Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Energy at a Tipping Point Part 1: A Conversation with Worldwatch's Chris Flavin

From: , Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate


Last week I attended a discussion entitled After the Election: Where is Cleantech Headed Now? hosted by TiE(The Indus Entrepreneurs) at their Silicon Valley headquarters. The event was moderated by Andrew Chung ofLightspeed Venture Partners with presentations by Chris Flavin of Worldwatch Institute and Dr. Dick Swanson, founder of SunPower.

Needless to say, the room was full of some very smart, visionary people with a singular focus on exploring the state of the energy sector and the potential of renewable energy to bring solutions to a beleaguered economy and stressed environment (one might say to civilization and the natural systems that support it).

In my next post we’ll look at the the main ideas of Dr. Swanson’s presentation. Here we’ll review some key points from the discussion with Chris Flavin.

Perception lags reality

Worldwatch Institute’s Chris Flavin may have summed up the entire evening in his first sentence: “Energy is at a tipping point”�. It is exciting to think we live in a time of rapid transition to a new energy economy. Flavin sees the beginnings of that transition in progress and accelerating.

Based on data from the report Renewables 2007 Global Status Report byREN21in collaboration with Worldwatch, one challenge Flavin sees is “making the fossil fuel industry believe”� that renewables offer a full-scale, “baseload”� alternative to oil and coal, and that it isn’t hovering somewhere off in the distant future.

“So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past five years that the perceptions of some politicians and energy-sector analysts lag far behind the reality of where the renewables industry is today”�, says Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of REN21


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