Debating “greens” is similar to debating Keynesians about economics. They get the equation wrong which makes their arguments flawed from the outset.
Interestingly is that the Keynesians argument is from the DEMAND side, i.e., you can grow the economy by increasing the demand via government stimulus.
Whereas the “Green” argument is from the SUPPLY side, i.e., 14% of our energy need is met from renewables, is what one guy argued on my Youtube channel yesterday.
There are many problems with the “Green” argument, of course, but here are a couple:
1. Basic physics. The Sun gives the earth, say on average 180 Watts per sq. meter throughout the day. Thus, you simply can not get MORE than 180 Watts per square meter of Solar energy from the Sun. It’s a literal impossibility.
But it gets worse than that due to efficiencies. A 30% efficient PV panel will give you 54 Watts per sq. meter electricity. (30% efficiency is on the HIGH end and not likely to happen for rooftop panels anytime soon.)
Wind turbines will generate between 1 and 2 Watts per sq. meter..total. That’s it. But it gets worse. You can’t stack wind turbines behind each other. They have to be linear, perpendicular to the wind direction. Thus there are inherent limits to the land that can be used for wind electrical generation.
Hydro. The world is already using most of the hydro capacity. There is not much more we can squeeze out of hydro.
So, of the big three for renewables, solar, wind, hydro, there are generation limitation issues which can’t be ignored.
2. Demand. Facts are a growing population uses more energy. The interesting thing is that per capita each individual doesn’t really use a whole lot more energy than we did back 150 years ago, maybe 3 times more per person or so, but the population is so much larger and that is truly where our energy needs come from.
Say we have a country of 10 people and each person in that country needs 100 Watts/day. This country then uses 1000 Watts a day in energy.
Let’s even grant what that one guy argued that renewables generate 14% of that demand, in this case 140 Watts.
But here’s the problem…if we add 1 more person to the mix, we now need 1100 Watts energy to live the comfortable lifestyle we’re accustomed to in this country. Can the renewables keep up with the increasing demand, given what I discussed above about the physical limitations?
If not, now renewables account for just 12.7% of energy provided. Add another person to our country and then renewables account for 11.66% and so on.
You can quickly see where this is going. Even if each individual person on earth has a consumption rate that stays flat, the fact that there are MORE individual people on earth consuming inherently means the demand is increasing.
But it doesn’t stop there. The poorer countries among us don’t want to be left out in the literal cold either. They would like some of the luxuries us in the west are accustomed to as well, i.e., being able to heat your home without the use of devastating firewood, for instance. The amount of people who die each year from woodsmoke is staggering. (Remember, by the way, wood is a RENEWABLE!)
So, these poorer folks will certainly consume more energy as the technology finds its way to their homes. And because they are living longer, due to removing the scourge of woodsmoke from their homes, they’ll consume more, for longer. Thus adding to the demand of energy needs.
3. So, we have limits on supply via renewables and we have an increasing demand need. Neither are good for the idea of renweables generating all our needs. but added together you can quickly see this is an exercise in futility.
Oh, but it gets worse. When you hear the numbers thrown around about how renewables generate X percentage of our total energy needs simply ask WHAT renewables?
It’s easy to fall into the seductive trap of renewables being the Big Three, Solar, Wind and Hydro. But what you’ll quickly find is the significant percentage of renewables is actual BIOMASS; Solar and Wind are a pittance relative to biomass.
And the funny thing is a lot of ‘greens’ don’t like biomass because it inherently means chopping down trees and burning them, thus increasing carbon into the atmosphere!
So, where does all this leave us?
“Greens” who focus on the supply side of energy production are flawed in their arguments. Just basic stuff here, actually. An Increasing demand with a flatlined supply can’t work if the goal is 100% renewables.
It always goes back to energy storage, i.e., batteries. Until the storage capacity is solved, all this is a dream. No other way around it.
Except for one thing… and this is what the “Greens” rarely publicly advocate… DECREASING demand. Which leads to silliness like the various climate treaties such as this: “In May 2015, Vermont was one of the initial 12 signatories of the Under2 MOU, committing to limit emissions to less than 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.”
The ONLY way these kind of things are going to transpire is with less people, because no one wants to live using 85% LESS energy than we did in 1990! No other way around it. People are inherently the problem. And the more people, the larger the problem becomes.
The “Greens” know this. Is it any wonder then they are so aligned with the population control groups?
Something to think about, no?