Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pet Peeve: "Renewable Energy"

I see it in headlines every single day, "Renewable Energy This," "Renewable Energy That," and it pisses me off.  Anybody using the term "Renewable Energy" is a fucking idiot.

I'm no physicist.  My last physics class was in high school, and I graduated from the Alabama public school system in 2003 so that ought to give you an idea of the quality of my education in physics.  However, what I am formally trained in is philosophy, and I consider myself a Philosopher even though I lack a formal degree*.  A big part of philosophy is defining the terms we use to describe reality.

Energy, by it's very definition, can not be created or destroyed; therefore, it can not be renewable!  It is the potential to do work.  A quick and dirty way of thinking about energy is that it always is and always will be.

What people mean when they say "renewable energy" is "renewable fuel," or more precisely "energy efficient fuel."  We could run vehicles off horse power, but steam is more efficient, and fossil fuel is more efficient than that.  Electricity is even better, but most electricity is created by fossil fuels so if you're looking for clean energy go elsewhere (or build more nuke plants). 

Energy IS NOT renewable**.  For that matter, neither it fuel, but that's a whole different ball game.

*Socrates didn't have a degree, nor did he publish any papers.  I'm no Socrates, but I am a Philosopher.
**Or, if you want to be smartass, all energy is infinitely renewable.

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