Climate change presents economic and environment challenges that are addressed in detail in Jobenomics' Energy Technology Revolution Plan.
Jobenomics proposes to collaborate with MIT'Climate CoLab on the emerging Energy Technology Revolution (ETR). Jobenomic's ETR Plan is a 160-page plan that addresses climate change environmental and economic challenges. A copy of this plan, released on 15 June 2015, can be downloaded athttp://jobenomicsblog.com/energy-technology-revolution
The ETR deals with a mix of traditional and emerging technologies, processes and systems that will create tens of millions of new jobs. Countries that have a national ETR strategy will claim the bulk of these jobs. The United Nations’ goal of limiting global temperature growth to a 2°C increase is highly doubtful without the U.S. fully engaged from a systems-of-systems energy super-sector perspective.
From a Jobenomics perspective, a combination of renewables, cleaner fossil fuels, nuclear, energy efficiency, and other ETR advancements is needed as outlined in the Jobenomics ETR plan. To achieve climate change goals, a balanced approach is needed.
What actions do you propose?
Having attended MIT's Sloan School of Management, I understand the value of MIT alumni and the network of decision-leaders and policy-makers they influence. Combining the resources of the Jobenomics National Grassroots movement (several million followers) and MIT alumni regarding how the emerging Energy Technology Revolution could mitigate the climate change challenge, enhance national economics and creating tens of millions of net new jobs around the world is a powerful and novel value proposition. There is no other known energy/climate change plan that focuses on emerging (1st, 2nd and 3rd) generation technologies, processes and procedures across the entire energy ecosystem from a business and jobs creation perspective. Jobenomics asserts that the biggest climate change is economic as opposed to environmental. Western economies are largely embedded in fossil fuels and are unlikely to change until a solid economic value proposition is presented. Emerging economies are unlikely to change unless the economic benefits are clear and provide significant employment opportunities for the growing middle-classes. Consequently, a joint Jobenomics/MIT Energy Technology Revolution effort that is oriented to a synergistic energy, environment and economic development plan is not only novel but doable based on years of detailed research and consensus building with thousands of decision-leaders and policy-makers.
A copy of this 16-page plan, released on 15 June 2015, can be downloaded athttp://jobenomicsblog.com/energy-technology-revolution
The report addresses emerging ETR technologies, processes, systems and markets that can (1) provide affordable clean energy solutions, (2) achieve the climate change goal of limiting greenhouse emissions to a global temperature increase of 2°C over 2005 levels, and (3) improve national economies via implementing highly-scalable business initiatives that will create tens of millions of net new middle-class jobs.
Energy Technology Revolution Executive Summary
The ETR deals with a mix of traditional and emerging technologies, processes and systems that will create tens of millions of new jobs. Countries that have a national ETR strategy will claim the bulk of these jobs.
· Germany, China, India and California have aggressive ETR strategies. They are the ones to watch.
· U.S. energy consumption has largely peaked. However, global energy consumption is forecast to grow 33% by 2030—more than double the total U.S. consumption today. Export potential is huge.
· Cumulative global energy investment over the next two decades is projected to be $48 trillion which will not meet the climate change goal of limiting long-term temperature increase to 2°C. Instead, these investments (if realized) point to a 3.6°C increase. An additional $18 trillion is needed.
· Fiscally-driven government incentive programs have value. Politically-driven programs do not. Only the private sector has the wherewithal to fund the $18 trillion needed to meet the 2°C objective.
· Combating climate change solely with renewable energy will not work. To achieve climate change goals, a balance of renewables, cleaner fossil fuels, nuclear and energy efficiency is needed.
· While U.S. renewable energy consumption is projected to grow significantly, it will supply only 9% of total U.S. energy needs in 2030 compared to 7% in 2013. Under current conditions, the U.S. renewable energy mix will not change much from 2013 to 2030: biomass/biofuel’s share was 40% in 2013 and is projected to be 38% in 2030, followed by hydro 28% to 25%, wind 18% to 21%, wood 7% to 3%, municipal waste 5% to 4%, geothermal 2% to 5%, and solar 1% to 3%.
· A dozen sustainability issues (from hostile electric utilities, to low investor returns, to politicization and over expectations, to competing technologies and storage) challenge successful deployment of renewable technologies. Most challenges can be overcome expeditiously with technology maturation and consensus-building. However, declining demand and over capacity will be more difficult. Growth of U.S. electricity demand has slowed in each decade since the 1950s. In 2017, U.S. electrical generation is projected to enter a 15-year depression that will depress utility-grade electricity generation projects. This depression is likely to have a major negative impact on the high-flying renewable energy industry. Reasons include: (1) many federal and state incentive programs are scheduled to expire or drop-down after December 2016, (2) existing electricity generation sources provide adequate capacity to meet slow electrical demand growth and satisfy renewable requirements under current state standards, and (3) competing technologies, especially natural gas, will claim the majority of new electricity generation additions.
· There are essentially three energetic architectures: (1) large, centralized, utility-grade designs, (2) medium-size utility-grade and grid-connected distributed generation designs, and (3) small-scale off-grid dispersed generation designs. If the U.S. utility-grade market drops precipitously as forecast, architectures (2) and (3) will offer the best way forward for the American energy industry. However, the U.S. government cannot account for (3), which will hinder policy and decision making.
· Net-zero communities could significantly reduce the $2.0 trillion needed by 2030 to modernize and protect the aging U.S. electrical grid that loses as much electrical energy as it delivers.
The U.S. fossil fuel versus renewable energy debate is politicized, acerbic and wrongheaded. The U.S. is the only country with the disposition and resources to lead the global community against the potential ravages of greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations’ goal of limiting global temperature growth to a 2°C increase is highly doubtful without the U.S. fully engaged from a systems-of-systems energy super-sector perspective. From a Jobenomics perspective, a combination of renewables, cleaner fossil fuels, nuclear, energy efficiency, and other ETR advancements is needed as outlined along the following lines.
· Solar power is the smallest but fastest growing energy sector in the U.S. and internationally. There are essentially four solar technologies: solar photovoltaic, concentrated solar power, solar thermal heating and cooling, and solar mobile. 2016 will be a peak year with 3.87GW of added U.S. solar capability. From 2017 to 2030, solar is projected to add only 1.43GW. On the other hand, small-scale solar photovoltaics (much of which is not accounted for in government projections) are likely to grow significantly, as the solar industry works out transition issues caused by the introduction of newer technology before older technologies are out of warranty. Over the last five years, solar photovoltaics (PV) employment has grown by 86% adding 80,000 new workers with an additional 36,000 anticipated in 2015. Today, out of 150 million U.S. homes and businesses, 600,000 now have gone solar, which leaves 99.6% of U.S. homes and businesses still available for solar energy service companies (ESCOs). ESCOs are making dispersed solar generation increasingly affordable to individual homeowners and small businesses due to lower installation costs, lower operational costs, smarter information and network technologies, and innovative leasing, subscription and net-metering services. Large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) directs heat from the sun via mirrors to generate power. 19 countries have CSP projects that are operational or under development. The CSP industry should not be viewed as a large jobs producer but an industry that will mature over time. More than 30,000 solar heating and cooling systems (SHC) are being installed annually in the U.S., employing more than 5,000 Americans. 78 million SHC are operational worldwide. Solar mobile is a phrase that Jobenomics uses for portable and transportable solar applications that have the potential to create new industries (from aerospace to wearables), thousands of new businesses and millions of new jobs. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: very poor for concentrated solar, poor for large-scale utility-grade projects, excellent for small-scale residential and commercial PV, excellent for solar mobile, excellent export potential.
· Onshore wind power generates 177 terawatt-hours today, but has the potential for producing 38,553TWh, enough to electrify America many times over. The total U.S. wind industry currently sustains about 85,000 jobs. In 2013, the U.S. and China were running neck-and-neck as leading wind power nations. 2015 is projected to be a great year for the U.S. with 10.7GW of new capacity. However, after 2016, the U.S. onshore wind power market is projected to drop precipitously, entering a 15-year depression, due to declining federal subsidies, ample generation capacity and slow demand growth. From 2016 to 2030, wind is projected to add only 10.6GW, collectively less than 2015 alone. As a result, a recent Wall Street publication rated the U.S. wind turbine installation industry as the third fastest dying U.S. industry. In comparison, China plans a 300% capacity increase by 2020 (85% onshore and 15% offshore). Europe has 66 offshore wind farms operational today. By 2030, the U.S. projects only one. With the decline in utility-grade projects, “small wind” may the future for the U.S. wind industry. There are four main market areas for small wind generation: residential, agricultural, government/institutional and industrial/commercial. In 2013, residential had the largest number of projects (40%) but the smallest amount of capacity (3%), followed by agriculture (26% projects, 7% capacity), government/institutional (14% projects, 37% capacity) and industrial/commercial (20% projects, 53% capacity). Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: poor for large-scale utility-grade projects, poor for U.S. offshore projects, good for residential distributed and dispersed generation development projects, excellent export potential.
· Biomass and biofuels comprise the largest segment of renewables but are likely to decline significantly if the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is repealed as expected after the 2016 elections. Corn-based ethanol is a $30 billion/year industry that is supported largely by federal government RFS mandates. Non-food-based cellulosic biofuels are not economical without the RFS. On the other hand, biogas and wood have upside potential. 60% of Sweden's natural gas vehicles use biogas. Ideal locations for U.S. biogas plants include 17,000 waste water facilities, 8,000 farms and 1,750 landfills. Wood and mulch are increasingly being used as a heating feedstock, not only for home but for waste-to-energy plants. 12 million U.S. homes use wood biomass for heating. The U.S. is now the largest wood pellet exporter accounting for $500 million in trade. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: poor for biofuels, good for biogas, and good for wood.
· Hydroelectric is the most proven energy efficient energy source with significant upside potential internationally and domestically for distributed and dispersed power generation. Hydroelectrics include proven hydropower technology (conventional hydro, pumped storage, micro-hydro, run-of-river and high-head/low-head) and developing hydrokinetic ocean technologies (tidal, wave, current, and gradient power). The regular nature of river and tidal currents provides an advantage for hydropower compared to wind and solar. Since water is 835 times denser than air, hydroelectrics is an untapped, powerful, clean, renewable energy source. While there is limited potential for large-scale U.S. conventional hydro developments, there is significant U.S. potential for energy efficient upgrades to current facilities, adding power generation capability to a portion of 80,000 U.S. non-powered dams utilizing new low-impact designs and technologies, developing a percentage of the 5,400 identified sites for small hydro plants, and developing a percentage of the 130,000 identified low-head micro-hydropower sites for both power generation and community storage. Oceans have unmatched hydrokinetic potential via tidal, wave, current, and gradient power. South Korea’s Incheon Tidal Power Station will be operational in 2017 and is expected to generate 2.4 trillion watt hours of electricity annually—the amount equivalent to 3.5 million barrels of crude oil. Russia is designing a tidal power plant 10 times bigger than Incheon. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: poor for large-scale domestic projects, excellent for distributed and dispersed applications, excellent for international ocean hydrokinetic joint endeavors.
· Geothermal has the lowest life-cycle emission of any renewable technology besides hydropower. While initial capital costs are high, overall life-cycle costs are significantly lower than many competing technologies. Geothermal energy consumption is expected to more than triple in the U.S. by 2030, largely due to the advent of new enhanced geothermal system (EGS) technology. EGS consists of engineered underground reservoirs that are drilled into hot rock formations to produce energy from geothermal resources that are otherwise not economical due to lack of water and/or permeability. EGS offers the prospect of geothermal energy across the entire U.S. and a potential 40-fold increase over current geothermal systems. Due to its small footprint, geothermal facilities can be located in downtown areas of major metropolitan areas where power density (the amount of power that can be generated in a given area) is an issue for other renewable technologies like wind and solar. As part of Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, California has announced plans to promote development of a 1.7GW geothermal facility that will double U.S. nameplate geothermal capacity. The Salton Sea project is also significant as a potential source of precious metal extraction including lithium, zinc and manganese. Lithium is used in batteries and crucial to the emerging electric vehicle industry. Near-term geothermal potential could support 75,000 new U.S. jobs, not including an additional 90,000 construction and manufacturing jobs. Globally, there are over 700 geothermal projects in 76 countries in development, proving excellent export potential for U.S. geothermal technology. The geothermal market also includes geothermal heat pumps (GHPs). GHPs are typically used in off-grid residential and commercial applications and are popular in the green-building movement, net-zero buildings and other forms of high efficiency sustainable building practices that are becoming mainstream concepts for new eco-friendly communities. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: good for all geothermal sectors.
· Nuclear power is projected to grow substantially over the next decade. The U.S. nuclear power industry is the largest in the world, with 100 operating commercial nuclear fission reactors at 62 locations in 31 states, with 99GW capacity that is projected to grow slightly to 102GW by 2030, a 3% increase. 56 countries operate nuclear reactors commercially, in research facilities, or in military applications. About 80% of global nuclear capacity is in OECD countries, but non-OECD countries are set to account for the bulk of future nuclear growth. Over 45 countries that currently do not have nuclear power have started nuclear programs or are actively embarking on starting a nuclear power program. China has 22 operational nuclear power reactors, 26 under construction and hundreds more about to start construction or planned. By 2030, China’s planned capacity is forecasted to be 150GW—790% increase over the 18GW today. By 2050, China has announced a goal of 400GW— a 2100% increase. China’s nuclear program got a big jump start from American nuclear technology transfer (largely a one-way effort with non-proliferation and climate change caveats) including sale of state-of-the-art reactors, components and materials, as well as next generation technology such as thorium-fuel reactors. Small modular reactors (ranging from tens to a few hundred megawatts) are gaining traction in Canada, the United States and Russia. Lockheed Martin, a U.S. defense contractor, claims that they may be able to field a nuclear fusion reactor within a decade. Their program is called, “Compact Fusion.” If successful, Compact Fusion would be a ground-breaking ETR advancement. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: stable for the domestic U.S. and outstanding if Compact Fusion is successful, excellent for export potential for U.S. nuclear technology and services.
· Coal supplies approximately one-fifth of total U.S. energy consumption needs. U.S. coal consumption will increase 8% and world consumption by 34% by 2030. Over the last five years, U.S. coal exports have increased from 1 billion to 1.4 billion short tons, a 40% increase. Modern “ultra-supercritical” coal-fired power plants are much cleaner than older dirtier models that represent 75% of the world’s operational plants. Older plants burn coal more inefficiently at lower temperatures than modern plants that use powdered coal laced with additives that absorb toxic emissions. Coal and natural gas cogeneration power plants are much cleaner and cheaper to operate. Another way to make coal cleaner is to gasify it. Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) systems are being introduced to convert synthetic gas into electrical power. Another exciting coal-to-gas technology involves underground coal gasification that turns unworked underground coal (in-situ) into an easily extractable gas. While still in the research phase, producing hydrogen from coal has significant potential. Of the seven technologies that can produce hydrogen, coal gasification with sequestration is forecast to be the dominant method by 2035. This could be extremely important consideration to the coal industry if hydrogen-powered vehicles and stationary hydrogen fuel cells become commonplace. Notwithstanding these achievements and opportunities, the U.S. coal outlook is poor due to four factors: harsh new Administration air quality standards that are being contested at the Supreme Court, low natural gas prices, increasingly competitive renewable energy technologies, and plummeting investor and market confidence—the Dow Jones U.S. Coal Index is down 85% since 2011. In 2015, the Obama Administration cancelled America’s leading clean air initiative, called FutureGen, and is aggressively pursuing carbon cap-and-trade and emission restrictions targeted at coal-fired power plants. This is both unfortunate and politically-driven. Most of the world relies on coal as a primary energy source. If the U.S. abandons the notion of clean or cleaner coal, the rest of the world may do so, as well. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: domestic poor, U.S. coal employment has dropped 60% in the last three decades, exports good, at least in the near-term.
· Oil and natural gas industry is a booming business that will continue to be outstanding in the foreseeable future with exports replacing decreasing U.S. demand. U.S. oil production growth in 2014 was the largest in more than 100 years. U.S. petroleum product exports increased for the 13th consecutive year with 2014 being a record year. To a large degree, the oil and natural gas boom is due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that has provided access to large volumes of oil and natural gas that were previously uneconomic to produce from low permeability (tight) shale and sandstone geological formations. The U.S. has approximately 610 trillion cubic feet (40 years’ worth at current production rates) of technically recoverable shale natural gas resources (ranked fourth after China, Argentina and Algeria) and 59 billion barrels (35 years’ worth) of technically recoverable tight oil resources (ranked second after Russia). In 1990, shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. natural gas production; by 2013 it was over 39%, and by 2040, 53% of America’s natural gas supply will come from shale gas. According to the American Petroleum Institute, as of 2011, the oil and natural gas industry supported 9.8 million full-time and part-time U.S. jobs and 8% of the U.S. economy. Due to excess natural gas supplies, new export industries could be created, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), gas-to-liquid (GTL), and shipbuilding that could potentially employ several million new workers. However, the unconventional oil and gas industry may have an Achilles heel in spite of its overall strength. This weakness is called “induced seismicity,” also known as man-made earthquakes. Legal and regulatory challenges against induced seismicity could cripple the unconventional oil and gas industry, especially in communities that advocate anti-fossil fuel policies. The unconventional oil and gas industry also faces challenges with capitalization due to dropping oil prices. Despite these challenges, the industry, especially the gas sector, looks bright—perhaps extremely bright if methane hydrate production comes to fruition. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: good for oil (excellent if Congress lifts the crude oil export ban), excellent for natural gas, excellent for liquid natural gas export, poor for U.S produced LNG shipbuilding.
· Net-zero communities consist of decentralized micro-grids that eliminate or reduce the need for centralized, vulnerable and expensive utility-grade grid energy and services. Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, is the first U.S. net-zero community that produces “100%” of their residential electrical power needs from renewables. Several dozen other U.S. communities are planning to be net-zero. A “net-zero building” is a building that produces and consumes equal amounts of energy. Since there are 132 million residential units versus 5 million commercial/industrial buildings, the residential sector is the likely place to focus on a national net-zero initiative. 132,802,859 U.S. households spend approximately $800 billion/year on energy-related expenditures. If 5% of these expenditures were allocated to net-zero technologies and services, approximately 800,000 direct middle-class ($50,000/year) jobs could be created. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: good in a business-as-usual scenario, outstanding if a national net-zero initiative is created.
· Alternative fuels and advanced vehicles have the potential to transform and disrupt the transportation sector and national economics. Worldwide, the automotive industry supports over 50 million jobs. In 2014, the U.S. motor vehicle industry directly employed 1,553,000 Americans, with a total direct/indirect/induced employment of 7,250,000 jobs. There are six primary alternative fuels (biodiesel, electric, propane, natural gas, hydrogen and ethanol), and six emerging fuels (biobutanol, drop-in biofuels, methanol, P-Series fuels, renewable natural gas and Fischer-Tropsch xTL fuels). Advanced vehicles include biodiesel vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), all-electric vehicles (EVs), flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), natural gas vehicles, propane vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The key to making electric vehicles more marketable involves better batteries. Advanced batteries will boost national economies, perhaps rivaling the economic impact of the personal computer. Global electric vehicle has gone multi-modal totaling 235 million EV-two-wheelers, 665,000 EV-cars (up from 180,000 in two years) and 46,000 EV-buses. Hydrogen-powered transportation has truly revolutionary potential as well as a major disruptive effect on the petroleum-based internal combustion engine industry. Hydrogen fuel cells also have the potential to provide energy efficient and environmentally clean electrical power in stationary and portable power applications. A major technological breakthrough in alternative fuels and advanced vehicles has huge implications for national economies. Jobenomics U.S. business and jobs creation outlook: to be determined, a 2nd place finish could result in the loss of millions of jobs.
Energy efficiency moved from the “hidden fuel” to the “first fuel” exceeding any supply-side fuel. Energy efficiency employs almost 1 million Americans and is expected to add another 1.3 million by 2030. Energy efficiency and energy conservation are needed in combination to reduce consumption and emissions. Energy efficiency means using energy more effectively and is often associated with a technological change. Energy conservation means using less energy and usually requires a behavioral change. Without energy conservation, energy efficiency is likely to lead to a “Jevons paradox ” that postulates that resource savings often leads to increased consumption of that resource, which further leads to economic expansion and further energy consumption. This is especially true in rapidly growing emerging economies.
Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) service models are modelled after cloud computing service models (i.e., Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and will soon emerge as a substantial energy sector industry with the ultimate potential of creating millions of jobs. It will also enable intelligent and micro-energy applications in tomorrow’s “Internet of Things” world. When it comes to fruition, the EaaS will function as intelligence middle layer to manage large and complex energy assets in an interactive, integrated and seamless way. EaaS providers will strategically position (and consequently reposition) their clients within a dynamically changing energy ecosystem, by offering integrated, secure, low-cost, and portable service solutions in both centralized and decentralized energy environments.
Energy assurance involves providing a steady supply of clean affordable fuels without major disruption. Energy security involves ecosystem protection including people, sources, infrastructure, and information systems. Due to increasing terrorist, criminal and cyber threats, energy assurance and energy security services are burgeoning markets. General Keith Alexander (former Director of the US National Security Agency) says “the greatest risk (from terrorists) is a catastrophic attack on the energy infrastructure” including high-tech attacks on refineries, power stations and the electric grid. The U.S. private security market boomed after 9/11. Today, there are nearly 2 million full-time security jobs. Many more are needed, especially for energy security services. In regard to energy assurance, the crisis in Ukraine has created an energy assurance crisis in Europe which is dependent on Russian natural gas and petroleum. Blockage of any of the six major maritime oil trade route chokepoints, as well as disruption of 1.5 million miles of U.S. pipelines would have global repercussions. Energy security and energy assurance businesses and job opportunities depend a lot on international events, crises and conflicts and how proactive governments plan to be.
· Exotic and yet unknown technologies Exotic technologies, such as energy harvesting, spray-on solar cells, gravity motors, cold fusion and vortex technologies, are in development. The Department of Energy has started down this path with its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which is modelled after the highly successful Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Whether any of these exotic technologies will result in a major energy breakthrough is unknown. Perhaps the next profound discovery won’t happen in a high-tech laboratory but in a remote third-world village where a highly scalable energy invention is yet to be disseminated worldwide.