Monday, February 23, 2009
Renewable Energy and Economies of Scale
Daniel Kammen, Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, explains why renewable energy might take less time for widespread incorporation than its critics care to admit.
Alternatives are great, but there's no way to scale them up rapidly enough to meet the energy needs of our society. This is the misconception that Mr. Kammen addresses here.
Wind and solar currently produce 0.5% of the electricity in the United States. Most engineers educated before 1999 take this knowledge and assume that renewables will remain two-bit players in the energy space.
Northern Germany went from no wind energy to more than 25% wind power in 6-8 years.
Places that are now going after biofuels, wind, and solar, they are going against the myth that widespread renewable use is too difficult and costly to implement. Every place that has tried has discovered that it's relatively easy to do.
Most incentives we have in government is for dirty power. We need to change these incentives to benefit clean, green power.