The Energy Crisis: A Summary for Meteorologists

Presented on April 15, 2008. Here is the abstract.

Dedication to Friedrich Hayek

The seminar was dedicated to Friedrich Hayek. With Lester Brown's "Plan B" advocacy for wartime mobilization of the energy industry,which you can read about in this review by TIME, we ignore Hayek's warning at our peril. By the way, the TIME article misrepresents what the mobilization would produce. Lester Brown's Table 12-1 has a goal for 3,000,000 megawatts of wind power capacity in 2020. For wind power, actual production is typically 1/3 of capacity. Confusing capacity with production is common in presentations about wind power. Let's hope the planners catch the mistake before the wartime mobilization proceeds, or perhaps we could be in for a repeat of Ethanol and Other Biofuels: A Global Warming Solution Worse Than the Problem.

Limits to Growth

Peak Oil


Shell energy scenarios to 2050

Scramble Scenario

Scramble reflects the dynamics behind energy security. Immediate pressures drive decision-makers, especially the need to secure energy supply in the near future for themselves and their allies. National government attention naturally falls on the supply-side levers readily to hand, including the negotiation of bilateral agreements and incentives for local resource development. Growth in coal and biofuels becomes particularly significant. Despite increasing rhetoric, action to address climate change and encourage energy efficiency is pushed into the future, leading to largely sequential attention to supply, demand and climate stresses...


Blueprint Scenario

As more consumers and investors realise that change is not necessarily painful but can also be attractive, the fear of change is moderated and ever-more substantial actions become politically possible. These actions, including taxes and incentives in relation to energy and CO2 emissions, are taken early on. The result is that although the world of Blueprints has its share of profound transitions and political turbulence, global economic activity remains vigorous and shifts significantly towards a less energy-intensive path.


Summary of the Shell Scenarios

The Coal Dilemma


Nuclear Power

From the Wikipedia's Nuclear Power we obtain:


Many of current nuclear power plants are old and are scheduled to be decomissioned. So despite quotes from industry spokeman like 100-300 reactors will be built around the world by 2030, there is no significant increase in global nuclear power to year 2030. Flat production is also seen in the Shell scenarios, but with a slight nuclear revival to begin in about 2030.

Hydroelectric power

Photovoltaic power

Concentrating solar power

Wind power


Investment Needed

Renewable Energy Options

Need a review here of flux density physics, and costs of:

I overprinted on this image from the Wikipedia to make the following images. The depicted sites for photovoltaic land use are optimal; the depicted sites for wind farms and photosynthesis are not (of course).

required photovoltaic land use


required wind farm land use

This land could be dual use, the turbines must be spread out. The flux density removed by the disc of the blades of the turbine could be order 100 times this number.


required photosynthesis land use

This is not biofuels. No account is made here for the energy inputs for growing, harvesting, and processing the output from photosynthesis.