Why today’s renewables cannot power modern civilization


Dr. Lars Schernikau has founded, worked, and advised many organizations in the energy, raw material, and coal sectors in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Lars finished his PhD on the economics of energy, commodities, and the global coal business and published two industry trade books (Springer, available on Amazon) in 2010 and 2017.


· Costs for renewable power generation have dropped fast, but they will not improve 10-fold anymore… physical limits will be reached

· Common comparisons of renewables vs. conventional power generation are misleading. One cannot compare marginal costs for intermittent power with costs for base power

· Adding wind and solar to the power grid beyond a certain point is not only uneconomical but hurts the environment

· Gas’ GHG emissions from production to combustion are essential the same as coal, replacing coal with gas will achieve nothing but increase costs

· The material needs and the environmental impact of today’s renewables far out-shadow those for conventional power

The reason renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.” (Forbes, May 2019).

I am all for renewable energy. Our long-term future will need to be all renewable… but is what we are currently doing good for our environment?

The world today is inhabited by close to 8 billion people and we feed our hunger for power to almost 80% with hydrocarbons (coal, gas, oil). Wind and solar make up an estimated 2% of 2017 primary energy, the remainder largely comes from nuclear, hydro and some biomass. Only a 100 years ago we were 2 billion people. Of today’s 8 billion people there are at least 3 billion with no or only erratic access to power… and global population will increase by another 3-4 billion within the next 50 years.

Article URL : https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/17/why-todays-renewables-cannot-power-modern-civilization/

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