Mark Jacobsen’s 100% renewables paper as an example of the naivete of alternative energy researchers has been mentioned several times. Unfortunately, his research has been enthusiastically embraced by advocates for renewables and he has even testified as an expert before congress. However the plot has thickened. Recently, Mark Jacobson’s optimistic 100% alternative energy modelling has been challenged by a paper authored by many respected energy researchers with a more practical bent.
The IEEE spectrum article provides a good overview with links to the original Jacobson paper and the rebuttal paper. This rebuttal paper prompted a debate which hopefully raised awareness in a broader audience. Joe Rohm, a committed environmentalist, jumped in to back up Jacobson. Schellenberger, a fan of nuclear power backed the rebuttal.
A recent article in New Scientist by Michael Le Page points out that renewables are not succeeding in replacing fossil fuels. Gains from wind and solar have been offset by losses from nuclear.
A paper from Jan Petter Hansen at the University of Bergen in Norway shows that at projected rates of growth for PV and Wind, resource modelling predicts they will top out in 2030 at a small fraction of what is needed to replace fossil fuels.
A key point here is these publications represent a debate among those who all agree on the threat of global warming and the need to eliminate fossil fuels. The papers represent a growing awareness of the problems with current wind and solar as a viable, complete replacement for fossil fuels. Hopefully this will create a more fertile ground for the evaluation of alternatives like Stratosolar that can realistically solve the problems of current solar energy and can be a complete, economically viable replacement for fossil fuels.
By Edmund Kelly