Renewable Energy

Which is better for the environment: renewable energies, oil, gas, coal or nuclear energy? The environmental damage caused by energy sources can be measured by their ‘footprint’ — the area required to produce a specific amount of energy.

An article in Forbes lists the energy produced per unit area of major energy sources, from which I have calculated the area required to produce a specific amount of energy.

Source W/m2 m2/W
Biofuels 0.05 20
Wind power 1.2 0.8
Solar PV 6.7 0.15
Natural Gas 27 0.04
Oil 28 0.04
Nuclear 56 0.02
LENR 100 0.01

Table 1. Relative environmental damage from power sources in square meters destroyed per Watt of energy produced (m2/W).

Simple math shows that a gas or oil well has a power density at least 22 times that of a wind turbine as so uses 22 times less area for the same power generation. If damage to the environment was the only concern, oil and gas are 22 times more friendly.

The big environmental saviors are nuclear power which has 1000 times greater power density than biofuels, and so is 1000 times more environmentally friendly, and potentially LENR, low energy nuclear reactions, which could pack even more power into a smaller area due to low shielding requirements.

It could be argued that distributed power sources are more efficient because they are located closer to their sources. In fact, this is not the case as a source with low power density requires more resources for transmission lines and storage, reducing the economic viability and potential to scale.

It is obvious from this basic analysis, and has been shown from experience, renewable energies such as biofuels, wind and solar are bad for native fauna and flora.

The inevitable conclusion is that advocates of renewable energy do not care about the environment.

The progress of civilization is characterized by the utilization of denser energy sources. The environment has benefited from the reservation of larger areas of land in their natural state. The inclination to dispersed energy sources is a form of neo-Luddism — opposition to any modern technology.


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