The observation that the manufacture, delivery, installation, and maintenance of "clean" energy devices can, and on a regular basis does, cost more energy than the device is expected to return over its lifetime is not new and regularly features in sources which you probably do not read.

It's a well-known problem that people of a particular ideological persuasion tend to studiously ignore.

That may be true, but it also isn't at all the problem being discussed by the article JoshuaZ linked to.

  • The (alleged) problem you describe: implementing "better" sources of energy may cost more energy than they ever deliver, so that by any reasonable criterion they make things worse rather than better overall.
  • The (alleged) problem the linked article describes: implementing "better" sources of energy, even if in the long-enough run they save much more energy than they cost, may cost more in the short term than we can afford to use.

(... (read more)

2JoshuaZ5yThe claim here is not that the energy use won't make return over its lifetime is not the claim being made here. (And that's incidentally false: the EROEI for wind and solar and nuclear are all much greater than 1. See e.g. the table here []). What's being argued here is much more interesting and subtle, namely that there's a separate problem because the energy return is occurring over a long period of time.

Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read31st Mar 2015180 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

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