Dec 1, 2017: The Coming Disruption

When you have an hour to spare I strongly encourage you to watch the following video presented by Stanford University Futurist, Tony Seba, about the impending disruption of the transport and energy sectors. Here are just some of the information it presents:

  • Electric Vehicles (EV’s) have 100X fewer parts than Infernal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEV’s)
  • EV’s can last 5 to 10 times longer than ICEV’s (e.g. Tesla is saying they will put a 1 million mile warranty on their new electric truck)
  • By 2025 every new vehicle will be electric (for purely economic reasons)
  • EV’s will reach Level 5 Autonomy (i.e. requiring no human input) by 2019
  • By 2021 it will be 10X cheaper to use an autonomous ride-share EV than to own a car
  • This means that used ICEV’s will likely have negative value (i.e. you’ll have to pay someone to take it off your hands)
  • By 2030, 95% of passenger miles will be by autonomous ride-share EV’s
  • This means there will be 80% fewer cars on the road and no need for parking lots
  • The parking space that will be freed up in Los Angeles alone is enough to build 3 new San Fransisco’s
  • And by 2030 solar will account for 100% of the world’s energy generation. To back up that last point, Seba notes that Tucson Electric has recently signed a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) for electricity from a utility-scale solar plus battery storage system for 4.5c/kWh which is cheaper than any other form of energy.

I have no idea if Tony Seba will be proven right but he makes a very compelling (and entertaining) argument that is based entirely on economics… not politics or environmentalism or climate change or anything other than economic rationalism. Whether his predictions prove accurate or not, it’s worth watching just to start thinking about how quickly things might be changing. Have a look and leave a comment to let us know what you think about the future he is predicting.

Bitcoin Energy Nightmare

Bitcoin is a MASSIVE energy consumer (source BTC Manager)

Bitcoin is a MASSIVE energy consumer (source BTC Manager)

Speaking of disruptions, I expect you’re all aware of Bitcoin by now. It has gone from under US$1000 at the start of the year to over US$10,000 a few days ago. This has created a huge amount of hype over cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

What you may not have read is this article from Yahoo Finance which claims that Bitcoin ‘Mining’ (the business of processing all the data required for Bitcoin transactions) uses more power than 159 countries. Or this article from The Guardian that says Bitcoin transactions consumed ‘more electricity in a year than the whole of Ireland’. In other words ‘each individual bitcoin transaction uses almost 300KWh of electricity’. That’s enough electricity to power the Greeny Flat for about two months from one, single Bitcoin transaction.

These are shocking statistics, especially because Bitcoin is still very new and can’t actually be used for anything yet. Plus it is just one of thousands of so-called ‘Cryptocurrencies’ and thousands more ‘Blockchain Technologies’ that are being developed around the world. I haven’t seen any figures on what the total energy consumption for all this number-crunching amounts to but you can rest assured (or more likely lie awake in fear) that whatever it is now will be nothing compared to what it’s going to be in the future.

I wonder if Tony Seba’s prediction of 100% solar energy by 2030 will hold true if global electricity consumption doubles simply due to processing blockchain calculations?

I also wonder (and I’ve mentioned this before) what sort of mess we’ll be in if we do go 100% solar and then suffer a massive volcanic eruption that blankets the world in ash for a year or two… ahhh! More sleepless nights!

One Promising Australian Blockchain Technology

According to this article from Energy Matters‘The Australian Government and industry partners will contribute $8.26 million to a project trialing the use of blockchain-powered renewable energy and water systems in the City of Fremantle.’

The ‘Blockchain’ part of this trial is from an Australian startup called Power Ledger which is a peer-to-peer, blockchain-based energy trading platform, where renewable energy can be sold between buyers and sellers without a middleman.

This article from Huffington Post gives a more detailed explanation of how it all works. Let’s just hope that it encourages more renewable energy development than it requires to process its own transactions.

Suncrowd Update

In last week’s Newsletter I gave a scathing review of the Suncrowd Solar Bulk Buy program along with an apology for my part in helping persuade people to join it. I requested that anyone else who had problems with either Suncrowd or Sunny Afternoons leave a comment so that all know how many others are in the same boat.

Well I did receive one comment from a customer in Berrima who had a nasty experience and one email from a friend on the coast. So it seems that, for most Suncrowd customers (at least the ones who read this Newsletter), the lengthy delays and lame excuses are not too much of a concern. If that’s true then I’m gad that most people are satisfied. If not, please go to last week’s Newsletter and leave a comment to let me and other readers know how the experience has been for you.

For anyone interested, I just received the latest update from Sunny Afternoons which claims that 71% of the approximately 320 installs have been completed which means there are still 92 systems left to be installed a full year after most people paid their initial deposit. This still looks like a very dismal performance to me but they seem happy with it. Here’s a link to the update in case you haven’t seen it.


5 comments to Dec 1, 2017: The Coming Disruption

  • Marcel

    Re: Tony Seba, I like it 👍, it paints a much brighter future than “Adani” Coal mine.
    It was a hot topic in our latest QLD elections but nobody ever talked about Tony Seba’s possible future .
    I believe One Nation also wanted to build a new coal fired power station in Queensland !!.
    There are some exciting things happening in the world today,
    Bring on a brighter cleaner future I say.

  • Nick

    Don’t confuse the mining of bitcoins with the transactions of them. Mining a bit coin is computationally expensive because it creates a new bitcoin (i.e. like making gold with a computer program) but the transactions are simple and cheap – if you think about it, no one would spend millions of dollars on a ten thousand dollar transaction

    A slightly more technical view on this can be found here

    • admin

      Thanks Nick, I’ll attempt to address your comment in my next Newsletter which I’m in the process of writing. Please feel free to comment and correct me if I’m wrong in what I write.

  • Marcel

    Andy I was thinking re Tony Seba future what will we do with all the obsolete vehicles!
    Will they only be good for scrap metal, seems like a huge amount of waste.
    I better wait a few years before buying my SUV. 😏

    • admin

      That’s a good point. Hopefully enterprising companies will ‘mine’ the materials from existing cars and recycle them. It does give you pause to consider your next vehicle purchase though, doesn’t it?

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