The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts exciting news for drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by using solar PV and wind. However, history shows that previous energy producing sources (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas) required several decades to register a major impact on society.
NOAA Claims: “According to… NOAA, the United States could cut electricity-produced greenhouse gas emissions by 78% below 1990 levels within 15 years, while still meeting increased electricity demand across the country. The new study, published online in the journal Nature Climate Change, is based on a sophisticated mathematical model that evaluated future cost, demand, generation, and transmission scenarios. Specifically, the model found that improvements in transmission infrastructure would allow weather-driven renewable energy resources such as wind and solar to supply most of the United States’ electricity demand at costs similar to today’s.”
History Shows: In a recent blog post, I wrote, “A professor at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Smil has published 35 books and over 400 papers on energy, technical innovation, environment, risk assessment and public policy. In a Scientific American article (January, 2014), he stressed the fact that any new energy producing technology requires several decades before achieving a significant impact on society. That was true for coal, oil and natural gas in terms of share of world energy supply. (Please see page 29 of this reference for graphs of energy production as a function of years starting at the 5 percent energy level.) Why should renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, be any different?”
Who is correct? NOAA or history?Greenhouse Gas, NOAA, SBIR Consultant, SolarPV, Wind