Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

jcgee88jcgee88 ✭✭Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
Below is a review of sorts of a book that argues that
renewable energy is not as green as people assume:

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/true-price-power

--

The review is written by Matt Ridley, a.k.a., "The
Rational Optimist." The book, Power Hungry, is by
Robert Bryce.

Much of the review is Matt Ridley's opinion that wind
is a bad option (too many bird kills; too many new
power lines need to be run; magnets deplete rare earth
elements).

He downgrades PV based on the amount of landscape it
consumes compared to other more efficient options.
Although I would counter that by saying that residential
PV mostly re-uses space, i.e., your rooftop, and thus is
not a consumer of land.

Lastly, the review author opines that nuclear will end up
being the least carbon-harmful technology for the future.

--

No flaming me for these opinions, please, I am posting
this as an FYI.

John

Comments

  • WindsunWindsun ✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    While some - not all - of his conclusions are right, most seem to be for the wrong reasons.

    Of all the problems he lists for wind, none of them really state the reasons why wind will not be a big player in the near future, or even probably in the next 30 years. Until reliability - both mechanically for the generators, and physical for the highly variable winds in most areas - is solved it will not be a major player, that is over 10% or at best. If anyone comes up with a cheap way to store excess energy during peak production for use during peak demand, then both solar and wind will become much more widespread.

    The one about depletion of rare earths is especially silly.
  • AntronXAntronX ✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    This guy (Bryce) converts electrical energy of renewables directly into thermal energy of crude oil to claim that renewables only produce 76,000 barrels of "oil" per year, while the country consumes 19,000,000 barrels of oil per day, to prove that renewables don't scale up. Anyone who does not see a problem with this kind of apples to oranges comparison is not fit to write about energy issues. My opinion is, don't waste your money buying his book. You can have a preview of his ideas here. Nothing of real value, just faulty logic why renewables don't scale up and coal, gas, oil and nuclear are the answer. Oh, and the birds! Somebody think of the birds!
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy
    AntronX wrote: »
    This guy (Bryce) converts electrical energy of renewables directly into thermal energy of crude oil to claim that renewables only produce 76,000 barrels of "oil" per year, while the country consumes 19,000,000 barrels of oil per day, to prove that renewables don't scale up. Anyone who does not see a problem with this kind of apples to oranges comparison is not fit to write about energy issues. My opinion is, don't waste your money buying his book. You can have a preview of his ideas here. Nothing of real value, just faulty logic why renewables don't scale up and coal, gas, oil and nuclear are the answer. Oh, and the birds! Somebody think of the birds!

    you could compare the 2 in terms of btus, but i do agree that it is dumb to compare the 2 as oil just isn't used much in the generation of electricity. on the flip side pvs and wind turbines do not save on gasoline or at least they won't until they start charging evs. i know the type this guy is and he is not that well educated to really make good educated comments and conclusions on the subject matter for he shoots an ounce of truth and the rest bs. if he has a degree i can only imagine how he got it.:roll:
    as to the birds, if he was all that concerned for them he should be for eliminating all windows, buildings, trees, flagpoles and flags, and all cars as they hit into them all of the time. and he better not think about eliminating all cats.:grr
    it would be interesting if the guy showed up here to "defend" his book. if he does and puts phone numbers and links so people can buy the book, consider the post and him to be history rick.:-)
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower ✭✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    On energy storage, this article cited interesting theoretical limits especially flywheels using carbon nano-tubes, though his view is a little bias since part of his research was funded by a middle-east university.
    GP
  • dwhdwh ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    "Robert Bryce is a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute."

    http://manhattan-institute.org/html/bryce.htm

    Whenever I see an organization with a name like, "Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute" - the very first thing I think is, "lobbyist group / paid shills". What can I say...all these special interest funded propaganda/PR firms seem to give themselves names like that.


    This page would seem to support that initial impression of mine:

    http://www.fightcleanenergysmears.org/behind_the_smears.cfm#MI

    "The Manhattan Institute, founded by former CIA Chief William Casey, publishes climate science denials and has hosted Bjorn Lomborg, a favorite of climate deniers, in the last several years. The Manhattan Institute has received funding from ExxonMobil and from tobacco companies."


    That page also links to this page:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=51


    The Internet is handy.
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    there's nothing like putting it all out in the open. thank you for that dwh.
  • bryanlbryanl ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    Names are not the only clue. "publishes climate science denials and has hosted Bjorn Lomborg, a favorite of climate deniers" tells you right off the bat that you're not in the realm of intellectual integrity. (only very few fringe 'deny' and its use with its connotations impugns those that use it to slander those they don't like).

    It is also interesting that actual measure is labeled as being biased. Bias can be illustrated by a selection of measures or by a conclusion drawn from them or, if the process of the measure is complex, perhaps by the manner of measure.

    The greatest brickbat thrown at 'renewable energy' IMHO is the distortion of the market in the form of subsidies and tax breaks and grants - all the while accompanied by the projection about 'big oil' or other 'corrupting' influence by those receiving the largess.

    Ideology is fine but to be honest it needs to have a solid grip on reality. When it comes to topics like this, that grip seems lacking.
  • System2System2 admin Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Throwing brickbats at renewable energy

    Could this possibly be the same Matt Ridley, son and heir of Viscount Ridley, whose family estate is Blagdon Hall, near Cramlington, Northumberland, who was non-executive chairman of the UK bank Northern Rock from 2004 to 2007, in the period leading up to the bank's near-collapse and subsequent multi-billion pound bail-out by the UK taxpayer?

    If so, then I'm certain he's obviously very well placed to advise us on the money saving capabilities that renewables can or can't offer and how best to spend what little money the profligate banks left us with. I'm just about to invest 125% of what I could ever possibly afford in a solar power system. Perhaps he could advise me as to whether this would be a sensible investment, or not!

    Oh, and I won't be buying his book!
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