renewable energy

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Argument from incredulity

A few days back one of my favorite writers, David Roberts at Grist posted an article titled We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy. This was based on an article in WIREs Climate Change, A critical review of global decarbonization scenarios: what do they tell us about feasibility? by a group of authors including Jesse Jenkins, a young energy analyst I've also been following for a while. Andy Revkin at dot Earth picked up on Roberts' post as a positive sign, while Joe Romm at Climate Progress had a rather pointed critique.

I don't want to get into the details of the report or most of these arguments here; there was just one point that I thought was very odd when highlighted in Roberts' post, and exemplified by the following figure from the report:

Roberts quotes the authors as follows on this:

These studies also envision a normalized build-out of generating capacity in the range of 5-23 GW/year/$T of GDP, or 1.4-15 times faster than historical experience. These unprecedented rates are a consequence of both the relatively low-capacity factors of wind and solar as well as increased demand due to the assumed widespread electrification of the economy.

What struck me was this measure of "build-out of generating capacity" in GW/year/$T of GDP. The graph suggests past experience on this measure should be a guide to the future, and therefore the Jacobson, WWF, etc. scenarios are unlikely to be feasible. But why did the authors pick this measure?

How to lose money in the stock market without really trying

Buy high, sell low. Works every time. The other day I sold stock for $1800 that I had originally purchased for $12,000, and was happy to do it. Read on for the details!

Most of our "playground" investment portfolio (as opposed to the serious ones in retirement and college funds) is invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency-related company stocks. It's actually doing pretty well this year, up almost 85%. Of course, that doesn't quite make up for the 55% drop in 2008, but anyway... I'm fairly confident that these companies are doing things that are essential for the future of our nation and our world, so I'm happy to invest in them even when that investment ends up being at a loss. But Daystar Inc (DSTI) was a bit of a special case.

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