Saturday, January 02, 2010


Barriers to Renewables

Here is a piece on energy which makes some valuable points about why dreams about expanding renewable energy capacity have grown a bit too big. In short, a dearth of manufacturing capacity and money will prevent us from achieving grandiose goals for large-scale manufacturing and construction of new generating capacity. Of couse, we could build a lot of new manufacturing facilities and hire more workers, but that would take a lot of money — which we don’t have. That kind of financing would require us to take on much more debt, but as the writer of this piece observes, “with several of the world’s leading economies already leveraged to the hilt (i.e. America, the UK, and Japan), such a level of spending seems deeply implausible.” To say the least. (And all that money has been borrowed in a desperate gamble to keep the Ponzi-scheme economy afloat, but that’s another story.) To put it another way, a person who is broke and up to his eyeballs in debt won’t be covering his whole roof with solar panels.

Apart from the problems of manufacturing capacity and financing, there is the matter of finding the energy to invest, which is discussed in detail here. All these plans for vast renewable energy capacity would have had to be developed and implemented decades ago, when there was more money and fossil fuel energy was still cheap. It’s too late now.

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