Conclusions

In summary, Building the Electron Economy is about transformative change – on a timeline. By focusing on the singular goal of ‘no (fossil based) petroleum by 2030’, we will build an energy infrastructure that is less dependent of fossil fuels, and turning the corner on an outmoded ‘hunter-gatherer’ approach to energy. In the process of building a more electron driven energy infrastructure for transportation, the United States will build national competencies and global competitiveness in eleven related technologies, from renewable energy to smart energy transmission and distribution grids to energy and electrical efficiency, LEED building design, electric vehicle engineering and manufacturing, battery and  fuel cells, distributed electrical production and storage and microgrids, biosynthetic fuels and GHG sequestration technologies, and restore America’s leadership in the design and management of nuclear technology.

In developing these key energy technologies, and more importantly, scaling them in barley a decade, America will regain its manufacturing prowess in advanced technology, including global partnerships as a leader in this energy revolution. By staying one step ahead of peak conventional oil production, or at the very least not falling behind that curve, we can both avoid economic disruption and geopolitical conflict, decrease energy costs and foreign trade payments, and develop security and prosperity through real ‘energy equity’. In developing an energy infrastructure more like the Internet, we also create opportunities for a  business layer that intermingles with energy, creating the foundation for new business models, ‘electronomics’, and a robust electron economy of suppliers, producers, and providers of value added services.

But most importantly, like our effort to go to the moon, developing a space program, and the spectacle of Apollo, we will create a pipeline of scientists, engineers, and technicians, excited by the once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change the human business model. This twenty year effort will rebuild our passion for science, engineering, and technology, and inspire a generation and population of students who might otherwise become both underrepresented and left behind in what will be a global race to reinvent energy, and develop sustainable engineering solutions for spaceship earth. Our (STEM centric) energy-engineering program will support the sys-STEMic approach to designing, engineering, and implementing these ‘mission critical’ solutions.

Key points:

  1. Focusing singular attention on petroleum forces a transformative change on an outmoded energy infrastructure (hunter-gatherer of fossil fuels) and into 21st Century sustainable engineering
  2. Develops national / industrial competencies in a dozen core energy competencies including renewable energy, smart energy transmission and distribution grids, to energy and electrical efficiency, LEED building design, electric vehicle engineering and manufacturing, battery and fuel cells, distributed electrical production and storage and microgrids, biosynthetic fuels and GHG sequestration technologies.
  3. Develops advanced manufacturing capacity in globally competitive industries
  4. Avoids economic and geopolitical perils of peak conventional oil production, decreases energy costs and foreign trade payments, and develops security and prosperity through real ‘energy equity’. Builds an ‘Internet-like’ foundation for ‘electronomics’ business layer and services.
  5. Creates a passion and excitement to solve globally significant problems using a sustainable systems and STEM centric approach to innovation. Like Apollo, energizes a generation of students that might be otherwise left behind in what will be a globally competitive race for mission critical solutions.

Key points

1. We have just enough time to do this – but we need to start yesterday. This is a 20 year effort with a 20 year horizon. The sooner we get started – the sooner we can experience both benefits of new infrastructure and foundation for further (potentially faster) build out

2. Analysis of technology evolution, deployment, and adoption says there is a time lag from prototype to product  to mass adoption. Analysis of Moore’s law shows (further) that in order to really ramp up growth in key technologies – especially EVs, we really needed to start deployment in 2000 or sooner. Building capacity is critical, as is the experience curve needed to lower cost

3. There are significant synergies and dependencies between and among technologies

  • Wind => transmission => storage
  • EV / batteries / charging grids
  • Microgrid technology
  • Smart energy and microgrids
  • Electrical efficiency / LEED / low cost solar
  • Biosynthetic fuels / ICE and biosynthetic fuels sequestration

4. While investments is great – there are early paybacks

  • Wind and lower GHGs and high value energy
  • Biosynthetic fuels and liquid fuel price stabilization
  • EVs and CAFE improvement
  • Electrical efficiency
  • Smart grid technology and informed DR and energy efficiency work

5. American competitiveness grows

  • Leader in advanced technology
  • Leader in advanced manufacturing
  • Restore leadership / image in environmental stewardship

6. There are three reasons to do this, but really only one

  • We know there are mission critical problems with time sensitive solutions
  • Fossil fuels is a Stone Age technology, hunter gathering in your neighbor’s yard is problematic
  • Time to lay down our roots, and invest in energy equity

7. This mission is very much like Apollo

  • A singular goal, shared commitment, focus of a nation
  • Building our capacity in advanced technology and manufacturing
  • Establishing STEM foundation and capacity (pipeline) of scientists and engineers.

Let’s go do this.

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