Planet Gore

Our Energy Future?

A friend brought to my attention yet another article extoling the virtues of a non-carbon-based energy system. This one comes from the November 2009 issue of Scientific American, in which Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi propose a plan to supply the world’s energy needs entirely by solar, wind and water sources by 2030 — concluding that the cost would be $100 trillion. ClimateSanity takes issue with the article:

If my calculations for the cost of their energy system are correct, then it would cost more than 400 times as much ($200 trillion / $453 billion) as the Interstate Highway System! And since they propose building their system in just 20 years, then it would be like building 20 interstate highway systems (which took about 30 years to build) every single year for 20 years.

I look forward to reading the article, to see if Jacobson and Delucchi have an answer for renewable energies’ problems with intermittency and volatility; for supplying and paying for the materials needed for solar panels, wind turbines, and high-voltage transmisison lines; and for the legal battles that come with snatching up land here, there, and everywhere, to make room room for low-energy-density renewables. I hear Nantucket Sound is windy.

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