[LINK] Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK' (Andy Farkas)

Antony Broughton Barry antonybbarry at me.com
Mon Nov 24 20:13:47 AEDT 2014

> On 24 Nov 2014, at 12:01 pm, link-request at mailman.anu.edu.au wrote:
> Comment Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying
> and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly
> that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the
> levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a
> renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible."

I read the paper with some interest. My reading is they were not saying that renewables would never work but that existing renewable technology would not support our energy intensive civilization in its present form and eliminate fossil fuel usage. They stress the need for a lot more effort into research and one specific item they mention is better grid control software so that intermittent sources can be more effectively used.

There seems to be a great deal of optimism the cost of batteries would continue to drop rapidly (currently ~15%p). Currently electric cars are very expensive compared to IC cars because of the high cost of batteries. Once batteries are cheap electric cars will be cheaper than IC cars as they don't  need gears, a complex transmission or a cooling system. This could be within ten years.

The problem with batteries is the possibly low EROEI and further development needs to be done on that.

If the automative batteries could be shared with the grid when the car is not in use, which for domestic vehicles is over 90% of the time there will be a lot of distributed battery capacity to help stabilize the grid. Couple that with distributed solar and the power generation industries "death spiral" fears have legs. 

Throw into this Googles driverless cars and services like Uber and goCatch and suddenly public transport and the need for private cars will be disrupted.

The big problem is how do highly energy intensive industries cope. I suspect there will be a niche for small scale modular nuclear.


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