Prepare to be bombarded with a new factoid.
The World Future Council says the sun and wind are free.
Click for the paper.
I read the intro. I think my “global warming causes tooth decay” thesis (or was it “tooth decay causes global warming”?.. No matter, either one) is more plausible than this totally loony screed.
“The sun and the winds are free. Thus the costs of renewable energy are almost exclusively fixed extraction costs, whilst the use of fossil fuels incurs significant variable costs (reflecting the value of the fuels burnt). The difference between renewables and fossil fuels is not only the zero cost of
renewables but also that they will never be exhausted”
It seems to be a little known fact, referring to the paper, that fossil fuels are needed to mine, transport, and refine the materials used to make those wonderful fossil free energy producers.
1. “Free” energy from solar and/or wind requires a lot of infrastructure.
2. “Free” energy is unreliable at this point and for the foreseeable future.
3. “Free” energy involves significant environmental burdens.
I can believe the world burns $9b of carbon fuels daily. We’ve got 7 billion people to support. That’s less than $1.50 per person per day. Of course it’s distributed in wildly uneven ways — I burn more than that $1.50 on my daily commute, let alone my other energy needs, while a traditional villager in Africa doesn’t burn that much petroleum or coal or methan in a month.
“Fixed extraction costs”? Do they mean “fixed investment/capital costs,” or are they making a slip-of-the-pen and revealing that they foresee seizure of the land needed to host solar and wind facilities and view such seizures as OK. Regardless, even ignoring the capital costs – which, per kWh, are far greater than for fossil-fuel facilities – there are still substantial maintenance (variable) costs for wind and solar. The sun and winds may cost nothing to be available, but making sustained and controlled use of them as energy sources is not. Only a charitable/non-profit organization like WFC (or government) could assert that capital is cost-less and to be ignored when making decisions, and ignore the value of goods and services that are rendered by the “destruction” of fossil fuels.
Here we deniers go again, bringing economics into a discussion about economics. How do we get the nerve?
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