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Why a Green Energy Future is a Unicorn


Full disclosure: I'm not a scientist.

Trees are amazing. With a little seed in the ground, given some water and sun, they'll grow. The seed uses up its initial nutrient storage to grow into a stem and a leaf, and from there, green energy takes over. The leaf photosynthesizes sunlight and provides the energy that the sapling needs to become a stout tree...

...10 years later.

You can apply artificial measures to make it grow faster (fertilizer, longer periods with artificial sunlight, etc) but sunlight, while constant, isn't powerful enough on its own to transform the seed into a tree in the span of a year.

In fact, sunlight is relatively weak energy, and on its best day, it can't fry an egg or boil water, though it can warm a room.

Each energy source only packs so much energy. That's why cars only get so many miles to the gallon. Gas only has so much energy in it. You can make the car lighter and smaller, use electricity to supplant the gas for periods of driving, tweak the engineering of the powertrain, but at the end of the day, somewhere between 20 mpg and 30 mpg is the best we can hope for. Gas only has so much stored energy in it.

Even on cloudy days, sunlight is a constant - it's just weaker on those cloudy days - but it's gone at night. Wind can be captured any time of the day, but it too is not constant and like sunlight is relatively weak.

In our homes, we run TV's, lights, the stovetop and oven, computers, the washer and dryer, garage doors, the furnace, the AC, and so on.

Does anybody really believe that you can run all of that on an energy source that can't fry an egg on its own and is not constant?

The only green energy source that can do all of this is nuclear, and lord knows that has ample opposition to it. But the "green" energy options aren't anywhere close to being enough. Science and math tell you so, but let's work this out...

Let's say that you put solar panels on your house and a wind turbine in your back yard.

In fact, let's put these at every house on your street.

The energy of the wind on most days is barely enough to move your wind chimes.

The energy of the sun is generally not enough to warm your entire house on a crisp fall day, much less winter, and you freeze at night if you just rely on captured warmth during the day.

So do you really think you'll capture enough energy from solar panels and a wind turbine in your back yard to run all of your appliances and supply all of your home's energy needs?

No. Not even close. You can't - there's not enough energy to capture.

Now imagine that you want to plug your electric car in for recharging at the end of the day, to be recharged by stored electricity generated from wind and solar only.

Not even close to close. There's simply not enough energy.

But that's the direction our political class is pulling us.

Why? None of them run their lives on "green" energy only. Nor does the Hollywood crowd. Or any of the other preachers of this movement.

It's not viable. And if it's not viable, it's not sustainable.

ETC: Via Instapundit, I learn that the Dutch have found that the cost of wind power doesn't offset the benefit - so they're abandoning windmills.

MORE ETC: And another link about abandoned windmills from Glenn. Like I said, if it's not viable, it's not sustainable.


by Brett Rogers, 11/19/2011 10:05:58 AM


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