Challenges in Shifting the Energy Paradigm with Unprecedented Speed
Formerly with Shell, David Lawrence is a respected energy executive who provides clients with value-driven services as head of the Lawrence Energy Group. Reflecting industry knowledge gained while with Shell, David Lawrence recently made a presentation on Choices and Challenges: Delivering the World’s Energy Needs at a University of Tulsa conference.
He emphasized the difficulties involved in re-orienting the energy sector toward renewables and low-emission technologies that can help offset the imminent threat of global warming. He likened the process to turning a huge vessel around in the water, where you have to deal with crosscurrents and “turn before you make the turn.”
He also likens this to past paradigmatic shifts, such as the one from steam power to diesel. Given infrastructural inertia, it takes a long time for one or more energy sources to take the place of the current standard energy source. It took between 70 years and 85 years for oil and natural gas to become significant forces comprising more than 20 percent of total primary energy supply. Given the global-warming-tied constraints on current energy production, it will take an unprecedented global effort to turn around the energy ship and move it toward a sustainable tomorrow.