What About Renewables?

There has long been a discouraging tension between advocates of renewable energy systems and those favoring nuclear power. Given the challenge of climate change, this sort of conflict between near-zero-carbon energy systems seems self-defeating, even foolish.

Late last year this struggle for influence boiled over when Mark Jacobson sued Dr. Christopher Clack for ten million dollars in a jimconcalibel suit that many within the academic community found shocking. None of Clack’s 20 co-authors (including some collaborators with SCGI) were sued, only Clack, the lead author. Jim Conca, a valued member of SCGI, covered the story here, and earlier in 2017 he wrote another article on the topic that can be found here.

Anti-fracking pro-renewable energy activists are walking contradictions, according to a new study at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Three economists find that natural gas electricity generation complements and enables the deployment of renewable energy generation. To be against fracking is to be against renewable energy.

In their survey of 26 Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the economists find that natural gas and renewable power generation increase in nearly a one-to-one ratio. Why is that? Because intermittent solar and wind energy cannot be stably integrated into the power grid unless there is a back-up source of electricity when the sun does not shine and the wind fails to blow. The researchers note that 8 megawatts of back-up capacity are required for any 10 megawatts of wind capacity added to the grid. They cite other research that suggests that the ability to store solar electricity for 20 hours is necessary for photovoltaic power to work as a base-load resource. Since no such massive storage technology currently exists, only fast reacting fossil fuel power generation can fill in this gap.

Read more at reason.com

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