Being from a conservative viewpoint the article is not positive about clean energy but equally it is not a paean to fossil fuel energy either. It presents a picture of the impracticality of the current 100% renewable energy goals as I have discussed in many of my previous blog posts. It makes the point that the current energy disruptions are representative of our energy future as we add more wind and solar and the energy system as a whole becomes more unstable.
Most of the current energy disruptions are from within the fossil supply chain but the diminishment of coal and the growth of wind and solar have indirectly and directly contributed to the energy system instability. This instability is bound to have political ramifications as the public as a whole may aspire to a clean energy future but will not be tolerant of an energy system that is increasingly unreliable at the same time as energy prices keep rising very substantially.
As energy pragmatists and the data in the new paper linked below point out, the likely end point of the current drive for 100% renewable energy will likely be something like 80% renewable generation from wind, solar and storage with fossil fuel on demand generation as backup for the remaining 20%. In this scenario electricity will cost two or three times today’s electricity due to the costs of excess generation capacity, storage capacity and new long distance transmission capacity. The 80% can increase into the 90% range with an exponentially increasing cost of electricity which will face increasing political headwinds. These hard economic facts explain the slow rate of clean energy adoption and the corresponding low probability of achieving meaningful climate CO2 reduction goals.
Stratosolar can provide 100% renewable electricity not 80% or 90%. It can do this at lower cost than today not much higher costs than today. It has low technological risk and its scalability largely depends on Solar PV which has already demonstrated its scalability. The world wants a 100% renewable energy solution but the current path cannot achieve that goal. The world also needs 100% renewable energy to be cheap which it is not but is misleadingly presented as such because of the desperate need for a viable clean energy solution to advance meaningful progress on climate CO2 reduction goals.
By Edmund Kelly