Thursday, July 02, 2009

Renewable Power and EVs - Hype or Hope?

From The Automatic Earth a posting about renewable energy and EVs and why they won't be there when we need them. It's all about the (lack of) infrastructure folks.


The North Coast said...

Renewable power is all hype. There is no way we can even begin to replace fossil fuel sources with "renewables" such as wind and solar. So far, these extremely diffuse power sources are murderously expensive to harness,with an impossible EROEI, and right now receive about 5X the government subsidies that coal, gas, or nuclear receive.

These subsidies come at the expense of new and promising nuclear technologies that not only are vastly safer, but also much cheaper because they can be at least partially mass produced- in contrast to the our current fleet of custom built LWRs whose cost is unfairly used as an example of the "unaffordability" of nuclear by anti-nuke activists.

Moreover, and most important, newer nuclear technologies such as the Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor extend the fuel cycle many hundreds of years AND reduce waste to almost zero, as thorium is converted to Uranium 233, which can then be used. This is critical, because Uranium 235 is in depletion.

Best of all, the thorium and U233 militate against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, another major scare-point of the anti-nuknee crowd.

Our current fixation on high-cost, low-output "renewables" such as solar and wind could cost us the opportunity to replace our aging nuclear fleet AND add substantially to our generating capacity, which we badly need to do to have a chance of meeting current and future power needs. For, in addition to a still-growing population, we need to convert our transportation to electric as quickly as we can. That means all rail should be converted to electricity. There is no way we are going to be able to do this with "renewables". They just don't scale.

We have a choice now. We can either embrace advanced nuclear technologies, and there will be hope that, in combination with strict conservation and the rearranging of our lives around "walkable" small town and city cores, we can maintain a comfortable level of tech amenity; OR, we can choose the "renewable" route and a future where only a minority of the population has access to electrical power.

One thing I'll say for the latter choice: it will sure as hell reduce the population in this country to "sustainable" levels in a very short time, as 80% of us, including me and you, are reduced to ragged poverty and succumb to disease, cold, house fires, and all the other delights of the pre-tech lifestyle.

The North Coast said...

Sorry for the big typo in the last post- I was typing too fast.

I meant to say "anti-nuke", not "anti-nuknee", for chrissakes.