Friday, July 02, 2010

Wind and Solar Exorbitantly Expensive, and Can't Meet Demand

"Without...fossil fuels, we would be returned to the incredible environmental destruction and nasty living conditions and incredibly hard labor of the 19th century," he says. "We would be living in dire poverty." _World

Promoters of big wind and big solar energy have not done the math, nor have they looked at the true economic costs of attempting to convert from a fossil fuel infrastructure to a wind and solar energy infrastructure. Severe cost increases plus energy cut-backs would be devastating to any economy -- but much more so to an economy stuck in a global depression.
Math and physics offer stark realities about wind and solar energy. The most obvious problem: The sources are intermittent.

As Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, told Environment and Energy Daily: "The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine."

To make the energy sources consistently reliable on a wide scale would require massive amounts of reliable storage—technology that doesn't exist on a cost-effective basis. Forcing utility companies to generate more of their power using wind and solar would likely raise energy costs for U.S. consumers.

Another problem: Wind and solar require massive amounts of land to produce and transport energy. The Nature Conservancy, a U.S. environmental group, published a report last year estimating that wind power requires about 30 times as much land as nuclear energy, and four times as much land required for natural gas.

... if wind and solar remain unrealistic for large-scale, cost-effective energy, natural gas has already proven itself on both counts: Natural gas provided nearly a quarter of the nation's energy for electricity in 2009, second only to coal.

Advances in technology over the last five years have created a mini-revolution in extracting natural gas using new methods, opening up new gas supplies all over the country. Hayward of AEI says fields are so vast, it's conceivable that the United States could become an exporter of natural gas over the next few decades. The new technology could also hold promise for developing countries still creating their power systems, if they embrace natural gas as a major source of energy that is far cleaner than coal.

Peter Huber, author of The Bottomless Well (Basic Books, 2005), sees another major use for natural gas: transportation. The United States consumes massive amounts of oil for vehicles each year, but Huber thinks natural gas could compete. He notes that some 10 million vehicles worldwide already run on natural gas. Vehicles would require more natural gas to travel the same distance, but Huber says modifications to vehicles over the coming years could accommodate the change. And since natural gas is cheaper than oil, the option could still be cost effective.

...Despite the devastating BP oil spill, oil advocates point out that major spills are rare, and that relying more heavily on imports could lead to tanker spills—already much more common than well leaks.

With any major energy transition still years away, Hayward says oil is here to stay for at least decades. "The 'problem with oil' is that it's such a terrific fuel, it's hard to match its performance and cost with anything else." Bryce agrees, and bristles when politicians complain about an abundance of fossil fuels.

"Without those fossil fuels, we would be returned to the incredible environmental destruction and nasty living conditions and incredibly hard labor of the 19th century," he says. "We would be living in dire poverty." _World

Nuclear Energy Facts PDF

Wind Energy Facts SlideShare

Renewable Energy Facts

If you digest the material in the above links, you will know 100 times more about the energy problem than the average university educated person, and over 1000 times more about energy than President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Boxer, or Secretary Salazar.

Which should tell you something about the dunces who are running the US government.

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