“There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology,” she writes. “Yet many want to make this group of functionally useless technologies the primary energy sources for our entire civilization.”
Another point which frequently gets missed. The network effect fairly dictates that you get energy prices that are unconscionably high UNLESS everybody uses the same fuel. There are two fuel types available to us*: 1) hydrocarbons and 2) nuclear. The cheapest, most abundant hydrocarbons are petroleum, coal, and natural gas. That’s why everybody uses them. And they’re cheapest because everybody uses them — the two conditions go hand-in-glove.
So whatever — scorn quotes — “alternative” you care to try to replace 1) and 2) above with must scale up to provide a significant portion (i.e., greater than two-thirds, I’d say) of the existing demand as well as projected increases. If it can’t, it’s a non-starter.
And one of the most frequently-mentioned so-called “alternatives” is biofuels. And no matter how your brain fart pipedreams imagine they might be provided, eventually, you are going to have to produce them in a large-scale, systematized manner. Which, in biofuels, leads almost inevitably to cropping them.
I did the math once, just to satisfy my own curiosity. There is not enough arable land on the planet to cover the INCREASE year-to-year in gasoline demand in the United States. So-called “alternative” fuels are a losing proposition going in. It’s not even close.
And the guys you call idiots in Washington know it.
Think about that next time you contemplate the so-called energy crisis.
(* Don’t even try. Fuel means something you get energy out of. All those others you’re about to mention in comments are energy STORAGE mechanisms. So don’t bother.)