Corn-based ethanol in trouble

The one-time favorite renewable fuel, corn-based ethanol, has lost its appeal with scientists and environmentalists. In an op-ed column in The New York Times, by Russel Harding, some of the problems with ethanol are described:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/opinion/28harding.html?_r=1

After years of research and debate a renewable fuel is gradually “written off” from the list of promising renewable fuels. This is a very time consuming, costly, and inefficient process. The world needs large volumes of renewable fuels that add new energy to the system and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In order to rapidly and cost effectively identify the most promising solutions we need to run broad large scale analysis programs that aim at developing the long term strategies that we need to transform energy systems on a large scale. We need to initiate such programs now.

My book Global Energy Transformation describes the need for such programs, and how they need to be organized and managed. In a new book that will be published in the next few weeks I describe the leadership issues and the need of strong and effective management in the transformation process.

Nuclear power gains unexpected support

Environmentalists who previously lobbied and took action against nuclear power are now among the unexpected supporters of this alternative that may become one of the primary technologies for combating climate change. This is the theme of a front page article in today’s issue of The Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/23/AR2009112303966.html?hpid=topnews

This is a really interesting sign of progress. In “Global Energy Transformation” I argue in favor of nuclear power, as an expandable energy source. The use of nuclear power is preferable to the alternatives, climate change, and also to declining global energy supplies.

We have grown dependent on increasing amounts of energy in order to keep the global economy working and expanding, and we will need a large scale planned and managed program in order to reduce this dependence. Developing new renewable energy sources will also require planned and managed programs. While we are waiting for this to happen, we need to utilise the technologies that are available to us and expand them.

The previous week the International Energy Agency warned that the peak of non-Opec oil production will happen in 2010. A “whistleblower” inside the organization also warned that the official statements from the agency on the ability to increase global production overall are too optimistic.

In a statement of the 14th of November the IEA states that governments need to reduce carbon emissions faster than have previously been planned. The recommendation is reminiscent of the message of “Global Energy Transformation.”:

“Putting the world on to a 450 ppm trajectory requires a deep and rapid transformation of the way we produce and consume energy, and a similar transformation of industrial processes and agricultural and forestry practices,” the IEA said. “Innovation would be required across all sectors.”

The complete article from The National can be read using the link below:

http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091114/BUSINESS/711149921/1005

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

I only yesterday saw that Al Gore has published a new book: “Our Choice”, with the subtitle “A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis”. How exciting that the former Vice President, and Nobel Prize winner, has written a book with a subtitle that eerily rings of the ideas promoted on this web-site and in my own book “Global Energy Transformation”. I cannot wait to read it to see which concept of a plan Al Gore is presenting.
It is also exciting to think about the possible activities that may follow a declaration by such a prominent person, that our choice in the case of energy systems transformation is some sort of a plan. This may open up for a more structured approach to the transformation issue than the current one.

As I said, I cannot wait until I get my hands on this new book. Even though I only have a vague idea about the content, it sure looks promising!!!

More experts, fewer generalists

We live in a society with a large number of experts. As we increase the number of experts, we reduce the number of generalists. Consequently, we all the time get fewer people who look at the big picture, and more who focus their attention on the details.

This will not be a problem during “business-as-usual”. Increasing specialization makes sense during periods of economic growth and increasing prosperity. Specialization contributes to both.

When we face problems in the economy, or in society as a whole, we need to take a look at the big picture, evaluate how things fit together, and come up with new ideas for solutions. The expression that a problem can not be solved between the system of ideas that created it has, in another wording, been attributed to Albert Einstein.

With an increasing number of experts, the task of finding new routes forward becomes more difficult and resource consuming.

When I started to work as a management consultant, in 1990, most of my collegues in the international management consulting company SIAR-Bossard were generalists. Today, a large share of the consultants at large management consulting firms are specialists, focusing on a narrow set of management issues. In this context these people need to be part of a large project, involving many different specialists, in order to create a strategy, change management plan or business plan.

This situation also makes the job of informing people about the need to transform energy systems on a large scale more difficult. Most people don’t see what they can do to help, not even in a small way, when the problem is formulated as a relatively general and broad issue. Most people need detailed analyses and explanations of how the problem will affect them, and what they, with their particular competence, can do to help with the solution.

This is something that we need to deal with in the near future. In the new book, which will be released in early December, this problem is discussed and the implications are analyzed. It is all presented in a form that will be easy for the reader to understand and digest.

Non-Opec Oil Supply to Peak in 2010

According to the International Energy Agency, the non-Opec oil supply will peak in 2010. Earlier this fall the IEA has announced that global oil supply is increasing very slowly and that this may put a lid on the economic recovery during the next few years.

The current story was published in The Financial Times, which also offered an opportunity to ask a question about the future oil supply to the chief economist of the IEA, Fatih Birol.

http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/

New book about large scale transformation

The book Global Energy Transformation was published in the summer of 2009. It covers a wide range of energy and change management related subjects that are concerned with the methods and tools for large scale change.

Later this year another book will be published, which is now being written. This deals with some of the softer concepts surrounding “leadership” and “learning and re-learning” on the level of society.

The society that we live in today, with its high level of specialization, presents a transformation challenge that is bigger than that of transformations in earlier times. Changing existing systems in society is also different from building entirely new technologies and structures, such as in the case of the Apollo Program. This is what the new book is all about. Its title has not yet been decided.

Press release: Book and GET Institute

Mats R. Larsson, Global Energy Transformation Institute (GETI) Founder,
Releases Latest Book:

“GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSFORMATION: Four Necessary Steps to Make Clean Energy the Next Success Story” Now Available.

Washington, DC – Mats R. Larsson, President and Founder of the Global Energy Transformation Institute in Höör, Sweden (www.getinstitute.com), announced today the publication of his latest book: “GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSFORMATION: Four Necessary Steps to Make Clean Energy the Next Success Story.” The book is published by Palgrave Macmillian.

“Global Energy Transformation” covers highly contemporary and controversial issues related to global energy production and consumption including Peak Oil, climate change, sustainable economic growth and possible changes to large scale energy related systems, such as transportation and industrial processes.
According to Mats R. Larsson, “The purpose of Global
Energy Transformation Institute is to support the necessary preparations for large-scale transformation of energy systems to renewable fuels and reduced demand and in the implementation of strategies and plans to this effect. GETI endeavors to work with the development of strategies for energy systems transformation on a corporate, national and transnational scale. These concepts that the GETI builds its business on are presented in the book ‘Global Energy Transformation.’”

Among other issues, the Global Energy Transformation Institute addresses:

- Analysis of transformation and change management needs in energy related areas.

- Strategy development for society and for corporations in the face of reduced oil supply.

- Planning of transformation projects and change management activities.

- Project management and management of change efforts.
The Global Energy Transformation Institute was founded to familiarize global decision makers and other interested parties on a comprehensive vision of the situation, proposed solutions and to initiate a dialogue. Mats R. Larsson and the Global Energy Transformation Institute are available for public speaking presentation and similar project support worldwide.

For further information, go to www.GETInstitute.com.