King: Alternative energy hailed as a megatrend, disrupting world order | Columnists

Mirtchev builds on how energy supply changes relationships and looks to a future where the balance of power could be upended, and energy production could affect neighbors in new ways. For example, I have noted, the Irish are unhappy about British nuclear activity across the Irish Sea. There also is tension along the border between Austria and Slovakia: the Slovaks favor a nuclear future, and the Austrians are into wind and opposed to any nuclear power. As a result, windmills line the Austrian side of this central European border.

Mirtchev’s book is a serious work by a serious scholar which pulls together the impact of alternative energy on national security, the interplay between great powers, and the changing landscape between great powers and a few lesser ones. It is wonderfully free of the idealistic tropes about alternative energy as a morally superior force.

There also are changes within countries. Recently, I wrote about how Houston — the holy of holies of the oil industry — is seeking to rebrand the oil capital as a tech mecca as well as holding onto its oil and gas status as those decline.

If you look at the world, you can see how President Joe Biden can stand up to Saudi Arabia in a way that other presidents couldn’t do. Saudi oil reserves don’t mean what they once did. They aren’t as essential to the future of the world as they once were. There is more oil around and the trend is away from oil. Historic coal exporters like Poland, Australia, South Africa, and the United States are losing their markets.