Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Climate Progress: Renewable Energy On The Rise

"In 2010, all forms of renewable energy provided 8.2 quadrillion BTUs of primary energy production in the United States, a little less than 11% of our total production of 74.9 quads. At the same time, nuclear power provided 8.4 quads, a little more than 11% of the total.

"This is data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review for March 2011. Given that renewable power continues to grow at a healthy clip, while nuclear power has stagnated in recent years, renewables may well deliver more total primary production than nuclear sometime this year."

UPDATE: "Google Inc. is investing $168 million in an alternative power project that aims to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes....

"Google has been dipping into its bank account to back various projects that promise to generate energy from other sources besides oil and coal. The company has emerged as a major consumer of electricity as it opens huge data centers to house the computers that run its Internet search engine, email and other online services

"Promoting energy that causes less pollution is one of several crusades championed by Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin."


Red Rock said...

Unfortunately, half of that is ethanol which shouldn't even count, so real total is probably 5%. Not all that impressive.

Crake said...

What gripes me about our current course of action on real alternative energy sources (wind, solar, gravity, advances in nuclear etc.) is the amount of wealth it would produce. Think of all the wealth creation in implementing the infrastructure and then licensing the IP to other nations. As a nation, our wealth would grow so tremendously from that - if a true energy paradigm change, it would amount to the most wealth seen in the world up to that point.

The losers would be entities with large capital already deployed in the old ways and they are the likely ones fighting it. What is happening is basically a large scale, nationwide to worldwide typical response by business management to innovation from Clayton M. Christensen's Innovators Dilemma. Basically management tends to put capital and effort into its existing line even when it knows a disruptive technology lurks around the corner. History is littered with large companies that kept doing this until the end when they were finally displaced by a new technology. We are seeing that pattern play out on a world stage with energy. The innovation will likely come from third world countries that do not have the large sunk cost in the old and are building infrastructure from scratch.

Tom Hickey said...

Crake, thank the vested interests in oil, coal, and nuclear, as well as the string corn ethanol lobby.

The sad thing is that the optimal way to do is distributed rather than centralized, but the powers that be would forfeit a revenue stream and are opposing it at every turn. But there are many off the grid homes and even communities in remote areas. It works.