The Appalling Delusion of 100 Percent Renewables, Exposed
The National Academy of Science refutes Mark Jacobson’s dream that our economy can run exclusively on ‘green’ energy.
The idea that the U.S. economy can be run solely with renewable energy — a claim that leftist politicians, environmentalists, and climate activists have endlessly promoted — has always been a fool’s errand. And on Monday, the National Academy of Sciences published a blockbuster paper by an all-star group of American scientists that says exactly that.
The paper, by Chris Clack, formerly with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado Boulder, and 20 other top scientists, appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It decimates the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor whose wildly exaggerated claims about the economic and technical viability of a 100 percent renewable-energy system has made him a celebrity (he appeared on David Letterman’s show in 2013) and the hero of Sierra Clubbers, Bernie Sanders, and Hollywood movie stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jacobson became the darling of the green Left even though his work was based on Enron accounting, alternative facts, and technology hopium. Nevertheless, his claims were politically popular, and his academic papers routinely sailed through peer review. In 2015, Jacobson published a paper, co-written with Mark Delucchi, a research engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, which claimed to offer “a low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem” with 100 percent renewables, went on to win the Cozzarelli Prize, an annual award handed out by the National Academy. A Stanford website said that Jacobson’s paper was one of six chosen by “the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the more than 3,000 research articles published in the journal in 2015.” The fact that the National Academy would bestow such a prestigious award on such weak scholarship greatly embarrass the Academy, which gets 85 percent of its funding from the federal government.
In their scathing takedown of Jacobson, Clack and his co-authors....
This piece originally appeared in National Review Online