Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Iceland and renewable energy

Both John McCain and Barack Obama made the case during last year's campaign that we needed to shift to non-fossil fuel sources of energy to boost the U.S. economy. I do not understand the connection at all. While alternative energy sources may have their virtues, I don't think that benefitting the economy is one of them -- especially given that they are more expensive than more traditional sources (if they were cheaper they'd already be in widespread use).

Consider Iceland:
Renewable energy in Iceland has supplied over 70% of Iceland's primary energy needs since 1999 — proportionally more than any other country. The remainder of its energy needs are produced from imported oil and coal. Iceland is at the forefront of renewable energy research and plans to become the world's first hydrogen economy, with all of their private automobiles, fishing boats, and public transportation running on hydrogen fuel. This would make Iceland the first completely energy-independent country in the world, using 100% renewable energy sources.
Sounds like the kind of economy the Obama Administration wants to create. Except Iceland is an economic basketcase. Now, that's not to say that renewable energy is the cause of Iceland's problems -- certainly not -- but it sure didn't help stave off disaster either.

Geothermal power in Iceland

This notion that "green energy" will rescue us from our current economic travails is a fantasy.

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