Wind and Solar Energy Are Dead Ends

Renewable energy is the way of the future, we are told.  It is inevitable.  Some renewable energy advocates boldly claim that the world could be powered by renewable energy as early as 2030 – with enough government subsidies, that is.  And of course, the mainstream media play their part, hyping up the virtues of solar and wind energy as the solution to climate change.

In one regard, they are quite right: in terms of generational capacity, wind and solar have grown by leaps and bounds in the last three decades (wind by 24.3% per year since 1990, solar by 46.2% per year since 1990).  However, there are two questions worth asking: (i) are renewable energies making a difference, and (ii) are they sustainable?

To answer the first question: No, wind and solar energy have not made a dent in global energy consumption, despite their rapid growth.  In fact, after thirty years of beefy government subsidies, wind power still meets just 0.46% of earth’s total energy demands, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).  The data include not only electrical energy but also energy consumed via liquid fuels for transportation, heating, cooking, etc.  Solar generates even less energy.  Even combined, the figures are minuscule: wind and solar energy together contribute less than 1% of Earth’s energy output.

Bottom line: Renewables are not making a difference.  It would be far more cost-effective and reasonable to simply invest in more energy-efficient technology.  But of course, doing so would not line the pockets of billionaires like Elon Musk.

To answer the second question: Is renewable energy sustainable?  Is the future wind- and solar-powered?

No.

Looking first at wind energy: Between 2013 and 2014, again using IEA data, global energy demand grew by 2,000 terawatt-hours.  In order to meet this demand, we would need to build 350,000 new 2-megawatt wind turbines – enough to entirely blanket the British Isles.  For context, that is 50% more turbines than have been built globally since the year 2000.  Wind power is not the future; there is simply not enough extraditable energy.  Unfortunately, better technology cannot overcome this problem: turbines can become only so efficient due to the Betz limit, which specifies how much energy can be extracted from a moving fluid.  Wind turbines are very close to that physical limit.

The state of solar energy is only slightly more promising.  Recent findings suggest that humanity would need to cover an equatorial region the size of Spain with solar panels in order to generate enough electricity to meet global demand by 2030.  Not only is this an enormous amount of land that could otherwise be used for agriculture, or left pristine, but it also underestimates the size of the ecological footprint, since only 20% of mankind’s energy consumption takes the form of electricity.  Were we to switch to electric vehicles, the area needed would be five times as large.

Read more at American Thinker

Comments (9)

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    Spurwing Plover

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    Wind turbines are hazards to Birds and Bats and solar Pannel’s cant be relied upon becuase the sun is’nt up there 24/7 and Enviromentalisms a growing insanity cuased by a strict vegan diet and too many Captian Planet Marathons

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      rakooi

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      ALWAYS SPURNING PLOVER
      says WIND TURBINES are hazards to Birds and BATS….so that is why we should continue being OVER CHARGED by the Killer COAL ENERGY MONOPOLY ! !
      Man-made structure/technology kill birds & bats:
      Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)
      Feral and domestic cats
      Hundreds of millions [source: AWEA]
      Power lines
      130 million — 174 million [source: AWEA]
      Windows (residential and commercial)
      100 million — 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]
      Pesticides
      70 million [source: AWEA]
      Automobiles
      60 million — 80 million [source: AWEA]
      Lighted communication towers
      40 million — 50 million [source: AWEA]
      Wind turbines
      10,000 — 40,000 [source:
      ALWAYS SPURNING PLOVER is here B.S.ing AGAIN….to spread
      like manure, HIS ALT RIGHT IDEOLOGY….his belief that we should all continue PAYING WAY TOO MUCH FOR ELECTRICITY to THE Killer COAL ELECTRIC MONOPOLY.
      **
      COAL accounts for about 40% of our electric…we are transitioning to Natural Gas, SOLAR and WIND…as a mix with Nuclear, Hydro etc.
      **
      These are 5 messages that I think anyone wanting a better US economy (or a better economy in practically any country), anyone wanting national energy freedom (aka energy independence), anyone wanting to advance the most cost-effective choices for electricity generation, and anyone wanting to make logical energy decisions should know and share with others.
      ….
      “1. Wind & Solar Are Cheaper (Without Subsidies) Than Dirty KILLER COAL Energy

      The first point is the very basic fact that new wind power and/or solar power plants are typically cheaper than new coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants — even without any governmental support for solar or wind.

      Not only are they typically cheaper — they’re much cheaper in many cases.
      ….
      2. Wind & Solar Are Actually Even Much Cheaper Than Dirty KILLER COAL Energy (More So Than Lazard Shows)

      The estimates above are supposedly “unsubsidized,” but if you include social externalities as societal subsidies (I do), the estimated costs of fossil fuels and nuclear energy are hugely subsidized in those charts.
      ….
      3. Solar & Wind Became Much Cheaper In The Past 7 Years (85% and 66%, Respectively)

      No, wind and solar costs didn’t roll off a cliff because of Obama, but his staff did help to hasten the roll to some degree. Programs like SunShot have helped to bring down costs even faster than they were coming down anyway, as did greater deployment of renewables — with greater production and deployment, costs come down almost automatically.
      ….
      4. The Lowest Solar Costs Shown In The Lazard Report Are Considerably Higher Than Globally Recorded Low-Price Bids

      I won’t go into much detail right now, but I will update this article as more record-low prices for solar power and wind power are reported. For now, though, note that we’ve seen solar project bids for under 3¢/kWh in the UAE and well under 4¢/kWh in Mexico — prices that are well below the Lazard’s low-end estimates for the US.

      ….

      People Can Get Lower Prices But More Jobs With Solar & Wind

      Whether American, British, Canadian, Australian, Indian, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, or [fill in the blank], solar and wind power don’t just mean lower prices — they also typically mean more jobs. Much of the price of dirty energy power plants is in the fossil fuel — the physical resource. When we buy that fuel, much of the money goes to the billionaires and multimillionaires who “own” the fuel — the coal mines and the natural gas wells.

      Sunshine and wind, of course, are free, but distributed solar and wind power plants have to get built and installed — those are things humans do. When we pay for solar and wind power plants, we pay for human labor, and often help create or support local jobs.

      We don’t actually have to choose between low prices or jobs or protecting our air, water, and climate — we get all of those things with renewable energy options like solar and wind energy.”

      https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/

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        Sonnyhill

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        The Russians are here! The Russians are posting on CCD! Call CNN.

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        John

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        Can someone remove this utter crap?

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          Guy Moosburger

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          If what you say is true then why does Denmark have the highest electricity prices in the world? I imagine if it wasn’t for government subsidies it would be higher but instead they hide and hope no one notices which why their income taxes are increasing every year.

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            Sonnyhill

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            Kathleen Wynne, trying to stay in office, removed the 13% sales tax from electric bills. Added $1Billion to our provincial debt, which is way worse, per capita, than California’s.
            The solar and wind subsidies are hidden in the contracts with suppliers. The subsidies are legislated straight to our power bills.
            The new carbon taxes on gasoline and diesel are not posted at the pumps with the three other taxes.

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            Sonnyhill

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            Correction…only the 8% provincial tax was subsidized, the federal 5% remains. I assume that Ontario’s inconvenient income shortfall will be partially covered by Alberta.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Summers are always hot winters are always cold spring and fall vary between the two and the green nuts are falling all year round just listen to the mindless babble of the Green nuts

  • Avatar

    Charles Higley

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    ” Were we to switch to electric vehicles, the area needed would be five times as large.”

    This is simply wrong, as switching completely to electric cars would necessarily cut car travel enormously, as electric cars are really only commuter cars. They are worthless for longer distances. Easily, car mileage would be cut by two-thirds if we went to electric-stupid cars.

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