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Help me Generate an Energy Crisis
Old 07-14-2015, 05:58 PM   #1
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Help me Generate an Energy Crisis

The plot of my next book is coming together like this:

The year is 2020.

An unstable scientist has developed a practical cold fusion device, but is keeping it inaccessible.

I need it to be vitally important that the world get this device, so I need the world to be in the midst of a huge energy crisis. Major rolling blackouts, $100/gallon gas, etc.

I want to avoid a touchy-feely-save-the-whales-let's-all-conserve type thing, if possible.

Examples of ideas:

Major wars in Middle East result in total destruction of oil wells.

Terrorism destroys coal or other electrical generation systems.

Speculation and manipulation of markets as in California, year 2000 makes electric utilities go bankrupt.

Rapid adoption of electric cars due to gas price increases and new technology puts too much load on the grid.

Think something like that can work? Ideas for destroying energy by 2020?
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:18 PM   #2
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some ideas:

*OPEC members have been overstating their reserves and rate of well depletion.
*Israel strikes Iranian nuke production facility, turns out Iran already had a functional nuke and retaliates, no major war, but you've got one or two nuclear detonations in the middle east and the futures markets go bonkers
*Co-ordinated political uprisings in all middle eastern oil producers, secretly organized and funded by Russia, result in anti-western governments taking power/countries being embroiled in civil war, crushing oil output.
*Oil eating super-bacteria gets loose from a lab, turns out to thrive in subterranean oil reserves and wipes out most actively oil on the planet in a matter of months.
*Massive quakes along the ring of fire trigger tsunamis, crippling ports and shipping and refinery all along the pacific. Not sure that would be sufficient for an energy crisis on a global scale however, though it would certainly do it for individual markets.
*commodities flash trading AI corners the oil futures market and manipulates the price and supply.

Um, pretty tough to trigger a massive energy shortage by 2020 without apocalyptic scale changes to the world.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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Fracking starts to cause serious earthquakes, shutting down U.S. production.
China buys up international oil and big oil companies. We were just heading into this before oil shale came on line. Lots of tension there.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:29 PM   #4
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Massive meteor strike causing global cooling which causes heating demand to overwhelm capacity. Also makes many ER.org members wish they would have gone with a higher SWR....
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:38 PM   #5
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Perhaps it could also be used as a bomb in some way? (kind of like nuclear fission)? Or even perhaps combine a fusion reactor with a nuclear or neutron bomb - maybe it creates a true doomsday device in the wrong hands?

Or maybe the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Europe does some new experiment that shoots some weird, unexpected particle deep into the Earth and causes massive earthquakes, disrupting many power grids, which was partially caused by a massive solar radiation event?
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:45 PM   #6
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Super volcano erupts, dwarfing anything ever done by man, blocking the sun for 7 to 8 years.

It can happen!

Imagine how much energy would be needed to adjust to the decades, centuries of climate change from such an event.


The irony would be all of us heading toward Mexico and getting stuck at Trump's wall. :-)
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:50 PM   #7
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Terrorists blow up most of the world's supertanker fleet.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:56 PM   #8
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Bad, worse, and worst ideas:

1) Alien invasion

2) Dragon awakening

3) Alternate universe shift/Reality bleeding between Realities.

4) Abrupt Matrix/Des Cartes style dream cancellation.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:56 PM   #9
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Terrorists launch coordinated cyber attack on multiple SCADA systems destroying pipelines, refineries, power plants, substations, etc.

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Old 07-14-2015, 07:37 PM   #10
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Any major escalation in the Middle East should suffice.

How about: ISIS over throws the Saudi gov't with the help of Iran. Then attempts to invade Israel. That should put us in some serious $hit energy-wise. $300/barrel easily.
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Old 07-14-2015, 07:51 PM   #11
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Here's the problem with something that merely devastates oil supplies -- most oil is used for transportation, not electrical generation. You might be able to create a power plant running on cold fusion, but it will never be in planes, trains, ships or automobiles.

My only idea is some enormous worldwide great depression/ hyperinflation/ societal collapse that causes the people who make all the electricity/oil/coal/gas to walk off the job because they aren't getting paid.
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:16 PM   #12
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Maybe you need to create a need for much more power than the earth can currently produce.

A 200 mile diameter planetoid crossing our solar system is spotted 20 years out. It is determined it will impact the earth unless it can be diverted.

A massive laser is constructed in record time to ablate the surface and alter the course, but needs a constant supply of 100 terawatts.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The plot of my next book is coming together like this:

The year is 2020.


I need the world to be in the midst of a huge energy crisis. Major rolling blackouts, $100/gallon gas, etc.

Examples of ideas:

Major wars in Middle East result in total destruction of oil wells.

Terrorism destroys coal or other electrical generation systems.

Think something like that can work? Ideas for destroying energy by 2020?
With those ideas, it sounds like your new book could become non fiction. Maybe now's the time to start buying big oil again.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:19 PM   #14
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Greenpeace has the presidency and controls congress.

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Old 07-14-2015, 10:23 PM   #15
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Or, like an old Zonie (someone who grew up in the old US Panama Canal Zone) told me after 9/11, "Let's turn sand into glass" (translation: nuke the Middle East. It has a certain appeal.).

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Old 07-14-2015, 10:24 PM   #16
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How about price controls that ensure permanent shortages?

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Old 07-14-2015, 10:35 PM   #17
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Terrorists set off worldwide EMP's knocking out power.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:14 PM   #18
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Here's the problem with something that merely devastates oil supplies -- most oil is used for transportation, not electrical generation. You might be able to create a power plant running on cold fusion, but it will never be in planes, trains, ships or automobiles.
Never? Much of the world's naval fleets are nuclear. The U.S. army used to have 8" nuclear artillery shells. I've seen several conceptual drawing of thorium reactor powered cars. If we can build fissile personal vehicles with 1950's technology, I bet we could build fusion powered vehicles at some time in the future.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:29 PM   #19
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...
Rapid adoption of electric cars due to gas price increases and new technology puts too much load on the grid.
...
That many EVs in just five years? Not very plausible at all.

How about a solar storm wiping out the grid (or did you use that one already?)?

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Old 07-15-2015, 12:52 AM   #20
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I like the oil eating super bacteria. I DID read a book with that as a theme. It was interesting.


Easy enough to set it up-experimental bug being designed for cleaning up tanker spills gets out of the lab. Mutates into a stronger version.
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