Ideally, we live in a world where energy generation is more or less automated and requires a minuscule percentage of the population to produce all of the energy humanity needs. Wouldn’t that be grand?
That’s my ultimate goal.
Working in oil and gas where our business is to own the assets that people ultimately burn and require more of makes such a goal counterintuitive. Wouldn’t I want more people to burn more fuel that I own so I can sell them more of it? Yes, that will make me rich – but will it truly let humanity prosper long term?
Around 1800, nearly 90% of Americans worked in agriculture. By 1900, that number had dropped to 40%; and by 2021, we’re under 2% of the population needed to feed 100% of the country (and even have a surplus). I believe energy is taking a similar trend.
Is this bad? Won’t we lose jobs? What are we going to do about the economy?
Similar to farming, if fewer people are working to produce more clean, safe, and reliable energy than society needs, then their time is freed up to do literally anything else. What else could they be doing with their time that’s more interesting than covering the earth in glass, standing up hundreds of thousands of wind turbines off shore, or putting millions of holes in the ground?
- Working on spacecraft or propulsion systems to explore the rest of the solar system, galaxy, and universe.
- Building irrigation systems to beautify and green the planet. Eliminate deserts by desalinating water from the oceans, pumping it onto continents, and planting thousands of acres of lush, man-made forests.
- Manufacture liquid fuels out of water and carbon dioxide pulled from the atmosphere.
- Research how to extend life expectancy, combat new diseases, and ultimately defeat death.
- Snowboard every ski resort on the planet (there are over 5,000, which, at 1 per day, would take over 13 years).
- Kite-surf every single day.
- Build massive underwater cities. The ocean floor will be the new land grab!
Some of those are facetious and far fetched for 2021 – but some of them aren’t. If we’re no longer quarreling about where our electricity is sourced because we’ve advanced our technology enough to essentially make it limitless, then we have a real opportunity to continue working on the even bigger problems facing us. Moreover, not only will Americans be able to work (and play) on the tasks above, but so will people from all over the globe.
But they can’t do it without more time. Adding low cost, reliable, clean, and inexpensive energy to the system significantly improves the amount of time we have available to us.
Help me give the future more time to solve better problems than simply where to source the next barrel of oil.