Case Study of "renewables"

SCE Renewables Report, 2011

This report says that "SCE leads the nation in renewable energy"

… and I believe them. For one thing, Southern California is not only well provided with sunshine, it is quite well provided with tectonic advantages, because it's not too far from the "Ring of Fire".
You may have noticed that the installed capacity of the wind component is much larger than the geothermal, but it delivers appreciably less energy. If you transfer their data to a spreadsheet, you will find that the "capacity factor" for the geothermal is slightly over 91% whereas that for the wind turbines is just less than 28%. The 78% for biomass is consistent with the burning of any fuel, except that presumably this small quantity is being renewably grown.

SCE leads the nation in renewable energy

If so, it means that nowhere else in the nation can we expect to get as much as 10% of our electric energy production from non-geothermal "renewables", for quite a long time. But global warming, not to mention the acid pollution of nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and the emission of neurotoxic mercury vapor, implies that we need to replace all of our coal and natural gas burning far sooner than that.

A Better Idea

The energy stored in uranium and thorium nuclei comes from the collapse of enormous stars, as supernovae. Per atom, the nuclear energy vastly exceeds the chemical energy associated with their electron shells. It is enough to have kept the Earth's core molten for 4,500 million years, whereas Kelvin computed that a molten Earth, given the only thermal phenomena of which he was aware, could not have continued to keep the Earth warm for much more than 40 million. And Kelvin was undoubtedly the world's greatest expert on thermal phenomena.
The USA actually developed a reactor that safely consumes all of its neutron capture products, is immune to meltdown, and produces fissile isotopes as fast as it consumes them, for as long as it can be supplied with the non-fissile, relatively plentiful U-238.
The Integral Fast Reactor

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