Film calls for ‘Switch’ in energy mix to feed expanding population

Conservation and tapping alternative sources of energy are critical to breaking much of the world’s love affair with oil and helping meet rising demand amid expected population growth, says an industry expert who produced a documentary about the future of energy.

Scott Tinker, director of the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology and the state geologist of Texas, led a discussion of the subject after a screening of his film, “Switch,” Wednesday night at the Majestic Metro in downtown Houston.

Tinker said that in North America the average person uses 95 megawatt-hours of energy a year, nearly five times the global average of 20 megawatt-hours.

“Oil is what allows us to move,” Tinker says.

While some big oil companies and other experts say oil is plentiful and new technologies have allowed drillers to tap more of it than ever before, the resource is not unlimited, and Tinker noted projections call for the world population to grow from 7 billion to 10 billion in the coming decades.

Tinker suggested a combination of alternative energy sources, like wind, solar and biofuels, along with the traditional sources of energy, like oil, coal and natural gas, is the way to go.

In the film, which took two years to produce, Tinker and his crew visited 11 countries and spent roughly 500 hours interviewing corporate executives, energy industry experts, engineers and others.

The film looks at technology on a global scale and what can be done practically in the coming years to alter the world’s energy mix.

The Houston screening was part of the King & Spalding Energy Forum. No other public screenings of the documentary are listed in Texas, but private screenings are planned on these dates:

  • Monday, July 22 — Texas Public Power Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX
  • Tuesday, July 23 — Texas Public Power Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX
  • Monday, November 18, 3 p.m. — ConocoPhillips, The Woodlands, TX

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