Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Project Development, Solar, Wind Power

Iraq War: A Renewable Energy Opportunity Cost

[] Wind power industry expert and author Paul Gipe completed an analysis looking at the overall costs of the U.S. war in Iraq and the lost opportunities for development of renewable energy. Granted, it’s only an exercise in imagination since U.S. support for renewable energy will probably never reach its level of support for foreign interventions, but it’s interesting just the same. Specifically, Gipe estimated the amount of solar and wind energy that could be developed if the present cost of the war had been instead used to build wind turbines or solar photoelectric panels. The lost generating capacity is then used to estimate the lost electricity generation and the result is compared to total electrical consumption in California, the United States most populous state, and to the total electrical consumption in the USA. Depending upon wind turbine performance (productivity), the money spent on the war could have generated from 100% to 150% of total California consumption or from 7% to 11% of total US consumption. Because of the greater cost of solar photovoltaics, the money spent on the war could have generated from 11% to 15% of California’s electricity or about 1% of total US consumption. For more information and two tables summarizing the analysis, see the following link.