In The Telegraph earlier this week, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard offers a vision of energy which in 10 years will have revolutionised the world.
If his diagnosis is correct, nuclear power stations will become obsolete over this period, energy will be able to be stored at a low cost (the main problem for wind and solar) and contamination problems will be insignificant.
The ease of storage will be the linchpin of this technical revolution, which is true will substantially change the global economic and business outlook.
The countries which have contributed the most to this revolution, mobilising both private and public resources, have been the US and the UK, with governments boosting collaboration between universities and research centres.
That said, there are a lot of unforeseen consequences on the horizon. But we can highlight a few main points.
1) The days are numbered for the Arab countries’ blackmailing. That doesn’t mean the end of terrorism. But it will tend to die out.
2) Nuclear energy, up to now considered the “least bad” alternative, but with serious risks, also has its days numbered.
3) Something I ask myself: could the huge unprofitable investment in windmills in Spain be adapted for the new storage and production technologies? Or will we have to pull down the windmills and start all over again?
4) A world of cheap energy – if governments know not to pile taxes on new sources – will be very similar to that existing before 1973, the first oil crisis, when life was easier and more pleasant. We don’t know how to appreciate it, because the homo sapiens is like that: he has no historic memory.
5) Will they stop annoying us with global warming? I hope they will. But they definitely will not.
In summary, as I predicted, the solution will be found in R&D and collaboration (uncorrupted) between the public and private sector. Well-being derives from innovation and good administration.