|Jeremy Rifkin's Third Industrial Revolution|
|Posted by CFO World|
|lundi, 17 février 2014|
Keynote speaker for the kick-off conference of FIABCI 65th World Congress next May 20th, Jeremy Rifkin is one of the most renowned contemporary economists and thinkers. Author of the Third Industrial Revolution, he will highlight his theory on how fusion of new technologies and tools, combined with renewable energies can disrupt and improve our entire economic system, including real estate.
Do not miss this unique opportunity to meet him during his next intervention!
More information on www.fiabci65.com
Quotes from a question and answer session about his most recent treatise, The Third Industrial Revolution:
How did you come up with this idea?
My read on history is that the great economic revolutions occur when two phenomena come together. When we change energy regimes, it makes possible much more complex economic relations. When energy revolutions occur, however, they require communication revolutions that are agile enough to manage them. If you look at the 19th century, print technology became very cheap when we introduced steam power into printing. That decreased the cost and increased the speed, efficiency and availability of print material. At the same time we established public schools in Europe and America. We created a print literate workforce with the communication skills to organize a First Industrial Revolution driven by coal and steam power.
Then we did it again in the 20th century with the convergence of communication and energy: Centralized electricity—especially the telephone and then later radio and television—became the communication vehicles to manage a more dispersed Second Industrial Revolution, organized around the oil-powered internal combustion engine, suburban construction and the creation of a mass consumer society.
Energy historians only deal with energy, and communication historians only deal with communications, but in history you can’t really do one without the other. That’s the framework that led me to this kind of search, and the Third Industrial Revolution really came out of that narrative on how history evolves.
So, what exactly is the Third Industrial Revolution?
First of all, it’s based on a new convergence of communication and energy. The Internet has been a very powerful communication tool in the last 20 years. What’s so interesting about it is the way it scales. I grew up in the 20th century on centralized electricity communication that scales vertically. The Internet, by contrast, is a distributed and collaborative communication medium and scales laterally.
We are in the early stages of a convergence of Internet communication technology with a new form of energy that is by nature distributed and has to be managed collaboratively and scales laterally. We’re making a great transition to distributed renewable energy sources. And we distinguish those from the elite energies—coal, oil, gas, tar sands—that are only found in a few places and require significant military and geopolitical investments and massive finance capital, and that have to scale top down because they are so expensive. Those energies are clearly sunsetting as we enter the long endgame of the Second Industrial Revolution.
Distributed energies, by contrast, are found in some frequency or proportion in every inch of the world: the sun, the wind, the geothermal heat under the ground, biomass—garbage, agricultural and forest waste—small hydro, ocean tides and waves.
The 27 member nations of the European Union have committed to establishing a five-pillar infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution based on this new convergence of communication and energy. I was privileged to develop the plan that was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007.
Pillar 1: The EU has mandated a goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. That means a third of the electricity has to be green.
Pillar 2: How do we collect distributed renewable energy? The first thought in Europe was, let’s go to Spain, Greece, and Italy—because they have all the sun. Put in concentrated solar parks and ship the green electricity via high-voltage lines to the rest of Europe. Similarly, the Irish have the wind, the Norwegians have ample hydro. Therefore, set up large wind farms and hydro dams to capture the energy. While we believe that these more concentrated uses of what are essentially distributed energies are critical to get us off carbon, they’re not sufficient. Indeed, we can’t run a global economy solely on centralized, concentrated wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, etc. This forced us to ask an important question: If some form of renewable energies are found in every square inch of the planet, why would we only concentrate them in a few central points? That got us to pillar 2: buildings. We have 191 million buildings in the EU. The mission now is to convert the entire building stock of Europe to partial green power plants that can collect solar energy on the roofs, wind energy off the sides of the building, geothermal energy from the ground below the building, biomass energy from the conversion of garbage in the building, etc. This will jump start construction. Converting the entire building infrastructure of the EU will generate millions of jobs and create new opportunities for thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises stretching over a 40-year period. And all the business is local.
Pillar 3: How do we store distributed renewable energy? The sun isn’t always shining, and the wind sometimes blows at night when we need electricity during the day. Hydropower can be intermittent when water tables are down because of climate change–induced drought. So storage is critical when more than 15 to 20 percent of the power grid is made up of intermittent renewable energy. The EU is committed to many different storage systems: flywheels, batteries, water pumping, etc. But we’re putting most of our emphasis on hydrogen as the linchpin of the storage network. When the sun hits your roof and your photovoltaic panels generate green electricity, you can take any surplus electricity you are not using and put it in water, allowing the hydrogen in the water to be siphoned out into a tank. Then, when the sun isn’t shining on the roof, you can simply transform that hydrogen back to green electricity, with only a small thermodynamic loss.
Pillar 4: How do we share green electricity with each other? We take off-the-shelf IT and Internet technology and transform the power grid and electricity transmission lines into an energy Internet. So when millions of buildings are collecting distributed renewable energy, storing it in the form of hydrogen like we store media in digital form, they can then share any surplus electricity with others by selling back onto the energy Internet. Everyone becomes an entrepreneur in a collaborative energy Internet that spans whole regions and continents.
Pillar 5: How do we integrate transport into the TIR infrastructure? The idea is to plug in electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the buildings to power up our vehicles. And then wherever you travel, you can plug back in and get electricity from the grid—or sell your car’s electricity back to the grid if the price is right.
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