Moore’s law for Energy Production

Booz & Company produces an e-zine called Strategy+Business that I receive.  It often provides some pretty decent assessments and fresh insights on the business trends, strategy, operations, and HR issues that B&Co see in their large industrial and service clients.  While not generally relevant to the small companies and start-ups that make up most of the green universe, occassionally they do deliver content that deals with sustainability issues or socially responsible behavior.

This article – A Moore’s Law for Renewable Energy

“Oil companies should think more like technology companies.” So said one of the world’s largest oil companies, the Chevron Corporation, as part of a 2011 public outreach campaign. This idea deserves to be taken seriously, and at a global, industry-wide scale. Since World War II, the computer industry has transformed the global economy and the patterns of everyday life in ways that would have been unimaginable before. Could energy companies — especially those developing renewable technologies such as solar and wind power — spark a similar transformation by emulating the kind of exponential technological improvement that brought about the digital age?

Moore’s law applied to energy production is a strained analogy.  Innovation happens when there are sufficient economic drivers to stimulate invention.  Enacting policy initiatives substituting high cost, low density energy for low cost, high density energy would be a historical achievement.  And it would be a mistake.  Environmental damage caused by industrial scale harvesting of low density energy (solar, wind, wave) alone is reason enough to militate against such a policy.  The deleterious economic impact from choosing more expensive power when cheaper sources are available is far more consequential.

See the article here: