Thinking about Energy
Solving the energy problem is very different from solving problems in energy. The latter—solving problems in energy—consists of calculations, such as imparting to an assistant secretary of energy of mass x kg an upward acceleration of y m/s2 in a gravitational field of g m/s2, then asking at some later time t about the secretary’s kinetic and potential energies. The former—the energy problem itself—is much more, and involves additional questions such as: “Was it a good idea?” and “Compared to what?” It is a sociotechnological condition that we did not want but brought upon ourselves nevertheless; having it, we hope to ameliorate it. But amelioration to some people means enhancing supply; to others, reducing demand. To some it means national independence; to others, reducing global tensions via international interdependence. To some it means environmental consequences of overuse; to others, economic consequences of doing without.
KeywordsTechnology Assessment Energy Policy Energy Problem Hydro Conversion Apply System Analysis
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