It is difficult to avoid a sense of gloom these days, especially in Europe. Quite a few big dreams the drove many souls forward in the past few decades have turned sour or have lost their elan. Europe, the euro, a just society everywhere.. even the great democrat Putin (Schröder dixit) does not seem to be loved by his own folk as he used to be 10 years ago. Technology should be the last bulwark to fail against impending doom. Not even that.
The Economist, not precisely a journal suspect of being a staunch supporter of the anti-nuclear movement, has declared nuclear energy in this special report more or less moribund. I think there are some silver linings though. When Japan virtually shut down most of its nuclear reactors last year, most pundits predicted widespread blackouts over the summer, which did not come to pass. Is it therefore possible that we may actually muddle through with much less energy than we currently use (or waste) ?
What happened to solar energy, the banner of the anti-oil movement ? It seems that solar energy and nuclear fusion have indeed something in common: they will always be the energy of the future. The problem is what energy are we going to use now ? Perhaps we should have asked Steven Jobs, as the Breakthrough Institute and the Hartwell paper would suggest, but that dream is also gone.
|Solarworld, share price (€), last 10 years|
|Apple, share price ($), last 10 years|