Can Wind and Solar be Useful?
There are certain areas around the world where wind and solar can be economically useful.
While so-called clean energy is a ruse in the United States and Europe to cut CO2 emissions, there are places where wind and solar can make a real contribution.
Primarily they fall into three categories.
- Islands lacking oil, natural gas or coal
- Isolated locations, remote from the grid
- Countries where natural resources can be better used for generating income
Many islands around the world have had to rely on diesel generators for power generation.
This has generally required the importation of expensive diesel fuel.
Some larger islands, such as Malta and Aruba, have used steam-driven power plants, but this has required the importation of expensive oil. In a few instances, natural gas has been imported for use with gas turbines.
Consumers on these islands have paid 50 cents or more per kWh for electricity, or five times what the average American pays. On Pacific Islands, the cost has been as high as $1.00 per kWh.
This affords wind and solar an opportunity to lower the cost of electricity on islands, large and small, which can benefit all who live there.
Even if wind and solar generated electricity cost 11 cents per kWh, or 30 cents per kWh respectively, they can lower the cost of electricity on these islands.
Hawaii may be able to make good use of both wind and solar, which is far different from the remaining states where the motivation isn’t economic, but rather to cut CO2 emissions.
Included in the second category are situations where solar can provide power for remotely located instrumentation, data collection, signs, etc.
In the third instance there are countries where installing concentrating solar power plants can be economically viable.
Saudi Arabia, together with some Gulf countries, is considering the installation of concentrating solar power plants (CSP). They are projecting that CSP will reduce their use of oil for generating electricity, thereby freeing the oil for export at a large profit.
These countries are considering, and in fact, have started building nuclear power plants for similar reasons.
Some countries with mining operations, such as Chili, are considering the use of CSP to augment power generation which is often done locally due to the mines being located far from the grid.
Common sense, good judgment and sound economics should be the basis for deciding when and where, wind and solar should be used.
Even on islands where solar and wind may make some sense, they can only augment, not replace, fossil fuels.
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