The Obstacle to Renewable Energy (hint: it isn't about costs)

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Columbia University's Geoffrey Heal asks, "can renewable energy save the world?". The answer is dependent on infrastructure and technology, rather than cost:

Where does this leave us with renewables as a solution to the problem of climate change? We can replace some fossil fuel power with renewable power without a major cost increase, but we cannot hope to replace a major fraction of our fossil power with intermittent power sources such as wind and solar – unless we can develop storage technologies. Being able to store power and smooth the output of intermittent power sources would greatly enhance the attractions of renewable power.

The bottom line is that neither costs nor capital requirement will prevent us from decarbonising the electricity supply. The real obstacle to doing this largely with renewables is our current inability to store power, and as long as we cannot store power we will need to use non-renewable sources like nuclear and coal with carbon capture and storage.

Probably a good place to invest some stimulus money.

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