Xcel Energy - Renewable Energy
"Energy, Myths And Realities" By Vaclav Smil
"Energy, Myths and Realities" by Vaclav Smil is the definitive summary book on the energy crisis and alternative energy solutions (with only one notable deficiency).
Vaclav Smil is an extremely distinguished author, he has written 30 acclaimed books plus many scientific articles. He has covered the energy crisis over many years and many volumes. His expertise focuses on applying scientific analysis to the end of cheap oil (Peak Oil) and finding functional replacements to supplement the decrease plus growth. This volume, "Energy, Myths and Realities" is a culmination of his findings on these subjects.
"Energy Myths" is an absolutely mandatory read for the serious thinker on the energy crisis.
A major problem that Smil points out is that many alternative energy proposals are not well thought out, ie they lack supporting numerical calculations. Electric cars for example are much less efficient when calculations are made to consider the additional electrical generation required, transmission issues and storage considerations.
Nuclear energy has a contribution to make but it appears past its peak. If France can not expand upon its commitment then the rest of the world best look elsewhere. Even new, safer reactors still leave the storage problem unresolved.
Wind power is extremely problematical. Tethered helium balloon supported turbines in the jet stream seem highly fanciful. Turbine farms of sufficient size beg the question of backup. As a minor supplement wind turbines can obviously augment existing generation. But as a prime generator where is the base line reliability of fossil fuel generators? Smil calculates the practical wind density and potential generation limits. Both are disappointing for enthusiasts.
Smil makes a significant contribution raising transition issues. While there might indeed be a desirable alternative to fossil fuels, how hard would it be to implement? We have had maybe a hundred and fifty years to put in place the current system at a cost of many billions of dollars. Any new power source would essentially have to start from scratch and compete with the working system. How is the third world to finance additional charges beyond its existing over whelming burden?
And then, why bother? If Peak Oil has not occurred, there may not be the crisis many worry about.
Indeed Smil himself, unwittingly provides an a' priori example of why there is an energy crisis.
On page 9 of the Introduction, Smil says "I should not forget ... geothermal energy, " comparing geothermal to several fringe concepts.
But then he does! Geothermal energy is not seriously mentioned any where in this book, nor any other by Smil. Geothermal energy is his blind spot, and that of the alternative energy community too for that matter.
Smil, for all his scientific training, omits to consider the largest source of energy between here and the sun! The Largest! The interior of the earth is as hot as the surface of the sun! If solar energy is a viable source of alternative energy with its source 93 million miles away, surely geothermal energy only a few miles away is worth considering. For reasons not given, apparently not...
None the less, "Energy, Myths and Realities" by Vaclav Smil is an indispensable reference by a brilliant and distinguished author. I highly recommend it.By F Michael Maish -
What are the advantages of getting Igloo Seats for a Pittsburgh Penguins Game? In detail? (Answers: 2) (Comments: 0)
Going to a game, got Igloo seating, found a bit about what is included with igloo seating, looking for a bit more detail about the lounges and stuff.
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