A nice piece by Don Aitkin looking at the full cost of renewable energy.
There’s not as much hype as there once was about electric cars, but I recall my surprise on learning that you would have to run one of them for 90,000 kilometres before all the CO2 created by the energy used in making it had been offset by the CO2 savings generated in using it.
And if a dam is used for hydro-electricity, how long does it take for the CO2 created by building it and running it to have been offset by the CO2 saved by generating electricity that way instead of through burning coal? A very long time, but it happens. A lot depends, of course, on the details of the dam we are talking about.
Now someone has done this for all forms of generating electricity, and I find both the methodology and the results quite fascinating…It is all based on a formulation called Energy Returned on Energy Invested, which is shortened to EROEI. I’ve seen it before, but not enquired further. More on that in a moment. Morgan says that, with respect to alternative energy forms, the much-discussed storage problem (how can you best store solar energy for use at night, or wind energy when it’s not needed by the grid?) is not the real problem: there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.
What he means is that there is simply not a large enough return on investment in the alternative energy source to allow it do it anything much.
And a cute picture of Lord Monckton!