Scientists Sharply Rebut Influential Renewable-Energy Plan

Nearly two dozen researchers critique a proposal for wind, solar, and water power gaining traction in policy circles.


As I was reading this Technology Review piece yesterday, I was reminded of the following vignette:

…I was enjoying my own company at a French bistro on 93rd St. and Madison Ave. in NYC in the summer of 2015, when I noticed three attractive Manhattan women right next to me. They were having an intelligent conversation, so I crept closer. The woman right next to me, started talking about a new Stanford study supporting a 100 percent renewables world in US by 2050.I of course immediately searched for and found that study called “Fifty-State Charters a Path Away from Fossil Fuels,” Stanford’s Mark Jacobson et al.

(Jeez, I hate it when an amateur environmentalist knows something that  I don’t, especially about new environmental studies.)

I of course almost immediately searched for and found that study called “Fifty-State Charters a Path Away from Fossil Fuels,” Stanford’s Mark Jacobson et al.

(Jeez, I hate it when an amateur environmentalist knows something that I don’t, especially about any new environmental study–as I watch for them daily.)

Anyway, this “new” Stanford study was everything I disliked about the Academics of New Wave Environmentalism. Then, after two years of secretive behavior by the authors of the study, over twenty researchers just released a “sharply critiqued” rebuttal of the 50 States Plan.

As most of the researchers said: we were “driven to act because the original authors declined to publish what they viewed as necessary corrections, and the findings were influencing state and federal policy proposals,’ because Stanford Study could lead to a “massive misallocation of resources” and “wildly unrealistic expectations.”

Then, Mark Jacobson in fully reactionary mode, gave an interview with the MIT Technology Review, in which he complained about the inaccurate portrayal of their work and went on to say that “the authors were motivated by allegiance to the energy technologies that the 2015 paper excluded.” In addition, he said “They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates. They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.” Actually, Jacobson sounds like Michael Mann, as I think about it.

Daniel Kammen, Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Laboratory at U-Cal-Berkley, who is not exactly a disbeliever of a 100 percent renewable idea, is quoted as saying the study “does bizarre things.”

…and ultimately, Jacobson in rejoinder says: “There is not a single error in our paper. Yikes!

First, as I have been advocating for the last few years, the 21 authors have disclosed their conflicts of interest, which include energy, policy, storage, and climate researchers affiliated with prominent institutions like Carnegie Mellon, the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Brookings Institution, and Jacobson’s own Stanford.

In a nutshell, here are my reasons for disliking this kind of academic study with an agenda:

  1. The 2015 Stanford study is uneconomic and uneconomical;
  2. It is a misallocation of capital with a simplistic understanding of the complexities of the electrical grid;
  3. It does not have conflict of interest statements;
  4. It is hugely defensive;
  5. It is intellectually indefensible;
  6. It has a ringing sense of moral superiority;
  7. and finally, it is too political by 10.