Renewable Energy Isn't? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-24-2011, 09:56 PM
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Unfortunately, "renewable energy" is a meaningless term with no established standards. Like an emperor parading around without clothes, it gets a free pass, because nobody dares to confront an inconvenient truth: None of our current energy technologies are truly renewable, at least not in the way they are currently being deployed. We haven't discovered any form of energy that is completely clean and recyclable, and the notion that such an energy source can ever be found is a mirage.

The full article goes into detail about the non-renewable sources needed for the current crop of "renewable energy".

While I somewhat disagree with the premise that we'll never find a source of renewable energy that fits the bill, I can see the point of this article.
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#2 Old 11-26-2011, 07:30 AM
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The full article goes into detail about the non-renewable sources needed for the current crop of "renewable energy".

While I somewhat disagree with the premise that we'll never find a source of renewable energy that fits the bill, I can see the point of this article.

I don't agree that just because something has flaws that can be criticized, it is therefore "meaningless."

There are various sources of energy that can be ranked according to return on energy invested (or whatever the technical terms is). I think these should be pursued based on those that rank the highest in terms of return on energy invested.
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#3 Old 11-27-2011, 03:41 AM
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I like the linked commentary in the article
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/1110...l/478429a.html

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There are various sources of energy that can be ranked according to return on energy invested (or whatever the technical terms is).

I think the term is bang for your buck.

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I don't agree that just because something has flaws that can be criticized, it is therefore "meaningless."

but lines are blurred. can renewable energy be a flexitarian thing that indulges in some renewable-ish thorium and natural gas once in a while? not like the other renewables are all that renewable anyway, etc.

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#4 Old 11-27-2011, 05:44 AM
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Is the argument in favour of renewable energy sources simply not that, by definition, non-renewable energy sources, at some point in time, will simply run out?

If so then even if renewable energy sources need some non-renewable resources then is it not simply a matter of the best option being the one who's resources will run out last?
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#5 Old 11-27-2011, 10:07 AM
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If so then even if renewable energy sources need some non-renewable resources then is it not simply a matter of the best option being the one who's resources will run out last?

I agree with what you wrote, except for the word "simply."

There are several factors (at least) that make the situation not simple.

1) Energy options are pursued primarily by private firms seeking to make a profit. Some of the worst options (from the standpoint of return on energy invested) are nevertheless the most profitable for private firms and are therefore aggressively pursued. E.g., the Keystone Pipeline.

2) Energy options often have terrible environmental consequences, but these environmental costs are not borne by the private companies that pursue these projects, but rather by the affected public. Hence the incentive calculations are skewed. E.g., the Keystone Pipeline.

3) Many energy options require enormous amounts of capital to pursue and there is a shortage of capital. Hence, some of the best options will not be pursued, while some of the worst options will be pursued because the capital required to pursue them is much more modest.

4) For various reasons, the government comes into all this, and government is often unduly influenced by persons and corporations with the most money to hire lobbyists, make political contributions, etc. Hence, the logically best options will not be pursued but rather those that favor those interests with the most money and political power (like the oil companies).
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