Earth innovation (Ei) and Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman is writing a book about energy and innovation. It is similar to the post I wrote on April 23rd, 2008 called Earth innovation (Ei). Here are some tidbits of what Thomas Friedman is writing about:

Three dimensions of transitions – global warming, global flattening, and global crowding:

  • The weather is getting strange.
  • Several billion new consumers and producers are reaching the marketplace everyday.
  • The rate of population increase is growing steeper and these are people who now are consumers and producers.

Energy resources are going from what was considered inexhaustible to exhaustible.
Climate problems are moving from a manageable state to an unmanageable state.
Energy is from geopolitical benign and biodiversity benign to toxic for both.

What does GeoGreen mean? Green was named by two parties that prevented it from scaling. The first is that a group kept the green community alive, but it was opposed to growth. Another group paired the term green with terms like tree hugging, liberal, girly, and unpatriotic – negative connotations. Without changing the term “green” then scale won’t happen. Without scale, it is just a hobby.

Between now and 2050, energy usage will double based on population growth and economic progression. If we do everything right, starting now, renewables will make up 30% and fossil fuels will make up 55%. If that is true about renewables, then it will be bigger than the current oil industry.

People ask Thomas Friedman what type of guy he is: ethanol? nuclear? solar? cellulose? Nope, he is an innovation guy. Why, because none of the energy solutions of today can scale at the rate we need. We need innovation to do so.

If you want to make the US more secure, innovative, competitive, efficient, and respected than seeking energy innovation (entrepreneurs).

This is a systems problem. If we don’t take a systems approach then you end up with suboptimal results. What is suboptimal? Doing something you shouldn’t be doing at all really well.

What is it for Thomas Friedman that we are trying to do? More sustainable energy productivity growth through fewer, cleaner, smarter, and cheaper electrons.

Have you ever heard of a green revolution without someone getting hurt? There is one rule – change or die.

Smart home – all your appliances day trade on the energy market creating a more efficient grid.

$3 Billion in venture capital last year was put toward energy innovation ($100 Billion was set aside for Dot Com ventures).

Energy innovation needs to find a means to change your life. Government might have to add the Total Cost of Ownership of energy use into the billing of consumers. These are CO2, troops in the Persian gulf, and so on. It must be a price signal to prompt commerce to scale this.

The latest energy bill (right before Christmas) threw out tax credits for wind and solar but kept them in for coal, oil, and gas. Germany has the tax incentives in for 20 years. The US isn’t ready to fund them for 2008.

The US’s premium solar company, First Solar, of Toledo OH just built their first factory in Germany where they do 80% of their business. A new factory is going up in Malaysia. Why? Because their own Senator voted against them and their aren’t a whole bunch of oil in Ohio. People wonder about blue collar jobs in the US.

Being Green is the next great project of the US. It is how we get our groove back.


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