Reply To: Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else

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“So let us cut down forests ( which take in Carbon) and grow food crops for turning into fuel, so cars can run less efficiently, is this joined up thinking?
All utter maddness.”

“Where my daughter lives they are starting to cover the fields with Solar. Land owners can earn more money from Solar,…..Solar is very inexpensive, it is very easy to install in a field.”

Maybe you ought to try some joined up thinking yourself MN. It’s not ok to use land for biofuel crops (with which I agree) but it is ok to use it for solar?

Solar panels are at best 20% efficient at converting the sun’s energy to electricity. Yes there are more efficient multi layered panels but they are enormously expensive and generally only go to space satellites. Silicon is cheap but the rare earth metals needed to dope the silicon are not. The large batteries required to store the generated electricity also require rare earth metals. Nor will those panels be cheap to dispose of when they reach end of life. Solar only works during the day (even in sunny climates) and is only producing electricity when the sun shines, something that doesn’t happen in the UK or anywhere else in Northern Europe for 8 months of the year. It’s the dumbest choice for northern europe.

Electricity is only part of the equation. Heating homes and buildings and transport (cars, trucks, planes, ships) all burn fossil fuels directly to produce heat and engine power. No electricity involved. As I pointed out above, taken from UK Gov report on energy, Solar produces 0.6% of the UK’s total energy needs. It almost might as well not be there at all.

You say solar is inexpensive. Have you ever looked at the cost of a home solar installation?

Initially I’d have been in the renewables camp, I mean, who wouldn’t with the promise of abundant free energy right? The more I look at it the more I realise it isn’t free nor abundant and the main goto for renewables, wind and solar, take up land and require hard building and resources that themselves have to be mined and have other crippling limitations around reliability. Solar works only when the sun shines even clouds interrupt, wind only works when the wind blows. Wind at least can be placed off shore. They can contribute, for sure, but they are not a credible replacement for all of our current energy needs.

It’s not that I like the idea of Nuclear to be honest but it is the only credible carbon free alternative to fossil fuels with capacity to generate enough energy for our needs without the landuse issues renewables have. Plus it’s comparably efficient to what we use now, produces energy 24 hours a day, isn’t weather limited and can be scaled to demand both in terms of how much is needed overall and in terms of being able to be matched to real time changes in minute to minute demand.