Originally Posted by shlver
No the future is not now. It is literally impossible for our energy needs to be met by green sources. Those numbers refer to full capacity when wind is blowing, when sun is out, etc. When it is not, the base load has to be covered by thermal sources. That 46.22% of potential(from non reliable sources) green energy generation is 0.00088% of just nuclear power and nuclear power only accounts for about 20% of our nation's electricity in 2011. The only realistic choices are coal and nuclear.
first of all, this year the us is on track to produce about 5% of total electricity from renewables http://www.eia.gov/electricity/month...r/july2012.pdf
here is a 100% undeniable fact: today germany already produces 25% of their electricity with renewables.
when the weather is right, this number can reach as high as 50%.
solar and wind are the future. period. we will still need a to use a little bit of nuclear (i am fine with nuclear, btw) and maybe a little nat gas as well to balance out the unpredictable nature of renewables, but the vast majority will be provided by renewables.
bottom line is that in the not so distant future, the cost of generating with solar/wind will decrease to the point that it will actually be cheaper to generate electricity from renewables than fossil fuels. this future is an inevitability. it is a fact that solar and wind efficiency can still improve tremendously, and it is a fact that fossil fuels are a limited resource, and that extraction/transport will become increasingly more expensive over time.
10 years ago when that stupid al gore global warming movie came out, if you lived in california and installed solar panels on the roof of your house, the electricity fed back into the grid would pay for the panels after like 20-30 years. today, if you get solar panels installed, it takes about 5 years for them to pay for themselves. its just a matter of time until renewables are king, and the amount of time basically comes down to how much money we are willing to invest.