Category Archives: Alternative Energy

Why solar power can’t save us from the coming energy crisis

Preface. Embedded within the posts below are many reasons why solar electricity can’t replace fossil fuels.  All solar and wind do is add to the giant fire of burning fossil fuels with just a tiny bit more power, about 4% … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, CSP with thermal energy storage, Solar, Solar EROI | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Hydropower can’t help with the energy crisis

Preface. When fossil fuels are gone, there aren’t many ways to balance the unreliable, intermittent, and often absent for weeks at a time power from wind and solar.  Biofuels and burning biomass is one solution, it’s dispatchable and can kick … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Hydropower | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

High-Tech can’t last: there are limited essential elements

There are 17 rare earth elements in the periodic table. About nine of those elements go into every iPhone sold… and if China were suddenly to disappear from a map tomorrow, Apple would lose about 90% of those elements.  Source: … Continue reading

Posted in ! PEAK EVERYTHING, Alternative Energy, Cascading Failure, Important Minerals, Microchip Fabrication stops, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Utility scale energy storage has a long way to go to make renewables possible

What follows comes from my book “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation” , which is also where you’ll find the references backing up what I’ve written below. I often get letters from people about energy breakthroughs … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, Critical Thinking, Electric Grid, Electricity, Renewable Integration | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

46 Reasons why wind power can not replace fossil fuels

Preface. Electricity simply doesn’t substitute for all the uses of fossil fuels, so windmills will never be able to reproduce themselves from the energy they generate — they are simply not sustainable.  Consider the life cycle of a wind turbine … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The U.S. Military on Peak Oil and Climate Change

Preface. I find that of all the government branches, the military is the most realistic about the implications of Peak Oil and Climate Change.  The Department of Defense is also the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, spending … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Military | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Vaclav Smil: from wood to coal to oil, energy transitions take a long time

Preface.  This post has a shortened, reworded, and heavily commented on article from Scientific American in 2014.  You can also see two much longer articles about energy transitions by Smil from n 2008 and 2010 here: Vaclav Smil: Our transition … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Coal, Dependence on Oil, Energy, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book review of Vaclav Smil’s “Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects”

Preface.  In my extract of the 178 pages in the book below, Smil explains why renewables can’t possibly replace fossil fuels, and appears to be exasperated that people believe this can be done when he writes “Common expectations of energy … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The electric grid: fragile, filthy, poorly managed, polluting, inefficient, corrupt

Preface. Most forms of alternative energy depend on the electric grid (nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower). But the Grid is falling apart.  Most people who care about climate change believe electrifying everything will solve our problems. This energy section of … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Blackouts, Books, Electricity, Energy | 3 Comments

Challenges & opportunities for alternative transportation fuels and vehicles. U.S. House hearing, 2011

Congress is aware that an energy crisis looms, though they seldom acknowledge or deal with it.  Here are a few excerpts from this hearing: Michael F. Doyle, Pennsylvania.   It seems like we repeat this cycle in this country decade after … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy Dependence, Energy Policy, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment