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Renewables Are Slowly Approaching Diminishing Returns

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Once a source of hope for maintaining our modern lifestyle, renewables are close to hit diminishing returns (i.e.: providing less and less benefit to society with every addition of a new solar panel or wind turbine). For the record: fossil fuels have long passed the same point, where drilling another well or opening a new mine eats up exponentially more resources and energy than the previous one — not to mention kicking CO2 levels even higher. The question is: can we continue high tech civilization now based on renewables, or are we about to hit the same limitations as with every other technology we have used in the past?

Providing data to substantiate claims of hitting diminishing returns is not easy. It goes well beyond “simple” return on investment calculations — it takes a holistic approach, a real cradle to grave assessment if you like. So far I haven’t came across such study (Simon Michaux’s work comes closest), so if you are an independent researcher or student looking for a PhD topic, feel free to elaborate on the subject— just please let me know what you have found.

Until then — as usual — treat the following as thought experiment, and see if it makes sense to you. As always, use your critical thinking skills and don’t take anything I (let alone uneducated people in the mainstream media) say at face value. With that aside let’s see what may be the ominous signs of society hitting diminishing returns when it comes to deploying ‘renewables’ at scale.

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