Brian Davey argues that it will be difficult to bring a new, renewables-based energy sector into existence when the economy is stagnant and people will struggle to afford expensive innovation. Paradoxically in these circumstances it is likely to be many older technologies that will make sense again - perhaps in a reworked form.
"Transferring resources out of the luxury consumption of the rich is a necessary part of the process of finding the wherewithal for energy conservation work and for developing renewable energy resources," writes Brian Davey in a chapter from Credo that was written in 2014 but is still relevant now.
In this presentation given at the University of Nottingham on April 4, Brian Davey investigates the historical roots of the growth-based economy. He critiques the assumption that renewable energy could take over from fossil fuels while maintaining economic growth, and goes on to discuss some ways forward.
"Sometimes you read a book that helps to crystalize your thinking, not because you agree with it, but because you don't" writes Brian Davey, who goes on to challenge the authors' assumptions about the availability of renewable energy and the nature and potential of localism.
There's been considerable discussion in Ireland lately of the benefits of community-owned renewable power. Earlier this week Paul Kenny described the situation in Denmark in glowing terms in the Irish Journal. This panel from Richard Douthwaite's 1996 book Short Circuit identifies the roots of the community wind energy movement in Denmark. Lessons for elsewhere, perhaps?
This week we are publishing two articles from Fleeing Vesuvius which focus on energy supply and use. Chris Vernon's paper explains why, although there is a lot of oil still left in the ground, its supply will contract very rapidly indeed and the world may have run out of oil to burn for energy by 2050. Tom Konrad argues that if a standard assessment tool, the internal rate of return, is used to compare the net energy yield of various projects, it shows which to prioritise for the energy transition.