* To establish feasibility, it is necessary to include some items in the energy invested term that are normally not thought of as investments. For example, the cost of sequestering such carbon dioxide as will be produced by the energy technology under investigation should be added to the energy invested term because feasibility requires that our society be sustainable (until astronomical events intervene). In this thought experiment, the support of an alternative energy technology would be the sole concern of every citizen.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A rough guess spoils an accurate ERoEI

I must now invest a little time to try to convince you that it is NOT sufficient to do as “respected” analysts have been doing in the peer-reviewed literature, which, by the way, seems to have gone over to the "dark side" (corporate side) .  The principal reason not to reject the methodology implicit in my thought experiment regarding the autonomous alternative energy district is apparent in the otherwise laudable article in which ERoEI comes to Forbes on June 5th.  We read, “SUNY professor (Charles) Hall estimates that for an industrial society to function and grow, EROI should measure at least five to nine”.  Now, it is no mean task to estimate an EROI (ERoEI) that does not determine feasibility (sustainability) for ERoEI > 1.0.  Why should all that work be wasted with at best a rough guess at how great ERoEI must be to avoid economic shrinkage, which, if you favor shrinkage in over-developed countries, you might refer to as “degrowth”.  Undoubtedly, to rescue the initial effort will entail considerable additional effort; but, unless that effort is forthcoming, we will never know if the ERoEI of photovoltaic solar energy technology is enough to support a stable population.  (Clearly, NOTHING  can support perpetual exponential growth.)  Once again, the URL is http://dematerialism.net/eroeistar.htm and the blog begun at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil conference last December in Austin, Texas, where I spent rather a lot of time with Charles trying to get him to see the light is at http://eroei.blogspot.com/ .  I think the problem is that a better methodology permits finer distinctions one of which is likely to reveal the essential unsuitability of market economies, which, after all, the powers-that-be cannot tolerate.

1 comment :

  1. Me again,
    great link and handy info once again.
    Echoes a lot of C.A.S.S.E and particularly Bartlett (well may that Son of Malthus rest in peace!)

    I think the problem of issue traction and message uptake is due to the message being unattractive to the audience: it's not something in their language and not written in a suggestivist enough style so as to convey agency to the reader (in addition to the problems I've mentioned in other comments: there is a limit of 4096 characters per anonymous posting...)
    To invoke your star wars metaphor; Obi Wan: "it all depends on your certain point of view".

    E-Prime, A. Korzybski... the audience is global and speaks many languages - simplest is best, whole "Platonic Noble Lie" thing and all... it might help, but that's only part of the problem. Then, you've got to distinguish your message from all the other signals and noise out there that the audience is soaked in daily (we are saturated in information overload in the Orwellian world). You've gotta differentiate your message... and even then, its not done. The real proof is in the action: then, there has to be proof to overcome the 'empty air' rhetoric defense known as simple logic/proverbial wisdom. This approach is omitting ALL the other factors which must be overcome simultaneously... and meanwhile, more people and fiat currency is being printed, and the potential problems get all the worse.

    Assuming those things can be overcome, there'll be a whole gambit of other issues: was it Ghandi who said "First they laugh at you and hate you, then they fight you, then you win."?
    Good old inevitability of atrophy... Carlin said it best perhaps; time will tell.