Dr. Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has recently published a paper that shows that many of our most politically fair-haired energy solutions (clean coal, ethanol, biomass, nuclear, etc) are actually the most expensive and the most destructive to use. Rather, he argues, wind and concentrated solar power are the best options before us today and can go a long way to supplying the doubling of the power demand that is expected by 2030. Even transportation energy, if most of our fleet goes electric.
He tells us that at any moment, the sun (directly and indirectly) produces more energy in a second than the earth can consume in a year. Specifically:
the various energy capacities that hit or are generated around the world per second are as follows:
The Sun: 31,000,000 GW (gigawatts)
Wind: 72,000 GW
Hydro: 6,000 GW
Wave: 5,000 GW
Tidal: 4,000 GW
Read more about his findings and, if you are scientifically-minded or otherwise intellectually intrepid, follow the link on the right of the stanford.edu page to read Dr. Jacobson’s article in Energy and Environmental Science (First published on the web 1st December 2008).