Home » Energy » Renewables: Plug & Pray?

Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Post Archives by Category

Renewables: Plug & Pray?

Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

We are made to believe by PR articles and mainstream media pundits that “renewables” are just plug and play. Like computer screens. That all we need to do is to shut down old fossil fuel power plants and replace them with wind and solar. We are constantly bombarded with simplistic statements like “renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuel power plants”, as if such a simple one to one comparison could be made. All this hand waving, however, completely disregards the fact that the real life utilization of solar panels and wind mills are much lower than their nameplate suggests, and that they are a whole lot less useful in maintaining a stable grid than their polluting predecessors. It’s clearly not a plug&play game… Much rather, as it is played today, it’s all plug&pray.

There is a saying in contemporary German company culture: ‘Zahlen-Fakten-Daten’ — literally meaning: numbers, facts and data. It’s usually uttered during management reviews when someone makes a bold statement or starts to wax lyrical about an idea. It is meant to channel energies back to the task at hand and to request the necessary data to make a sound decision. So let’s see if statements pertaining the relative cheapness and usefulness of “renewables” really stand this test.

The latest report from the Energy Institute titled Statistical Review of World Energy (previously compiled by BP) provides us with just that: a ton of numbers and some rather inconvenient facts. Let’s start with availability. In case of regular fossil fuel power plants this metric is calculated by dividing the amount of time during which a plant is able to produce electricity over a certain period, by the total amount of time in that period. Let’s say your plant provides electricity 24/7, day-in day-out for 90 days but then it is down for maintenance for 10 days…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
Click on image to read excerpts

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase @ FriesenPress