How Much Renewable Energy Do We Have?

George Monbiot showed (in November 2005) that, even with extremely generous assumptions about the plausible extent of resource usage, renewable energy sources will not suffice to replace what he believes must be cut from our carbon combustion rate.

But then (in July 2006) he continued to deny what may be the only feasible solution, despite recognizing many errors in previous arguments against it, on the grounds that "To start building a new generation of nuclear power stations before we know what to do with the waste produced by existing plants is grotesquely irresponsible." This while blithely suggesting as an alternative that "With similar levels of investment in energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage, and the exploitation of the vast new offshore wind resources the government has now identified(13), we could cut our carbon emissions as swiftly and as effectively as any atomic power programme could." But the technology of capture and sequestration is far from well established and the wind power he refers to is just what he showed in the article above to be far less than enough to meet his country's needs. He does conclude by mentioning that neither the gas nor the wind resources in North America are proportionately nearly as large as those of the UK.

One Response to “How Much Renewable Energy Do We Have?”

  1. zac Says:

    Shouldn't the question be "How much energy do we really need to use, anyway?". The assumptions of these "experts" is too often on the supply side - I say the debate should be more on the demand side.

    I'm no fan of nuclear energy (waste is a huge problem and should not be dismissed too readily) but I guess it is the lesser of 2 evils.

    But at the end of the day, we can talk about it as much as we like. China and India will be polluting way more than the West soon, and it's not going to be easy to get them on board any time soon. China has built its new economy in large part on the automobile - big mistake.

    Prepare your gas masks...

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