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    • Welcoming a new energy paradigm

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    Heightened sustainability during the Third Industrial Revolution. Photo credit: Dudoladov
    “What is becoming really clear in the business community is that the Second Industrial Revolution is, in a sense, at its maturity.

    This entire civilization runs on fossil fuels — fertilizers, pesticides, construction materials, pharmaceutical products, synthetic fiber, power, transport, heat, and light — the whole civilization is made out of carbon. The technology based on these energies, like the internal combustion engine, have lost their productivity; they are antiquated. And the infrastructure made out of carbon is getting more difficult to maintain and repair.

    Elite energies (coal, oil, gas, shale gas, heavy oil, uranium) are found in few places. They require a huge military and geo-political commitments and massive capital to finance them from the beginning point to the end-user, and their sun is setting.

    Distributed energies are very different. These are energies that are found in the back yard and every square inch of the planet. The sun shines all over the world every single day. Forty-five minutes of sunlight powers the world easy. The wind blows across the earth every single day, and if we harness 20 percent of it, that is seven times more power than the global economy will ever use. Underneath the planet we have that hot geo-thermal core of energy from the sun still there. We can take it up and use it for energy at a moment’s notice. In the rural areas, we have agriculture and forestry wastes that can be converted back to energy, and in the coastal regions where our urban populations are, those ocean tides and waves are coming in every day — they are energy.

    We have enough of these distributed energies in frequency and proportion in every square inch of this biosphere really to provide for our species forever and ever.”

    The Five Pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution ...
    “So the European Union has made a formal commitment to a five-pillar Third Industrial Revolution. I was privileged to develop this with the European Union. This is a formal plan endorsed by the European parliament in 2007.”

    Pillar One
    “The European Union is committed to pillar one, which means 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 in every region in Europe. It is not a suggestion; it is the mandate. That means a third of electricity has to be green in every region of the European Union by 2020.”

    Pillar Two
    “Pillar two is: how do we collect distributable renewable energies? If renewable energy is everywhere, why aren’t we collecting it everywhere? We are using 20th century thinking based on centralized energies that are concentrated, and you send them to the end of the line. You collect them where you have infrastructure.”

    Pillar Three
    “Pillar three is storage and this also has to do with managing the energies and the efficiencies. The sun isn’t always shining, and sometimes the wind blows at night, but you need electricity during the day.”

    Pillar Four
    “Pillar four is the energy Internet. It’s bringing together off-the-shelf Internet technology and using it to organize renewable energies and create continental energy Internets. So when millions and millions of buildings are collecting a little bit of green electricity and storing it, then if some of those buildings at any given time of the day don’t need their electricity, they can programme to send some of that electricity across an energy Internet — all the way from Ireland to the doors of Russia just like we create information, store it in digital, and share it online.”

    Pillar Five
    “This last pillar is logistics and transport. Electric vehicles are here, and hydrogen-powered cars, buses, and trucks will be in mass production in 2015 and 2016 by the major companies. So you will be able to plug in your vehicles anywhere there is infrastructure and get green electricity. Wherever you park, there will be a plug.”

    Beyond Energy Efficiency
    “This is the Third Industrial Revolution — why it’s so interesting? This is the first completely intelligent infrastructure, so when the Third Industrial Revolution starts to phase in every community, those five pillars are continuously interacting with each other, and every entire single thing in that system is connected to software and sensors.”

    Schneider Electric™ is involved in all these pillars
    “It will be companies like Schneider Electric and other companies who can help us develop the applications to manage our energy, manage our efficiency, and begin to manage our responsibility in our regions for restoring the biospheres in which we live. It’s a great mission for the human race, and I think it is the only mission. We need to have passion, commitment, and some luck, and maybe we can get through the door and create a more prosperous and sustainable world.”

    Hear the full Jeremy Rifkin interview! Watch The Third Industrial Revolution: An Interview with Author Jeremy Rifkin today!
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