Part 1 of 2.
There is growing disparity between the climate change community and opposing camps. US President Donald Trump is the latest and most prominent climate change denouncer and has advocated reversing the USA’s limited support of climate change action. Arguments parry back and forth and much time and effort is spent on both sides attempting to disprove the other in ever more hostile rhetoric.
The reality is nobody really knows what will happen in the future. But it doesn’t matter and we don’t even need to have the discussion, and here’s why…
You don’t need to have an argument about switching to renewable energy if renewable energy has compelling advantages over fossil fuels. That’s what Elon Musk realised about electric cars and that’s why his car company is now bigger by market cap than Ford. The Tesla car is a better car. It just happens to be electric. Renewable technology is better than fossil fuel technology in every category. So stop worrying about climate change and let’s get on with adopting renewables.
Let’s start by asking ourselves some very simple and basic questions:
Do we want to spend more and more effort and money exploring the earth to find its finite resources of coal, oil and gas?
Is coal, gas and oil mining easy, worthwhile and fun? Of course not…
Ignoring, for the moment, the climate change argument. Is burning fossil fuels good for you. i.e. Who wants to stand in a closed garage while the engine of your car revs away emitting gases which will kill you. Well, that is what we are doing on a larger scale throughout the earth. In refineries, power stations, cars, central heating boilers, wood fired stoves and gas cookers.
Now think about how we produce electricity using fossil fuels. We burn the fuel to heat water into steam which turns a turbine which has electrical wiring around it, which through mechanically turning the shaft produces electricity by electromagnetism. The method is the same as the power source that powered Stephenson’s Rocket nearly two hundred years ago.
So now, we can ask some other questions.
Are renewables difficult to install… No….
Are they cost effective… Yes
Are they improving constantly. Yes
Have they become cheaper at producing electricity than fossil fuels. YES
Are they unreliable? With battery, superheated salt or other storage technologies. No….
Here’s an example of cost.
A petrol or diesel car with an efficient engine achieves around 60 MPG, at current fuel prices, this costs around £10p per mile to drive. An electric car charging at off peak rates at night costs just 2p per mile to drive. Just from a running cost point of view, the argument is already won.
So here are some other compelling reasons for the world to embrace renewables without worrying about the validity of climate change.
Renewables allow the consumer to be the producer, consumer and supplier of their electricity and therefore take control, ownership and profit.
Excess energy can be stored in home batteries and only when there is a genuine excess, do we sell the remainder back to the grid for profit. Our electric cars are going to be cache stores for home electricity, filling up when we need to travel and supplying the home when we need more electricity than our solar panels or wind turbines are producing.
Renewables along with electric vehicles make every individual their own energy producer, relegating energy companies to operating a peer to peer distribution network with us as their suppliers.
Part 2 coming soon…….