Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy


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Here I argue that feasibility is clear, so only the transition question is relevant. To demonstrate feasibility and estimate cost of renewable electricity systems, researchers use computer models that calculate potential production from different technologies at each point in time, based on changing weather conditions. A model reveals which combination of electricity sources and energy storage systems has the lowest cost while always meeting demand.

Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy

These are mature technologies with known costs. While these may be used in the future, the need to address climate change is urgent, and in my estimation, the mature technologies suffice. But models show that the United States does not need nuclear energy to retire fossil fuels. Despite this location sensitivity, studies in disparate places are finding similar results. Having a diversity of renewable sources can reduce costs.

For example, in the United States, large-scale solar farms can be more than 1, times larger than residential rooftop systems and about half the cost.

by Mazur, Allan

To minimize cost, we build large systems. We also need more electricity for applications like transportation that currently use fossil fuels. This means the grid must grow. Pumped hydro uses any extra energy in the grid to pump water uphill, and when energy is needed, the water runs back down to generate power in a turbine.

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With grid expansion, storage may be located at a distance from users. Hydroelectricity and biomass power are available on demand, so having these in a renewable electric grid shrinks the energy storage need and reduces cost.

Both have environmental effects that must be managed. Hydropower can alter local ecosystems. Renewable energy systems require land. Biomass energy requires much more land than wind or solar, so biomass must be a small part of the renewable energy solution.

Researchers

But avoiding the worst effects of climate change means quitting fossil fuels, whether or not this saves money. Still, the renewable transition will be faster and politically easier if it is less expensive. A combination of renewable sources and energy storage — the specific combination depending on local conditions and preferences — can supply all the electricity needed at an affordable price, and will reduce air pollution to boot.

But government policies are needed to make a transition to renewable energy.

Chapter 4 — Global Warming of ºC

Climate change is an external cost — borne by society rather than by energy producers — so market forces alone will not make the transition. And public support is needed: For example, public acceptance of transmission lines to move electricity from the windy Great Plains to city centers is another challenge for an all-renewable grid. Research from me and others shows that fully renewable electric grids are feasible with current technology at current prices; barriers to using renewable electricity are more political and cultural than technological or economic.

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The views shared in this article reflect solely the opinions of the author. Are You an Aspirational Recycler? X Account Login Forgot your password? Cost of exploitation and production - wages count towards the overall cost of energy production. This has led to some resources being unprofitable, eg the UK has coal supplies, but it is too expensive to exploit them.

When the global price of oil increases, drilling becomes profitable in many harder to reach locations Technology - improvements in technology can open up new opportunities for energy use. Fracking is the process of extracting shale gas.

Humans have the solutions to address climate change. The question is: Do we have the will?

The USA now carries out fracking, which has increased their energy supplies. Wind turbines and solar panels are becoming more efficient and so these are being used in more countries. Political factors - war can destroy energy resources or make them difficult to exploit. Corruption can mean that money is spent on things other than energy projects. In , Iraqi troops withdrew from their invasion of neighbouring Kuwait. As they left, they set fire to many of the country's oil wells.


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Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy
Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy
Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy
Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy
Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy

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