Large scale projects?

The Global Energy Transformation Institute is going to launch a service tracking large scale projects on a global basis on the web site. We need help to identify large scale projects. By large scale projects we mean projects with the potential to significantly contribute to the energy systems transformation of a US state, region or a country.

Please, contact us with tips of projects that you know of that qualify against the criteria below. Please note that the criteria are demanding, and that there are yet few projects on a global basis that are likely to meet these criteria.

In order to become designated as large scale projects one of the following criteria need to be met:

– …the construction of renewable energy production capacity amounting to 2000 MW.
– …intelligent grids or similar that, at completion, offer the annual saving of 15TWh, the amount of electricity that is produced in a year by a 2000 MW nuclear reactor.
– Develop new production and distribution facilities for renewable fuels that amount to a production capacity of the equivalent of 2500 barrels of oil per day.
– Develop new car, truck, boat, or plane, engines, fuels, or transportation systems that save 2500 barrels of oil equivalent fuels every day.
– Projects must provide energy efficient housing for at least 100,000 people and reduce the energy need for heating, transportation, and production of electricity within the community by 50% compared to traditional communities in the area.
– Projects must aim at significant changes in the energy consumption of 100,000 people, reducing electricity consumption by 15 TWh per year, or reducing fuel consumption by 2500 barrels of oil equivalent fuels per day.
– Projects need to involve investments of 50 MUSD per year, over at least four years. A project of this size has the potential to create 10,000 new green collar jobs.

In order to be considered as projects, efforts need to meet all of the following criteria…
1. …have a clear goal in terms of technology or product sales, or transformation result.
2. …focus on one or a small number of promising technologies or transformation principles that are systematically selected at an early stage in the project.
3. …have a unified project management structure that manages the project towards its goal.

This means, for instance, that the large scale EU programs Intelligent Energy Europe II and Frame Program 7 don’t qualify as large scale projects based on our criteria, because these programs do not work towards a clear goals in terms of savings, or a strategy for the selection of technologies to invest in.

Large scale projects may be run by companies, states or NGOs. They may be run by a large number of organizations that cooperate, with a unified project management and a unified set of objectives. Large scale projects may be found all over the world.

Small Progress Explained by Lack of Structures

Why so little progress at COP 15? While many people and experts seem aware of the pressing need for change, decision makers seem to be at a loss as to what decisions need to be made in order to initiate speedy transformation of global energy systems.

Yes, by now we know about the problems and we know a number of potential solutions. The status of twelve different renewable energy technologies are described in the following article from COP 15.

Yes, there are obviously at least 12 renewable energy technologies that we may use in order to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The article correctly argues that there are two main concerns that create a need for energy systems transformation – energy supply issues and climate change, but does it say anything about the time frame, the need to prioritize the most promising technologies, or the need to manage resources in such a way that we get the most bang for the buck? Does it say anything about the need to organize and manage a transformation program, or, if the author does not believe that this is the solution, does it explain how the market or some other “force” will be able to develop a solution for us? No!

There are two different ways that a large scale program may come about:

1. The insight that we need to run a rapid and cost effective change program will gradually drive a process of self-organization in society, in which decision makers gradually align structures toward the goal of energy systems transformation, complementing the current focuses on cost effectiveness and time.
2. A number of high level decision makers may take rapid initiatives towards large scale initiatives in Global Energy Transformatin programs. Such programs need to involve analysis of the options, strategy development, planning and managed change.

At present we have too little knowledge in the way of analysis of options, strategies for the transformation, planning of activities and managed change. We have no structures for this, and most organizations in business and the public sector are geared towards the promotion of cost effectiveness and time compression through traditional means.


December 13, 2009 CONTACT: M.J. Szimanski
Washington, DC

Mats R. Larsson
Höör, Sweden

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

“Overcoming Overuse:
Energy Transformation for a World Gone Fad”

Washington, DC – Mats R. Larsson, President and Founder of the Global Energy Transformation Institute (GETI) in Höör, Sweden (, announced today the publication of his latest book: “Overcoming Overuse: Energy Transformation for a World Gone Fad.”

In addition to further explaining the importance of Global Energy transformation, “Overcoming Overuse” offers a lighter and often entertaining interpretation of many of the points Larsson covered in his previous book “Global Energy Transformation: Four Necessary Steps to Make Clean Energy the Next Success Story.” The current book is intentionally briefer in length and is intended to target those interested in global transformation issues but who may find it more realistic to commit to an abridged version of the topic by this author. The book was written with Mike Szimanski and as available through the GETI website at or
According to author Mats R. Larsson, “’Global Energy Transformation’ seems to be hitting the mark with those who understand the breadth and scope of the energy problems we’re facing, but we wanted to reach another level of audience. With “Overcoming Overuse: Energy Transformation in a World Gone Fad,” we are reaching the good-intentioned, mainstream readers who may be stuck in a rut feeling that monitoring their carbon footprints, recycling or responding correctly to “paper or plastic?” at the grocery store alone are not going to solve our energy problems.
“Global Energy Transformation: Four Necessary Steps to Make Clean Energy the Next Success Story” 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.
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 and 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.
Mats R. Larsson and the Global Energy Transformation Institute are available for public speaking presentations and similar project support worldwide.
For further information, go to
# # #

What to do with more money?

Numerous voices on political and financial scenes argue that we need to invest more money to curb climate change. Recently in the US, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) labeled emissions of carbon dioxide a health hazard for humans, which may open up the path for more government funding. Many environmental organizations, politicians put forward arguments in favor of stronger action.

But what are we going to do with more money?

The most probable response will be increased investments in research and development of clean technologies. In Europe the EU invests heavily in the early phases of such development projects. When the EU doubles the funding, the number of projects that are funded increases dramatically. There is no strategy behind the funding.

Research into ethanol, biogas, methanol, and a number of other fuels are all funded in parallel, despite the fact that the transportation systems of the future will become more cost effective if we develop a small number of fuels and expand this on a large scale.

The US has a history of running successful large scale programs. The Apollo program, and the space program are cases in point, but also The Marshall Plan, and the transformation of US industry to war production during the Second World War. If The United States implements a well funded fast track program like it has the experience and the resources to do, this will leave Europe far behind in the global “clean tech race” and in clean tech markets.

Europe needs to get its act together. Frankly, I feel certain that the US will invest its money in a clever way. The high level proponents of increased investments have just not shown us all their cards yet.

We not only need more money. We need a strategy and a plan that will show us how we can invest the money in the wisest possible way. The best possible way is not to invest in a very large number of research projects in their early phases. We need now to invest large sums of money in the expansion of the use of the clean technologies that are already available to us, and invest in the further development of a number of new technologies that show the biggest promise for the future.

We need a strategy, plan and managed change, and all of this needs to be based on a sound analysis of the most important aspects of the transformation. We cannot do everything at once. We need to go about this cleverly, and the less time we have at our disposal, the better we need to plan the programs that need to follow.

An affordable truth – Paul Krugman

In a column in The New York Times, op-ed columnist and Nobel Prize Winner Paul Krugman argues that many opportunities to reduce energy consumption and lower emissions of CO2 come at a relatively low cost. One example in point is additional insulation of houses.

Yes, this is true. However, a program to improve the insulation of houses in any country needs to involve large scale project management, in order to communicate the contents of the program, administrate information activities and other incentives. Without subsidies, the amount of information and persuasion needs to be higher than in the opposite case.

Regardless of the large scale energy transformation activities that we go for, costly, or more affordable, a program needs to be run as a managed transformation program, the subject of the book “Global Energy Transformation”.

An increasing number of environmentalists seem to re-evaluate some of their core views about how sustainability will be achieved. In a previous posting I referred an article in the Washington Post, saying that environmentalists increasingly view nuclear power as one of the solutions that will help us produce clean energy in the future.

In an article in today’s issue of The New York Times, environmentalist, scientist, and best-selling author of “Guns, Germs and Steel” and “Collapse”, Jared Diamond argues that many companies do much more for the environment and run much more environmentally friendly operations than most environmentalists believe.

This is clearly an important argument.

Business needs to contribute to large scale energy transformation. Due to Peak Oil, and Climate Change, we need to rapidly and dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels and energy altogether. Not doing this is no longer an option, because continued affluence will require a continuous supply of energy to feed 6.5 billion people, and provide work and other necessities for them.

We still need to invest huge sums of money and other resources in the large scale transformation of energy related systems. Jared Diamond cites the ambition by Wal Mart to double the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet. This brings us hope that we will be able to manage the large scale energy systems transformation that will become necessary.

Most companies are smaller than Wal Mart, and also less profitable. They have a much more limited impact on their energy consumption than Wal Mart has.

There will be a need of large scale transformation programs, where governments and business (large and small) co-operate in order to succeed with the transformation. There will be a need for standardization, high level project management to make sure that all necessary aspects of the transformation programs are taken managed towards high level goals.

As Al Gore points out in his recent book “Our Choice”, President Obama, and the United States, need to take the lead in the energy transformation.

Large companies like General Electric, Volvo, and Wal Mart, are blazing the path forward. Now governments needs to get their act together and start the high level programs that develop the technologies, products and systems that we cannot expect business to develop based on market mechanisms. In order to know what those are, governments need to analyze the transformation needs and opportunities and find the gaps that market based action will not fill.

Al Gore – ”Our Choice”: The Good News!

In his new book “Our Choice” former vice President and Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore outlines the opportunities of energy systems transformation. The book starts out where the previous book “An Inconvenient Truth” ended. The book provides extensive discussions of many of the most important technological opportunities for the development of renewable fuels and energy sources for electricity, such as wind, solar energy, nuclear and bio-fuels. Yes, there are clearly an abundance of opportunities, and yes, we need the political will to develop and implement the necessary new technologies. “Our Choice” provides a necessary and enthusiastic account of the activities that we need to initiate, and the business opportunities that these seem to offer.

Al Gore also touches upon the subject of Peak Oil and the impending price increases for petroleum products, but he does not analyze the implications of Peak Oil for our need to reduce our use of fossil fuels. A reduced supply of oil will reduce the use of oil, and there are also problems related to increasing the use of other fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, as Richard Heinberg and Julian Darley have argued.
“Our Choice” is mainly about technology, and it focuses on the opportunities. In it Al Gore mentions that it will, in many ways, be a difficult and demanding process to transform energy systems on a large scale, but he does not go into the forms of management, the organization, or the financing opportunities in any detail.
Throughout the book he is curiously quiet about the meaning of the word “plan” that is spelled out in the subtitle.

He makes it clear that the government of the United States has a role in the transformation, and he expresses hope that the President, Barack Obama, in 2009, will take strong action to solve the climate crisis. Al Gore also describes the role that “Information” can play in the transformation, but he does not say anything of the greater managerial context that will become necessary in order for the suggested uses of information to make sense.

To summarize, Al Gore focuses on the good news. Yes, it is possible to transform energy systems on a large scale, yes, there are promising new technologies, yes, we need to change the ways that we think about energy and the ways that we use it. “Our Choice” is less explicit on the exact nature of the management challenge, the roles that need to be played by the government, business leaders, and the need of billions in investment into research, technology development and implementation. As only one example we may look at “The Nuclear Option”, which is seems to be increasingly favored even by environmentalists. In his book “Is War Necessary for Economic Growth”, the late Professor Vernon W. Ruttan of University of Minnesota argues that nuclear technology had probably not been developed at all in the absence of large scale and long term government investment in technology development. While new generations of nuclear fission technology, and nuclear fusion, are options for the future, very large research and implementation programs will become necessary in order to develop those. In addition, it takes ten years to build a new nuclear power plant, using the technologies that are already available to us, and we may need very many new plants in the near future.
Al Gore leaves the task of analyzing the management challenges of energy systems transformation to other authors. Fortunately, “Global Energy Transformation” is already available to complement “Our Choice” in this respect. In the very near future a new book will be available from Global Energy Transformation Institute, which describes the softer leadership skills that the leaders in the challenge need to possess, in order to drive transformation in our society of highly specialized individuals and organizations. “Our Choice” needs to be read by many, but we must not stop here and think that Al Gore presents the solution, or a plan. In that sense “Our Choice” is not the last word on the issue of planning in the energy transformation process. Neither is it a book about planning and management of this process. Nonetheless, it is a very important book about the technology solutions that are available to us, and some of the obstacles to change that our society presents.