Larry Bell, writing in Forbes, claims that ” Renewable Energy Is No Alternative.” Read the complete article here.
His main points:
Utility scale wind and solar installations take up too much land to be a significant alternative to fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro electrical generation which currently produce 96 percent of electricity in the U.S. In the U.S. “about 3.4 percent now comes from wind, and about 0.11 percent from solar.”
Wind and solar generation are unpredictably intermittent and that makes electric grid management very difficult. “Managing the uninterrupted transfer of electrical power from myriad sources wherever and whenever it is needed is a hugely complicated challenge. It’s one thing when the principal supply sources use gas, heat or hydraulically-driven turbines which provide constant, unfluctuating outputs that can be adjusted and counted upon independent of weather or season.”
Adding an unpredictable supply to the mix makes grid management very complex and increases the danger that the grid will become unstable and fail. The problem is multiplied as wind and solar generation become a larger percentage of the total power sources. “Difficulties arise as segments of the grid become overloaded or underserved by the renewables, requiring the conventional-source turbines which balance the grid to meet base demand loads be repeatedly throttled down and up. This reduces turbine operating efficiencies.”
Many upgrades to the electric grid would be necessary to safely accommodate the intermittent output of wind and solar generation. A group from Caltech estimates “that the necessary upgrades to make a green future work will be ‘one of the greatest technological challenges industrialized societies have undertaken.’ They project this can be expected to cost about $1 trillion nationwide by 2030.”
As it stands now, utility scale wind and solar electrical generation do not represent a viable alternative.