Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Reality check on renewable energy

As activists talk up the market penetration of so-called renewable energy (i.e., energy that generally consumes more resources in its production than it produces*), Bjorn Lomborg offers an update on just how much (or how little) of it is out there in the wild.
Excitement for wind and solar PV. 
But remember, in total, they provide less than 1% of total energy supply.
(In 2040, it will be less than 3%.)

* Hence the continuing need both for subsidies, and for bans on other forms of energy.


  1. Comparing solar and wind power technology to other power technology is like comparing a horse and cart to a modern Freightliner, or shanks pony to a modern SUV.

  2. I bought and installed (without a permit of course) a largish evacuated glass tube solar system to heat my hot water (360 litre mains pressure cylinder came with it) a few years ago (just to stick it to the man or something) and like it. It instantly halved the power bill and we get about 5 months virtually free hot water if we have a decent summer in Wellington. It has paid for itself although it was helped by me doing a lot of the work myself and keeping the pesky council away. Solar cells and selling back to the power company was never a consideration as that would not have stuck it to the man.

    Of course it has an electrical back up so while it suits me in isolation I agree solar would be hopeless on a grand scale if you had no back up. That's the reality and I cannot see that changing so as long as its only a few like me it will be OK. It also helps that my house was designed and built by an American in 1941 - right at the back of the acre and facing north. Smart and thoughtful, well ahead of his time in NZ.


    1. What happens when large numbers switch to solar to the degree that it becomes uneconomical for traditional power generators to continue to operate due to the reduced customer base?

    2. That's a valid point but the reality would appear to be that the national supply will always be generated from sources the Green loonies pretend to hate. I see no real change on the horizon so press on as a stinking opportunist.


    3. I think you've struck the nail on the head: It works for you. The idea that wind/solar should be universal is the problem. Obviously we CAN get energy from these sources--we have for hundreds of years with regard to wind--but the question is whether it's practical or not in this particular application (whatever that application is).

      Solar panels on private homes is good. Solar farms built because it's economic to do so are good. Manipulation of the market to falsely present wind/solar as ideal is the problem, not the energy generation technology itself.


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