing the power plant. Our build­ings of course will have so­lar pan­els, so­lar win­dows, they will some­times put some elec­tric­ity into the grid, some­times they will take elec­tric­ity from the grid.

“Th­ese are the changes that are un­der­way and where the en­gi­neers need to gain a new ex­per­tise in how to man­age a power grid. This needs a tremen­dous amount of man­age­ment to bal­ance the sup­ply and de­mand to shift the de­mand across the day or even across the week, or across the year, to have new pric­ing mod­els, to have ways that grids can be both com­mer­cial, but also not only sell­ing elec­tric­ity, but buy­ing elec­tric­ity from distributed sources.”

“This is, on the whole, very promis­ing and mov­ing, I think, in the right di­rec­tion. But of course, with oil ev­ery­body sees easy wealth. If you dis­cover nat­u­ral gas in the Mediter­ranean, no­body wants to give that up. If you have oil re­serves in the US, ev­ery­body wants to pro­duce it. With coal in Aus­tralia, ev­ery­body wants to pro­duce it.

“The prob­lem is that if we’re to use all of the coal, oil and gas that we know of and that is eco­nom­i­cally vi­able, at around to­day’s prices, we would de­stroy the cli­mate. We have to able to say ‘no’ to our own re­sources, but ev­ery­body likes to say ‘no’ for ev­ery­body else, but not for them­selves.

“This is a ques­tion of too easy money when it comes to an oil ex­plo­ration. Try telling Is­rael, ‘No, you shouldn’t use the Mediter­ranean gas’. This will be nearly im­pos­si­ble. But the truth is that, or tell Mr Trump, al­most any­thing, but tell him that you can’t use the oil and gas of the United States. He wouldn’t even un­der­stand what you’re talk­ing about. But he would re­sist that as be­ing un­fair.

“Our prob­lem is that we have enough oil gas and coal to wreck the en­tire planet, that’s the tra­jec­tory that we’re on. We’re very bad at say­ing ‘no’ to our own im­pulses of wealth. The good news is that we also have enough wind, so­lar, geo­ther­mal and hy­dro power to power the en­tire planet in a safe way, if we choose to do so. It’s not good enough to say ‘yes’ to re­new­ables, you also have to say ‘no’ to fos­sil fu­els. And that will re­quire a change of pol­i­tics and un­der­stand­ing.”

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