New Film ‘Switch’ Delves Into Global Energy Questions

SOCORRO, N.M. April 3, 2013 – A new documentary about global energy systems is coming to New Mexico Tech. Switch will show at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in Workman 101. The film is free and open to the New Mexico Tech community.


In this still image from the film 'Switch,' Dr. Scott Tinker surveys a mine in the Powder Basin Range.



Dr. Scott Tinker traveled the world, including to Norway (pictured here), where more than 95 percent of energy is produced from hydro.


As people learn more about energy supply, demand and consequences, more questions arise: Is fracking polluting our water? How dangerous is nuclear? Will we run out of oil? Can we clean up coal? Will renewables power our future?

In Switch, energy visionary Dr. Scott Tinker travels the world, exploring leading energy sites from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, most of them highly restricted and never before seen on film. Get the straight answers to today’s most important energy questions in Switch, the acclaimed new documentary and web video series. Tinker seeks the truth from the international leaders of government, industry and academia.

Every energy resource – fossil, nuclear and renewable – is undergoing profound changes. And overall, we're gradually shifting from coal and oil to the energies of tomorrow. This sweeping transition is the subject of Switch. But rather than advocate for how it should happen, Switch travels the world to discover how it most likely will happen.

The film is being sponsored here on campus by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Director Greer Price said, “Scott Tinker is a highly respected geologist, and an informed advocate of a balanced approach. He is well acquainted with the options. His remarkably unbiased look at our energy future, with all of its promises and pitfalls, is a concise and entertaining summary of some of the big questions that face us.”

An ambitious film, Switch was filmed in 11 countries with 27 world-leading energy sites for all energy types. The film includes interviews with 53 expert, including 24 renewable energy specialists, 19 fossil energy specialists, 11 plant managers for all energy types, 10 leaders in government and academia and nine CEOs of international energy companies.

Switch is also about a changing energy conversation. Today, that conversation is polarized and unproductive. Switch focuses on practical realities and encourages a balanced understanding.

Finally, Switch is about changing the way we use energy, to realize the many economic and environmental benefits of efficiency.

In the end, Tinker cuts through the confusion to discover a path to our energy future as surprising as it is practical.

Switch is part of the Switch Energy Project, a multi-pronged effort to build a global understanding of energy and promote efficiency.

The Switch Energy Project also includes a huge video-based website; a university energy awareness and efficiency program co-developed with the Geological Society of America; a primary school education program co-developed with the American Geological Institute; and a wide-reaching publicity initiative. The project is produced by Arcos Films and directed by Harry Lynch.

Dr. Scott Tinker is the Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and serves as the State Geologist of Texas. He is also the acting Associate Dean for Research, and a Professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He is an internationally known energy expert, giving invited lectures more than 40 times a year to industry, government and academic groups, striving to bring them together in a common understanding of energy. When not travelling he spends time with his wife and four kids – all of them energy experts.

Director Harry Lynch has been a documentary director, producer, writer, soundtrack producer and sometime cinematographer for 16 years. Before that he worked as a photographer, screenwriter, ad writer and producer, audio engineer and record company intern. When not making documentaries, he spends time with his wife and daughter and collects weird world music and jazz. Switch is his sixth film and second web project.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech