So, is renewable (‘clean’) energy really the solution? Remember without oil, none of us would be here today doing what we do now. So can we get off of oil/coal? According to the data, not a snowballs chance…
Look at the landmass required, the cost, the storage output (and not mentioned here is the failure to still make a worthwhile battery which will always be the choke point). This article is a pretty neat collection comparing what’s out there now, and who’s doing what and if it’s working to meet current/expected energy demands. Nuclear is the only thing that remotely comes close to oil/gas/coal but it’s still too costly to build/maintain. As a result, I don’t see any significant change in most of our lifetimes.
Our technology is going to have to advance far more than it has today, so maybe in another 20 years we’ll have an adequate storage device to actually harness some of these alternative energy ideas. I also think solar panels need to be clear and infinitely stacked on top of each other to make this viable and be severe weather proof. Wind power is a waste of farmland and plays havoc with radar systems trying to keep you safe and is only good for peak generation which rarely happens. The end conversion of energy is around 15%, not what is claimed in the handouts.
I’m all in favor of alternatives and advancement in science. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves though and keep throwing money (your tax dollars) away at large scale implementation at a poorly designed/rushed generation 1 endeavor (think TX supercollider). Design, study, proof of concept, cost effectiveness, return on investment, a free market option for competition is the method to the madness. We’ll likely get there someday. It’s a fun discussion to have around the office and see people’s ideas. Find a way to make it cost effective, not rob the tax payer, and don’t take away precious farm land and you’ll have the answer.
You can read the entire collection of graphs/data here: http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/the-climate-and-environmental-impacts-of-renewables
3/29/16 Update: A recent Forbes article also examines the energy claim: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexepstein/2016/03/29/the-myth-of-wind-and-solar-capacity