Solar, wind, natural energy take resources to implement
In the June 23 letter, “Solar and wind energy easily outlasts oil supply,” the author chides another author “who’s all excited about a 100-year supply of oil and natural gas in the United States, as if that were a lot.”
He then goes on to state “20,000 times the energy that humanity uses in a single year falls onto the earth as solar energy. And every single year, seven times more energy than all of humanity uses in a year is available from wind.”
In a sense, the sun will supply an infinite amount of “clean” energy to the earth forever rather than “a piddly 100 years.” Hence, he asks the question, “Why are we investing in technology that will be obsolete in 100 years as opposed to something that’s infinite? What’s blocking progress?” He blames the greediness of oil and gas industry executives and the “gullible public that believes it.”
There is currently an enormous effort to produce more solar power and to build more windmills in this country. We’re seeing it happen right here in Buffalo. But, as often as is the case, “The devil is in the details,” namely the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the enormous amount of research and technology needed, the expansion of the power infrastructure required, and last but not least, the dollars and patience required of the public.
Oil and natural gas represent the “low-hanging fruit” to get us through to the time when solar, wind and other natural energy sources can free us from our bondage to oil and gas.
Thomas W. Weber