We only have 6 sources of energy available to us, and if we are going to abandon fossil fuels, we must use ALL the other 5, not just intermittent or localised sources.

Here is what we must choose from:

  1. Fossil fuels, which come from plants, ancient and living, which come from photosynthesis, which comes from the sun – which is a giant nuclear fusion reactor. Ending our addiction to fossil fuels is a prerequisite for long term survival. We can’t go ‘cold-turkey’ so we need a substitute.
  2. Geothermal heat – which comes from the radioactive decay of the core of our planet. This is a weak energy source, and only effective for certain things like heating, and only in some places. We should use it as much as we can.
  3. Wind, which is caused by uneven heating from the sun and resulting pressure gradients. Wind power is intermittent because sometimes it does not blow and other times it blows too hard. When we use wind power, we need reliable backup power – either atomic or fossil fuels.
  4. Hydropower, which is caused by evaporation due to sunlight and resulting rains. This is very effective, but only available in certain places.
  5. Solar, absorption of sunshine in photovoltaic cells. Sunshine is a rare commodity half the time, and in many parts of the world. Solar needs vast amounts of rare metals and takes up huge amounts of space. When we use solar power, we need reliable backup power – either atomic or fossil fuels.
  6. Elements heavier than Iron, like Uranium and Thorium which were formed in Supernova nucleosynthesis from ancient stars. We can very efficiently convert these into power in advanced atomic technologies like the molten salt reactor. The nice thing about atomic is that it produces no emissions at all.

You may have noticed that all our energy choices originate from nuclear fission and fusion.

 

Ultimate Origin of Energy
Ultimate Origin of Energy