Chariman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"
"The nuclear industry’s central stated reason for omitting renewables, such as windpower (which accounts for nearly half the recent growth in decentralized renewables’ global capacity), from its list of admissible competitors with nuclear power is that windpower isn’t '24/7' or 'reliable.' Unlike some important sources of distributed renewable power — such as small hydro, geothermal, biofueled, and even much solar-thermal-electric generation — that can be dispatched whenever desired, windpower (and smaller but even faster-growing photovoltaics) do produce varying output depending on the weather. Yet this variability, often assumed to pose a fatal obstacle, becomes far less important in a renewable energy supply system using diverse technologies, because weather that’s bad for one source is good for another: stormy weather is generally good for windpower and hydro but bad for solar, while fine weather does the opposite.Diversifying locations helps too, because weather varies over areas that are often smaller than power grids. Technical reliability of single generating units is not the issue: modern wind turbines are ~98–99% available, far better than any thermal plant...
Research is increasingly showing that if we properly diversify renewable energy supplies in type and location, forecast the weather (as hydropower and windpower operators now do), and integrate renewables with existing demand- and supply-side resources on the grid, then renewables’ electrical supplies will be more reliable than current arrangements."
Cowritten with Imran Sheikh, "The Nuclear Illusion," www.rmi.org, May 27, 2008
Experts Individuals with PhDs, heads of government, members of state or federal legislative bodies, and individuals with graduate degrees and significant post-graduate involvement in alternative energy or fossil fuel issues. [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
Cofounder, Chariman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute, 1982-present
Founder and Chariman, Fiberforge, Inc.
Former Regents' Lecturer, University of California at Berkeley
Former Grauer Lecturer, University of British Columbia (UBC)
Former Luce Visiting Professor, Dartmouth University
Former Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Colorado
Former Oikos Visiting Professor, University of St. Gallen
Former Visiting Professor, Peking University (China)
Former MAP/Ming Professor, Stanford University
Founder, E Source
Recipient, Lindbergh Award, 1999
MacArthur Fellow, 1993
Recipient, Right Livelihood Award, 1983
Recipient, Mitchell Prize, 1982
Member, Senior Energy Advisory Board, US Department of Energy, 1980-1981