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Can Solar Energy Replace Oil?. The Pretenders IEA, EIA Shell, BP Saudi Aramco Lynch, Adelman Yergin Lovins.

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Presentation on theme: "Can Solar Energy Replace Oil?. The Pretenders IEA, EIA Shell, BP Saudi Aramco Lynch, Adelman Yergin Lovins."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can Solar Energy Replace Oil?

2 The Pretenders IEA, EIA Shell, BP Saudi Aramco Lynch, Adelman Yergin Lovins

3 The Pretenders (closer to home) “ The Commission does not embrace the view that world oil production has peaked — The National Commission on Energy Policy

4 The Hubbert Peak We know it’s coming … but what can we do about it?

5 A flurry of books on the subject …

6 Hubbert's Peak “At the moment, solar and wind power are developing in specialized areas. Neither is an immediate, large-scale solution to the energy problem.” Kenneth S. Deffeyes

7 Beyond Oil “Solar electrical generation is not yet competitive for large- scale facilities... To my surprise, solar cells to produce 60 watts cost $1,000.” Kenneth S. Deffeyes

8 The Party's Over “Photovoltaic electricity is still expensive.” Richard Heinberg

9 The End of Oil “Solar energy technology 'is still too expensive by a factor of four to compete with nuclear and by a factor of three to compete with natural gas,' says Paul Maycock... “Solar faces two related obstacles -- prohibitive costs and a [bad] reputation...” Paul Roberts

10 “But all of them combined -- sun, wind, and water -- could never produce enough energy to replace the astronomical amounts of fossil fuel the West is accustomed to consuming now.” Pierre Chomat Oil Addiction: The World in Peril

11 Global Solar Energy Balance Solar Energy Input (TeraWatts)178,000 Reflected to Space Immediately53,000 Absorbed and Then Reflected as Heat82,000 Used to Evaporate Water (Weather)40,000 Captured by Plant Photosynthesis100 Total Energy Used by Human Society 10 Total Energy Used by US Society2.5 Total Human Food Energy 0.6

12 Oil, Jihad & Destiny “Solar power technology, however, is still in the stone age.” Ronald R. Cooke

13 The Long Emergency “Active solar power... works, though not nearly as well as fossil fuel… “Alternative energy sources... are … implausible … without the subsidy of oil. The only remaining alternative is nuclear energy.” James Howard Kunstler

14 Over a Barrel “... The amount of solar energy that falls on a car yields very marginal performance. “ Current technology for solar- generated electricity results in costly power.” Tom Mast

15 I think they´re trying to tell us something … But wait…. Economics is an instrument of Policy

16 The Energy Cost of Energy 3% decline per year Annual contribution from alternate energy source Cumulative new energy from investment Useful Lifetime 25 Years Net Energy Analysis

17 The Energy Cost of Energy Available (net) Energy after Investment Cumulative new energy from investment Net Energy Analysis

18 Time Consequence of Delayed Investment begin investment before decline Net Energy Production Begin investment during decline

19 Thermodynamics of Coal Plus… Greenhouse gases Ravaged land Water contamination People displaced Extraction uses oil ?

20 Thermodynamics of Oil It depends … Pennsylvania? Saudi Arabia? Off-shore? Plus Ravaged land/oceans Greenhouse gases Water contamination ?

21 Thermodynamics of Tar Sands Plus… Greenhouse gases Ravaged land Water contamination Extraction uses natural gas

22 Thermodynamics of Nuclear ? Plus … Depletion Low grade ores → Greenhouse gases to process Wastes guarded for 10,000+ years … How do we value a 1,000(?) year wasteland?

23 Thermodynamics of Hydrogen A possible solution for special applications? Motivations? Promote nuclear? Promote natural gas? Deliberate distraction? Earnest ignorance?

24 Thermodynamics of PV EROI: 5 years Life: 50 years

25 Thermodynamics of Thin Film PV EROI: 6 months Life: 25 years

26 Thermodynamics of Wind EROI: 3 months Life: 25 years

27 Thermodynamics vs. Economics Policy can´t defeat Mother Nature. … in the long run … Thermo-dynamics wins!

28 Solar Economics: A Brief History Thomas Edison Bucky Fuller Hazel Henderson Hermann Scheer Richard Smalley

29 Thomas Edison “I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” ( )

30 Bucky Fuller “More with Less” 1966

31 Hazel Henderson “The US oil, coal and automobile lobbies are still trying to hold back the future information- based, Solar Age. They should start investing more in this cleaner, greener future.” 1989

32 Colin Campbell “Photovoltaics … will be economic … when there is serious production.” 1996

33 Hermann Scheer “Solar technologies are … potentially the most economic solution.” 2004

34 Richard Smalley “Think TeraWatts” 2004 Smalley.Rice.edu → Our Energy Challenge

35 Solar Industry Response? Goal 50% US electricity by 2025 Target 200 gW by 2030 = 10% How? Federal government procurement $100 m/year R&D investment $250 m/year by 2010 “Enact, modify, establish, boost, support, increase, strengthen, grow…”

36 Swenson´s Law To avoid deprivation resulting from the exhaustion of non- renewable resources, humanity must employ conservation and renewable resource substitutes sufficient to match depletion.

37 The conclusion is simple: We are not doing enough. To spend our depleting energy capital resources effectively, we must first understand the Thermodynamics (EROI) of the alternatives. Economics or Thermodynamics: Which will we choose?

38 Can Solar Energy Substitute for Oil? Yes! Think TeraWatts


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