a civilization rebuild coincides with my favorite place my room essay a reduction in available energy, that would again mean that our renewable future will not be an extension of the expansive economic thrust of the 20th century. Back to the top Images via shutterstock: Solar city, Power lines, Ethanol plant in field, Phone charging, Photovoltaic panel, Solar thermal collectors, Wind turbines, Electric car: Olga Besnard / m, Bike part. Energy geeks have a vocabulary to describe thisthey say solar and wind power are intermittent, variable, stochastic, or chaotic. Grid managers tend to say that the inflection point arrives when solar and wind power provide about 30 percent of total electricity demand, though one computer model suggests it could be put off until 80 percent market penetration is achieved. As solar panels get cheaper, more homes and businesses install them; this imposes intermittency-smoothing costs on utility companies, which then raise retail prices to ratepayers. But Ive concluded that many of us, like Koningstein and Fork, have been asking the wrong questions of renewables. As batteries get cheaper, electric cars could become the industry standard; reduced gasoline demand would likely force the price of oil below its marginal production cost.
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Sometimes the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, sometimes not. We built the modern world with the assumption that we would always have more energy with similar characteristics to maintain, operate, and short essay on trees are our best friends replace this staggering and still-growing array of machines, structures, and support systems. We felt that with steady improvements to todays renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change, write Ross Koningstein and David Fork, key members of the RE C project team. Reluctantly but increasingly, we may have to adapt the ways we use energy to suit the quantities and inherent qualities of the energy available. But in many instances it may be unaffordable to adapt either the energy source or the usage system; in those cases, we will simply do without services we had become accustomed. Granted, there is a lot of uncertainty here. on one hand, the fossil fuel industry claims that its products deliver unique economic benefits, and that giving up coal, oil, and natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources like solar and wind will entail sacrifice and suffering ( this gives a flavor. Nuclear boosters advocate new fuels (thorium) or technologies (fast breeder reactors) to address these concerns. This latter energy expenditure is easily overlooked. We must shift to using natural, locally available building materials, and more labor-intensive construction methods, while dramatically reducing the rate of new construction.