Forecasting Technological Revolutions

Forecasting Technological Revolutions
AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou

With the release of the DOE Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest International Energy Outlook, we are witness to a duel between two visions of the long-term energy future. One, the EIA camp, sees demand inexorably rising; another, the World Energy Council (among others), believes peak global energy demand is in sight — what they enthusiastically call a “grand transition.”

In the short-cycle realities of modern policymaking, long-term forecasts may seem, well, irrelevant. But such forecasts have power. Witness decades of energy policies based on, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on, conquering the fear of peak energy supply.

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