Why complicate things?

I sometimes get the impression that people who work with sustainability, sustainability economics, development of new energy technologies, or developing networks in the area of sustainability or energy technology development think that creating transformation strategies, plans and manage change from the perspective of high level goals creates unnecessary complications. Everything seems to work very well for everybody at the moment, when people who are interested in contributing to sustainability can take intiatives in the ways that they prefer. There are so many people who are interested and getting involved, and so much enthusiasm, even over quite modest progress.

Well, the current situation is definitely a step forward in many ways. However, we have precious little time at our disposal to achieve large scale transformation of energy systems. When people take initiatives in a co-ordinated fashion there will be duplication of effort, projects where large resources are spent with limited results, and perhaps worse, there will be necessary activities that nobody thinks about starting up, because they are not very obvious.

In order to drive Global Energy Transformation forward in a resource efficient manner, we need goals, organization, and structure. The different initiatives need to become coordinated and managed towards high level goals, and we need to minimize large scale duplication of effort, and large scale waste of resources on unnecessary activities.

At present a large number of technologies for renewable fuels are developed by different teams of R&D people at universities and at companies, without any idea of which fuels we will use in the future. This is going to be settled along the way through competition.

As I mentioned in a previous posting this is similar to building a tunnel through a mountain from two ends without agreeing about the direction of the tunnel, the width, whether it is going to be a railway tunnel, or a road tunnel etc, before starting the construction.

Planning and coordination is not a way of curbing enthusiasm and reducing the free spirit. It is a way of making sure that scarce resources are being used in a wise manner. It is a way to ensure that we achieve results in a timely fashion.