The Big Green Buy: How Government’s Purchasing Power Can Drive the Clean-Energy Revolution

6 Aug

“An overemphasis on breakthrough inventions can obscure the fact that most of the energy technologies we need already exist.”

Sort of. But while wind and solar have come a long way, and made huge technical advances over the past few decades, they’re still a long way from making much of a dent, percentage-wise, in how we generate electricity. The largest solar power plants generate something like 60 MW of power. Not bad, but an average coal electricity plant generates 650 MW. To begin to match the amount of electric power made by coal plants, wind and solar need a lot of land. Is there enough to go around? Plus, there’s the ever present problem of storage. What happens at night or when there’s no wind? Finally, the “smart grid” is still in its infancy. For the most part, electricity still flows one way–from power plants to homes and buildings.

My point isn’t dismiss renewable energy. On the contrary, renewables are not only necessary but inevitable. Whether to mitigate climate change or bolster national security or due to the inescapable fact that, sooner or later, fossil fuels will run out, we’ll be forced to turn to renewable energy sooner or later. But the transition probably won’t be as simple as the US govt plowing trillions into buying electric cars. There are plenty of technology issues still requiring attention.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


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