ERoEI, it depends…

28 05 2023

A couple of weeks ago, Nafeez Ahmed, whom I respect and whose work I’ve been following for a long time (even featured here) wrote a piece attacking Simon Michaux’s work on the difficulties we will face transitioning away from fossil fuels. I was gobsmacked to be honest because to me it looked like a total backflip from his previous views on the future of civilisation and its access to energy. You can read the article here.

Ahmed’s debunking of Simon’s work was entirely based on assumptions of the ERoEI of non renewable renewable energy harvesting technologies being far superior to the numbers Simon has been using. I’ve personally always thought that solar power’s ERoEI numbers were totally inadequate for running complex civilisation, especially after reading Pedro Prieto’s work featured here and here….

ERoEI is critical to the success or otherwise of any transition away from fossil fuels. As far as I am concerned, non renewable renewable energy harvesting technologies simply don’t cut the mustard and Nafeez Ahmed is simply wrong. I can’t help thinking he’s joined the ranks of the likes of George Monbiot who just cannot come to grips with the fact their cushy lifestyles are as good as over.

If you’ve been following DTM for a while now you will have heard me talking about Dr Tim Morgan of Surplus Energy Economics. Tim Morgan has been studying the collapse of ERoEI, except he calls it ECoE or energy cost of energy. It’s catching on, here’s another great article explaining the impact of failing ECoE on the global economy with some focus on the British one which is now seriously floundering….

Simon has informed me that, perhaps as a result of the many attacks on his work he’s had to tackle, he’s going to embark on a seminal work on ERoEI with the father of the concept, Charlie Hall. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Also perhaps because of Nafeez’ article and the fact that Nate Hagens is a close friend of Simon’s, Nate has just posted a very informative video about ERoEI which explains why it’s so hard to get the numbers right. I thought my readers would like to see it too, enjoy…..