Stanford Research Ranks Energy Options  

Posted by Big Gav

WorldChanging has a post on a new study from Stanford University that looks at our energy options and ranks wind and solar thermal top, with nculear and "clean" coal tied for last place - New Research Ranks Top Renewable Energy Options.

New research from Stanford University ranks wind power as the most promising alternative source of energy. Titled Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, the report from civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson ranks the world's energy options -- putting wind, concentrated solar and geothermal at the top of the list, and nuclear power and coal with carbon capture and sequestration in a tie for dead last. ...

From his findings, Jacobson is able to suggest that the U.S. government invest money and create jobs around the development of wind, solar and geothermal:

"There is a lot of talk among politicians that we need a massive jobs program to pull the economy out of the current recession," Jacobson said. "Well, putting people to work building wind turbines, solar plants, geothermal plants, electric vehicles and transmission lines would not only create jobs but would also reduce costs due to health care, crop damage and climate damage from current vehicle and electric power pollution, as well as provide the world with a truly unlimited supply of clean power."

Although wind energy cannot do it alone, Jacobson remarks, we can use a combination of the cleanest renewables to create a powerful, stable and consistent supply of energy for the United States. Here is how Jacobson ranks the renewables, from best to worst:

Best to worst electric power sources:

1. Wind power
2. concentrated solar power (CSP)
3. geothermal power
4. tidal power
5. solar photovoltaics (PV)
6. wave power
7. hydroelectric power
8. a tie between nuclear power and coal with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)

In addition to being a "dirtier" from of renewable energy, Jacobson adds that nuclear takes longer to plan, permit and construct. Also, it brings up major security issues, since finding and refining uranium for the plants has the potential to increase terrorist activity.

5 comments

Anonymous   says 8:13 AM

Nuclear is ranked so far down because the author has included the GHGs that would be emitted from the buildings/trees/people that he calculates would burn when there is the statisically inevitable nuclear war (because the nuclear facilities would end up making weapons grade material). what does anyone else think of that???
bigmikey2

Can you quote the relevant section of the document or are you just making this up ?

I would expect nuclear to come last or second last regardless, based on both construction and decommissioning costs (let alone all the other externalities related to security, uranium mining, enrichment and waste storage).

Anonymous   says 7:35 AM

the comment about emissions from the consequences of nuclear war are on page 21 of the 55 page document. I was pulling your leg about burning people, but the other stuff is real. I would see if you can call the author to confirm ( he seems very approachable)

Anonymous   says 7:37 AM

Have you looked at page 64 of the Jan 09 issue of Pop Science?

No - what does it say ?

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