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Just OUT: A Genius Planet (Birkhäuser, Basel 2017)

A GENIUS PLANET — ENERGY: FROM SCARCITY TO ABUNDANCE, A RADICAL PATHWAY

BY LUDGER HOVESTADT, VERA BÜHLMANN, SEBASTIAN MICHAEL (Birkhäuser, Basel 2017)

https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/466971

Imagine a world where the power is always on, where there is not just enough energy, but an abundance of it. Such a world is no Utopia, it is a possible reality. Using indefinitely available sources of energy – especially photovoltaic solar, in combination with others – and networking this energy, much in the way that we have networked information, we can get beyond our current energy ‘crisis’ and resolve it. The world we then find ourselves in is not a world without problems – we will face new challenges on the way – but in terms of energy it is a world of plenty. Rooted in sound theory and based on technology that is available now, A Genius Planet offers an accessible but detailed and insightful perspective on how we can free ourselves from our dependency on natural resources and generate, trade, and use energy in ways that open up the genuine potential that we have at our disposal today.

From the Foreword:

"This book has a simple and optimistic message: energy isn’t a resource, energy is clean, and energy isn’t scarce, in fact the opposite, it is abundant! Because now, with information technology, energy has become what we might call an ‘intellectual wealth’ that can be captured, stored, distributed – ‘cycled’, so to speak – by electronic coding. And as there are no limits in principle to how much ‘energy cycling’ is possible, energy itself loses the limitations we’re used to associate with it.

It is not, at first, entirely obvious or perhaps intuitive to think of energy as an ‘intellectual wealth’ that can be ‘cycled’, and so the book explains in detail how and why this is so, and it makes a compelling case for embracing this extremely relevant reality: we have more than enough energy. For the foreseeable future, and beyond. We can relax. " 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD 6

I  GENIUS 15 I THE ALTERED STATE 18 — II SEIZING THE MOMENT 19

II  THE TASk IN HAND 21 I THE RED HERRING: SUSTAINABILITY 23 — II A CATEGORICAL LEAP 24 — III THE CURRENT CONTEXT 25 — IV WHO WE ARE 27 — V WHERE WE’RE COMING FROM... 29 — VI ... AND WHERE WE WANT TO GO 37 — VII A PATHWAY OPEN TO EVERYONE 40 — VIII THE ‘POTENTIALITY Of APPLICATIONS’ 42 — IX THE ‘RESOURCE’ THAT MULTIPLIES FOREVER 44 — X THE LEVELLER: DEMOCRACY IN THE NETWORK 45

III  ENERGY IS NOT THE PROBLEM 49 I DEALING WITH OBSTACLES ON THE WAY 53 — II PREMISE PART 1: THE ISSUE IS LOGISTICS 54 — III PREMISE PART 2: WE HAVE ENERGY THAT GETS CHEAPER THE MORE Of IT WE USE 55 — IV PREMISE PART 3: THE KEY IS NETWORKED ELECTRICITY 59 — V CAN DO VS HAVE TO 61 — VI FORMULATING A DIFFERENT KIND Of QUESTION 63 — VII THE VISION: ‘ALWAYS ON’ POWER 66 — VIII OUR 135-YEAR LAG 66 — IX ABUNDANCE 68 — X THE FEAR Of GOD 69 — XI MORE IS MORE 71

IV  A QUICK REFRESHER ON ELECTRICITY 77 I THE DYNAMO/GENERATOR 83 — II AC/DC 84 — III THE TRANSFORMER 85 — IV WHERE IT ALL COMES FROM 87 — V WHERE MUCH OF IT COULD BE COMING FROM INSTEAD 88

V THE NETWORK: SHARING POWER 91 IPOWER SHIFTS Of A DIFFERENT KIND 93—II THE NETWORK EFFECT AND ENERGY 95 — III LIFE AFTER FOSSILS 97 — IV ’INTELLIGENT ENERGY’ 99 — V NETWORK TERMINOLOGY 101 — VI OUR FRIEND THE ELECTRON 102 — VII THE ENERGY NETWORK: AN ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’ 104 — VIII WHAT WE USE ENERGY FOR 108

VI  MAKING IT HAPPEN: A TURNKEY TECHNOLOGY 111 I GENESIS OF AN INVENTION 114 — II THE MISSING LINK 117 — III HOW IT WORKS 119 — IV THE DIGITALSTROM CHIP 123 — V APPLICATIONS 125 — VI NETWORK SOLIDARITY 127 — VII TRADING ELECTRICITY 131 — VIII SMART METERS 133 — IX A TYPICAL INSTALLATION 134

VII  THREE CASE STUDIES 137 I SWITZERLAND 138 — II INDIA 142 — III ETHIOPIA 146

VIII THE BIGGER PICTURE 151 I THE YOGHURT PHENOMENON 152 — II THE APPLICATION PRINCIPLE FORETOLD 156 — III CULTIVATING OUR ENERGY EXPERIENCE 158 — IV PRINTED ENERGY: PHOTOVOLTAICS 158 — V THE POWER OF EXPONENTIAL GROWTH 163 — VI ENERGY AND ARCHITECTURE 166 — VII THE ROLE Of THERMODYNAMICS 169 — VIII UNTAPPED ENERGY: EXERGY 178 — IX INFINITE SOURCES OF ENERGY 181 — X NUCLEAR 187

IX A PLANET IN CRISIS: INTELLECT TO THE RESCUE 193 I THREE GENERATIONS OF ENERGY 194 — II A PATH OF RATIONAL OPTIMISM 199 — III “THIS IS OF THE DEVIL” – FACING OPPOSITION 204 — IV THE DIFFICULTY OF THE NEW 207 — V LEAPS OF THE IMAGINATION 209 — VI POWER STORIES 211 — VII THINKING ENERGY 213 — VIII OUR EVOLVING TAKE ON ENERGY 215 — IX ABSTRACT ENERGY 216 — X ENERGY AND SYMBOLS 219 — XI NUMBERS AND ELECTRICITY 223 — XII POWER THROUGH THOUGHT 229 — XIII MEDIAL ENERGY 230 — XIV POPULATIONS AND MODELS 232—XV LEARNING TO LOVE UNCERTAINTY 237 — XVI BEYOND TECHNOLOGY 239

X THE OUTLOOK: WHAT NEXT? 243 I AND WHAT ABOUT ME? 246

CONCLUSION 250
APPENDIX 253
REFERENCE 257