by Jerome a Paris
Sun Feb 10th, 2008 at 03:44:40 PM EST
Nuclear energy fan NNadir, sneering at renewable energy, in diaries and comment last year:
I say that it would be thrilling if wind energy could produce as much energy as hydroelectricity (10 exajoules) in the next twenty years but that on the other hand I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
Did either form of energy, solar or wind, produce a single exajoule of energy on this planet, anything close to the 30 exajoules or primary energy produced by nuclear energy?
Do either have them have a snowball's chance in hell of producing the 120 exajoules of primary energy now produced by coal?
Well, according to the latest statistics from the European Wind energy Association and the Global Wind Energy Council, we're well on our way.
Installed capacity in Europe at the end of 2007 is able to produce 0.43 EJ/y, and the worldwide capacity was about 0.75 EJ. But given that thermal efficiency of coal-fired generation is, at best, 40%, that wind capacity is the equivalent of 1 EJ of primary coal energy for Europe, and close to 2EJ for worldwide capacity.
Given that the capacity built just during last year will generate 0.17 EJ/y of net energy, and that yearly installations are growing by 25-30% per annum, we'll be close to the 1EJ/y line by the end of this year - again, for net energy.
Wind will have proven its capacity to generate electricity on a large scale - despite still being an industry in its infancy that has yet to be taken seriously by many "deciders" - as proven by how little it has been subsidized...
Note that wind power generation produced somewhere around 200 TWh (or billion kWh) in 2007, so about a quarter of what nuclear generates in a year in the US.