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The Energy World is Flat: Opportunities from the End of Peak Oil by Daniel Lacalle, Diego Parrilla

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Chapter OneThe Mother of All Battles. The Flattening and Globalization of the Energy World

There is nothing permanent, except change.

Heraclitus

At 2.46 pm on the 11 March 2011, the largest earthquake in the history of Japan triggered a giant tsunami wave that would change the energy world forever.

I was on a conference call in my office when the prices of the Japanese yen started to swing wildly. Something had happened. Shortly after, the news was hitting the wires: “Massive 9.0 Earthquake Hits East Coast of Japan. Tsunami Warning Issued”. While Japan had a long history of earthquakes, such as the Unzen earthquake and tsunami in 1792 that left a death toll of over 15,000,1 a tremor of 9.0 on the Richter scale was at a whole new level, and would make this earthquake the largest in the history of Japan and the fifth largest globally since records began in 1900.

Within minutes, a series of giant tsunami waves reached Fukushima Daiichi power plant. More than twice as high as the protective seawalls, the waves flooded the power station and damaged the back-up generation and cooling systems. The situation was out of control, and radiation was eventually released, making Fukushima the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, both rated level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Nuclear politics

I immediately recognized Fukushima as yet another “black swan”, an event that has a very large impact that no one had anticipated before the fact, but that everyone viewed as ...

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