Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Idiot’s Guide to Why Renewable Energy Is Not the Answer



In the salons of the coastal elites, it is a given wisdom that renewable energy sources are “the answer” - the answer to perceived climate change, the answer to our foreign oil dependency, the answer to how to feel good about yourself…the Answer.
In Washington, politicians can’t throw tax breaks at people and businesses fast enough, prodding them to install all manner of solar, wind, and geothermal devices.
Indeed, these energy sources are seductive. The wind blows, it’s free. Harnessing it, while not free, is certainly clean. Good stuff. The sun shines on us, why not use it? And so on.
The problem isn’t that these energy sources are bad, per se. They’re not.  You’re probably thinking that I’m now going to tell you that the problem is economics.  Yes, there’s truth to that argument; most renewables aren’t economic without subsidies, which is to say they aren’t economic. But some of them are close, and getting closer, so let’s put this aside. Let’s assume they are all inherently economic and can compete on an equal footing with traditional energy sources.
The problem is capacity. Renewables will not – cannot – ever be more than a fairly small fraction of our energy consumption because of fairly mundane reasons like land capacity. For a great perspective on this, I highly recommend William Tucker’s book, Terrestrial Energy.
Let’s go through these one by one.
Wind Power
O-klahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain…
Yes, it does, and T. Boone Pickens wants to build lots of wind turbines there to take advantage of America’s “wind corridor.” He sure sounds compelling in those ads, and wind power is certainly growing. Right now, there is about 30,000 MW of wind capacity in the U.S., up considerably from a few years ago. This is the equivalent of about 40 power plants. That’s nice, but it’s only about 1% of our electrical needs (and, obviously, a much lower percentage of our overall power needs).
Actually, 1% overstates things quite a bit. The real contribution of wind is much lower, because wind mills generate electricity only about 30% of the time. Wind just doesn’t sweep down the plain all the time. It also doesn’t always sweep when you want it to. For instance, peak electrical demand is in the summer, but this is when the wind doesn’t blow (much).
Why not store the energy then? You can’t, because the technology isn't there. This is one of the most important things to understand about our electrical grid; electricity must be produced when it is being consumed, and it is a balancing act. Produce too much, and you get electrical surges. Too little, and you get brown outs.
You can see why wind is highly inconvenient. You simply can’t control when you get it, and as a result, it would be impossible to run an entire grid on wind. In Denmark, they get about 20% of their power from wind, but they couldn’t do it without being heavily reliant on coal as the “stabilizer.” (The Danes have the highest electrical rates in Europe, but I know, I promised to assume economics away…)
With conventional energy sources such as coal, oil, and nuclear, the output can be controlled to match demand. I can hear what you’re thinking: so what’s wrong with simply using wind to augment the power supply? Nothing, except that it will never amount to much. This is where some very simple realities get in the way.

Wind turbines are becoming gigantic. The one above is the largest in the world and produces 6 MW of power (when the wind’s blowing). It would take 125 of these to approximate just one typical power plant. So, the question for all of us is, where you going to put these babies? They completely alter the visual environment, and they make noise. Oh, and they kill birds.
Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy Jr., committed environmentalists both, bitterly fought a plan to put a wind farm of the shore of Cape Cod. Their problem? They’d have to look at them.
Do you know where wind blows the hardest? Across the tops of mountain ranges. Are you prepared to look at turbines like these along the tops of mountains?
You can see the problem, and yet even if people came to terms with the aesthetics, you could put turbines everywhere and it still wouldn’t add up to much power. It would take over six hundred thousand turbines like the one above to supplant our current power plants, assuming the wind blew constantly. Since it doesn't, it would take over two million. Never going to happen.
Solar
Solar may be closer to the heart of the environmental movement than all others, but it, too, will never amount to a hill of beans. The story is similar to wind: solar just can’t do any heavy lifting.
At the equator on a sunny day, 950 watts of power shines down on a square meter. That’s about 9 light bulbs’ worth. There is no way, short of violating the laws of physics, to enhance that number. In the U.S., the number is more like 400 watts over the course of a sunny day. We’re down to 4 light bulbs. However, we cannot convert 100% of this energy into electricity. Current technology captures about 15%.  Half a light bulb, more or less.
If we covered  every roof top of every home in America with solar panels we could likely power the lighting needs of our homes, but only during the day when the sun is shining. During the night, when we actually need lights, panels are useless.
-->As with wind, electrical power can't be stored at large scale.
The basic problem here is that solar power isn’t very, well, powerful. Sure, you can construct huge arrays like this…

…but they don’t accomplish very much. For instance, let’s say you went really big, and you created a solar array somewhere in the U.S. the size of five hundred football fields (roughly a square mile). How much power would you get? The answer is roughly 150 MW, and only during the day when the sun is out. A typical power plant produces about 750 MW. So supplanting one power plant would require five square miles of panels. This is not compelling.
Supplanting our entire electrical supply with solar would require turning the entire state of South Carolina into one large solar panel. Or...maybe we should stick them out in the desert. Seems logical. Senator Feinstein has proposed paneling over 500,000 acres of the Mojave Desert. But again, we run into mundane practical problems, even before considering things like the environmental impact of covering that much land. When solar panels collect dust and grime, they lose much of their effectiveness, so they must be cleaned frequently. Where, exactly, are we going to get the water needed for cleaning in the middle of the desert? And who's going to be out there wiping down 500,000 acres of panels?

Furthermore, the more distant a source of electricity is from where it's used, the more of it you lose during transmission, as much as 50% over 115 miles. Not a lot of folks living near the Mojave. Feinstein is nuts.

Like wind, solar can be a marginally useful way to augment our power needs, but it will never be a significant contributor.
Hydro
Hydro power is really another form of capturing solar power. The sun evaporates water and redeposits it in the form of rain. Some of this rain is at higher altitudes and flows in rivers to lower altitudes. Dam a river, let the water flow through turbines, and you have hydro power.
The Hoover Dam
Hydro was once a major power source in the U.S., but it’s now down to less than 3%. It’s clean, yes, but the problem is that most of the good sites have already been used, and it is unlikely that politics will allow for any new ones. Groups like the Sierra Club want to remove ones we already have, because they say spawning patterns for fish are interfered with.
There’s also the matter of space. The Hoover Dam created Lake Mead, which is 247 square miles. Can anyone imagine that such a project could happen today? Correct answer: no. Tolerance for any significant new dam project is probably around zero. Hydro power will only decline as a percentage of our electrical needs.
Ethanol
Whose bright idea was it (Jimmy Carter) to take one third of our nation’s corn crop to create fuel? I’m not pointing fingers (Jimmy Carter), but this was a bad, bad idea. For one, it has driven food prices higher since the price of corn flows through to all kinds of other foods (think things like fructose and cow feed). Higher food prices have actually led to riots in the third world (see: Mexican Tortilla Riots).
But, that aside, food just doesn’t store much energy, so you need a lot of it to get any results.  Right now, the one third of our corn crop we are allocating to ethanol offsets less than 3% of our oil consumption. Tucker estimates that if you allocated every acre in the United States to ethanol production – assuming it was all arable – you’d offset about one-sixth of our oil needs.
Thank you for playing. Next.
Biomass
There's a big popular trend towards generating electricity (and home heating) by burning wood pellets. This is another innocuous idea, seemingly. Cut a tree, and another grows in its place. Environmentalists like burning trees because the released carbon is recaptured by the new trees that grow where the old ones were cut.
The problem, though, is the same as with corn: wood just doesn't store that much energy relative to its mass. To put it into perspective, one would have to cut and burn 56 million trees per year to match the output of one typical coal-fired plant. This is about 140,000 acres. If we replaced our entire power plant system with biomass, we would need to cut roughly 750 million acres of trees per year, or approximately one third of the land mass of the United States.
Once again, the simple math of it gets in the way of the best intentions.

Geothermal
Geothermal is mostly limited to places where magma comes close to the earth’s surface. In the U.S., this means California and Hawaii. California gets about 5% of its electricity from geothermal, which is great, but unless someone figures out how to tap much deeper magma sources, this is also a highly limited source of power.
-->Oh, and it smells really bad.
_____________________
Sorry, I know all this is a big buzz kill for many of you. Believing in renewables is so comforting. It's also fool's gold.
Right now, the U.S. is getting about 6% of its overall energy needs from renewables. Given all the practical  constraints I've outlined, getting this to even 10% would seem remarkable, which leaves us with...conventional energy sources, specifically oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. They will continue to do the heavy lifting, and no amount of fairy dust will change that.
Not coincidentally, all four of these energy sources are continuously under fire from the enormously powerful environmental lobby. But frankly, until the Sierra Club, Earth First, and others come up with some solutions of their own, rather than just things they oppose, they have no credibility, at least not with me.  
A large part of the answer, it would seem, would be to scale up our nuclear capacity. It's great stuff, nuclear. A few grams of matter holds as much energy as hundreds of miles of forests, sunshine, or wind. It's clean, and there's now a fifty year operating history in the U.S. without a single fatality. France gets 80% of its power from nukes. We should be more like France. (Did I just say that?)

In the 1970s, the Three Mile Island incident and the film The China Syndrome happened almost simultaneously. The combination was enough to cement public opinion for a generation. For the left, the "no nukes" movement still has a warm and fuzzy resonance.  Some, though, are slowly coming around, because nukes don't produce greenhouse gasses. President Obama has even made some positive noises about nuclear power, so maybe there's hope.
Perhaps we need a movie about renewables. We could call it "The Inconvenient Math."

41 comments:

  1. Scott, thanks for bringing some great facts and insights into the equation. Let's also not forget the cheapest way to cut our conventional energy consumption: demand reduction and efficiency improvements. See my March blog The Real Energy Solution http://theharddeal.blogspot.com/2010/03/real-energy-solution.html

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  2. The author lacks a basic understanding of the process of oil creation.

    Oil is solar energy. Very inefficiently created solar energy. Like .00001% efficiency over 500 million years. If you think 15% efficiency is a problem then we are more than screwed in the long term.

    Oh no, an area the size of South Carolina? That sounds like what? The area roads + parking lots + roofs already cover? Big challenge... right.

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  3. I made no representations about the process of oil creation, so I'm not sure how I can be accused of not understanding it.

    The anonymous commenter mixes apples and oranges - comparing how an energy source is created on one hand with how efficiently energy is stored and can be accessed on the other. Oil stores a great deal of energy relative to its mass. whatever else you may think of it, this fact makes it a highly convenient and economical. It's why we run cars on oil and not solar paneling (or vegetable oil, for that matter). This isn't being judgmental, it's just basic math. Solar is a highly diffuse energy source, so capturing it on any scale is problematic.

    Not sure what the point about South Carolina is.

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  4. Oh, and I did not say 15% efficiency was a problem. The problem is what amount of energy input you're getting 15% of, and in the case of solar, it's very little.

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  5. Great great article... but horrible visual presentation. This stuff is too valuable not to make a better effort at making it as easy and enjoyable to read as possible.

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  6. Scott,thanks for bringing some much needed physics into the energy equation. One must wonder what the real agenda of the environmentalists are when facts and science expose and discredit their so-called solutions for the energy we need. Can you imagine approaching a problem with no real understanding of it and then randomly trying one thing after another in an attempt to solve it without even stopping to assess the previous attempts results. We, as a country, have already wasted great sums of wealth on this foolishness.

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  7. Oh! But you CAN run a car on vegetable oil, with the right engine. After all, all you are doing is burning both. May be gas is more efficient because is a chosen fraction of oil, but you certainly can use the other as well.
    Although it is not mine, let me enlighten you on the South Carolina point. You wrote: "upplanting our entire electrical supply with solar would require turning the entire state of South Carolina into one large solar pane"
    The other person's point was that we ALREADY covered that surface with roads, parking lots and buildings. So, first it is not such an outrageous number, and second, some of that surface could be covered with a double purpose. I live in Texas, and I would LOVE covered parking in the summer!
    The problem with people like you is that for you everything has been invented and we can not get any better. That is reflected in the paragraph regarding "wind energy can not be stored". Guess what, there is people working on that (for example, slow release capacitors). But every development takes TIME. If we had continued developing the science needed to find alternative energy 30 years ago after the last oil embargo, we would be 30 years closer now...

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  8. I love you Pollution Capitalist! You never want to take into account the real costs of your products. Oh the biproducts of your nuclear power, that is someone elses problem. Not your problem!

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  9. This is in response to two posts ago. The last post isn't worth responding to.

    Actually, I am a total technological optimist, which usually puts me at odds with environmentalists who tend to be Malthusians.

    But here's the deal. Eventually, we will figure out fusion, and all problems are solved. The trick is getting from here to there. I don't doubt that we will invent storage technologies that help boost alternatives, and I welcome that day. But it isn't going to be tomorrow or the next day.

    For the foreseeable future, there's no way around the math. Renewables will only be a small part of the answer, so environmentalists will have to come to terms with whatever their least disliked alternatives are.

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  10. Many allegations. No sources cited for the so called "facts". The utility company in Colorado already does store electrical power and will rebate customers for solar energy that is not used by the homeowner.

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  11. Really...the power company stores solar power? In what? Giant batteries so that when demand requires it, they drain them into the grid? Nonsense. That solar power you refer to is indeed fed into the power grid and used immediately or it's lost. And, even if you did have a battery to store solar power, consider the inefficiencies in getting that power stored and then retrieved. It's definitely not Xin == Xout

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  12. 2 million wind turbines?

    They run about $8 million US a pop for the big ones offshore like the one quoted (that is TIC), so 16 trillion dollars. Thats 100% of GDP or 15-20 years of our oil import expenditure.

    At least the money gets spent at home and I dont mind the way they look. Or stick them offshore beyond the horizon if you dont like the way they look. Nice thing is that the wind blows quite well near the old metropolitan centers built on the back of merchant sailing vessels

    Seriosly,I'm in, lets buy some turbines.

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  13. Very good article. There is a term for what you wrote about, energy density. The only dismaying aspect of the article is the rebuts in comment section being way off topic or showing little understanding of what was presented. Perhaps some of you should spend a little more time with the material before proving yourselves to be fools.

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  14. Scott, cite me some scientific sources on the numbers you are presenting and I might take you seriously. But as it stands, it appears you have gross misunderstandings on how these work.

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  15. @Anonymous

    I have only cited extremely basic facts about energy output and efficiency. Nothing is obscure or controversial, and it's all easily corroborated.

    You say I have a "gross misunderstanding" of how renewables work, but you fail to say what that misunderstanding is or present any facts of your own.

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  16. Interesting article. I agree with you that no single alternative energy source will likely replace fossil fuels. As you point out, they are much more diffuse.

    Still, a combination of alternative energy sources could provide a significant chunk of our energy needs. Perhaps the biggest alternative energy "source" is conservation. Back in the bad old Enron days, CA cut energy usage some 15% in a mere 3 months. Impressive results in an impressive time span. Price signals work wonders.

    Re biofuels, ethanol is an odious political ploy that generates very little (if any) energy after you look at the energy inputs. On the other hand, there exist "crops" (weeds, really) that generate significant biomass on marginal non-food producing land with minimal inputs. Some of those crops have seeds with significant oil content and/or cellulose that could be used as cellulosic ethanol technology improves.

    Re solar, as pointed out almost all energy is at its most basic solar energy. And while amorphous silicon has some potential (see: paving roads -- or more likely the shoulders -- with it), there are other types of solar you didn't mention.

    The simplest would be the much derided weatherization and building design. Landscape and create roofs to provide shade during the hot months, and when the sun is lower and the vegetation loses their leaves the sun can provide some heat during the cold months. A tight house magnifies the effects of good design.

    Passive water heating is pretty much a no-brainer in most climates. It may not provide all hot water needs, but can certainly cut quite a bit of energy out of the loop by pre-heating water for home uses.

    Other forms of solar thermal energy could certainly be scaled up to industrial scale in some climates. Not all solar energy is photovoltaic.

    Re energy storage, let's not forget pumped storage hydro as a mechanism for providing energy when the wind doesn't blow, the sun doesn't shine, or the tides don't come in and out (err, wait, tides are pretty reliable...)

    In a nutshell, there is no silver bullet to replace fossil fuels. But there are many partial solutions that can be quite meaningful when used in conjunction with each other.

    A diversified energy portfolio -- coupled with efficiency and conservation gains -- could allow us to minimize our usage of fossil fuels on our way to fusion. Let's not dismiss them out of hand simply because there's no single solution that does everything.

    Thanks for the thought provoking article. Cheers.

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  17. I like how we are quacks for using solar energy, which is essentially fusion that's safer, easier, and cheaper to manage, but controlled fusion thats been in research for 50 years at the expense of billions of dollars in government spending is going to be our savior. Right.

    The author is just as much as a control your life for your own benefit as any leftist.

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  18. @the last guy

    If you actually read my piece, I didn't say we were quacks for using solar, or any other renewable (ex ethanol). What I actually said was that none of these energy sources is scalable. Collectively, they are a perfectly reasonable way to get a small portion of our energy needs. Nothing wrong with that, it just will never amount to much.

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. It's interesting and telling that supportive comments of this well-reasoned and insightful essay are objective while those who oppose it are emotional and personal. Both attest to the veracity of the facts.

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  22. And you reasons for non-scalability are absurd. One could go back into the 1910's and say "we only get a million gallons of gasoline a year, it's a completely non-viable way to power cars."

    You haven't remotely made the case that were we to lack government subsidies and energy monopolies we wouldn't already be using far more alternative energy. Distributed energy generation could very well be the norm in a society less dependent on government to provide electricity.

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  23. @ Anonymous:

    It would be nice if someone actually tried to refute something I've said using facts and logic rather than throwing around words like "absurd" or using analogies that make zero sense.

    And for what it's worth, I am completely in favor of "distributed" energy sources. I am for "all of the above." But simple math shows that renewables can't do any heavy lifting. No amount of new innovation can increase the amount of potential power contained in a square meter of sunlight. I wish it were otherwise.

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  24. We should utilize the renewable energy such that we have to save non renewable energy.

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  25. The amount of sunlight that falls on the earth every day could power society for 1000 years. Refute that.

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  26. @Anonymous:

    If you would actually read what I wrote, I DID refute that. Your "1000 year" stat, which you likely pulled out of thin air, isn't even in the ballpark. Wish it were, but it ain't.

    It would be nice if people actually read the piece before they commented.

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  27. The earth has a radius of 6,371,000 meters.

    The earth in total sweeps out an area of the sun equal to Pi*r^2. Approximately 127 Trillion square meters.

    Sunlight falling on each meter of space is 1300 watts per square meter, yielding 165 Quadrillion watts of instantaneous energy. This energy falls 24 hours a day, and the daily energy total is 14 Zettajoules (Zetta = 10^21).

    Worldwide energy use in 2008 (the last reported use) was approximately 474 Exajoules (10^18).

    So in one day the amount of sunlight that falls on earth could power civilization for more than 10,700 days.

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  28. @Anonymous

    These are the kinds of completely specious comments that are really frustrating to deal with. Various statistics give them the vague patina of a factual argument - just enough to excite a room full of activists - but it all falls apart with just the slightest bit of critical scrutiny.

    First, a perfectly sunny day at the equator yields about 950 watts, not the 1300 that you suggest is constantly available, everywhere. Second, the number is smaller most other places. Third, it's almost nothing on a cloudy or rainy day, and it's zero when this inconvenient thing called nighttime happens.

    Then there's the issue of capture efficiency. Right now it's about 15%. This will no doubt go up, but there are various laws of physics that make it impossible to get to 100.

    But hey, let's assume you're right about everything. What's the plan then? Are you assuming you're going to turn the whole world into a solar panel? The observation (however flawed) about how much sunlight falls on the earth every day is completely useless if you don't have a plan on how to capture it and convert it to electricity.

    For the record, if there were a way, I'd be the first to support it. But there isn't. For the foreseeable future, solar power will never amount to more than a fraction of our energy needs.

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  29. Specious arguments?

    Nightime? The sun is always falling somewhere on earth. This area is always approximately the same. That is the number I used.

    The fact that the density of sunlight is weaker toward the poles doesn't matter because I used the raw area swept out by the earth, not the surface area of the earth itself. Far more area is exposed to the sun than is swept out by earth.

    Almost nothing with clouds? If by almost nothing you mean roughly half as much. Solar concentrators are the most efficient methods of collecting solar and still produce plenty of power on cloudy days.

    15% efficiency? Yes using the cheapest panel available. Once again, using high efficiency multi-junction cells combined with cheap polymer-silver based parabolic concentrators will yield efficiencies >40-50%. Once we can combine Stirling engines to these panels this number will go even higher (70+% has been talked about).

    The plan is once our energy needs completely exhaust inefficiently stored solar energy from millions of years ago, Solar will be the ONLY way civilization can be sustained. It is likely that withing 100 years there will be satellites that beam power to earth through microwave radiation.

    I am not arguing that solar power can meet our needs today or tomorrow. I am arguing that it is far closer than your article purports. I see many free market leaning post that try to disprove the ends of the left without talking about the means. It is HIGHLY likely that lacking government centralization and control of power production there would be much more use of decentralized solar power production, particularly in rural areas which make up 90% of the United States.

    Given stronger property rights to those whose land and air is polluted by government owned power plants, the cost of that pollution would be factored into conventional power production and pollution free production would be far more attractive.

    The problem with people like you is you look and the ends, with erroneous assumptions to fill in your view of the world. I don't know the solution to power production. I know it is not one type or another, and I know your novice effort to disprove the only viable method of expanding our power supply is severely lacking.

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  30. @Anonymous

    Solar power is the "only viable method of expanding our power supply"? C'mon. You can tweak all the numbers you want in your direction (such as efficiency of capture) and you still don't get close. The problem with your argument is that it seems to be based on some vague hope that it will all work out, not on anything practical. Your first post basically said, "there's lots of solar energy around, so that should be the answer," without any regard for feasibility. Where are you going to put the panels? Are they close to where people live? Who's going to clean them? Sorry to interrupt your daydreams about satellites with such banal matters.

    The problem that you and other solar advocates will never get around is that solar energy, while there is lots around (as you point out), is highly diffuse, so collecting it is problematic. I see solar being most practical in small scale applications. For instance, in places like central Africa, villagers burn kerosene for light at night. It is expensive and dirty. Self powered solar lamps are both cleaner and cheaper. There are people trying to make this happen. Makes total sense, but it's small beer.

    Last point: your arguments completely side-step nuclear. Why is that? It's nearly inexhaustible, it's economic, and the technology exists right now, not in some hoped-for future.

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  31. Wow, this is a throwback. When I read the identical article in 1977 I was astonished how idiotic some people can sound. Economists take the cake, and the ones that do no research at all before opening their big (now digital) mouths are frosting, or maybe the gooey filling. I'm a physicist and appalled to read that you think there's anything remotely like science in your drivel. There's nothing in the pseudo-science of economics that suggests renewable energy isn't just as 'economical' as the fossil and nuclear fuels, there are just a dozen different ways to do the voodoo math. Picking on subsidies shows a total lack of understanding and a handicapped ability to assimilate real pricing. Your perspective is so jaded you sound like your parents, and that's counter-evolutionary. But wait, you probably don't believe in evolution, I can believe it with your grasp of physics. Let's summarize: there is nothing in physics, chemistry, meteorology, geology, or biology that sets a limit to the amount of human-required energy that can come from renewable energy sources, for all electrical, thermal, and process needs. Those of us working hard at it have a blueprint from 1983 and a path to follow that's distinct. Have you heard of Germany? Do you understand what a square foot is? Square meter? Here's a simple one: there is enough existing rooftop in the US to generate about 30% of the non-industrial elect. load with PV. That's a post-retrofit load, with our existing buildings using about 40% less energy (15% is a joke,inside the metering margins of error). That electricity will be already 'distributed', unlike the diseconomy of scaled, massive power plants. If you're so smart, why haven't you figured out the real question: How are we going to replace our oil, coal, and nuclear energy with sustainable sources? Or at least, How expensive will it be to create a new habitable atmosphere?
    And thanks for your help.

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  32. @Anonymous

    One always knows when one has hit the mark when one inspires polemics like the one above. All insults and little actual refutation of anything I said. Comments like, "Do you understand what a square foot is?" only make you look asinine, not me. Obviously, you are personally threatened when someone makes logical arguments against what I'm guessing is your livelihood (no doubt government funded, to boot).

    Have you magically come up with a way for the sun to impart more than 950 watts of power on a square meter? Just curious, because you'd make a really great physicist if you had.

    "There is nothing in physics, chemistry, meteorology, geology, or biology that sets a limit that can come from renewable energy sources, for all electrical, thermal, and process needs." Well, sure, there are no theoretical limits. We could just roll back our consumption to 1850 levels and it would be easy. Assuming we can't, there are loads of PRACTICAL limits that will be almost impossible to navigate around, which is what my piece is about, but you are so busy concocting insults that you forget to even refute a single point I make.

    And as for sustainable energy, the largest part of the answer is nuclear, something I also pointed out in the piece (or did you get that far?).

    I truly hope your research works out. I have nothing against renewables, and would like to see them utilized to the extent possible. But they are not a religious faith.

    And by the way, I'm not an economist, so you can scratch that insult off your list, too.

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  33. I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree

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  35. B. Heiderscheid - Univ. of NC, International Studies Dept.November 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    A lot of unnecessary argumentative comments could have been avoided had you simply cited your sources for each figure/claim.
    Thus, your article - while seemingly in good nature - would hold much more credibility.

    I regret that I, too, cannot logically accept your arguments/claims for the above stated reason.
    And I find this unfortunate.

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