12/08/2016

Talking Straight


In the energy discourse we are sometimes very careful but hey, once in a while we have to talk straight. Here is what we have to say respecting some energy sources:

  • Fracking: yes, it creates earthquakes (sometimes). However, since natural gas mostly replaces coal, this is the fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions (and increase methane ones). Also, renewables need reliable, dispatchable pairing power plants and natural gas is ideal in this application.
  • Nuclear: there will be more nuclear power plant accidents. Let's get over it. Yet, in spite of the future accidents nuclear will almost certainly continue to be the safest energy we have. The greatest danger seems to be to overreact and order evacuations when they are not really needed. There is an inherent danger in modern life (just like in flying in an airplane) but hey, we are much, much better off than we were in the past. Oh, and by the way, nuclear is very low CO2. Lower than solar and a match for wind. Are you listening Greenpeace?
  • Coal is better than wood and much better than no energy at all. Coal is today, by far, the #1 source of electricity globally. I think almost everybody agrees electricity is good, so coal is also good (although not as good as natural gas or nuclear). And yes, it could be argued coal saved the forests (the ones we still have left today).
  • Oil is the best transportation fuel. If not, why do you think almost every car, ship and plane is oil powered? Our world would be much, much smaller without oil. Let's stop complaining and feel grateful for what we have. Will EVs eventually take over? Let's remove all their subsidies and see if they can compete in the open market.
  • Renewables: they are a niche energy source but vast amounts of subsidies are being channeled to "clean energy" companies all over the world and in particular to China. Hey, these people have families to feed. Want to see a success story in Europe? Look at the stock price of Vestas. 
  • Geothermal, wave / tide energy, etc. These are super niche energy sources. They work in some places like Iceland or Korea but will go nowhere. However, they are a great conversation subject.
Having access to abundant, affordable energy is the blessing of our civilization. Actually, our civilization would crumble in no time at all without energy. Most of this energy is, and will continue to be, fossil fuel based.

Sure, eventually (eventually doesn't mean soon) nuclear may take over but until then, let's say it all together: I love fossil fuels!

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram


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