Is there a Hype Cycle for Clean Tech?
I was at an European Parliament event on low carbon vehicles last Friday at the new Gateshead College campus adjacent to the Nissan factory. It was a great panel of politicians, industry reps and an NGO, all wittily chaired by motoring journalist Quentin Wilson. Somebody raised the ‘hype cycle’ which is where new technologies get hyped way above reality then come crashing back into disappointment before hitting their natural level (see above).
For example, remember what we were once told about microwave ovens? That they cooked the food from inside out, so it’d always be cooked through and that it wouldn’t heat the plate. All nonsense. That’s not to say the technology is useless, far from it, microwaves are a very efficient way to cook.
But does clean tech/renewable energy technology ever get unrealistic hype? The media seems to be so down on green technology that it leaps straight from ‘go’ into the trough of disillusionment. I mean, one moment we’re being told that renewables will never produce enough energy, next we’re told they will produce too much.
Is this trudge through the marsh of negativity before a clean technology can prove itself inevitable? Is the lack of positive hype a bad thing? Or one day will we get a glimmer of media hyperbole?