The present debate about the transformation of global energy system focuses either on the problem or problems themselves or on technology issues. There are books about global warming and peak oil and about the need to transform energy systems in order to avoid global disasters, and there are arguments that we need a hydrogen economy, a solar revolution or a large scale increase in nuclear power.
These are all necessary arguments, but a further analysis of the problems or an in-depth analysis of technology opportunities will not bring us much closer to the solution. The solution depends on managed change, which involves the development of high level strategies and detailed plans for the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. We need to analyze and understand the sources of financing that we can rely upon to supply the necessary capital for this transformation and we need to start to rapidly implement these plans.
Yes, solar energy would be a good solution, as argued by Hermann Scheer, Travis Bradford and many others (see links below) but at present the cost of electricity produced from solar cells is about three times as high as electricity produced from nuclear or hydroelectric plants. This should not keep us from developing these new sources of energy, but we need a detailed plan, which also deals with the financial aspects of a large scale transformation to an energy system that at present is substantially more expensive than existing systems. The management of the transformation will be key to its success and arguments for large scale implementation of new systems are incomplete without an analysis of several of the aspects of change management.
I believe that the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is necessary, primarily because of the peak oil issue, which will force us to rethink many aspects of transport solutions. The solutions we develop will impact electricity systems as well as other energy systems. We need a plan!