The Great Green Power Bust

I read a story in Wired by Rachel Swaby while I tred the treadmill. It explained how nearly every technology we have created to solve our energy problems, there are always sticky wickets looming. Green Power is struggling, here’s why.

Solar Power. The price for conventional solar cells is down by 40% mostly because of a flood of Chinese imports, heavily subsidized by their government. The US industry is éviserated now. And it’s likely China’s share of the market will only grow.

Wind suffers from natural gas price pain. It’s financial edge and the big capital it takes to build is causing many turbine companies to have mass layoffs and lose money. The most famous was Solyndra, that went belly up after $500 milllion of taxpayer funds. NIMBY is headache for wind power advocates.

Fuel cells are another method that needs a $30 per kilowatt electricity cost, and now it’s at $49. The refueling stations for hydrogen are complicated and very expensive. There would be a need for thousands of them.

Cellulosic biofuels. Large scale cultivation isn’t viable, there is not enough sugars vs the other crops to make it feasible.Cost is four times comparable first gen biofuel plant.

Algae has the 30 times more energy dense than other crops. Yet it’s hard to make in huge quantities and many years of science are needed to make it financially viable.