- December 8, 2014
- Posted by: Catalyst
- Category: Business Energy News
A new report by two Google engineers, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, claims that climate change cannot be solved by renewable energy technologies like wind and solar energy.
The two engineers had previously worked on an ambitious renewable energy project for Google known as “RE<C”. The project failed however, and prompted them to release their claims that renewable energy is too costly to combat climate change.
Sceptics say the release of the paper shows that the promise of green energy has been overstated.
“The promise of green technology is often so great that it becomes almost an emotional dream, yet engineers, who are tasked with making dreams a reality, often run into… reality. This is one of those cases,” Anthony Watts, owner of a high profile climate site, told FoxNews.com.
The Google engineers also note in their report that their calculations that renewable energy is not a suitable solution for climate change are based on a best case scenario, i.e. that the world switches to green energy as fast as possible. They say that they modelled all their predictions about cost reductions in solar, wind, energy storage and electric vehicles with optimism, but there would still be “severe climate change, with all its dire consequences”.
However, a Google spokesman told FoxNews.com that the report only says that wind and solar energy will not solve climate change on their own, not that they are useless. He also added that Google has invested over $1.5 billion in solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies.
Dr. John P. Abraham, a professor of thermal and fluid sciences at the University of St. Thomas, said that the paper had understated the usefulness of wind and solar energy, as well as ignoring other factors that greatly contribute to lessening climate change, such as wiser energy usage.
Another report by the firm Lazard found that the cost of solar and wind energy technology has also been falling over recent years and that in some parts of the world the price is actually competitive with fossil fuels, even without government subsidies.
However, Lazard’s Head of North American Power & Utilities, Jonathan Mir, told FoxNews.com that it would be impossible to replace all conventional power generation with renewable sources. He said that green energy is too intermittent in nature and therefore cannot replace the current system, merely complement it.
In the end, the Google engineer’s conclusion in their report is that the USA needs to spend more money on research and less on funding current technology. “Our society needs to fund scientists and engineers to propose and test new ideas, fail quickly, and share what they learn,” they wrote.