I see “science fans” applauding and promoting Bill Nye’s call for 100% renewable generation by 2050. One might think if one endorsed Mr. Nye’s plan it would also be prudent to encourage studies such as the one advocated by the Secretary of Energy. Certainly Mr. Nye is not a power systems expert, nor have I seen him reference any when he is explain how such a transition can be accomplished. We should all be at least somewhat skeptical about the potential consequences of such a significant endeavor.
What I may be missing is the role of “optimism” which Mr. Nye assures us is a necessary ingredient for this transition. I’d seen hints of this before and perhaps what is happening is that far too many people obstinately reject any criticism regarding renewables because they believe that optimism is crucial if the planet is to be saved. Consequently no one should utter a disparaging word about any of the potential “preferred” renewable solutions. The view seems to be that we must get started now and we will work out the distracting details as we go along.
Perhaps this explains why those who view climate with extreme alarm often show no tolerance for criticism of renewable energy? Otherwise, why are grid experts not trusted? Grid experts have academic credentials, share a common body of knowledge, and continually build and alter their understandings based upon empirical evidence. Individually and collectively they work to be innovative and develop new approaches and challenge older perspectives. Grid experts have a proven track record of success. As I’ve argued before grid experts do not for the most part have a strong vested personal interest in the status quo. An ambitious, aggressive transfer to greater renewables would increase the demand and likely compensation for most all existing grid experts.
It’s almost as though it’s religious, not scientific.