Environmentalists are united in the common belief that the world must phase out fossil fuels and develop the majority of its energy from renewable sources.
Unfortunately renewable energy is still in its relative infancy and as such cannot compete on a price per kilowatt basis with traditional carbon-based fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal. This leaves options limited and is preventing a full scale migration to renewable energy.
You would think that environmentalists, understanding the limitations that still face widespread renewable energy development, would be grateful for any investment, advancement, or installation made, after all … beggars can’t be choosers.
But wait … it appears beggars can be choosers. At least that is what the environmentalists believe, as they favour some renewable energies over others, and even protest against plans for some renewable projects.
In Europe and Japan environmentalists have effectively prevented the production of new nuclear power plants, and even in North America new regulations have made it incredibly difficult to build any new nuclear power generations facilities.
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Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada’s Green Party, provides another example of an environmentalist getting it the way of renewable energy, as she leads opposition against loan guarantees for the Labrador Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. She believes that the money would be better being invested in small-scale hydro, wind, etc., rather than one mega project.
You could argue that there are several good reasons to oppose the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, however, the fact that it is a mega project is not one of them. Renewable energy installations must be huge in order to increase the efficiency to such a level that they are cost competitive with fossil fuels.
If environmentalists truly agree that the world must push for renewable energy, then they cannot get in the way of that push.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com