Energy Secretary Chu gave a talk at the EIA/SAIS Energy Conference on April 6-7. I want to share a few highlights of it, and give my impression. Both the Powerpoint slides and audio can be accessed at this link.
My general view of the talk is that Chu is extremely optimistic, in terms of what he thinks can be done. He also fails to tell listeners what our real problems are.
Wow! Slide 2 indicates that Chu thinks America has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution. How does he think that is going to be done?
The first industrial revolution was during a time of increasingly available energy, because of the new use of coal. That is very unlikely in the future, both because of peak oil, and because of hoped-for constraints on fossil fuel use because of climate change issues. Net energy available to society is likely to be going down, not up! It is hard to understand an industrial revolution under those circumstances, unless it is a retooling to a much lower level–but later slides make it clear that is not what he is thinking of.