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Expensive Renewable Energies?

Here you find responses to the most common prejudices and arguments against renewable energies.

energy

The usage of wind and solar energy (photovoltaics) does not make any sense. The manufacturing of the solar and wind power plants uses more energy than can be produced during the lifetime of the power plants.

Wrong. A photovoltaic (PV) plant regains the energy which was needed for manufacturing within a few years [1] and wind power plant within a few months [2].

In order to cover just a small percentage of the electricity demand by solar energy you would need a whole nuclear power plant just to have enough energy to manufacture the solar cells.

The comparison with the nuclear power plant is misleading. It is true that manufacturing of solar cells is still rather energy-intensive (huge improvements have been made in this area in the recent years). But the important fact here is, that the energy needed for the manufacturing is regained by the solar power plant in a very short time. During the typical life span of a PV system of 25-30 years, it produces more than 10 times the energy that was needed for its manufacture [3]. With wind mills this so called yield factor is even considerably larger.

Renewable energies are expensive. They can only be competitive because of high subsidies.

Wrong. The support of renewable energies (in Germany by the very efficient German Renewable Energy Act), is only needed as the externalization of costs have distorted the market in favor of the fossil and nuclear energy sector. Costs resulting from fossil and nuclear energy production are not included in the electricity price but are paid by the general public.

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An energy supply purely from renewable energy sources is impossible. When there is no sunshine and no wind we will sit in darkness!

Wrong. A decentralized energy supply from wind and solar power plants in combination with flexible power consumption and short- and long-term energy storage technologies (e.g. batteries, renewable energy gas) is feasible and economic.
If you want to find out more about how this 100% renewable energy supply could be realized go to 100% Renewable.