Welcome to Ideas on Energy

Welcome to Ideas on Energy.  This blog will be focusing on the geopolitics of energy, technologies that could transform the ways we produce and consume energy, and energy poverty, i.e. finding ways to provide electricity to the 1.4 billion people around the world who currently lack access to it.  I may touch on issues related to climate change but this will not be a focus area as there are many other blogs that are dedicated to that issue.  The logic behind focusing on this collection of issues is simply that this is what is interesting to me.

It was while working on development issues in Afghanistan a few years ago that I first became truly aware of the critical importance of access to electricity for human progress.  Sitting in Jalalabad, I heard a local professor of agricultural economics complain about how Pakistani traders would buy up much of the agricultural crop from the area, take it to Pakistan for refrigeration, and bring that same produce back during the winter to sell back locally for triple the price.  The professor wanted the U.S. to build cold storage in Jalalabad so they could capture this economic benefit within the province.

After doing more research we discovered that due to the poor energy infrastructure in Afghanistan even if we built the cold storage facilities it would still be cheaper to send the produce to Pakistan for refrigeration because they were working off of a centralized grid and in Afghanistan the cold storage would have to be powered by diesel generators, which are very costly to keep running.  I suddenly realized that until the power issue was resolved in a more systematic way, there were severe limitations on what kind of economic progress was possible in Afghanistan. I decided I wanted to learn more about energy issues when I returned from my overseas assignment.

I look forward to this blog serving as a forum for conversation on critical issues regarding our shared energy future.

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