Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Economist's Debate so far

The Economist Debate on the role of new technologies in the resolution of the global energy crisis continues. The proposition is: “This house believes that we can solve our energy problems with existing technologies today, without the need for breakthrough innovations.” Debating for the affirmative is the redoubtable Joseph Romm. Shall I say it? There is no love loss between Joe and myself. Debating for the negative is Peter Meisen, President of Global Energy Network Institute. Joe Romm has been his usual self, which means he has hidden his opposition to nuclear power, and presented a view of future energy, which I can best describe as incoherent. I have begun to systematically deconstruct Joe Romm's position in my comments on the debate. Peter Meisen statement is so confused and lacking in substance, that many commenters have questioned whether there is any difference substantive between Romm and and Maisen.

In addition the debate offers onetime shot views from "featured guest" talking heads. Today we have an offering of Rocky Mountain Institute cool aid from Katie Fehrenbacher. the Founding Editor, of Earth2Tech. Ms. Fehrenbacher tells us, "because energy efficiency is relatively low-cost, and much of the necessary technology is already available, it should be the place where we kick off our energy solution strategy. We need more policies that incentivise efficiency, and without those our nation’s strategy has no teeth."

Needless to say, Ms. Fehrenbacher does not mention Jevons' paradox.

Yesterday the "featured guest" was Michael Eckhart, the President, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

For those of you who are interested, here is Eckhart's biography:
"Michael Eckhart has more than 25 years of experience in renewable energy, power generation, high technology, and finance. Previously, he was Chairman/CEO of United Power Systems, Inc.; Co-founder and Vice President of Areté Ventures, Inc, a venture capital firm; Manager of Strategic Planning for the Power Systems Sector of General Electric Company; and a Principal of Booz, Allen & Hamilton’s energy practice where in the 1970s he conducted many of the original national studies on emerging energy technologies including solar PV (photovoltaic), solar heating and cooling, solar thermal-electric, wind power, hydropower, geothermal energy, cogeneration, energy storage, advanced coal combustion, gasification, liquefaction, synthetic fuels, and advanced nuclear. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Harvard Business School".

Needless to say, Eckhart pitched the for more government money to support renewables research.

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