The Exaggerated…

The Exaggerated Promise of Renewable Energy

 
The continued existence and expansion of human civilization is wholly dependent on affordable sources of energy. The latest study just released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (an organization that exists to study and promote the viability of renewable energy) suggests that it may be possible to get 80% or so of our electric power from renewable sources by 2050. The study also (inadvertently) provides evidence that renewable energy will be a minority player in humanity’s energy portfolio.
The results may disappoint my fellow solar enthusiasts because it suggests that only 13% of our electric energy will come from solar. Distributed solar enthusiasts (who favor photovoltaic solar panels on rooftops) will be further disappointed because half of that 13% will come from water-sucking centralized concentrated solar thermal power plants, many located in desert ecosystems, leaving only about 6% for solar panels on rooftops, of which many will probably not be on rooftops but in centralized power plants, probably displacing ecosystems or crops.
But electricity represents only 40% of our energy needs. If we hog up all renewable energy sources for electricity, there won’t be any left for the other 60% of our energy needs. In other words, the study tells us that only 32% of our total energy needs can be “potentially” renewable. I.e., it is going to need a lot of help from other energy sources — fossil fuels or nuclear. Liquid biofuels were not part of this study even though they can be used to make electricity or replace oil for transport:

Read more: http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/07/12/the-exaggerated-promise-of-renewable-energy/

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