Lean Government

Sustainable Energy without Hot Air

I am an incurable techo-optimist I have always held that most of humanities problems can be fixed with an application of scientific knowledge och scientific methods. I have even thought that the issue of global warming could be solved with the application of more efficient solar panels as well as with the development of fusion energy. Tim Harford apparently had the same thoughts but after reading, download it,  Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by Professor MacKay. Tim Harford writes in his blog post Switch to renewable energy? If only it were that simple:

Professor MacKay makes this point very simply by sidestepping the
economics altogether. Technological progress and economic growth loosen
the corset of cost-benefit analysis, but not the laws of physics. No
matter how cheap and efficient solar collectors become, there is only
so much solar power available per square metre of land. Hydroelectric
energy is constrained by the quantity of rainfall and the height of
reservoirs above sea level. The most perfectly designed windmill is
limited by the energy of the wind. It would barely be possible to make
the numbers add up even if renewable energy generators were free
.


May 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment