The fundamental reason for the inevitable failure of renewable energy (RE) is the pathetic power and energy densities they give. Let's compare everything on similar scales - in kiloJoule (kJ). kiloJoules per kilogram (kJ/kg) and kiloWatts per square metre (kW/m2). To convert between energy and power, remember that kJ = kW for 1 second. Look how dense Uranium is compared with fossil fuel (methane). How much better methane is than hydro. How pathetic wind is.
|Hydro (100m dam)||1|
PS: One joule (J) = work required to produce one watt (W) of power for one second, or one "watt second" (W·s)
Fossil fuels (like methane: 55,500 kJ/kg) are so energy dense and so convenient that we'd have to invent them if they weren't already there. The only way we were ever going to replace them was with something better, something far denser : uranium and thorium.
The consequence of weak power and energy density with an insistance upon RE-only energy must one of:
- economies with pitiful energy
- the industrialization and wrecking of the natural world (with pitiful energy)
- OR a still-born policy that doesn't really go anywhere so must eventually be made to work with massive amounts of fossil fuel