Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy? The Truth About Solar 6 months ago   04:24

Is green energy, particularly wind and solar energy, the solution to our climate and energy problems? Or should we be relying on things like natural gas, nuclear energy, and even coal for our energy needs and environmental obligations? Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress explains.
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Are wind and solar power the answer to our energy needs? There’s a lot of sun and a lot of wind. They’re free. They’re clean. No CO2 emissions. So, what’s the problem?

Why do solar and wind combined provide less than 2% of the world’s energy?

To answer these questions, we need to understand what makes energy, or anything else for that matter, cheap and plentiful.

For something to be cheap and plentiful, every part of the process to produce it, including every input that goes into it, must be cheap and plentiful.

Yes, the sun is free. Yes, wind is free. But the process of turning sunlight and wind into useable energy on a mass scale is far from free. In fact, compared to the other sources of energy -- fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power, solar and wind power are very expensive.

The basic problem is that sunlight and wind as energy sources are both weak (the more technical term is dilute) and unreliable (the more technical term is intermittent). It takes a lot of resources to collect and concentrate them, and even more resources to make them available on-demand. These are called the diluteness problem and the intermittency problem.

The diluteness problem is that, unlike coal or oil, the sun and the wind don’t deliver concentrated energy -- which means you need a lot of additional materials to produce a unit of energy.

For solar power, such materials can include highly purified silicon, phosphorus, boron, and a dozen other complex compounds like titanium dioxide. All these materials have to be mined, refined and/or manufactured in order to make solar panels. Those industrial processes take a lot of energy.

For wind, needed materials include high-performance compounds for turbine blades and the rare-earth metal neodymium for lightweight, specialty magnets, as well as the steel and concrete necessary to build structures -- thousands of them -- as tall as skyscrapers.

And as big a problem as diluteness is, it’s nothing compared to the intermittency problem. This isn’t exactly a news flash, but the sun doesn’t shine all the time. And the wind doesn’t blow all the time. The only way for solar and wind to be truly useful would be if we could store them so that they would be available when we needed them. You can store oil in a tank. Where do you store solar or wind energy? No such mass-storage system exists. Which is why, in the entire world, there is not one real or proposed independent, freestanding solar or wind power plant. All of them require backup. And guess what the go-to back-up is: fossil fuel.

Here’s what solar and wind electricity look like in Germany, which is the world’s leader in “renewables”. The word erratic leaps to mind. Wind is constantly varying, sometimes disappearing completely. And solar produces little in the winter months when Germany most needs energy.

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Comments 4904 Comments

Wind and solar are now the cheapest way to produce energy and their cost is falling. We need further improvements to battery and other storage tech to make renewables + storage come in at a lower cost than coal or gas energy generation. Also keep in mind that the cost of fossil fuel doesn't factor in the environmental cost of their production.
Jeff Bowers
Furthermore we have a diesel generator just in case but we have never had to use it since we put the solar system into service. Nice try Prager u but you are just a bunch of hobknobs spreading disinformation and misleading people with your inaccurate non facts and simply wrong opinions. You should really try some honest research before spouting off a bunch of wrongheaded info on a public forum. Oh yeah your not a school or a university, just thought that you might want to be reminded of that because schools and universities are where people go to learn facts, do real research and learn to think for themselves. One most important thing many people never learn is when to keep their mouth shut.
Maybe you all at Prager u should try listening, asking thoughtful questions and keeping your mouths shut for a spell. Couldn't do any harm, whereas throwing around inaccurate opinion based testimonials on subjects you obviously know nothing about just makes you look stupid or worse and could actually do people harm if they listen and don't check your supposed (false) facts. In closing I will add that the one and only problem I have had with going fully solar powered is trying to figure out just how I'm going to spend the $200,000.00 to $360,000.00 that I will save over the next 25 years by not paying outrageous electric bills and stuffing the pockets of Big Oil and their cronies. You see we used pay 42 cents per KWh to the incompetent utility provider who left us in the dark for 4-1/2 months after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
Now we've made an investment of $36,000 which will pay for itself in five years and save/make us money while providing us comfort and security.
Food for thought : $700.00 to $1,200.00 monthly utility bills from an unreliable and negligent electric provider that will most assuredly raise rates every year by 5%-10%.
Hey Prager u let's do some math. $1,000.00 x12 months = $12,000.00
$12,000 x 20 years equals $240,000.00 -thats with no accounting for rate raises which would be exponential as is inflation.
Hmm, what to do with all that money ? Hey, I know. I'll send my kids to a really good (real) college that has a science department, a library a nice courtyard for some thoughtful reflection, etc.
Prager u, stop putting out unfounded and fake reports and try doing something truly beneficial for the people you try to address.
Jeff Bowers
Your head is diluted !
I just noticed that the sun has come up every single day since I was born.
And funny thing is I have my own free standing independent solar power system on my roof which just so happens to produce 40-60 KWh every single day which powers our home and two rental units fully. And even more silly is we don't even use all the power we produce so we give 10-20 KWh back to the grid and our community each and every day. We use our shiny new lithium batteries to run on all night long (yes air conditioning in all three levels too) and we never suffer from the utility grids regular daily power outages, brownouts and appliance frying power spikes.
Extra bonuses include :
Never having to pay another power bill as long as I live. Feeling good about being environmentally friendly.
Feeling secure in our independent home and sharing it with others.
And sleeping comfortably at a nice cool air conditioned 72 degrees each night as we aren't too far from the equator and it tends to get a bit toasty !
potholer is making a living off of dunking on prager(u) *

* not an actual university.
glenn Winn
Personally I'm interested in seeing what happens with the current research in Thorium Reactor technology. Thorium is much more common than Uranium (we could fuel the entire planets energy needs for over 1000 years just with the thorium deposits we know about now), the products of the nuclear reaction have a half life of several minutes as opposed to 5000 years, and the initial designs I've seen make it both impossible to melt down or weaponize. The primary proponent I saw lecturing even suggests that with the abundance of cheep energy we would get from this new system we could look into other processes that were previously uneconomical like pulling smog out of the air and converting it to ethanol and other forms of fuel. There really isn't much of a down side to this. Now we just have to make sure it works.
Grigori Rasputin
Best renewable energy plan ever? Lots of kids... and stationary bikes.
... You're welcome.
Nuclear power is not a good idea.
99% of Norways energy comes from Hydropower.
Norway is the king of hydropower.
Songkok Tinggi
Lol even conservative in the comment section agree that fossil fuel is shit. The conservative and liberal agree that fossil fuel is a shit energy source. They just disagree on what they should replace it with. Solar and wind energy for liberal while nuclear for conservative.

Come on PragerU, you gotta up your propaganda game otherwise your corporate oil master gonna be mad at you. You don't wanna lose that oil money sponsor right?
Jacob Maziarz
Prager U needs to make a video on why nuclear power is safe and efficient, contrary to what the hippies and leftists would have everyone believe.
beki tube here you can see how much renewable energy produce germany each day
Peter B.
Use the sun with carefully placed windows and skylights. Heat for the winter. Open the m in the summer.
Lane Walters
Costly aye? Cost is a human thing. Blame the elites and their fake money.
Antônio Fernandes Silva e Sousa Neto
Maybe, if research continues, these energy sources can become cheaper.
Anonym M
I say nuclear (thorium) until we have the capability to build a Dyson sphere.
Charles Seymour
You must turn back to nuclear Germany! You were fools to turn away from nuclear power.
josh harrington
At 3:28 that’s bull you can even look it up Germany runs on 30 percent renewables and by 2050 they want to run on 80% renewable ps this guy is biased an full of it to push his Political agenda Wind isn’t perfect but don’t bs Prager
David Coghlan
I use both solar and wind for my off grid back yard. I use it to charge my Prius Hybrid during the day light hours, and all the power tools in my garage. I have saved small fortune in gasoline. All the power generated is stored in my 24 volt battery system.
Wow. An actual honest-to-goodness accurate and honest PragerU video? The world must be ending. I guess it's true what they say about stopped clocks.
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The Truth About Solar Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy? 6 months ago   11:04

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For a long time, solar power has been very much hated from a cost-benefit standpoint but things are starting to turn around for the technology. Around the world, progress is being made to make solar power a viable alternative.

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