by Jennifer Coote


Distinguished energy researcher V. Smil, The American, Nov/Dec, 08, warns that ‘energy transitions’ take a long time to bed in. From the introduction of new fuel sources such as coal, and the prime movers which produced or propelled that energy, time frames of several decades up to almost a century elapsed. Some sources, such as coal, have waxed, waned and waxed again. Some parts of the world missed out on some of the sources. Of the many non-conventional fuels being promoted, few have reached penetration of 5% of global supply. The scale of the coming energy transition is so huge that currently replacing half of global fossil fuel use with renewables would require the equivalent of some 4.5 billion tons of oil. The time lapse for significant market penetration of new primary energy supply is a function of financing, developing and perfecting the necessarily massive infrastructures. There are also many, often unforeseen, socio-economic adjustments.(continue…)

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