In order for "alternate energy" to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria:
1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule).
If it fails to satisfy any of those, then it can't scale enough to make any difference. Solar power fails #3, and currently it also fails #5. (It also partially fails #2, but there are ways to work around that.)
The only sources of energy available to us now that satisfy all five are petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.
My rule of thumb is that I'm not interested in any "alternate energy" until someone shows me how to scale it to produce at least 1% of our current energy usage. America right now uses about 3.6 terawatts average, so 1% of that is about 36 gigawatts average.
Show me a plan to produce 36 gigawatts (average, not peak) using solar power, at a price no more than 30% greater than coal generation of comparable capacity, which can be implemented at that scale in 10-15 years. Then I'll pay attention.
Since solar power installations can only produce power for about 10 hours per day on average, that means that peak power production would need to be in the range of about 85 gigawatts to reach that 1%.
Without that, it's just religion, like all the people fascinated with wind and with biomass. And even if it did reach 1%, that still leaves the other 99% of our energy production to petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear. Chizumatic
Meanwhile Al Gore continues to preach the tenants of this religion from his bejeweled alter!
“The idea that we can drill our way out of this is just so absurd,” he said, comparing the push for offshore oil drilling — which has gained popularity and put environmentalists on the defense — to dealing with a hangover by having another drink.
“The defenders of the status quo are the ones who have dug us into this hole,” he said, commenting that Americans have been “so often fooled into finding a remedy for a problem" that has nothing to do with the problem at hand — pointing to the invasion of Iraq when America was attacked by terrorists in Afghanistan as an example.
“The engines of distraction and the great concentrated power of communication that you’ve seen turned on this issue or that issue is already hard at work," he says. "They will say we can’t switch away from oil."
“We have to switch our electricity generation system,” he says, noting that changing transportation fuels will take longer, before reiterating his plan to ensure that “100 percent of our electricity [comes] from renewable sources and carbon-constrained fuels over the next 10 years.”
The point that needs to be made is that the Republicans are willing to do EVERYTHING but the Democrats are NOT! They continue, however, to mislead by accusing the Republicans of only wanting to drill when in reality they are the ones with restricted options.