… Jim Gibbons on receiving the Desert Research Institute’s annual Nevada Medal this year is here. It’s worth reading. Given the focus this week on solutions, let me quote this part:
Although the fossil fuel industry pedals misinformation, claiming that renewable energies can only be a niche contribution to energy needs, that contention defies common sense. As proof of the contrary, consider just one of the renewable energies, solar power. The technology for solar thermal power stations already exists, power stations can be built rapidly, and as the market for them increases their unit costs will fall steadily, as the cost of coal power continues to rise. There is enough solar energy in a small fraction of our desert Southwest to provide all of the electrical needs of the United States. Nevada has the potential to be a leader in this field, providing power for itself and for distant locations as a low-loss grid is developed. Leadership would provide great economic benefit to Nevada and provide a large number of high-pay jobs and new businesses.
I couldn’t agree more on solar thermal, of course.
Note that renewable “fuels”, in addition to eliminating CO2 emissions, are cost-free and the source will last practically forever. This is in stark contrast to coal. One reason that the cost of coal has been shooting up is that coal is a finite resource requiring increasing efforts for extraction. The notion that the United States has a 200-year supply of economically extractable coal is a myth. I strongly recommend that you invite Prof. David Rutledge of the California Institute of Technology to brief you on current analyses of coal reserves.