The third industrial revolution, (the solar electric age)?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Timothy, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I just finished reading Jeremy Rifkin's new book "The third industrial revolution , how lateral power is transforming energy the economy, and the world". Sometime prior to that I read Naomi Klein's "This changes everything"

    I have no doubt that the democratization of energy is about to change the world, profoundly, and for the better. I admit to having a skin in this game. as for the last five years I have spent a great deal of time working on a concept that I think lends itself to this possible new world paradigm.
    Clean, almost free energy, has the potential to change the way we think ,the way we live, the way we work together, and the way we build things. We could save the planet, but consequentially alter the existing geopolitical and economic framework, that has more or less existed since the first industrial revolution, or at least since the beginning of the petroleum age.

    Jeremy Rifkin postulates that this transformation could take 25 years. . Elon Musk has bet, so far very successfully, that this change is imminent. I wonder why it is that boat designers are seemingly reluctant to explore, what will be possible, and what will be needed in this new world.
    Does anyone else think we are indeed about to under go a third industrial revolution? If so will solar power precipitate this revolution. Will solar power generation be dominated by large international corporations, or be the purvey of individual home, boat. factory. and farm owners? If democratization of energy does prove to be a consequence of this revolution, then what will homes, boats, cars ,boats farms, and factories look like and how will they interact with each other ,the environment and society?
     
  2. Ebeneezer
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    Ebeneezer Junior Member

  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    You obviously havent been with this site very long, and have failed to search the archives for countless discussions about electrical and hybrid propulsion.

    While you are at it, you might like to google the myriad projects involving all sorts of alternate boat propulsion projects gpoing on - starting with YouTube.

    There is no reluctance - just an obvious lack of applications that are cost effective and prtactical.
     
  4. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    Actually I have been a member here for some time and have benefited greatly not only from the advise freely given to me by the members here, but also from their criticism. I have searched the archives many times and I do use Goggle and You Tube to acquaint myself with what is going on in the design world. I am impressed with a lot of what I see. I still believe that a lot more could be done with the materials and technology that we have available now ,to design and build boats that will not only be green, but affordable to a growing middle class, that I believe will be the result of the democratization of energy. It was not my intention to be critical of the work or ideas of any of the members of this forum . I only intended to initiate a discussion regarding the future of boat building and design, and how it will relate to a new and radically different world that some say will be precipitated by this Third Industrial Revolution.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    There is no way to keep the world's lifestyle and be frugal with energy. Solar and wind are not enough. Actually, fossil fuels are fossilized solar energy, that took a long time to accumulate. Things like the internet as we know it will have to disappear. Recreational boating in general too.
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I disagree in that solar and wind aren't enough. In fact they are, but the political fight over tearing down the most powerful industries in the world, to supplant them with others, will be long and hard. Dreams of a couple of decades are simply wishful thinking. Try a half a century at best. Some power companies are hedging their bets, with modest inroads to solar and wind, but nothing will be really done until coal and oil are in serious trouble.

    With the current Saudi plan, to bring heavy crude producers to their knees, for political control of the industry, maybe a kick off point, but don't hold your breath, as they have only a few years of cash reserves, to support the butt kicking they're giving the heavier crude producers. This means by the end of 2016, maybe early 2017, you'll see oil back over $80 a barrel, which will get all the others back into the game they're geared for.

    In the meantime, some will dabble with solar and wind, but displacing coal and oil isn't going to be quick, easy or painless.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Not sure what confidence level you ascribe to that, but if I really thought that, I'd be having a big punt on the futures market. :D
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Well, it's reasonably simple (the grandiose generalities I previously mentioned) if you do keep up with the markets, their relationships to futures, bond offerings and the political trends that often guide them.

    Saudi interests in recent decades have taken a few hits, some not so light ones from the USA. The last time they made this play, we made them pay dearly and it's taken this long, for them to pile up cash reserves (the reason it failed last time BTW) to offset their next play, which we're seeing now. This play is to lock down the market, to the point of monetarily and politically sidelining the other major players in their sphere of influence, namely Iran, to a lesser degree Russia (actually offering potential increases in market share there) and other heavy crude producers. It's a game they've been playing for a long time and it's worked for them most of the time too.

    In reality, the current low prices are a result of derivatives, but these will burn up by years end (2016) and new loans for shale and other harder to process oil producers, will be left with only one option - "uncoupling" from the dollar price set. Russia has already done this, so they're not hit as badly as Saudi hoped (yet), but the the Saudi's have only 1.5% debt on GDP, which offers a lot of borrowing leverage, which is the whole point I mentioned, about being cash rich, at the beginning of this play. The USA and Russia can't compete with this and OPEC is unwilling to stabilize a market, that if production dropped, they'd lose market share and leverage. This is in light of production figures for most of the major players, seeing peaks, yet demand is waning.

    This is a very complex game, so much so that most don't get it. For example, why do you think the USSR failed at the end of the 80's? New "Star Wars" spending by the USA? Nope, bigger military budgets from the USA? nope - try oil price drops (the last big play that cost the Saudi's), which hurt their economy (Russia's) so badly they had to change. Even to this day, Russia (the world's largest oil producer BTW) they're selling off natural resources just to feed and fund. This has a limited ultimate return.

    When will oil prices change? Not anytime soon, because production is not dropping fast enough in the USA and other countries, though that could begin to change in 2016. Demand for fuel is rebounding in some countries and that could help crude prices, recover in the next year or two. There is now little or no spare production capacity, to give the market a fail safe in case of another crisis, in a crucial oil-producing country. The history of oil is of booms and busts followed by more of the same. You do have to be a history buff and pay attention, or it's just Greek.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If oil bounces back to $80 the world economy will go bad, what with the Chinese slowdown now setting in.
     
  10. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    What we need is a way to power stuff with stupidity: that way American politicians might serve a valid purpose again.
     
  11. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    The dramatically lower costs for" fracking " oil have enabled north Americans at least the ones south of the Canadian border, to become oil neutral and it is now legal for them once again export oil. This has enabled them to reverse the downward spiral of their economy. The house of Saud has taken notice and have conceded that not every country will be able to extract every drop of the black stuff from the ground before it either becomes illegal, or becomes non profitable to do, so because of exponentially lower costs for renewable energy. They plan to sell every drop of their's before this happens and rather than have their assets stranded in the ground they can afford to drop the price to twenty dollars a barrel and still make a profit. In the mean time they are content to run deficits while money is still cheap and invest in the other asset they have plenty of, sunshine. They plan to build massive solar farms and export the surplus electricity they produce to Europe through a super conducting cable. They want to be a major player in this third industrial revolution.

    I agree with PAR that the financial institutions of the world that dominate the economy today could be the biggest losers in this transformation and they will certainly resist but will in the end decide to support the centralization and distribution model of renewable energy rather than the user producer model so that they can retain a skin in the game. But if what is happening in Germany where, and I can't bother to look up the exact figures right now, but from memory, solar represents about 40% of their energy needs and 70% of that is user based, then they could, run in to some resistance from the consumer. It is interesting that the solar business in Germany is larger than the automotive sector and employs more people and that there is a push by the major car companies to go electric.
     
  12. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Timothy, I've occasionally joked that the first truly practical alternative energy source will see Congress try to outlaw it before it can threaten the Petrodollar and cause the collapse of the US federal reserve system.
     
  13. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I agree but am not amused
     
  14. cor
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    cor Senior Member

    Solar PV is only 6% of the electric production in Germany. PV and wind are never going to be able to produce enough power to run our electric grid. The only way that PV and wind could produce a majority of our power is if we cut use dramatically. That would mean a dramatic decrease in quality of life and decrease in industrial output.

    Fossil fuels and nuclear are the only current viable options to run our modern world.
     

  15. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    Sorry as I said the figures I posted were from memory but are in fact the projected figures for 2022. Your figure of 6% I believe may be from 2010. This short documentary suggests that at the rate Germany is moving to renewables it will be 100% renewable by 2055. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr-grdspEWQ .I for one accept this but am more interested in weather or not energy production will remain in the hands of large corporations and countries, or be democratized and how the out come will affect, how we live ,what we build , and how we build what we build.
     
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