30 July, 2007
The most interesting energy news last week dealt with the negative environmental aspects of renewable energies, as Jesse Ausubel, one of the leading US academics on energy and climate change policies, launched a damning attack on the “green” credentials of renewable energy projects. Ausubel looked at the vast areas of land that would have to be used to ramp up the use of solar, wind and biomass energy and concluded that renewables are not as green as they are claimed to be. His conclusion: “To reach the scale at which they would contribute importantly to meeting global energy demand, renewable sources of energy, such as wind, water and biomass, cause serious environmental harm. Measuring renewables in watts per square metre that each source could produce smashes these environmental idols“.
Furthermore, Ausubel advocates the use of more nuclear in combination with the production of hydrogen to decarbonise our economy. “Nuclear energy is green,” Ausubel claims, “considered in Watts per square meter, nuclear has astronomical advantages over its competitors”.
Clean energy expert Joe Romm (the author of the excellent “Hell and High Water“) debunks most of Ausubel’s arguments on his Climate Progress blog, questioning Ausubel’s figures and his belief in the nuclear hydrogen future.
In March 2007, the European Union set itself an ambitious target of 20% use of renewables for its energy consumption by 2020. According to a report by Greenpeace and the Europan Renewable Energy Council, half of the world’s energy needs in 2050 can be met by renewables and improved efficiency.Author : Willy De Backer