Author Richard Rhodes has written several superb histories of the atomic age, such as The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. Back in September of 2007, he gave a talk about energy transitions at the Center for International Security and Cooperation. His focus was on nuclear energy, and yet some of what he said is quite relevant for the alternative energy business. He talks about the importance of preadaptations — conditions that predate the adoption of a new energy option that help shape it. He has some fascinating comments about how the nuclear energy business’s origins as a source of weapons have continued to haunt it, as well as an early U.S. commitment to pressurized water reactors.
Probably few readers of this blog are so interested in nuclear energy. But Rhodes’s paper raises the question, what are the preadaptations that will shape the adoption of solar and wind technologies?