A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.I think this has been pretty obvious to anyone with a background in the physical sciences for a long time. The problems of the intermittent nature of renewables, and power storage alone, combined with the extremely high cost of the equipment per kilowatt pretty much dictate that the economics don't work.
According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;
“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …There is simply no getout clause for renewables supporters. The people who ran the study are very much committed to the belief that CO2 is dangerous – they are supporters of James Hansen. Their sincere goal was not to simply install a few solar cells, but to find a way to fundamentally transform the economics of energy production – to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. To this end, the study considered exotic innovations barely on the drawing board, such as self erecting wind turbines, using robotic technology to create new wind farms without human intervention. The result however was total failure – even these exotic possibilities couldn’t deliver the necessary economic model.
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.
The answer, if you really worry about carbon dioxide and climate change, is to support nuclear power, and pray, if you can pray at all, for a breakthrough in fusion power. If you won't support nuclear power, don't bitch to me about carbon.
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