Wind Leading the Pack of Winning Clean Tech Technologies

by Marguerite Manteau-Rao

Mark Jakobson, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at Stanford University, performed a thorough evaluation of energy solutions to global warming, as applied to alternative vehicle technologies. His answers may surprise you.

Pr. Jakobson looked at the following energy sources:

  • wind turbines
  • battery electric vehicles
  • solar photovoltaics
  • hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • geothermal power plants
  • tidal turbines
  • wave devices
  • concentrated solar power
  • hydroelectric power plants
  • nuclear power plants
  • coal with carbon capture and sequestration
  • corn ethanol
  • flex-fuel vehicles
  • cellulosic ethanol

and evaluated them according to the following criteria:

  • resource abundance
  • carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions
  • opportunity cost emissions from planning-to-operation delays
  • leakage from carbon sequestration
  • nuclear war/terrorism emission riks from nuclear-energy
  • air pollution mortality
  • water consumption
  • footprint on the ground
  • spacing required
  • effects on wildlife
  • thermal pollution
  • water chemical pollution/radioactive waste
  • energy supply disruption
  • normal operating reliability
Wind comes out the clear winner. Concentrated solar power, geothermal, solar photovoltaics, tidal, wave, are good additions to the mix. Hydroelectric is added for its load balancing ability. Nuclear and coal are less beneficial. Corn and cellulosic ethanol should not be included in policy options. Hopefully, the next administration will be wise enough to follow Pr. Jakobson’s recommendation . . . and align its subsidies with the right kind of technologies.

Marguerite Manteau-Rao is a green blogger and marketing consultant on sustainability and social media. Her green blog, La Marguerite, focuses on behavioral solutions to climate change and other global sustainability issues. Marguerite is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Since Sarah Palin’s VP nomination, she has also been impersonating Ms. Palin at What’s Sarah Thinking? blog