Renewable energy economics revisited

EE&T's sister publication Machine Design recently published a piece on a National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Geoffrey Heal, a business professor at Columbia University, who analyzed the comparitive economics of various renewable energy technologies. Among Heal's conclusions was that the intermittancy of renewable sources prevents them from helping to handle utility base loads, and that the energy storage needed to make such sources viable for base load use are never factored into the cost/watt figures thrown around in the media.

A slightly different viewpoint can be found in a recent post on Derek Abbott, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Adelaide in Australia argues that a solar-hydrogen economy is more sustainable and provides a vastly higher total power output potential than any other alternative. In an invited paper for an IEEE journal, he shows that solar-hydrogen should be the final goal of current energy policy. Eventually, as he suggests, this single dominant solution might supply 70% of the world's energy while the remaining 30% is supplied by a mix of other sources.

Here is the Machine Design piece:

Here is the post:

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