The 200 Year Journey From Wood To Windmills

Published on: 07/09/2021

In this edition of Chart Talk, Tony Ogorek and Jeff Viksjo discuss the history of energy and the insight it provides for renewable industries.




Hi I’m Tony Ogorek, I am here with Portfolio Manager, Jeff Viksjo.  Welcome to this edition of Chart Talk.  Jeff, today we’ve got sort of an interesting chart which takes a look at energy usage from about 1800 to the present.   One of the more striking things is, to me, is the exponential growth really since post World War II, from about 1950, to the present in energy use global, it’s just increased incredibly.


Yeah and Tony that’s not going to go away that’s gonna continue to increase.  It’s really just, where is the energy going to come from?  If you go back all the way to the 1800’s, it started with wood, that’s where we got our energy from.  And then early, somewhere in the 1800’s we started to go from coal, that’s the grey on the chart.  Early 1900’s it started to shift to oil, that’s the tan.  And then natural gas is the purple.  These are, sort of, your traditional sources of energy.  The renewables, which we hear so much about.  They’re all in the news about everyone’s going carbon neutral.  They’re not even worth pointing out on this chart, Tony, because they’re so small.


Yeah, and so I think, a couple interesting takeaways Jeff, first is that it really has taken a better part of 100 years for oil and for coal to establish their positions globally, and a little bit less with natural gas.  And second, that when you look at these new energy companies that we’ve got, it’s really difficult to know who is gonna be the next Exxon, for example, of renewables.  And it may take decades to find out that answer.  So, these are really, sort of, cautionary tales for people looking at this chart.

Yeah and while the growth potential for renewables is undeniable, like you said Tony, we don’t even know which source of energy is going to be the winner; whether hydrogen, solar, or wind, let alone which companies within those.


Yeah, so as we say often Jeff, ‘caveat emptor’, buyer beware, especially when you’re looking at renewable companies.

Thank you for joining us in this edition of Chart Talk.  We look forward to seeing you at our next talk.


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Sister Emily Bloom July 12 2021

Thank you for both messages. The one re: "Energy Source" is interesting.