Thursday, April 21, 2011

Energy Flows...

Reader Doug S. passes along this very cool chart of energy flows in the U.S. for a recent year (2009), from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.  He points out that the chart makes it clear how difficult it would be to use wind or solar power to replace our other energy sources.  There are lots of other insights like that to be had by studying this for a bit...

1 comment:

  1. I had this discussion with a friend of mine yesterday. That the power generated by wind and solar is so minuscule in comparison to everything else that it just can't replace fossil fuel generating capacity. Every time I drive through the palm springs area and see the miles and miles of wind generators and realize that is barely enough for one small city it just doesn't make much sense.

    I don't see anything that indicates what rejected energy is in the chart. This is excess energy produced but not consumed?

    I was talking with my friend also about how we have to have such excess generating capacity in part because there is no storage mechanism. Spin up or down generators as demand changes instead and the losses as the power is transmitted.

    I'm by no means "against" wind or solar energy, but it is clear that it cannot possibly replace existing sources from fossil fuels with current technology. Its not practical. Probably the best bet would be solar and/or wind on every house but even heavily subsidized and well known technology, I would never make my money back on it.