It’s interesting that you accuse me of “anti-science” when you’re peddling debunked myths about renewables and outdated information in your arguments.
Wind is indeed location dependent, but not nearly as stringent as you might think. There are plenty of places where wind is extremely viable, despite it not being “ideal” as the map you show claims. The legend does specify, but I suspect that map shows places where the capacity factor for renewables is very high - likely over 80%. However, it is not necessary to have such a high capacity factor for projects to be viable - most existing sources of energy have capacity factors of 40%-60%, yet are still fully operational. Therefore, if we expanded that map to show places where that capacity factor for renewables was above, say, 50% instead of 80%, that map would be drastically different. The part of Canada where I live for example, is shown on your map as having almost no viability at all for renewables, yet we have some major wind and solar projects underway that will lead to some of the highest growth in renewable generation capacity in North America - and that is under a government that has not been very supportive of the industry. As for transmission, that is nonsense. Europe has an interconnected transmission network that operates over thousands of kilometers, which is one of its strongest assets in terms of helping expand renewable generation and easing fluctuations in generation. It will certainly need upgrading over the next decade or two, but it is neither “inefficient” nor unviable. I will also add that the map you shared does not show the vast potential for offshore wind energy and floating wind and solar plants, of which many countries are already utilizing.
What I said above regarding capacity factors applies to solar as well, which massively increases the viable area that is purportedly shown in your map. That solar “is incredibly carbon intensive to make” has already been debunked many, many times. Study after study shows that solar has comparable lifetime emissions to wind and nuclear, which have the lowest lifetime emissions of any generation solutions. Here is an outdated study on the matter, which does not take into account the fact that emissions from PV manufacturing have fallen considerably in just 3 years:
- Battery technology is not the only way to store energy for consumption during night time. Gravity-assisted storage, hydro-based storage options, and power-to-X technology will play a large role in energy storage. Keep in mind that wind energy continues to generate throughout the night. And even when considering battery power, keep in mind that we already have the technology to build low-lithium batteries, and that does not even take into account promising solid-state batteries that will likely be commercialized in the next decade.
The source you published on the costs of electricity generation is wildly outdated. Keep in mind that the cost of solar has gone down dramatically over the past 2 decades, and even more so in the past two years. Here is what the International Energy Agency had to say in a study published yesterday:
As for fusion, I agree that it is a moonshot, and it will likely take decades before the technology can be viable and commercialized for electricity generation. That’s why I specifically said, in my post, that it is a long-term solution. But there have already been some important realizations in the field, specifically at ITER, where fusion has been successfully demonstrated while taking in less energy than is produced. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome, but if fusion ever becomes viable, it will be a cheap, clean, and radioactive waste-free source of nuclear energy.
Renewables are cheaper to produce, safer to operate, easier to maintain, much faster to build, require less capital investment, produce no radioactive waste, and can vastly decentralize energy generation, which is important for overall grid resilience. The only upside to nuclear is low lifetime emissions, but those emissions are matched by renewables, and will likely be overtaken by them this decade. Therefore, from a competitive point of view, nuclear has basically nothing going for it anymore. It is no wonder that investment in nuclear energy has fallen to record lows in recent years.