9 thoughts on “The “Renewable” Fallacy”

  1. If and when I ever get around to doing a deep dive into “renewable energy” I want to look closely at how solar panels are made in terms of rare Earth elements needed, build process pollution, lifetime and disposal/recycle cost. Not to mention the effects these opaque panels have on the environments they sprawl across. Besides the panels, there is also the associated storage technology used to provide semi-dependable 24/7 off grid power. For grid systems the battery demands are even worse with all the same issues as solar panels (see above). It’s clear for urban energy needs the two tier system of renewables and hydrocarbon (i.e. natural gas) system is not just desirable, it is a costly duplication necessity. So what is actually being conserved or de-carbonized?

    1. Agreed. I believe that Solar Thermal has promise. Build a house that is energy efficient for the microclimate it is built in. Add things like solar water heaters, solar chimneys and groundwater cooling coils… Cisterns in dryer climates like *cough* California *cough*….

      Start small and “build smart” instead of acrea of birdkilling “green power”.

      1. You can heat and cool your house with geothermal, but I don’t know what the payback is. Plus you have to supplement the 50F water being pumped up from the ground with an electric or gas heater to get the water hot enough to be a nice warm 72F in the house in the winter and to supply you with hot water. But not as much energy needed as if you were doing forced hot air heat. If you sink two wells, one really deep, giving you 132-150F water up you don’t need supplemental. But now you are getting really expensive. Not to mention difficult to maintain.

        If your electricity supplier is nuclear you can be carbon zero this way. Or just go all electric, but that would be even more expensive.

        1. If you’re going to use ground water, use a heat pump. That’s an efficient combination for both heating and cooling.

          1. Yes. I believe now some heat pump installations can work without ground water, just costs more without already having water to circulate through it. But if you get a few feet below the frost line, they become efficient even in cold climates.

    2. JerryRigEverything channel on youtube says they produce panels in such quantity and with such efficiency that they no longer have a net negative impact on emissions and lifecycle costs. I’m skeptical.

  2. Renewable isn’t reliable nor profitable. Renewable is only “clean” when you isolate emissions to only the point of generation. If you look at emissions across fabrication, installation, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning; then “clean” starts becoming a problematic issue.

  3. Earth surface is lousy place for solar energy.
    And wind energy is simply dumb.
    Neither can part of national or global solution in terms of energy
    policy.
    But getting energy from the sunlight when not in Earth surface is different matter.
    One of many problems with solar energy on Earth surface is it takes
    up too much land area and in space environment there is no shortage of “land area”.
    The main problem is solar energy are not reliable and give energy when don’t need it as much, and in best situation one can only get in on average 25% of the time.
    And solar energy in Germany is really dumb. And in terms US, only about 1/2 of the country gets a reasonable amount of sunlight- a reasonable amount of sunlight is twice as much sunlight as compared to best anywhere in Germany. Australia is somewhat reasonable place for Solar energy. Or not as stupid. But Australia still the basic problem of only getting solar energy 25% of the time- which why solar power in Australia is as much of failure as anywhere else on the Earth surface.
    In terms of planetary surface, Mars which get less than 60% of sunlight as at Earth distance from the sun, is better place to harvest solar energy than Earth. Because with Mars surface one get peak solar hours, 50% of the time {due to lack of atmosphere}. Mars with global dust storm might not be better than Earth surface. But you can one remove dust from solar panels, perhaps with condition Mars is better than Earth surface. Though it seems possible to stop global dust storms on Mars, also.
    Most of the Moon is not good due to long night hours, though Germany has much longer period of time terms of winter hours during which Germany gets a feeble amount of solar power. With the Moon there perhaps ways of overcoming this problem whereas with Germany, it doesn’t. The lunar polar regions are completely different than most of the Moon.
    So something like less than 1% of lunar surface is better than Mars and anywhere on Earth surface.
    And even though lunar water mining to make rocket fuel could require enormous amount of electrical power, it seems this 1% of lunar surface can provide enough power.
    Though simply in high latitudes of the Moon, 60 to 70 degrees south or north which are getting 14 earth days of night, it is not huge distance from midnight at 60 degree North to noon at 60 degree North.
    And if making lunar rocket fuel one might encircle at around 80 degree latitude. So 60 to 80 is about 30 km per degree or 30 time 20 = 600 km. So if extend down to 60 degree latitude- it’s about 10% of entire lunar surface.
    And can something similar with Mars, though 59 km rather than 30 km per degree {Earth is 111 km per degree}

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