In summation, BigWind will not save the planet. The original article is available, via link, at the source. They are definitely politically correct to not point fingers at a particular industry, but BigWind is the biggest fish in the renewable sea. Manufacturing cannot survive with the additional costs of expensive renewable energies, period! Other realities are not addressed here, though, such as the sheer amount of turbines and solar panels that would have to blanket our planet to even provide a portion of our current energy needs. This also does not address the reality that renewable energy cannot be adequately stored and dispatched when needed, so fossil fuels must still be left running in the background at all times…
…It’s a post-mortem on a project initiated by Google – a master of innovation if ever there was one and a company with impeccable green credentials (see photo above)– the goal of which was to scope out an innovative renewable energy system that could compete economically with coal and other fossil fuels and which could be deployed quickly enough to stave off the worst impacts of climate change….
the project, which Google named RE<C (Renewable Energy cheaper than Coal) continued from 2007 to 2011, a period over which Google invested large sums of money in renewable energy projects….
But RE<C failed to produce the hoped-for results, and in November 2011 the project was shut down and project staff were instructed to write a post-mortem detailing what went wrong. They summed up their findings in this stark conclusion:
Today’s renewable energy technologies won’t save us….
What’s needed, we concluded, are reliable zero-carbon energy sources so cheap that the operators of power plants and industrial facilities alike have an economic rationale for switching over soon—say, within the next 40 years. Let’s face it, businesses won’t make sacrifices and pay more for clean energy based on altruism alone….
Now look at the purple CO2 plot on the second of the two graphs above. It bends upwards between 2040 and 2150. The Google study doesn’t give any generation mix numbers, but an upward bend like this can occur only if the mix has a significant fossil fuel component. The implication is that by 2150 “clean energy” still hasn’t become cheap enough to displace all fossil fuel generation, not even under a best-case scenario which assumes “aggressive hypothetical cost breakthroughs in clean power generation, grid storage, electric vehicle, and natural gas technologies”. Google confirms that the economics just weren’t there:
By 2011, however, it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal.
(And to coal we can add gas and maybe nuclear too. According to EIA levelized costs for US combined cycle gas are presently considerably lower than coal and levelized costs for “advanced nuclear” about the same as coal.)
In short, Google is telling us that a free-market approach won’t work for renewables. They aren’t cost-competitive with fossil-fuel generation and aren’t likely to become cost-competitive at any time in the foreseeable future….
Google rejects renewables | Energy Matters.