The Current Situation:
Electricity Generation, Space Heating, Transportation dominate our uses of energy
Given the fact that the oil WILL run out then sensible choices which are not plauged by NIMBY, for profit only, and corporate lobbying must be made. Can we do this? In other words, our decision making process is so paralyzed by self-interest that its unclear any sensible large scale decision can be made.
Here are the choices where we must recognize that all form have both good and bad points.
Disadvantages: Low efficiency (15%) which can only be compensated for by large collecting areas; significant generation of waste heat ; Very high initial costs; lack of adequate storage materials (batteries); High cost to the consumer although these costs are going down. Current levelized cost is 20-25 cents per KWH.
Given this information, how many square meters of solar panels do
Given this information, how many square meters of solar panels do you need?
Disadvantages: Fish are endangered species; Sediment buildup and dam failure; changes watershed characteristics; alters hydrological cycle
Disadvantages: Highly variable source; relatively low efficiency (30%); unasethetic (visual pollution); disruption of migratory birds (note this is what killed the recently proposed Columbia River Gorge wind turbine project).
Disadvantages: non-renewable (more is taken out than can be put in by nature); highly local resource (EWEB recently abandoned its proposed 10 MegaWatt Facility and Newberry Crater as the geothermal yield was lower than originally thought)
Disadvantages: Enormous engineering effort; Extremely high cost; Damage to coastal environments?